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Amicus Cloud Adds a Client Portal to Deepen Client Loyalty and Exceed Expectations

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud practice management system with a new client portal (see article below), PDF software with legal features, an iOS calendar and task management app, and a cloud storage service with an iPhone scanner. Don't miss the next issue.

Clients want good outcomes for their matters, but that's no longer enough. They also want to access their file and communicate with you when convenient for them. This level of attention requires a client portal but not just any portal. Your client portal should work with your existing software, and offer deep functionality that you and your clients won't outgrow.

Amicus Cloud … in One Sentence

Amicus Cloud is a practice management system that now includes a secure, customizable client portal.

The Killer Feature

After you enable the client portal in Amicus Cloud, you can link to it from your website. To create a seamless experience for your clients, the client portal features your firm's name and logo. Even the login and password reset pages contain your firm's branding. Like the rest of Amicus Cloud, the client portal works in all desktop and mobile web browsers.

After the initial setup, you can invite clients to create an account. You can share just about anything in Amicus Cloud — documents, calendar events, notes, tasks, etc. Amicus Cloud displays a different icon for shared items so that you know their status at a glance. You can view all shared items in a list in the new Portal tab.

In addition to sharing information, you can also collaborate and communicate with clients. For example, you and your clients can exchange notes. You can also assign tasks and create custom records for clients to fill out. A dashboard and email notifications keep you and your clients apprised of these communications and other activity. Also, Amicus Cloud contains a client portal audit trail, and can send you a daily email message showing all client portal activity.

"Clients today have different expectations," Abacus Data Systems' Vice President, Software Engineering Chris Cardinal told me. "They want the ability to send you documents, review documents you've drafted, and receive updates. They also want secure electronic communications. With the new Client Portal, you can give all of this to them. Not only will this profoundly impact the way law firms operate, but also clients will feel more connected and in control of their legal work."

Other Notable Features

According to Cardinal, Amicus Cloud sets itself apart from other cloud practice management applications through its desktop-like features. For example, cloud applications typically limit you to one screen at a time. By contrast, Amicus Cloud's multitasking technology enables you to open and resize multiple windows all within the same browser tab. You can minimize tabs along the bottom of Amicus Cloud for fast recall.

Another example — Amicus Cloud's Precedent Workflows combine document assembly with project management. This enables you to automate any process in your law firm, including generating Word documents with client information and stored clauses.

What Else Should You Know?

Amicus Cloud uses integrations to extend its abilities. Key among these is Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, and Dropbox as they enable you to store all client-related email and documents in Amicus Cloud without changing any of your current habits. Amicus Cloud costs $49.95 per user per month ($45 if you're on an annual contract). Learn more about Amicus Cloud.

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

Exterro Project Management for Law Firms Standardizes Your Firm's Processes for Optimal Client Service

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud project management software designed for law firms (see article below), a document management tool for Office 365 users, a document management tool for Google Apps for Work users, and an ad blocker for iOS. Don't miss the next issue.

Every law firm has mission-critical processes but most law firms don't document them let alone manage them through software. This dramatically increases training costs for new employees, and inhibits the productivity of your most seasoned veterans. Even in a small firm, it's impossible to personally supervise every employee every minute of the day. The answer to this problem lies in project management software but most products on the market don't cater to the unique needs of law firms.

Exterro Project Management for Law Firms … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Exterro Project Management for Law Firms is project management software designed specifically for managing law firm projects and their corresponding workflows.

The Killer Feature

The folks at Exterro like to talk about "user defined process orchestration." Translation — Exterro Project Management for Law Firms centralizes your firm's processes and accompanying documentation. Here's how it works. You begin by creating a Workflow or tweaking one of the many templates that Exterro includes. A Workflow consists of connected "Activities." Each activity can contain checklists, tasks, and/or instructions. A Project such as matter intake, appellate brief, litigation hold, document production, estate planning package, real estate closing, etc. can consist of one or more workflows.

You begin a new project from within the software or by sending an email message. This initiates the corresponding workflows. Activities are automatically assigned to the appropriate person based on the workflow, but you can modify them as needed. Completing an activity triggers the next activity in the workflow. In addition to assigning activities to employees, you can also assign them to clients or third party service providers.

