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Headnote Wants Your Law Firm to Get Paid Early and Often

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a legal payments platform that enables your firm to accept payment by e-check or credit card without having to change your billing process (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of document assembly software that you can use within other applications such as your document or practice management system, case management software that runs on Windows, Android, and iOS with features, customization options, and integrations that acknowledge today's world, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

The average law firm gets paid 60-90 days after sending an invoice. Second-generation lawyer Sarah Schaaf witnessed both of her parents start their own firms and struggle with collection issues. Sarah left an in-house role in Google's legal department to start a legal payments company to shorten the payment gap to days or even minutes in many cases.

Headnote … in One Sentence

Headnote is a trust-compliant e-check and credit card payments platform for law firms seeking to get paid faster with less follow-up.

The Killer Feature

Headnote eliminates complexity when it comes to getting paid. Headnote provides you with a hyperlink to a secure payment page that you then send to clients using your existing invoicing process by embedding the link anywhere — email message, Word or PDF document, practice management, billing, or accounting software, etc.

When your client receives the link, they click on it using any device, see your firm's letterhead and logo, and pay in seconds without needing to create a Headnote account.

Headnote enables your clients to pay by e-check, a feature that CEO Schaaf tells us is exclusive to Headnote and 100% compliant with IOLTA and the ABA's Model Rules for accepting online payment to both trust and operating accounts. Clients securely log into their bank account and authorize payment using the same instantaneous authentication process that banks use for transfers. Headnote teamed up with Silicon Valley Bank to create this e-check platform, which connects to more than 2,500 banks. This eliminates the older, days-long micro-deposit and account verification process.

"Headnote allows attorneys to easily begin accepting compliant online payments and improving realization rates without changing any internal billing or invoicing processes," says Schaaf. "It's a game changer for law firms and the legal industry as a whole."

Other Notable Features

You can sign up with Headnote in a few minutes, and there's no cost associated with having an account. Enter your email address and firm information, create a password, upload your logo, and connect your bank account.

You can accept only e-check payments or also allow credit cards. Headnote charges 1.9% of e-check and 3.5% of credit card transactions. To comply with ethics rules, Headnote doesn't take this fee from client payments but instead charges your firm separately. This enables you to connect a trust account for client payments.

Headnote also handles collections with its Automated Reminder feature, which emails the payment link to delinquent clients. Choose when and how often to send reminders, and personalize the accompanying message. Some Headnote users like solo practitioner Kimberley Spire-Oh don't need this feature. "Since starting to use Headnote, my clients pay more often and much faster without me needing to remind them," says Spire-Oh. "It's a very user-friendly system and provides huge benefits to my practice."

Several specialized tools exist for specific use cases. For example, if you charge clients a flat fee for the same work over and over, you can create automatic recurring payments at set intervals. Less tech savvy clients can keep their credit card on file and authorize you to make payments on their behalf. Also, Headnote enables law firms to add a payment page to their website to make it even easier for clients to pay (setup is free).

What Else Should You Know?

Headnote offers several reports showing all transactions, all payment links, etc. If your firm uses QuickBooks, syncing your bank accounts will automatically pull in all payments made through Headnote for fast reconciliations. Learn more about Headnote.

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 | TL NewsWire

Document Automation That Resides Where You Work and Store Data

By TechnoLawyer | Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers document assembly software that you can use within other applications such as your document or practice management system (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of case management software that runs on Windows, Android, and iOS with features, customization options, and integrations that acknowledge today's world, an online marketplace for finding contract lawyers without running afoul of ethics rules, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Document automation software should be as common in law firms as word processing software. It solves several once intractable problems — creating documents faster, reducing errors, using data that already resides in other systems and ensuring regulatory compliance when applicable. One company believes what's preventing wider adoption is where users access it.

HotDocs Hub and HotDocs Developer 11 … in One Sentence

AbacusNext's HotDocs Hub and HotDocs Developer 11, the new version of the granddaddy of document assembly platforms with 60% market share, focuses on making template authoring and third-party integrations easier.

