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Streamline Deal Closings and Automate the Creation of Closing Binders

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, August 23, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers software for managing deal closings, including creating signature packets, tracking who has and hasn't signed, and generating PDF closing binders (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud real estate closing document automation software for CD and HUD transactions that handles all calculations and tax filings, document comparison software that adds legal-specific functionality to Microsoft Word's Track Changes and which integrates with popular document management systems, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Transactional practice is mostly logical. You argue and obsess over phrases and other details to arrive at a compromise that satisfies all parties and minimizes future litigation. But when it's time to close, lawyers often fall prey to mind reading. "Why haven't they signed? Did they get the signature pages? Should I call them?" It's time to rethink closings.

SimplyAgree … in One Sentence

SimplyAgree is cloud-based transactional management software for streamlining and tracking deal closings, and automating the creation of closing binders.

The Killer Feature

SimplyAgree's co-founders, CEO Will Norton and COO Sam Beutler, spent several years practicing corporate law. They noticed that closings had not changed much since the advent of email 20 years ago. As a result, creating signature packets remains a time-consuming, manual process. Moreover, they found online signature tools inadequate for complex transactions with multiple signature pages and signatories.

"While other electronic signature tools have been focused on general business use cases, few have considered the unique challenges faced by transactional attorneys," says Norton. "That's where SimplyAgree comes in." "Transactional attorneys have proven processes to close complex deals," adds Beutler. "Our goal is not to reinvent the wheel, but to give these processes more horsepower."

SimplyAgree automates the creation and distribution of signature packets. You securely upload the documents associated with the deal to SimplyAgree and enter the name for each signatory. SimplyAgree then identifies where each person needs to sign and creates signature packets comprised of the signature pages for each signatory. You can include duplicates if one or more counterparties requires multiple original signature pages rather than a single copy.

Print signature packets for an in-person signing or email them in PDF format to each respective signatory. SimplyAgree integrates with DocuSign if you want to offer electronic signing and other timesavers such automatically filling the signatory's name and other stored data.

Other Notable Features

SimplyAgree's dashboard lists all active deals. Within each deal, you can track who has and hasn't signed, and store copies of completed signature pages. You can even reject invalid signatures and record why in case you need to show an audit trail someday. SimplyAgree holds all executed signature pages in escrow so that you can continue to negotiate terms.

When deals close, clients often demand closing binders but don't want to pay for them. SimplyAgree automates this thankless task. Upload the final version of your deal documents and connect them to the executed signature pages, arrange the documents in the order you want them to appear, and enter metadata such as party names and the closing date for the cover page. The software then merges all the documents into a single PDF file with bookmarks, corresponding slip pages, and a hyperlinked index.

You can customize the design of these closing binders with your firm's logo and colors. Creating different versions of a closing binder or updating a closing binder with new documents takes seconds rather than hours. In fact, you can use SimplyAgree solely for creating closing binders if you don't want to use its project management features.

What Else Should You Know?

"SimplyAgree is an excellent tool that expedites the closing and post-closing process, saving valuable attorney time and thus saving our clients money," says Aaron Moody, an associate lawyer at Eversheds Sutherland in Atlanta. Learn more about SimplyAgree.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue.

Topics: Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Generate Error-Free CD and HUD Real Estate Closing Documents Online in Minutes, Not Days

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, August 17, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud real estate closing document automation software for CD and HUD transactions that handles all calculations and tax filings (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of document comparison software that adds legal-specific functionality to Microsoft Word's Track Changes and which integrates with popular document management systems, a Mac document management system that combines the familiarity of the Finder with legal-specific tools such as automated email capture, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Real estate transactions involve creating the same set of documents repeatedly — perhaps more so than any other practice area. Additionally, it's now a highly regulated market so it's more important than ever to produce error-free closing documents. These are good reasons to automate your real estate deals not to mention saving money and remaining competitive in a crowded market.

Easysoft Online … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Easysoft Online (Easysoft) is cloud software for automating Closing Disclosure (CD) and HUD real estate transactions, including tax filings.

The Killer Feature

You can start using Easysoft in seconds with any web browser. Create an account, designate a settlement agent, and enter your InfoTrack credentials. The software includes unlimited CD and HUD transactions. It complies with all regulations (including RESPA and TRID), calculates taxes, and files 1099 tax documents via InfoTrack.

Your clients will appreciate always knowing the cash to close and closing cost no matter how often the deal terms change. You'll appreciate not having to hire a title agent, which will save you approximately $500 per transaction. Easysoft costs $69 per month so after two transactions it will have more than paid for itself.

"Easysoft allows real estate attorneys to simplify their closings by providing an easy-to-use solution," says Easysoft's Managing Director Jeanette Knight. "With Easysoft, you save time by completing the closing disclosure in a matter of minutes rather than days. And the wonderful thing about Easysoft is you can access it from anywhere at anytime with no installation required."

