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Free Research Reports for Lawyers and Others in the Legal Industry

By Neil J. Squillante | Tuesday, July 1, 2014

TechnoLawyer Library houses our growing collection of free research reports. Other media companies charge hundreds or thousands of dollars for reports of this caliber. We give them away for free — with one catch. A very small catch. They're for TechnoLawyer members only. However, TechnoLawyer membership is also free. Join TechnoLawyer today. Below you'll find links to selected research reports and to our TechnoLawyer Library Sweepstakes.

Chill, Grill, and Bill: Summertime Gadgets for Summer-Loving Legal Professionals

TechnoLawyer Demographics 2014

LitigationWorld Quick Start Guide to Mastering Ediscovery

TL Research Buyer's Guide to Legal Billing Software

TL Research Guide to the iPad mini as a Serious Productivity Tool (Second Edition)

Can Microsoft Win the Legal Industry's Mobile Race?

TL Research Buyer's Guide to Outlook Add-Ons for Law Firms

TL Research Buyer's Guide to Document Management Systems for Law Firms (Second Edition)

The Most Reliable Legal Technology Study Ever

After visiting the TechnoLawyer Library to download these and other free reports, enter our TechnoLawyer Library Sweepstakes. There's no limit on how many times you can win.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | Practice Management/Calendars | TechnoLawyer | TechnoLawyer Library | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Research

Actionstep 14.7: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud accounting, billing, and practice management application with a new technology for the fast pace and unpredictable nature of law firm work (see article below), a website that creates a printer version of web articles, a cloud application to ensure consistent use of your firm's templates, and an application that mirrors your iOS device onto your computer or Android device. Don't miss the next issue.

LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT THAT REFLECTS LAW FIRM REALITY

Lawyers have an unpredictable job. For example, clients — some of them from the distant past — will contact you out of the blue with questions. This makes it challenging to enter time and other information into the structured fields of practice management systems. You just don't have the time in the heat of the moment so instead you use a scrap of paper that you inevitably forget about or lose. A new technology promises to break this vicious cycle.

Actionstep 14.7 … in One Sentence

Launched today, Actionstep 14.7 is a cloud accounting, billing, and practice management application that automates tasks via workflows.

The Killer Feature

Like other practice management applications, Actionstep stores structured data. This is a necessity so that for example an email address resides in a designated place and acts the way it should when clicked.

However, the new version of Actionstep has a "Scratch Pad" for quickly entering unstructured information when you're in a rush. Later when your day calms down, you can convert these notes into structured data such as calendar events, contacts, tasks, time entries, etc.

Actionstep can remind you to revisit your notes so that you don't fall behind. Each user's Scratch Pad is private, enabling you to brain dump without worrying about anyone else reading your unpolished notes.

The company spent a lot of time testing Scratch Pad with volunteer lawyers to optimize the user experience. "Scratch Pad is a great example of how we are shaping the software to match the way lawyers instinctively think and work," Actionstep CEO Ted Jordan told us.

Other Notable Features

Also new, the Activity Log provides a Facebook-style news feed of what you and your colleagues have done recently — new matters, updates on existing matters, task assignments, etc.

The Activity Log complements Actionstep's signature Workflows technology, which guides users through each step of complex yet routine tasks such as client intake, court-specific litigation deadlines, checklists for specific types of documents, etc. Workflows essentially tell everyone "what's next" (and who should handle it) while the Activity Log tells everyone "what happened" (including new steps added to Workflows). Together, these two technologies aim to provide quality control throughout your firm.

A step in a Workflow may involve creating a document. Thanks to Actionstep's built-in document assembly engine and integration with Microsoft Office, you can store Word templates within Actionstep, fill in merge fields with data from a client's record, and store the final document in a specific matter. The document assembly technology also enables you to create web templates for clients to fill out, and send personalized bulk email messages such as for billing. Actionstep integrates with HotDocs for more advanced document assembly.

Other features include Outlook and Gmail plugins for saving email and attachments within a matter, and general ledger and trust accounting so that you need not pay for a separate accounting solution or deal with integration and duplicate data hassles.

What Else Should You Know?

Actionstep costs $60 per user per month. It works in all desktop and mobile web browsers. You can try it for free. The company offers a growing library of preconfigured and customizable Workflows in its online store such as its popular U.S. Litigation Pack. Learn more about Actionstep 14.7.