The Killer Feature

Traditionally, when you needed to generate a document from a HotDocs template, you would open HotDocs on the desktop. You can still do this but HotDocs' new integration tools (a "REST API") enable you to incorporate it into applications that house your client data. With HotDocs serving as middleware, users at your firm may not even realize they're using HotDocs.

The most obvious front end for your HotDocs templates is your practice management system, which can autofill fields such as client name and address, opposing counsel, etc. AbacusNext's practice management products — Amicus Attorney and AbacusLaw — integrate with minimal setup. But as Global Sales Director Gary Eunson stresses, you can incorporate HotDocs into many third-party practice management systems not to mention document management systems.

The HotDocs Professional Services group can assist you with integrations and create templates for you. "Operational efficiency is still a critical issue for law firms of all sizes," says Eunson. "Creating legal documents using our market leading document automation technology provides value, not only for the law firm, but for the clients it serves."

Other Notable Features

Getting started involves a Content Author (someone at your firm or a consultant) using HotDocs Developer to create templates for all the documents your firm regularly creates. You build templates using elements such as text fields, date variables, true/false and multiple-choice dialogs, clause selectors, math formulas, etc.

Completed templates then reside in the new HotDocs Hub cloud repository, which also offers tools for user management. Version control enables you to keep all template versions and rollback changes. Template Groups collect related templates such as those for a practice group in your firm. Integration with Active Directory and other identity systems enable users to access templates. You can host HotDocs Hub behind your firewall, through HotDocs' hosting services, or with Abacus Private Cloud.

Users access templates via their browser. The main tab contains the "interview" as HotDocs calls it — essentially a form. The middle tab offers a realtime preview of the document being built. The third tab lists all the data entered into the interview. When finished, choose from formats such as Word, WordPerfect, PDF, etc., and HotDocs automatically saves the document to your practice or document management system per the integrations discussed above.

What Else Should You Know?

"HotDocs is the quintessential software for document automation," says Michael Savage, operations manager at Baugher Law Firm PLLC. "It's very robust and the possibilities are endless. Generating documents and pleadings now take a fraction of the time they normally would using any other software. I highly recommend this product." Learn more about HotDocs Hub and HotDocs Developer 11.

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

The Stuff of Case Management Dreams

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, July 5, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers case management software that runs on Windows, Android, and iOS with features, customization options, and integrations that acknowledge today's world (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of an online marketplace for finding contract lawyers without running afoul of ethics rules, an accounting and practice management system that automates client intake, rules-based calendaring, and document creation, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

For many lawyers, the ideal case management software would consist of native desktop and mobile applications with options for on- or off-premises hosting of the data, and the ability to integrate with any new cloud service. One legal technology veteran spent the last five years rewriting its software from scratch to make this dream come true.

Needles 5 … in One Sentence

Launching this week at AAJ 2018, Needles 5 is a case management system renowned for customization options that can now integrate with third-party cloud software too.

The Killer Feature

Needles spent five years bringing Needles 5 to market — and I'm among the first to see it. Head of Customer Education Bryan Billig starts by running through a few before-and-after screens comparing versions 4 and 5.

Needles adapts to your window size and is optimized for widescreen monitors, which is unusual for a Windows application. "The visual changes alone make Needles far more user-friendly and, by default, more productive," says Tiffany A. Cypress, paralegal at Sutherland & Brinster, PA. The new Needles mobile app for Android and iOS provides a similarly optimized native experience for on-the-go access.

Needles manages the entire client lifecycle from lead generation to intake to settlement. The company pioneered what it calls Case Types — a collection of custom fields, forms, and checklists for specific practice areas. In version 5, customization options no longer have limits. Checklists can now handle complex dependency rules with unlimited date triggers and case assignments.

Because special use cases exist in many law firms, Needles built a web-enabled API. Translation — you can integrate with virtually any product. The forthcoming Needles App Store will feature third-party integrations you can add with a few clicks.