Other Notable Features

Easysoft's dashboard lists all your deals, including file number, type (CD or HUD), borrower, seller, and status. Easysoft walks you through several screens that mostly consist of forms. You never need to enter information twice as Easysoft auto-populates fields that require the same data. Also, Easysoft performs all calculations so you won't need a spreadsheet.

For CD transactions, Easysoft covers loan terms and costs, taxes and any applicable prorations for city, county, assessment, school, and sewer, prepaid items such as insurance, interest, property taxes, and as intimated above all the inputs that comprise cash to close. Easysoft also walks you through loan disclosures, and adjustable payment and interest tables. A ledger lists all deposits and payments related to the deal and includes check printing if needed.

You can choose from several options for the signature pages, including a Consumer's Confirm Receipt Signature, Seller's Signature Addendum, and Interested Party's Signature Addendum. You can print two versions of the CD — the standard version for the seller that becomes the public record, and a more verbose version for the buyer with all the details.

HUD deals such as cash closings and reverse mortgages offer a similar process without the lender components and generates all the requisite documents, including a Good Faith Estimate.

What Else Should You Know?

Knight tells us that Easysoft reduces the amount of time required to create deal documents by up to 70%. Devan Ingram, a real estate closing assistant at Inzer, Haney, McWhorter & Haney in Gadsden, Alabama, agrees. "My experience with the new online version of Easysoft has been very positive," says Ingram. "Easysoft allows us to run a smarter and faster closing process using automated documents." Learn more about Easysoft Online.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Micro-Symposium on the Most Helpful Products of 2017 Plus Your Foolproof 2018 Law Firm Marketing Plan

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, December 21, 2017

Coming today to SmallLaw: What will happen in 2018? No one knows, which means all those prediction articles circulating this time of year are fan fiction. In typical SmallLaw style, this last issue of 2017 eschews the fanciful for the practical -- a Micro-Symposium in which SmallLaw contributors tell you about the most helpful technology products they started using in 2017. You'll find nine recommended products in all that will improve your productivity in 2018. Also, don't miss the SmallLaw Pick of the Week for your foolproof 2018 law firm marketing plan.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Written by practicing lawyers who manage successful small firms and legal technology and practice management experts who have achieved rock star status, SmallLaw provides practical advice on management, marketing, and technology issues in small law firms, as well as comprehensive legal product reviews with accompanying TechnoScore ratings. SmallLaw also ensures that you won't miss anything published elsewhere by linking to helpful articles (and podcasts and videos) about solo practices and small law firms. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Coming Attractions | Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Law Office Management | Privacy/Security | SmallLaw | Transactional Practice Areas

Get a Helping Hand With Your Legal Work When You Need It, Including Interactive Forms

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a legal research service that helps you get up to speed in new area with checklists, interactive forms, practice notes, and a new way to mine SEC filings for agreements and clauses (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a research service dedicated to health care regulations, including tools to keep you apprised of regulatory deadlines, holiday gift ideas for cultured geeks with good taste, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

The faster and more efficiently you provide quality legal services to your clients, the more work they'll send you. As requests increase so does the likelihood that they will involve issues you don't handle often. But that's no excuse for not continuing to exceed client expectations.

Lexis Practice Advisor … in One Sentence

Recently redesigned, Lexis Practice Advisor offers analytics, checklists, forms, practice notes, and other guidance on a growing number of practice areas.

The Killer Feature

Lexis Practice Advisor's new Transactions Search is powered by Intelligize — the securities law analytics company LexisNexis recently acquired. Transactions Search enables you to search agreements and clauses in SEC filings. Search by keyword, document type, transaction type, date, deal size, acquiring company, target company, law firm, key M&A deal terms such as termination fees, etc.

Transactions Search gives you access to more than 15,000 M&A transactions, and a similar number of registered offerings and exempt offerings filed since 2008 as well as a broad range of agreements from other practice areas. New filings become available within 24 hours. Lexis Practice Advisor users can use Transactions Search at no extra cost.

"Our goal for Lexis Practice Advisor has always been to create a product that is as intuitive and user-friendly as possible, while providing attorneys with the high-value, easy-to-digest content needed to complete any legal task quickly and efficiently," said Rachel Travers, vice president of Lexis Practice Advisor and Analytical. "With the new refreshed Lexis Practice Advisor interface as well as the recent integration with Intelligize, we deliver an improved user experience and provide easier access to vital information."

Other Notable Features

LexisNexis Corporate and Securities Subject Matter Advisor Ben Knuth visited our office to show us Lexis Practice Advisor's new interface, which incorporates feedback from users. You now have three ways to drill down through the available material — practice area, content type, or jurisdiction. Or you can enter a keyword search.