You can adjust projects and their workflows on the fly. This can entail removing activities you don't need, adding one-off activities, changing the order of activities, reconfiguring dependencies, and noting an Issue (a problem blocking an activity). Most importantly, you can "Push" an activity to accelerate a project (e.g., review a custodian's documents for an upcoming deposition).

"Exterro has a long history of enabling legal teams to apply the discipline of process optimization and project management to work smarter," Exterro Chief Marketing Officer Bill Piwonk told me. "Exterro Project Management for Law Firms continues this legacy, as we've architected it specifically to enable law firms of any size to easily tailor tasks, activities, and workflows to match their unique ways of managing projects across their firm."

Other Notable Features

The main dashboard lists all existing projects to which you have access and their status. You can toggle between a card view and list view. The card view lists the status in percentage terms with a visual progress bar. Projects tagged as a "Favorite" appear above all the other projects for fast access.

Another dashboard exists for viewing all tasks assigned to you across multiple projects and activities. You can add your own ad hoc tasks here and thus use Exterro Project Management for Law Firms to manage all your tasks in one place.

Three key reports — Project Tracker, Resource Utilization, and Project Analytics — keep your projects on track. Project Tracker displays the progress of each project by client or across all clients. Resource Utilization offers charts to assess how your team is being deployed across all projects and how well each person is performing. Project Analytics enables you to zero in on overdue and blocked projects.

What Else Should You Know?

Exterro Project Management for Law Firms is priced on a per subscriber basis. It runs in all web browsers. Learn more about Exterro Project Management for Law Firms.

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

TimesManager Legal Adjusts to Your Law Firm's Billing Practices Rather Than Try to Change Them

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud time billing software with mobile smarts that integrates with QuickBooks and ebilling systems (see article below), software that enables you to scan to Dropbox and other cloud services, a free project management app for Office 365 users, and wireless noise-canceling headphones. Don't miss the next issue.

The less time spent capturing your billable time and expenses, the more time you can spend practicing law. That's the theory behind legal billing software, but it's really just table stakes. Your billing software must also accommodate the many fee arrangements lawyers negotiate with clients and one other, integrate with accounting systems, and support ebilling standards such as LEDES.

TimesManager Legal … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this year, JDi Data's TimesManager Legal is a cloud billing application with Android and iPhone apps.

The Killer Feature

Billable time and expenses that occur out of the office risk being forgotten if not captured immediately. The Android and iPhone TimesManager apps enable you to create a time slip with a few taps. The Android app can even interview you to ensure you haven't overlooked anything. When you create an expense, you can use your smartphone's camera to scan the receipt, store a linked copy in PDF format, and attach it to an invoice. You can search all client records and documents in the mobile app.

Other Notable Features

JDi Data has long served the insurance and legal markets with its ClaimsManager and PolicyAdministrator products. Because an increasing number of lawyers used ClaimsManager, JDi created TimesManager to serve a larger portion of the legal market. "Like many of the products we have created over the past 20 years, TimesManager was developed in response to customer needs," Founder and Chairman James DeRosa told me. "It was specifically designed to reduce recording inaccuracies and increase the productivity of legal professionals."

Setting up TimesManager involves entering or importing your existing clients and matters, timekeepers (including their access rights), and preferred billing arrangements. TimesManager accommodates the many fee arrangements law firms use nowadays. You can assign rates for timekeepers and matters, use activity and blended rates, implement ABA, LEDES, and UTBMS as well as your own custom billing codes, etc. If you don't specify a rate for a matter, you can add the rate during the first time entry.

When you're in the office, a customizable dashboard provides you with key performance indicators. TimesManager can start a timer automatically when you start work thanks to macros that integrate with Microsoft Office. You can backfill any missed time as well as override a timer if necessary. The Outlook add-in enables you to convert an email message into a time entry. As with expenses, TimesManager stores a copy of the email message in PDF format and links it to the time slip for future reference.

TimesManager supports common billing workflows. You can route pending fees and expenses electronically to those in your firm who need to approve them or print reports for review on paper. Billing partners can reject line items, apply write-offs, and split bills using dollars or a percentage with Times Manager handling the math.

TimesManager integrates with ebilling systems such as Legal Tracker (formerly Serengeti) and TyMetrix. You can alternatively email and print invoices. TimesManager integrates with QuickBooks (Windows), Tabs3, and other popular accounting systems.

What Else Should You Know?