"With a modern feature set that includes updated functionality, a clean user interface, texting, dashboards, and more, Needles 5 has both the tenured experience and the cutting-edge functionality to transform your practice," says Ryan Pakter, the company's Managing Director. "Needles 5 continues to position the company as an industry leader, with the most customizable and robust case management software on the market."

Other Notable Features

Needles includes hundreds of reports for monitoring the health of your firm. Use filters to focus on a subset of data, and customize the look and layout to reflect your law firm identity. Previously, you would need a technician to create your own reports, but the new Report Writer offers a wizard that anyone can use. You can even create reports comparing data over two or more time periods.

Many small touches in Needles reflect today's world. Most notably, a dashboard keeps you apprised of activity on your cases. Contacts have fields for social media accounts, and you can send and store text messages in addition to email. Notes within cases support rich text and hyperlinks, and the new Timeline view in the calendar lists your events side by side with others on your team to facilitate scheduling meetings.

What Else Should You Know?

"True, role-based security in Needles covers every corner of the firm," Billig tells me, wrapping up my demo. Applying a role to an employee restricts their access to information and what they can do with it (e.g., view, add, edit, and/or delete notes). You can host Needles at your firm, in Needles' data center, or with a third-party virtual desktop provider. Learn more about Needles 5.

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: Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

LAWCLERK Offers an Online Marketplace for Contract Legal Work

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, July 5, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an online marketplace for finding contract lawyers without running afoul of ethics rules (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of an accounting and practice management system that automates client intake, rules-based calendaring, and document creation, a corporate messaging service that automatically saves discussions and shared documents to NetDocuments, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

You have more work than you can handle but you're hesitant to assume the expense of a fulltime lawyer. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of law professors, biglaw refugees, and other lawyers are available for contract work. You just need a way to find and outsource your work to these freelancers within the constraints of your state's ethics rules.

LAWCLERK … in One Sentence

Launched recently, LAWCLERK is an online marketplace for freelance legal talent that incorporates ethics rules compliance into its outsourcing process.

The Killer Feature

When you first sign up to use LAWCLERK, the company securely verifies your identity and law license. Those seeking freelance work go through a similar verification process.

Your agreement for each project specifies that the freelancer will work as a paraprofessional under your supervision. For example, one of the provisions states, "I will not ask or otherwise cause the lawclerk to sign or file any documents with any court or administrative body." These and other terms eliminate ethics concerns about the unauthorized practice of law and self-dealing. Also, the terms assign ownership of all contract work to your firm, and LAWCLERK takes care of the freelancer's tax reporting.

"Many smart, talented lawyers are underemployed or choosing alternative legal careers where they aren't using their full work product capacity," says co-founder Greg Garman. "This creates a tremendous opportunity for solo practitioners or firms to tap into this underutilized legal talent by hiring these lawyers as freelancers."

Other Notable Features

You post new projects from the Dashboard, including a description, the price you're offering (flat fee), applicable areas of law, skill level, your deadline, and how long you'll accept applications. There's no charge to post or any monthly fees. After working with a freelancer you like, you can send additional projects directly to this person instead of making your projects available to all applicants.

As applicants apply, you can review their profiles, which contain their resume, sample work product, and ratings from previous projects. Ratings indicate whether the freelancer met, exceeded, or fell short of expectations. You can ask applicants questions and reject those who don't meet your requirements.

While you can communicate with freelancers via email and telephone, LAWCLERK offers a portal for secure messaging and document sharing. Also, freelancers can log their time here. Even though you pay freelancers a flat fee, this time tracking can help you decide what to charge your client. Ethics rules enable you to mark up a fee but not a cost.

What Else Should You Know?

How are lawyers using LAWCLERK? All sorts of ways according to co-founder Kristin Tyler. Examples include solos who want to grow their practice without risk, lawyers who need expertise on a niche issue, ediscovery document review, and law firms pursuing alternative business models.