Lexis Practice Advisor offers several new practice areas in an ongoing effort to expand its coverage of important niche topics, including employee benefits and executive compensation. Each practice area has a home page you can bookmark. Home pages list common tasks, your recently browsed documents, the latest Law360 News articles, and the above-discussed Transactions Search if available.

When you select a task, you'll find practice notes, checklists, forms, and clauses. Forms are interactive with appended drafting notes, fields you can fill with your matter-specific data, and alternate and optional clauses you can insert (you can also insert your own clauses). For practice areas such as labor and employment that differ among jurisdictions, Lexis Practice Advisor offers comparison charts.

LexisNexis recruits top practitioners to create the content in Lexis Practice Advisor. You can also submit questions to authors about their contributions, and the Lexis Practice Advisor staff will get an answer for you.

In addition to these core materials, you'll also find related cases, statutes, regulations, Matthew Bender treatise excerpts, etc. from Lexis Advance. You can download forms and other materials in Word or PDF format, email them, and save them to a Lexis Advance Folder or your Dropbox account.

What Else Should You Know?

Lexis Practice Advisor Journal is a quarterly magazine for Lexis Practice Advisor users with tips across all the practice areas covered by Lexis Practice Advisor. The weekly Practice Insights email newsletter keeps you apprised of new content and features in Lexis Practice Advisor. Learn more about Lexis Practice Advisor.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Legal Research | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

SmartTask Walks You Through Legal Tasks, While SmartTask Pro Offers the Ability to Incorporate Your Firm's Own Expertise

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers interactive practical legal guides that you can customize to incorporate your firm's collective knowledge and workflows (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a law firm website design service that includes a library of legal content to save you time, personal injury practice management software with specialized tools for tracking settlements, liens, medical records, and marketing, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Lawyers often perform work within their practice area but outside their comfort zone. This is especially true of junior associates. In these situations, more than two-thirds of lawyers either consult colleagues or run a Google search, neither of which is particularly efficient. Ideally, your firm should have a reference for such tasks capable of tapping into external and internal knowledge.

SmartTask and SmartTask Pro … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Wolters Kluwer's SmartTask is a growing collection of interactive practice guides, while SmartTask Pro enables you to customize these guides and create your own.

The Killer Feature

Unlike competing services, SmartTask doesn't statically list a series of steps on a web page or in a PDF. Instead, steps link to corresponding resources such as forms, government agency websites, and treatises, saving you time. You can download forms in Microsoft Word or PDF format.

SmartTask Pro takes these guides further, recognizing that every law firm's unique culture influences its work product and how it gets created. Accordingly, SmartTask Pro enables you to edit these guides to better fit your firm's workflows. For example, you may have a model document that you prefer to the one in a SmartTask guide, or you may want to add several steps and link to internal resources in your document management system or SharePoint portal.

Custom steps in an existing SmartTask guide display an icon to distinguish it from those created by Wolters Kluwer. You can also create entire SmartTask guides of your own to unlock the many informational silos that exist in your firm, and harness and share this internal knowledge in a manner that increases productivity and benefits clients.

The SmartTask Pro environment resembles a word processor with the ability to create headers, format text, and link to any reference within your firm or on the web. Organizational tools facilitate breaking up complex tasks into multiple, nested steps.

"Attorneys face increased pressure to find new ways to make their practice more efficient," says Dean Sonderegger, Vice President & General Manager, Legal Markets & Innovation. "The SmartTask Corporate Suite provides a full set of resources, including workflow tools, that enables firms to standardize common legal practices, ensuring consistency and efficiency."

Other Notable Features

For some tasks, you may only need help for a specific step. A search bar at the top of each SmartTask guide enables you to run searches. Click a search result to go directly to that step.

Each SmartTask guide is written by a practicing lawyer with applicable expertise. Currently, the SmartTask library focuses on corporate and securities law, including amending bylaws, D&O removal, D&O indemnification, forming and dissolving corporations and LLCs in various states, preparing various SEC forms, issuance of shares, dividends, redemptions, stock purchases, and transfers, and much more.

SmartTask guides in other practice areas are in the works, including cybersecurity, employment, health care, and intellectual property.

What Else Should You Know?

Wolters Kluwer has priced SmartTask and SmartTask Pro to encourage law firms to run it alongside competing solutions. Also, your summer associates can use it for free. Learn more about SmartTask and SmartTask Pro.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Collaboration/Knowledge Management | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Clarion Delivers Due Diligence Insights in Minutes, Not Hours

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a due diligence and business intelligence research service with a new approach to presenting data from public filings (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a cloud software platform that automates entity formation and compliance tasks, and enables you to offer these services under your own brand, do-it-yourself ediscovery collection software at a price point far below the industry average, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Due diligence for M&A and other securities deals is a necessary evil. Lawyers like you are best equipped to assess materiality so you cannot completely delegate it. However, if you could significantly reduce the time it takes to find material data, it would no longer seem so evil, just critically important. You might even use this data for business development opportunities too.