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 | Coming Attractions | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

A Lawyer Reflects on His Content Marketing Efforts Plus 66 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Coming today to SmallLaw: Our editorial team has selected and linked to 67 articles from the past week worthy of your attention. Below you'll find a sample article from each section of today's issue, including our SmallLaw Pick of the Week.

You're Not Too Small for Strategic Planning

Startup Law Firm Boot Camp

A Better LinkedIn Strategy Than Magic Beans

The Latest Research on Press Releases

Congratulations to Jay Fleischman of Legal Practice Pro on winning our SmallLaw Pick of the Week award: A Lawyer Reflects on His Content Marketing Efforts

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small law firm, big dreams. Written by successful small-firm founders, managing partners, administrators, and legal technology and practice management experts, SmallLaw provides practical advice on management, marketing, and technology issues in solo practices and small law firms. Additionally, SmallLaw features comprehensive reviews of legal products with accompanying TechnoScore ratings. SmallLaw also ensures that you won't miss anything published elsewhere by linking to helpful articles, podcasts, and videos about solo practices and small law firms. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Coming Attractions | Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Law Office Management | SmallLaw

Three Common Productivity Tasks That an iPad Performs Better Than a PC

By Neil J. Squillante | Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Can the iPad perform productivity tasks? Obviously. But can it perform them more efficiently than a PC? This is the more important question, which we continually research. In this issue of TL Research, we explain three tasks that the iPad performs better in terms of both functionality and speed than a PC. The accompanying video demonstrates two of these tasks.

THREE COMMON PRODUCTIVITY TASKS THAT AN IPAD PERFORMS BETTER THAN A PC

In a recent episode of the A16Z podcast Andreessen Horowitz partner and mobile computing analyst Benedict Evans described smartphones as "way more sophicated than a PC" thanks to their camera and sensors.

He's right. It's relatively easy to build your own PC. However, you cannot build a smartphone — or a tablet — in your den. The mobile operating systems that run these devices likewise outclass their desktop counterparts. Look no further than installing and uninstalling apps as proof.

Sophistication Versus Utility

Of course, sophistication is just one aspect of a tool. A Tesla is more sophisticated than a Toyota Camry, but the latter will serve you better for most driving tasks thanks to the plethora of gas stations. While Tesla has a long road ahead, what about the iPad? It's the most popular tablet among TechnoLawyer members and all lawyers for that matter.

Over the past few years, lawyers have debated whether you can use an iPad for so-called "real work." While enjoyable, this debate sidesteps the more important question — should you even if you can?

For example, most lawyers can type faster on a PC than on an iPad. And despite my high hopes for taking handwritten notes when the iPad mini launched (our most tweeted article), I'm now more bullish on smartpens that write on paper and transfer your notes to an iPad.

On the other hand, the iPad bests the PC (and Mac) at certain tasks. Below are three that the iPad performs better in terms of both functionality and speed than a PC based on our research.

1. Sharing Web Articles

Email remains the most common way to privately share articles you find on the web with clients, colleagues, and friends.

Most people share articles by copying and pasting the URL into the email message they send. Recipients must click the URL, which means they cannot read your message and the article in the same place. And what if the article resides on a website that requires a subscription?

On an iPad (and iPhone), you can easily send the entire article inside your email message.

In Safari, tap the Reader button on the left side of the address bar (it's an icon comprised of four horizontal lines). This eliminates all the surrounding cruft, leaving only the article. Next tap the Share button to the left of the Reader button. Finally tap the Mail button. (If the article spans several pages, start with the printer-friendly version if one exists.)

This three tap sequence places the URL and the entire article into a new email message. Write whatever you want above the article and send the message.

The above video demonstrates this feature. Try sharing this article.

2. Adding Contacts From Unstructured Data

A number of Outlook add-ons such as Gwabbit and Copy2Contact exist that can recognize email addresses, street addresses, telephone numbers, etc. in the body of email messages (e.g., signatures) so that you can quickly create new contacts.

That's nice but the Mail app in iOS recognizes this unstructured data without having to buy any extra software.

You probably know how to tap an email address to start a new message, a street address to view that location in Maps, and a telephone number to make a call (iPhone only).

However, if you tap and hold you'll see an option to create a new contact or add the information to an existing contact.