The Bach Law Firm uses LAWCLERK for litigation work. "After using LAWCLERK for the first time, our firm stopped using any other contract attorneys," says managing partner Jason Bach. "LAWCLERK provides us unparalleled talent at rates that are friendly to the bottom line." Learn more about LAWCLERK.

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: Consultants/Services/Training | TL NewsWire

AbacusLaw Goes Beyond the Practice Management Status Quo With Client Intake, Court Rules Calendaring, and Legal Accounting

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, June 21, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an accounting and practice management system that automates client intake, rules-based calendaring, and document creation (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a corporate messaging service that automatically saves discussions and shared documents to NetDocuments, a Microsoft Word add-in that scores your briefs and offers a spellchecker-like tool which suggests corrections and stylistic improvements, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Why is Elon Musk so focused on rocket launches? Because with space travel everything stems from the launch. Now think about your cases. They all start with intake, a process that many practice management systems ignore. But shouldn't intake be a priority?

AbacusLaw … in One Sentence

AbacusNext's AbacusLaw is a popular practice management and legal accounting system with customizable intake tools, court rules calendaring, Outlook integration, and a mobile app.

The Killer Feature

AbacusLaw has an Intake button on its toolbar, which underscores the company's reverence for this aspect of law practice. Click this menu, choose the applicable PALS or Practice Area Legal Solution, and begin entering information about your new matter. AbacusLaw offers PALS for all major practice areas. Each PALS consists of special fields, reports, document templates, and smart intake forms. You can customize a PALS to fit your needs, and create entirely new PALS for niches within your practice.

The intake forms in each PALS are "smart" because they automatically check for duplicate data and link to related information. These forms populate all areas of the software, obviating the need to enter data in multiple locations. Instead of entering all the data yourself, you can have clients, witnesses, and others securely enter information into these forms on your website. You can still take advantage of this automation even if you create a matter the old-fashioned way. Just assign a PALS to the matter and all the associated fields and forms appear for data entry.

Other Notable Features

Rules-based deadline calendaring for litigation matters is another area most practice management systems ignore. By contrast, AbacusLaw includes calendar rules for civil actions in federal courts and most state courts. The calendar rules for California even include specialty courts such as family law. You can set up the applicable rules as part of an intake form or do it later after filing a complaint. The rules calculate all deadlines, and automatically adjust them as continuances and other delays occur.

AbacusLaw also offers automation for transactional practice areas with its built-in document assembly. Choose from dozens of bundled forms and create your own (AbacusNext provides training). After choosing a form, assign it to a matter, fill it out, and generate a Word, WordPerfect, or PDF document for further editing and sharing.

In addition to managing your legal work, AbacusLaw also manages your finances with a full accounting system — general ledger, accounts payable, trust accounting, and of course billing. Every screen in AbacuLaw has a Time Tix button that can start a timer or record a time entry. Reports include all those you would expect, which you can customize. You can also create your own reports.

Because AbacusLaw is matter-centric, you can access all information related to a matter in one place, including calendar events, contacts, documents, and invoices. If you use Outlook, you can also save relevant email to a matter using AbacusLaw's add-in. With the free mobile app, you can access your matters on the go.

"Designed for lawyers, easy to use, and powerful, AbacusLaw helps me manage my practice and do my billing," says Delaware solo practitioner Thomas Shellenberger. "The calendar coordinates well with Outlook and my mobile device."

What Else Should You Know?

Most law firms use AbacusLaw via Abacus Private Cloud, AbacusNext's virtual desktop service. You can host AbacusLaw at your firm if you prefer. Learn more about AbacusLaw.

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 | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Replace Internal Email With NetDocuments' New ndThread Messaging and Collaboration Service

By TechnoLawyer | Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a corporate messaging service that automatically saves discussions and shared documents to NetDocuments (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a Microsoft Word add-in that scores your briefs and offers a spellchecker-like tool which suggests corrections and stylistic improvements, cloud software for paperless deposition exhibits that gives you precise control over what the deponent sees and which can generate a hyperlinked report of all marked exhibits, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Email makes a lot of sense for communicating with clients thanks to its interoperability across organizations. But internal email is a different story. The sheer volume can bury important client messages and prevent them from being filed or shared. Since you're all in the same organization, corporate messaging offers a better alternative — except that it usually creates another location to manage.