Clarion … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Wolters Kluwer's Clarion is an online due diligence and business intelligence research tool with a new approach to organizing and presenting data.

The Killer Feature

Clarion encompasses more than 22,000 public companies world wide as well as 60,000 private companies. But it's not a mere collection of public filings, requiring you to comb through 10-Ks and the like. Instead, the relevant data from public filings has been categorized and organized in a series of dashboards that match the attorney's workflow. The goal is to present targeted information in public data so that you can get answers in minutes, not hours or days.

For example, one important aspect of due diligence involves identifying a company's revenue by region within specific industries. With just a few clicks, Clarion displays this data for any public company. Bar charts for each region compare the company's total revenue with its revenue for a specific industry and the average for that industry. A trends graph indicates the sales trajectory over the last three years in each region. A map to the right offers a visual of the company's operational regions.

"Clarion was developed exclusively for legal practitioners," says Dean Sonderegger, Vice President & General Manager, Legal Markets & Innovation. "With unique, actionable data points and an intuitive point and click dashboard, Clarion efficiently gives attorneys greater control over research to enhance their ability to provide strategic counsel."

Other Notable Features

You begin using Clarion by either searching for a company or an industry. The latter is useful for finding new clients and new business among existing clients. When you find the company you want to analyze, a dashboard gives you a snapshot of revenue by industry and region as well as its customers, suppliers, competitors, and partners. You can then drill down into any of these categories to display an ever more focused series of dashboards.

Because SIC codes don't provide sufficient granularity, Clarion offers more precision. For example, instead of stopping at "Jewelry Apparel," Clarion goes further with smaller categories such as "Sunglasses and Prescription Frames." This granular taxonomy of industries exists throughout Clarion, enabling you to more thoroughly analyze a company's revenue, customers, competitors, suppliers, and partners.

When viewing a list of related companies, you can filter the list by industry as noted above. Other contextual filters also exist. For customers and suppliers, you can filter by relationship duration. For partners, you can filter by relationship type such as In-Licensing, Investors, and Joint Ventures. You can also search for a specific company to see if a relationship exists with the company you're analyzing. For each relationship, Clarion tells you whether it was mutually or unilaterally disclosed and by whom.

What Else Should You Know?

Every page in Clarion contains a Download button at the top right. Clicking this button generates an Excel file containing the corresponding data for use in a report. Learn more about Clarion.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Legal Research | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Legalinc Modernizes Entity Formation and Compliance Through Practice Automation

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, March 23, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud software platform that automates entity formation and compliance tasks, and enables you to offer these services under your own brand (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of do-it-yourself ediscovery collection software at a price point far below the industry average, cloud practice management software for law firms that crave the billing and automation features of legacy software, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Entity formation and ongoing management can seem like Dante's Inferno with each secretary of state a figurative Circle of Hell thanks to archaic websites, inconsistent compliance notifications, and manual, paper-based processes. How about some modernization and uniformity?

Legalinc … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Legalinc automates tasks related to business formation, entity management, and registered agent services, and enables you to offer these services under your own brand.

The Killer Feature

You can use Legalinc's services directly from its website. Alternatively, you can incorporate LINC, a private-label (white-label) version of Legalinc, into your own website. LINC is free, including complete integration assistance.

With LINC powering your website, you can offer do-it-yourself business formation services. Prospects can choose from several packages. For example, you could charge extra for registered agent services, an online entity management dashboard, etc. Also, these new businesses may need additional legal services that your firm can provide — trademark filings, lease negotiations, private placements, etc.

"Legalinc is an incredible partner for us, says Kevin Vela, co-founder of Vela Wood P.C. in Texas. "We leverage their LINC technology platform to better and more efficiently service our clients. I can't imagine using anyone else for state filing matters."

Other Notable Features

Legalinc CEO and Founder Erik Treutlein describes Legalinc as a "practice automation software company." "By leveraging the power of software to navigate thorny requirements across all U.S. jurisdictions, Legalinc outshines the clunky, antiquated processes offered today," says Treutlein. "We are committed to automating mission-critical legal services through secure, scalable software."

When forming a new entity, Legalinc displays all state fees, including options for expedited processing. Legalinc can create C and S corporations, LLCs, nonprofits, DBAs, and more in all 50 states. Legalinc can serve as the entity's registered agent.

Legalinc's Compliance Calendar lists deadlines for the entities you manage, enabling you to identify and address compliance challenges. Legalinc can send you and your clients email alerts (on your behalf) for upcoming filing deadlines, status changes, and so forth. If you need a document such as Good Standing that's not available online, Legalinc can retrieve it quickly from the state and upload it to your account.