The iOS Contacts database syncs with Google Apps, Office 365, and Microsoft Exchange in addition to Apple's iCloud. If you use one of these services (if you don't you should), the additions and changes you make on your iPad will appear in Outlook on your PC (or whichever application you use to store contacts).

Watch the above video for a demonstration of this feature.

3. Replacing Paper

A growing number of lawyers already use their iPad as a paper replacement, but it's such a powerful use case that it bears mentioning. The iPad offers an excellent reading experience while offering much better portability than paper once you get beyond 50 or so pages.

First, using any number of apps such as Adobe Reader, GoodReader, Notability, NoteSuite, PDF Expert, etc., you can store PDF documents on your iPad and annotate them. The sync services that these apps support make it easy to move documents from your PC to your iPad. There's no reason to lug reference books to court anymore. Or for that matter to save paper user guides when you buy a new whatever (most companies make their user guides available online in PDF format).

Second, consider taking paper replacement further. For example, hand your clients your iPad to show them a document. If everyone at a meeting has an iPad, use an app like Slingshot to share your screen with them. Finally, consider reviewing depositions on your iPad using an app such as TextMap or TranscriptPad.

The Future Ain't What It Used to Be

As Yogi Berra's quote teaches us, new technologies inevitably surpass old technologies, evolving from toys to necessities. The iPad has already proved its potential. iOS 8 — especially extensions — will add to the number of productivity tasks it can perform better than a PC.

Neil J. Squillante is the publisher of TechnoLawyer.

How to Receive TL Research
Our flagship newsletter offers in-depth buyer's guides and other helpful research reports for everyone in the legal profession. Written in plain English by leading experts, these reports combine exhaustive research with sound statistical techniques to provide you with reliable analysis, data, and insights. Just as importantly, TL Research reports often include benchmarks, charts, and other visuals that bring the information to life. TechnoLawyer members regularly use TL Research reports at strategic planning meetings. The TL Research newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Document Management | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Research

Review of TrialDirector 6.5 Plus Nine Tips for Video Depositions

By Kathryn Hughes | Monday, July 28, 2014

Coming today to LitigationWorld: "We hold these truths to be self-evident" may have sufficed for the Declaration of Independence but trials require more proof. Because showing while telling is more persuasive, trial presentation software has gone from luxury to requirement. In this issue of LitigationWorld, litigation consultant Brett Burney reviews TrialDirector 6.5, especially its focus on user experience and its integration with TrialDirector for iPad and TDNoteBook. Also, don't miss the LitigationWorld Pick of the Week for nine tips on how to ace video depositions.

How to Receive LitigationWorld
All practice areas evolve, but none faster than litigation. Written by successful litigators and other litigation experts, LitigationWorld provides you with practical tips related to electronic discovery, depositions, litigation strategy, litigation technology, and trial presentations. LitigationWorld also features in-depth litigation product reviews with accompanying TechnoScore ratings, as well as links to the most noteworthy litigation articles in other publications so that you'll never miss anything. The LitigationWorld newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Litigation/Discovery/Trials | LitigationWorld | Presentations/Projectors

Attention Corel and Microsoft; Prevent Windows Shutdown Woes; Download a Dropbox Folder to Your iPad

By Kathryn Hughes | Friday, July 25, 2014

Today's issue of Fat Friday contains these articles:

Donald Lowrey, Are Corel and Microsoft Listening to Lawyers?

Steven Levy, How to Prevent Losing Work From a Windows Shutdown

Jerry Gonzalez, How to Download an Entire Dropbox Folder to Your iPad

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive Fat Friday
Our most serendipitous offering, Fat Friday consists of unsolicited contributions by TechnoLawyer members. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The Fat Friday newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Document Management | Fat Friday | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Networking/Operating Systems

The Best Law Firms to Work for Plus All the Inside Baseball From the Past Week

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coming today to BigLaw: Our editorial team has assembled links to all the inside baseball announced by America's largest law firms during the past week in an easy-to-scan format. You'll also find must-read analysis, rankings, trends, etc. about large law firms.

This week's inside baseball sections link to:

86 press releases about lateral hires, mergers, internal promotions, and all other significant business news.

71 press releases about notable law firm and practice group accolades.

51 press releases about notable individual lawyer accolades.