NetDocuments ndThread … in One Sentence

Just launched, NetDocuments' ndThread is a secure messaging service embedded within NetDocuments' cloud platform with apps for Windows, Mac, Web, iOS, and Android.

The Killer Feature

ndThread builds on the recent launch of ndMail (for storing email and attachments) to ensure that you'll find all information related to a matter in one location in NetDocuments. This also guarantees a unified platform for communication and collaboration while incorporating NetDocuments global search functionality.

ndThread came to NetDocuments via its acquisition of ThreadKM late last year. Dan Hauck, former CEO of ThreadKM and current VP of Product and User Experience at NetDocuments, spearheaded the project to incorporate ndThread into the NetDocuments platform for matter and topic-based messaging.

ndThread offers a zero-configuration experience on several fronts. For example, there's no initial setup because everyone in your firm can use their NetDocuments identity to login and use ndThread. Furthermore, there's no concern about threaded discussions becoming information silos because ndThread automatically saves and categorizes conversations in the correct matter within NetDocuments' matter, client, or topic-based workspaces.

"NetDocuments' ability to quickly incorporate the ThreadKM technology into its global cloud service speaks to its incredible power and efficiency," says Hauck. "The same encryption, security, compliance, indexing, and search functionality of NetDocuments' robust service now extends to all aspects of ndThread, reducing the need for law firms to rely on outside technologies to quickly and effectively communicate."

Other Notable Features

ndThread offers two ways to communicate with colleagues — direct messages and workspace discussions. Direct messages work like text messages except that you don't need to maintain an address book. Workspaces in ndThread mirror workspaces in NetDocuments and facilitate a conversation among members of a client team, practice group, committee, etc. Notification icons inform you of unread messages (you can also receive email or push notifications).

Workspaces can contain multiple private or open "threads" alongside other matter-related documents and email (e.g., a partners-only discussion). When a new team member joins a workspace, they gain access to all past discussions and documents, helping them get up to speed.

Most of the time, you'll reference documents already stored in NetDocuments. If you add a new document from elsewhere, ndThread asks you to fill out a profile and saves it into the same workspace in NetDocuments. Once a document resides in ndThread, you can use annotation tools to collaborate on it. These annotations reside in a nondestructive layer on top of the document. Collaborating in this fashion brings everyone to the same file, eliminating the drudgery of merging competing redlines or commentary sent in email messages or attachments.

What Else Should You Know?

"We started looking at ThreadKM as an innovative alternative to traditional email communication before the NetDocuments acquisition," says David Pray, Chief Transformation Officer at Bailey & Glasser LLP. "Now having ndThread as part of the NetDocuments platform presents a win-win scenario. We look forward to immediately leveraging ndThread as part of our NetDocuments platform investment." Learn more about ndThread.

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 | Document Management | TL NewsWire

BriefCatch Offers a Shortcut to the Perfect Brief

By TechnoLawyer | Monday, June 4, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Microsoft Word add-in that scores your briefs and offers a spellchecker-like tool which suggests corrections and stylistic improvements (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud software for paperless deposition exhibits that gives you precise control over what the deponent sees and which can generate a hyperlinked report of all marked exhibits, billing and task management software designed to handle any financial model you devise, including the option to outsource drudgery such as mailing bills, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

You may have the talent to write the perfect brief, but can you afford to spend that much time on it? Can your client? Why do all this work yourself when you can have one of the country's top legal writing experts edit your work? While you could hire this person, it'll cost you a lot less to use software that embodies his skills.

BriefCatch … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Legal Writing Pro's BriefCatch is a Microsoft Word add-in that scores your briefs, memos, and other documents, and suggests corrections and improvements.