The Entity Dashboard lists the formation and all subsequent orders as well as the accompanying documents — incorporation, annual reports, state advices, and tax filings. Not all states have gone digital so Legalinc scans and uploads mail received from such states. Similarly, you can upload documents created outside of Legalinc's purview such as board minutes. Accordingly, every compliance document associated with the entity resides in Legalinc. If you're using LINC, you can provide access to this dashboard under your own brand to your clients.

What Else Should You Know?

Legalinc can transfer all the entities your firm currently manages to its platform for free. Legalinc charges an annual fee per entity plus any applicable state filing fees. Treutlein tells me that Legalinc charges significantly less than industry giants like CT Corporation. This gives you more latitude when pricing the services powered by Legalinc that you offer clients. Learn more about Legalinc.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Alt Legal Automates the Management of Trademarks and Other IP Assets

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers software for managing your clients' trademarks, copyrights, and patents from inception to renewals (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of practice management software for personal injury lawyers, a legal research service for medical malpractice lawyers, a service that can help you add a new practice area, a Word add-in for automating exhibit references, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Even small intellectual property law firms manage thousands of trademarks and other IP assets on behalf of their clients. This means thousands of deadlines for replying to office actions, filing renewals, etc. Miss a deadline and you lose a client. Time to move beyond your creaky Excel spreadsheets for managing these portfolios.

Alt Legal … in One Sentence

Alt Legal is cloud software for managing intellectual property portfolios, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents.

The Killer Feature

Alt Legal crawls USPTO and TTAB dockets (and soon international trademark databases) to provide automated monitoring of changes and deadline calculations. "What you view in Alt Legal always mirrors the original source," says former big law lawyer and CEO Nehal Madhani. "Your deadlines are always up-to-date." Alt Legal notifies you of upcoming deadlines via email with live links to each filing.

Unlike competing services, Alt Legal's crawler doesn't only look for new docket entries and status date changes but all changes to each record. As a result, Alt Legal can instantly notify you of changes that don't trigger an official notification such as the appointment of a new attorney.

"Alt Legal's automated trademark docketing allows me to organize and monitor filings and keep track of dates and deadlines," says Bill Samuels, an IP attorney and the owner of W.R. Samuels Law. "The platform automatically identifies and updates my docket without manual data entry. To replace Alt Legal, I would need multiple employees to manage my clients' trademark portfolios."

Other Notable Features

You begin using Alt Legal by retrieving all the IP filings under your firm's management. Because TESS is the most modern USPTO database, you can retrieve trademarks by entering the associated email addresses or registration numbers. Alt Legal offers complimentary data migration for large IP portfolios.

The Docketing dashboard lists all IP filings under your management sorted by deadline. You can search by applicant, client, type of filing, etc., and add notes to IP filings for later reference. Alt Legal links directly to USPTO records so that you can download documents, respond to office actions, and reference applicable regulations with a click. Alt Legal automatically adds deadlines to your Clio and Outlook calendars thanks to integrations with those products.

Alt Legal enables you to generate reports using parameters ranging from Literal Element to Statutory Deadlines to Mark Type and many others. You can view reports in a spreadsheet-like table in Alt Legal or export in Excel format. If you wish, clients can gain read-only access to their portfolio.

Speaking of clients, Alt Legal's Intake tool facilities collaboration on new trademark filings. Clients receive a customizable email message with a link to a secure web intake form. The form adapts as clients answer questions such as whether they're filing individually or for a company. Alt Legal's team keeps these forms up-to-date, enabling you to populate TEAS forms without retyping. New filings are automatically captured by Alt Legal and added to the Docketing dashboard.

What Else Should You Know?

Alt Legal enables you to restrict access among your staff to filings assigned to them. Administrators can access all filings. Pricing for Alt Legal starts at $75 per month. Your cost depends on the number of filings in your account. In addition to data migration, an Alt Legal subscription includes unlimited training, live chat, and telephone support. Learn more about Alt Legal.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

TL NewsWire Top 25 Products of 2016 Awards

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's time for the TL NewsWire Top 25 Products of 2016 Awards. TL NewsWire subscribers chose the winners of these awards. When subscribers clicked for more details about a product we reported on, they passively cast a vote. Passive voting is the most meaningful type of voting for awards. The winners below genuinely attracted the most interest from TL NewsWire subscribers.

This year a word processor earned the top spot! Major themes among the winners — practice management (8 products), litigation (5 products), legal research (3 products), time capture and billing (3 products), and add-ins for Microsoft Office (3 products). Also among the winners — a smartpen and accompanying app and notebook, a project management app, a virtual desktop service, and a marketing automation app.

TL NewsWire is free — sign up now so you can choose next year's winners.