Congratulations to Nicole Weber of Vault Blogs on winning our BigLaw Pick of the Week award: The 2015 Vault 100: The Best Law Firms to Work For. Here's a sampling of of some other industry analysis from this issue:

The Top Five M&A Law Firms

Law Firms Turn to Business Developers

How to Receive BigLaw
BigLaw keeps you apprised of lateral hires, internal promotions, mergers, new offices, accolades, and other inside baseball at America's 300+ largest law firms by linking directly to their press releases. Thanks to a clever design, BigLaw takes just a few minutes to scan yet its comprehensiveness makes it the only source you need to stay on top of this self-reported news. Each issue of BigLaw also links to insightful articles, statistical reports, podcasts, and videos about large law firms published elsewhere as well as to our detailed product reviews with accompanying TechnoScore ratings. The BigLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: BlawgWorld Newsletter | Coming Attractions | Law Office Management | Technology Industry/Legal Profession

Litigation Budget Excel Template Plus 51 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coming today to LitigationWorld: Our editorial team has selected and linked to 52 articles from the past two weeks worthy of your attention. Below you'll find a sample article from each section of today's issue, including our LitigationWorld Pick of the Week.

Weird Al's "Word Crimes" (Video)

To Bifurcate or Not to Bifurcate Damages?

Eliminate Paper Exhibits From Depositions

Major Legal Research Overhauls in the Works

Congratulations to Bill Latham of The Hytech Lawyer on winning our LitigationWorld Pick of the Week award: Litigation Budget Excel Spreadsheet Template

How to Receive LitigationWorld
All practice areas evolve, but none faster than litigation. Written by successful litigators and other litigation experts, LitigationWorld provides you with practical tips related to electronic discovery, depositions, litigation strategy, litigation technology, and trial presentations. You'll also receive in-depth litigation product reviews as well as links to the most noteworthy articles in other online litigation publications so that you'll never miss anything. The LitigationWorld newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Legal Research | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | LitigationWorld | Videos

Reviews of Exchange Online, Olympus DS-5000; Email and Word on iPads; Goodbye Legal Software; Help Me Go Paperless

By Kathryn Hughes | Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today's issue of TL Answers contains these articles:

Douglas Morrison, Review: Microsoft Exchange Online (Synced Email Service)

Alan Gamse, Email and Microsoft Word Tips for iPad Users

Chris Raesz, Why I Gave Up on Legal Billing and Practice Management Software

Matthew McInteer, Review: Olympus DS-5000

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Answers
Do you believe in the wisdom of crowds? In TL Answers, TechnoLawyer members answer legal technology and practice management questions submitted by their peers. This newsletter's popularity stems from the relevance of the questions and answers to virtually everyone in the legal profession. The TL Answers newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Coming Attractions | Dictation/OCR/Speech Recognition | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Answers

How to Spend $25 Million on Document Management Software Plus 62 More Must-Reads

By Kathryn Hughes | Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected and linked to 63 articles from the past week worthy of your attention. Below you'll find a sample article from each section of today's issue, including our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week.

10 Tips for Better Slide Decks (Video)

Review: Hours

Lawyer John Voorhees' Sweet Setup

One Month Living on Soylent

Congratulations to Erik Mazzone of Law Practice Matters on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: How to Spend $25 Million on Document Management Software

How to Receive BlawgWorld
Our newsletters provide the most comprehensive coverage of both legal technology and mainstream technology of interest to the legal profession (e.g., monitors, smartphones, scanners, the iPad, and more). But not the only coverage. BlawgWorld enables you to stay on top of all the noteworthy legal and mainstream technology articles (and podcasts and videos) published elsewhere without having to hire a research assistant. Even when you're busy, you won't want to miss each issue's Pick of the Week. Please subscribe now.

Topics: BlawgWorld Newsletter | Coming Attractions | Document Management | Entertainment/Hobbies/Recreation | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Online/Cloud

Review of MyCase Plus New Research on Improving Your Website

By Kathryn Hughes | Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Coming today to SmallLaw: Created by lawyers, MyCase has established itself as one of the major cloud practice management systems. In this issue of SmallLaw, lawyer and software connoisseur Chandra Lewnau evaluates MyCase from the perspective of both a power user like her and a newbie like several of her colleagues. The result is the definitive MyCase review, touching on virtually every feature from importing data to user experience to calendars and contacts to tasks and workflows, and much more. Also, don't miss the SmallLaw Pick of the Week for new research on how to improve the performance of your law firm's website.

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: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Coming Attractions | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | SmallLaw
 
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