The Killer Feature

Lawyer Ross Guberman built a successful legal writing consultancy, but he wanted to help more lawyers than time permitted. So he spent 18 months working with software developers to incorporate his legal writing knowledge into BriefCatch. Guberman also obtained input from 350 judges.

Much as Guberman himself might start a one-on-one session with an overall assessment, BriefCatch starts by scanning your document and assigning five different scores — Reading Happiness, Sentence Length, Flow, Punchiness, and Plain English. BriefCatch uses a scale of 100 for each score. As you edit your brief on your own or by accepting BriefCatch's suggestions, you can monitor the improvement in your scores.

BriefCatch also generates a Narrative Report — essentially a written report card that explains the pros and cons of your document and how BriefCatch will help you improve it.

"BriefCatch offers instant access to the skills I've long taught at top firms and courts, the tips in my bestselling book for advocates, and the insights I've gleaned from polling hundreds of judges and clients," says Guberman.

Other Notable Features

After gazing at your scores, it's time to get to work with BriefCatch's help. Guberman tells me that BriefCatch is more comprehensive than competing products. For example, BriefCatch identifies inconsistent serial comma use, language lawyers like but judges hate, unusually long sentences, commonly confused words (e.g., breech, statue), repetitive transitions, citation errors, and much more (see the entire list).

This level of detail gives the impression of a nuanced approach that belies the cudgel-like nature of most software. This is best exemplified by BriefCatch's ability to flag passive voice except for certain phrases that lawyers purposely use.

BriefCatch highlights all the potential problems in yellow and displays a spellchecker-like panel to the right. The panel explains why it flagged the word, phrase, or citation, and in most cases offers several alternatives instead of just one. You can accept the suggestion, ignore it, or ignore all such suggestions throughout the document. BriefCatch lists a running total of "changes" versus "ignores."

During my demo, BriefCatch caught a misuse of the word "belies" (unlike my correct use above) in a recent DOJ brief. BriefCatch suggested replacing it with "reveals" or "shows," either of which I can confirm would have corrected and clarified the sentence.

"This product is sublime," says Chris Bayh, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg. "Each time it gives me a couple dozen great notes, making a big difference in flow and punchiness. It also helps to make the next brief better the first time."

What Else Should You Know?

BriefCatch resides on Microsoft Word's Ribbon and runs locally, not in the cloud. It costs $240 annually per user (you can get a free trial before buying). Learn more about BriefCatch.

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: Litigation/Discovery/Trials | TL NewsWire

Focus on Your Depositions, Not Arts and Crafts Projects

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, May 24, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud software for paperless deposition exhibits that gives you precise control over what the deponent sees and which can generate a hyperlinked report of all marked exhibits (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of billing and task management software designed to handle any financial model you devise, including the option to outsource drudgery such as mailing bills, a major practice management update, including a new Android and iOS app that automatically captures time for calls and email, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

For a discovery tool designed to elicit important testimony, depositions often resemble an arts and crafts project. Printing exhibits is time consuming and can get expensive. When you need to travel for a deposition so do your exhibits, which may require shipping them. Given that laptops and iPads have practically become a birthright, it seems like a good time to switch to paperless deposition exhibits.

eDepoze … in One Sentence

eDepoze is a paperless deposition exhibit service that works in web browsers and in a dedicated iPad app.

The Killer Feature

When you depose a witness, you want as much control as possible. You don't want a witness paging aimlessly through an exhibit you just handed out. It's also important to avoid creating a confusing record that fails to capture a witness' interactions with an exhibit.

eDepoze addresses both of these challenges. In presentation mode, you can control which page of the exhibit the deponent sees, and zoom in to make it easier for the deponent to focus on what you're asking about.

Annotation tools such as arrows, highlights, circles, and freestyle drawing can help clarify the deponent's testimony and create useful evidence. During my demo, Division President Jeremy Lindahl showed me how a deponent could mark on a photo where an accident occurred.

"Our goal at eDepoze is to change the way corporations and law firms approach the deposition exhibit process," Lindahl tells me. "Paper is outdated, limited, unsecure, extremely wasteful, and simply unnecessary. eDepoze gives you a better option. Features like Presentation Mode give you more control over your depositions."