Congratulations to all the winners! Without further ado …

WINNERS OF THE TL NEWSWIRE TOP 10 PRODUCTS OF 2016 AWARD

Congratulations to the 10 hottest products of 2016!

1. WordPerfect Office X8

This first place finish may surprise some, but not longtime fans who have vowed never to use that other word processor. These fans told Corel they wanted advanced PDF tools, and Corel delivered in WordPerfect Office X8. You can now convert PDF image scans into WPD files, and use Reveal Codes to search and destroy formatting problems. Additionally, you can create your own PDF forms, including digital signatures.

2. Zola Suite

Five years ago, Fred Cohen and his team of designers and engineers set out to build cloud practice management software without compromise. In 2016, this hard work paid off with the launch heard round the legal web. Zola Suite's web, Android, and iOS apps have feature parity. With advanced technologies such as Gmail and Office 365 email integration, telephone call tracking, and a OneNote replacement, maybe you can have it all.

3. Smart Writing Set

Want to get a lawyer's attention? Develop a replacement for the yellow legal pad, which lawyers love to hate. Moleskine's Smart Writing Set consists of a pen with a tiny camera that digitizes your notes. This being Moleskine, the special paper notebooks that work with the pen look as sharp as you in your best suit. The free Android and iOS app stores your notes and can make them editable with its built-in OCR.

4. Contract Tools

Paper Software knows contracts. One co-founder served time in big law, the other is a programmer with machine learning expertise. The result of this dynamic duo is Contract Tools, which adds a suite of tools to Microsoft Word for use with complex contracts. Click a defined term for its definition, find all references to a specific section, locate and finalize all placeholders, and correct inconsistencies, incorrect formatting, and other errors difficult for human proofreaders to spot.

5. Exterro Project Management for Law Firms

Until you can replace your staff with robots, Exterro Project Management for Law Firms might be the next best thing. This project management and process automation software enables you to automate your workflows. When someone completes a task, the person responsible for the next task in the workflow receives a notification. Extensive reporting gives you a God-like view of all your firm's activity, which you can monitor from your beach bungalow.

6. LEAP 365

LEAP 365 easily wins the most impressive product launch of the year as it took place in a (sweet!) suite at Yankee Stadium. This largess underscored the company's significant achievement — cloud practice management software with apps for Windows, web, iPad, iPhone, and Android. During the press conference, four product specialists used LEAP on a different platform while seamlessly collaborating on document assembly and other law firm tasks. Clearly, LEAP had a much better year than the Yankees.

7. ExhibitManager 5

Given how many features Microsoft Word has, it's amazing how many it lacks. ExhibitManager fills one such gap by automatically generating a table of exhibits in a Microsoft Word document based on simple references that you insert while drafting. The software keeps this table updated when you edit your brief. ExhibitManager also manages exhibits using a spreadsheet-like interface, and can create PDF exhibit binders or ebriefs with one click.

8. LexRex

It's hard to believe but the cloud practice management pioneers are nearing their tenth birthday. This means they were originally designed for a desktop web browser. By contrast, LexRex launched this year built for a mobile world with a design that minimizes the number of different screens. The app's Case Categories offer workflow automation, while the Case Summary lists all activity for each matter in a tickler-like manner.

9. LawBase

Many software products require your firm to adapt because of their rigidity. By contrast, LawBase adapts to your law firm. This practice management software ships with templates for practice areas ranging from insurance defense to mortgage refinancing to mass tort. If one of these doesn't apply, the company can work to create a custom template that'll fit your law firm like a glove.

10. Concordance Desktop

Designed for the do-it-yourself law firm, Concordance Desktop added processing to its suite of tools this year. Now for cases involving custodians with mainstream data sources such as Outlook, Windows Explorer, and file cabinets, you can import PST files, scans, and more without a consultant or a dedicated processor like LAW PreDiscovery. You can then use Concordance Desktop's popular document review tools to find relevant documents, apply Bates numbers, and produce them in native, PDF, or TIFF formats.

WINNERS OF THE TL NEWSWIRE TOP 25 PRODUCTS OF 2016 AWARD

Congratulations to the next 15 hottest products of 2016!

11. Firm Manager 2.0

Sometimes software developers focus on user-facing features, while other times they focus on under-the-hood improvements. Firm Manager took both paths this year. Crowd pleasers such as the new templates automate client intake and other routine tasks. Meanwhile, role-based permissions, integration with the online and desktop versions of QuickBooks, and extensive data import tools help law firms switch to Firm Manager in the first place.

12. BlueStylus Time and Billing

It seems like virtually all cloud billing apps cost the same, almost as if they colluded on price. This is of course apocryphal, but if a cartel did exist BlueStylus wouldn't join. At just $7 per user per month, BlueStylus broke the price barrier this year while offering breakthrough features such as automated filing of email messages from clients. Not too long ago, only large firms could afford such technology. Now it costs less than Netflix.

13. ReplyToSome

A few years ago, Peter Norman was holed up in his office at the Singapore outpost of a large law firm where he spent many billable hours negotiating multiparty deals via email with disparate teams of opposing counsel. One misaddressed message could imperil his career. Once stateside again, he spearheaded the creation of ReplyToSome, which adds a suite of tools to Outlook that prevents such mishaps. Even if you don't need to manage large distribution lists, ReplyToSome offers other helpful tools such as SendCheck, which warns you about replying as a BCC and when you forget an attachment.

14. TimesManager Legal

James DeRosa knows a market opportunity when he sees one. With an increasing number of law firms using ClaimsManager despite it being designed for insurance companies, he and his team developed TimesManager Legal to better serve the legal industry. If you can think of a billing arrangement with your clients or partners, TimesManager can handle it — split, blended, fixed, ABA, LEDES, UTBMS, etc. TimesManager can also manage complex approval workflows, and integrates with Tabs3, QuickBooks, Legal Tracker, and TyMetrix among others.

15. CaseFleet

A mashup of client relationship management and litigation management that runs in your web browser, CaseFleet automatically builds a timeline of your cases as you enter facts, issues, witnesses, and legal research. Filters enable you to spot critical connections and build your narrative. Meanwhile, CaseFleet's Legal Calendar color codes all the critical deadlines on your cases and syncs with GCal and Outlook, while the Leads Pipeline helps you capture and convert prospects into new clients.

16. Ulysses 2.5

Designed for writing long, structured documents on your Mac or iPad, Ulysses collects all your notes, research, etc. in one place. You write in chunks (such as different sections of a brief or chapters of your great American novel). When you complete a project, you can combine these disparate elements into a single document in Word, PDF, or ePub format. iCloud sync automatically makes your work available on all your devices, including the iPhone.

17. Digital WarRoom Private Cloud 8.8

Ediscovery software seems immune to the all-you-can-eat pricing revolution underway in other software markets. Digital WarRoom Private Cloud wants to change the game with its all-inclusive price of $1,995 per month. Designed for large projects, Digital WarRoom Private Cloud spans the EDRM gamut, offering tools for processing, review, and production. Advanced technologies include data visualization tools to make email easier to analyze and predictive coding.

18. Nutshell

Peter Drucker advised law firms to understand clients so well that their service sells itself. However, you still need software for the nuts and bolts of online marketing. Enter Nutshell, which captures leads from your website and routes them to your intake team, tracks telephone consultations, and enables you to send personalized email messages to hot prospects. Extensive reporting helps you analyze your marketing campaigns.

19. Amicus Attorney Premium 2016

Now part of the Abacus Next family of products as a result of the merger of the year, Amicus Attorney added enterprise-grade document management features, including check in/out and versioning to prevent lost work or duplicative effort. Also new, client-related email appears alongside documents thanks to integration with Exchange and Office 365. Amicus Attorney's client portal facilitates secure document sharing and communications with clients. You can even have clients complete forms through the portal.

19. Thomson Reuters ProView

The future of the law library finally arrived in 2016 thanks to ProView. Both an ebookstore and ebook reader, ProView is the Amazon Kindle of legal references. You can purchase and read ProView ebooks in a web browser or in the dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iPad, and Android tablets. New editions of an ebook can import your bookmarks and highlights from the previous edition even if the location has changed. Sharing tools enable you to send a relevant section to colleagues or export it to PDF to send to a client.

20. Firm Central

Firm Central recently earned a TechnoScore of A from our SmallLaw newsletter in part because of its exclusive first-party integrations with other Thomson Reuters Legal's services such as Westlaw, Deadline Assistant, Doc & Form Builder, Case Notebook, CaseLogistix, and Practical Law. Among third-party products, Firm Central integrates with Outlook and QuickBooks. The addition of Time & Billing to Firm Central earlier this year, including trust accounting and three-way reconciliation and reporting, checks an important box on the requirements list of many small law firms.

20. Tabs3 Version 18

There's no better way to get paid than from a trust account. This year Tabs3 kicked trust accounts up a notch by automating payments. Once you create a rule in compliance with your jurisdiction, Tabs3 can apply payments to new bills or accounts receivable or both. Support for electronic funds transfer and credit card processing via ProPay further grease the wheels of commerce. The new three-way reconciliation reports provide your clients with transparency into these automated payments.

21. Boxtop

Our ace product reviewer Ed Zohn runs the products he evaluates in Boxtop to ensure fairness. "Sure beats the old Citrix I used a decade ago," he quipped in a recent email message. Boxtop provides everyone in your firm with a virtual Windows desktop. The wizards at Tabush Group help get all your legal and other software installed in this virtual environment, and can even provide you with thin client hardware that supports two monitors. Boxtop, which also runs on Macs and Windows PCs, supports Microsoft Office, PCLaw, Tabs3, Time Matters, Worldox, and other popular apps.