"eDepoze actually makes me want to take depositions," says Joseph Baghat, managing attorney of The Privacy Firm.

Other Notable Features

Before your deposition, setup the case in the WebManager, designate the upcoming event (e.g., deposition, witness prep, arbitration) and create deponent case folders. Then upload your exhibits from your desktop or import from Box or Dropbox cloud storage services. In the iPad app, you can add photos from the Photos app. eDepoze supports PDF and text documents as well as common formats for audio, images, and video.

In the case folders for a deponent, choose which documents you may want to use during the deposition and arrange them to correlate with your outline. For physical evidence, eDepoze offers a placeholder so that you can record the exhibit number when introduced. If a previously unknown document surfaces at a deposition, you can add it on the fly. Some eDepoze users have a paralegal monitor the deposition remotely in case they need any additional documents.

During a deposition, you can stamp exhibits before or after you introduce them using any alphanumeric sequence. You can also pass control of eDepoze to other lawyers at a multi-party deposition. eDepoze offers a chat feature that everyone except the witness can use. This enables you to communicate with a colleague without leaving eDepoze. After each deposition, generate an Exhibit Log Report listing all the exhibits you introduced with hyperlinks to each document.

What Else Should You Know?

eDepoze offers two pricing options. You can pay $300 per deponent per day without any subsequent commitments. This makes it easy to bill your client for the eDepoze service as a flat cost. Alternatively, eDepoze offers an annual subscription with unlimited depositions that costs $400 per month. Learn more about eDepoze.

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: Litigation/Discovery/Trials | TL NewsWire

Billing and Task Management Software You’ll Never Outgrow

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, May 18, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers billing and task management software designed to handle any financial model you devise, including the option to outsource drudgery such as mailing bills (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a major practice management update, including a new Android and iOS app that automatically captures time for calls and email, a new marketing automation and client intake platform designed for law firms, including tools for email newsletters and electronic signatures, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Law firms rarely charge a simple hourly rate. Instead, most have sophisticated billing needs. Also, a firm's billing model can change because of a new client, partner, practice area, etc. Ideally, you want billing software that can handle any financial model you devise.

TimeSolv Legal Billing … in One Sentence

TimeSolv is cloud billing software with extensive and flexible tools for time and expensive tracking, trust accounting, billing, and task management.

The Killer Feature

If you can think it, TimeSolv can track it. TimeSolv accommodates different billing rates based on the lawyer, task, matter, and other factors — even UTBMS task codes. Law firms often use split billing to incentivize behavior such as rainmaking. TimeSolv can split bills in any proportion, including granular controls such as splitting hours at different rates.

When creating a new matter, choose a default billing arrangement that you expect to use for most time entries. Timekeepers can override this default when necessary. For example, if a case goes to trial, you can use TimeSolv's Task Then Timekeeper setting to charge a premium trial rate.

"TimeSolv is hands down the best legal billing program available today," says Eva DeVincentis of O'Kelly & Ernst, LLC. "Not only is it easy to use, but if you find anything that you need it to do, just reach out to the staff at TimeSolv and before you know it, they've updated it with your request!"

Other Notable Features

TimeSolv greets you with the Time Entry dashboard. A calendar lists the time entered each day as well as totals for the month. To the right you can create time entries before or after the fact with tools such as a timer you can start and customizable abbreviations for entering lengthy descriptions (a cheat sheet lists all stored descriptions). Entering expenses works similarly.

Your support staff can use TimeSolv for free, which is helpful if some lawyers in your firm track time manually and send it to their assistant. Security controls can prevent support staff from doing anything other than entering time. These controls are also useful when working with contract lawyers.

When it's time to transform your firm's billed time into revenue, you can generate a list of Draft Bills by parameters such as client, date range, etc. You can view draft invoices and drill down to individual time entries to make adjustments. If you don't finish your review in one session, icons let you know which invoices you already reviewed. TimeSolv offers trust accounting so you can apply available trust funds during the review process.