21. MedMal Navigator

Mention the name Frank Netter to doctors, and they'll wax poetic about his iconic medical illustrations. Now that more than 10,000 of these images reside in LexisNexis MedMal Navigator, you can use them in depositions, settlement conferences, and at trial without any copyright hassles. MedMal Navigator also offers tools for assessing the value of claims, finding expert witnesses, researching illnesses and injuries and applicable standards of care, and of course finding relevant case law in Lexis Advance.

21. MyCase

Proving that technology can save time and money, MyCase's new QuickBooks Online integration enables you to set everything up in a few minutes on your own for free versus the previous implementation that cost $99 and required a one-hour consultation. This integration somehow manages to create QuickBooks invoices that mirror those you create in MyCase right down to every time entry and description — a technological tour de force.

21. Practice Point

Thomson Reuters Legal offers a cornucopia of information services — Westlaw of course but also Reuters News, Practical Law, Westlaw Forms, Business Law Center, and Company Investigator to name just a few. Practice Point serves as your gateway to these services. Need to negotiate a joint venture? Just navigate to that section and you'll find all the resources you need from initial conversation to final agreement. If only Practice Point existed for everything in life.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | Business Productivity/Word Processing | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Gadgets/Shredders/Office Gear | Legal Research | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Lexis Practice Advisor Helps Get You Started on Work Outside of Your Comfort Zone

By Neil J. Squillante | Monday, October 31, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a service designed to help you expand your practice by providing model forms, practice notes, checklists, etc. (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of software for managing and referencing exhibits, knowledge management software for mining your firm's work product, three practice management apps, a visual tool for identifying relevant case law faster, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

It's amusing when a relative expresses bemusement that you're not an expert in every area of the law. But when clients ask for help, you either figure out how to deliver or leave money on the table.

Lexis Practice Advisor … in One Sentence

Lexis Practice Advisor offers model forms, practice notes, checklists, articles and other materials for lawyers, and integrates with Lexis Advance and Lexis for Microsoft Office.

The Killer Feature

Mindful of the fact that winning the trust of lawyers like you requires high-quality and updated materials, LexisNexis put together a network of more than 500 practicing lawyers from more than 230 law firms. Each lawyer has years of experience with the legal issues that pertain to the documents they contribute. In addition to reviewing the credentials of these authors, you can email LexisNexis' internal author team with questions about their documents.

Other Notable Features

Lexis Practice Advisor groups its materials by practice areas, including bankruptcy, finance, intellectual property, real estate, etc. This coverage includes business and commercial transactions for four states — California, Florida, New York, and Texas — with more in the pipeline.

Browsing these topics reveals subtopics presented in a step format designed to match your tasks. For example, drilling down to Private Mergers presents you with "Structuring and Planning Private Mergers" and "Preliminary Agreements in Private M&A Deals." If you prefer, you can start with a global search and then filter your results by practice area.

Lexis Practice Advisor groups materials by Forms, Articles, Secondary Materials, Cases, and Statutes & Regulations. The primary and secondary legal research come from Lexis Advance while the rest derives from the authors noted above. Some forms are interactive, enabling you to draft documents in Lexis Practice Advisor. Icons alert you to alternate clauses you can review and add with a click. You can also add your own clauses.

If you use Lexis for Microsoft Office, you can access Lexis Practice Advisor from within Microsoft Word, including all forms. "The integration with Lexis for Microsoft Office gives legal practitioners instantaneous access to the full breadth of Lexis Practice Advisor's on-point content and tools inside the Microsoft applications they use every day," said Sean Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of North American Research Solutions at LexisNexis. "This is a crucial step in our overarching strategy to help customers produce higher quality work in less time."

Lexis Practice Advisor offers M&A lawyers a tool called Lexis Market Tracker based on EDGAR and related data. Using Consideration Type, Target Industry, Deal Amount, and other parameters, you can research "What's Market" on more than 450 deal points for credit agreements. Lexis Market Tracker isolates specific provisions such as Collars and Ticking Fees so you can quickly find what you need for the documents you're drafting.

What Else Should You Know?

You can share materials with colleagues by placing them in Shared Folders. These work across Lexis Advance so they can also contain legal research. You can also export blank and completed forms in Word or PDF format. Learn more about Lexis Practice Advisor.

How to Receive TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. In each issue of TL NewsWire, you'll learn about five new products for the legal profession. Pressed for time? The newsletter's innovative articles enable lawyers and law office administrators to quickly understand the function of a product, and zero in on its most important features. The TL NewsWire newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | Legal Research | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas
 
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