You can use TimeSolv's Client Portal to deliver bills, and clients can pay via ACH or credit card thanks to integration with LawPay. You can also email and print bills, and submit bills to ebilling systems. TimeSolv can even print and mail your invoices via its add-on AutoMail service. For the ultimate in delegation, TimeSolv offers Outsourced Legal Billing in which a U.S.-based team preps your drafts bills, obtains your approval, and then sends the final versions, including to ebilling systems.

What Else Should You Know?

TimeSolv offers two-way sync with both the desktop and online versions of QuickBooks. A companion Windows and Mac app called TimeSync captures your time when offline. An extensive suite of task management and budgeting tools enable you to create workflow templates, automatically enter time upon task completion, and even offer flat fees. Learn more about TimeSolv Legal Billing.

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 | TL NewsWire

Amicus Attorney Update Includes New Mobile App, Document Management, Court Rules, and More

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, May 11, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a major practice management update, including a new Android and iOS app that automatically captures time for calls and email (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a new marketing automation and client intake platform designed for law firms, including tools for email newsletters and electronic signatures, a cloud application for paperless deposition exhibits with tools for focusing the deponent's attention and monitoring their actions, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Capturing billable time on the go is significantly more challenging than doing so from the comfort of your office. Only a mobile app connected to your practice management and billing system can bridge this gap — and the more automated the better.

Amicus Attorney … in One Sentence

AbacusNext's Amicus Attorney (Amicus) is a popular practice management and billing system with a new Android and iOS app launching this week that automates time capture.

The Killer Feature

Open the new Amicus mobile app, and you'll see a list of recently-accessed case files. Above this list you can search for a file not listed. Within a file, tap on a client's telephone number to place a call. Amicus hands off the call to the Phone app. Email works the same way. Amicus even creates a subject for the email message and adds a salutation and your signature to save you time.

When you finish the call or send the email message, your phone reverts back to the Amicus mobile app, which shows you the elapsed time in a pop-up and asks if you want to record the details for a time entry. After tapping "Yes" to capture the time, Amicus automatically fills in the client and matter, date, time, and duration of the call or email, and a description. You can make edits if necessary. This time entry syncs back to the Amicus server.

"Practicing law is complicated, but your practice management software doesn't have to be," says Chris Cardinal, Executive VP, Software Development. "Amicus Attorney makes it easy to stay on top of a busy practice, and with the new mobile app your mission critical data is always at your fingertips."

Other Notable Features

Amicus now integrates with Abacus Payment Exchange (APX), enabling you to process ACH and credit card payments. You create an APX account within Amicus. Once approved, you can enter credit cards manually or your clients can access and pay bills directly via the secure Amicus Client Portal. APX charges a flat fee of 3% of each credit card transaction. ACH payments are free and there's no monthly fee for having an APX account.

The Amicus team also focused on making you more productive. The enhanced document management system adds technologies typically found only in dedicated systems. For example, you can "check out" documents to prevent others from working them. Amicus automatically creates a new version of a document when someone make changes, enabling you to revert back to any prior version. An import tool migrates documents from existing locations to Amicus to get you started.

You'll likely create many documents using Precedent Workflows. This tool captures your processes, automatically assigning tasks and making any applicable templates available within the task. Autofill blanks to assemble documents and automatically create a time or fee entry with the ebilling task code required by your client.

If you practice litigation, the recently introduced integration with Abacus Court Rules calculates all deadlines based on a trigger such as the trial date. Coverage includes federal courts and courts in 10 states. You can add these deadlines to the firm calendar and to personal calendars.

What Else Should You Know?

You can run Amicus in your firm or in Abacus Private Cloud, the latter of which frees you from having to maintain a server and prevent security threats. "Amicus gives me the ability to be a great advocate for my clients, and still have a life outside the office," says Peter C. Merani, founder of Law Offices of Peter C. Merani P.C. Learn more about Amicus Attorney.

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 | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire
 
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