Other features include Google-like global search, document management with built-in optical character recognition (OCR), speech recognition for data entry, customer relationship management (CRM), calendars, trust accounting, and task management. TimesManager Legal costs $29 per user per month, including unlimited telephone and email support. JDi Data offers optional back office bookkeeping and other services through its Shared Services program. Learn more about TimesManager.

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

Boxtop Brings Secure Virtual Workspaces to Law Firms

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, June 2, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a virtual desktop and private cloud storage service designed for the needs of law firms (see article below), a cloud app for assigning work to lawyers in your firm, an iOS app for notes and tasks, and a network storage appliance. Don't miss the next issue.

When feasible, companies should use their own products (colloquially known as "eating your own dog food"). Everyone in the mostly open office space at Tabush Group uses a tiny computer connected to one or two monitors. These aren't Windows PCs but the employees are using Windows.

Boxtop … in One Sentence

Tabush Group's Boxtop is a private cloud service that enables law firms to use virtual Windows desktops with all their favorite applications but without any infrastructure management.

The Killer Feature

Tabush Group Founder and President Morris Tabush explained to me during my tour of the office that the secure thin client appliances on everyone's desk are optimized for Boxtop and included at no additional charge. They're outfitted with solid state drives (SSDs) and a Gigabit Ethernet port. However, Boxtop also works on your existing PCs as well as Macs, iPads, iPhones, and Android phones and tablets.

Boxtop's "device agnostic" approach enables you to use your Windows desktop with your Windows and web apps and your documents regardless of your location or the device you're using. Boxtop even preserves the "state" of your virtual desktop. For example, if you leave the office in the middle of a sentence in a Word document, logging in at home will take you right back to that sentence.

"Lawyers and their staff need to be fully productive with seamless access to their entire IT environment from anywhere, and not have to think about how the IT works," Tabush told me. "Boxtop helps them achieve this by moving everything together to the cloud. Our clients love that Boxtop is just so simple, and provides them secure access to their work from any Internet-connected device."

Other Notable Features

Because of Tabush Group's origins as an IT consultancy, Boxtop offers a lot of support — "high touch, high customization" as Tabush puts it. First, Boxtop provides a complimentary assessment of your firm's Internet connection. Boxtop recommends a minimum speed of 10-15 Mbps. If your firm needs to upgrade its Internet access, this cost is more than offset by no longer having to pay for servers and their maintenance according to Tabush.

Next Boxtop evaluates the legacy applications you use. Boxtop is compatible with popular legal products such as Amicus Attorney, HotDocs, PCLaw, Tabs3, Time Matters, Worldox, and many others. Boxtop supports Microsoft Office either via your own license or an Office 365 subscription.

Finally, Boxtop migrates all your documents. Boxtop offers both virtual network drives as well as private storage space for each user. BT Sync is a Dropbox-like technology included with Boxtop for accessing documents offline. Boxtop connects to local printers in your office, home, and even at hotels without compromising security. This eliminates risky methods such as using a thumb drive on a public computer.

Boxtop houses your data and applications in high-security datacenters in New York and Seattle. "Private cloud" means that Tabush Group owns the servers, not the datacenter. Your data is encrypted at rest and in transit.

What Else Should You Know?

Boxtop starts at $149 per user per month with no long-term contract required. Approximately, 15% of Boxtop users in a law firm opt for the Power User upgrade, which gives them more storage and administrative control of their virtual desktops. A one-time onboarding fee depends on your legacy environment. It takes about 3-4 weeks to move your firm to Boxtop and train everyone. Learn more about Boxtop.

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: Networking/Operating Systems | Online/Cloud | TL NewsWire

LexisNexis Newsdesk Reveals Hidden Trends in the Media Coverage You Care About

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a business intelligence tool for monitoring news and social media about your clients, competitors, practice areas, and more (see article below), a cloud accounting and practice management app with features for midsize law firms, and two marketing automation apps. Don't miss the next issue.

Media coverage has exploded. In theory, you now have greater insight into your clients, competitors, practice areas, key industries, and other news related to your work. In practice, finding this information would consume all your time, leaving you no time to work. This is a job for a media analysis tool.

LexisNexis Newsdesk … in One Sentence

LexisNexis Newsdesk is a business intelligence solution for monitoring and analyzing news and social media.

The Killer Feature

LexisNexis Newsdesk enables you to stay on top of relevant news through a web dashboard, email alerts, email newsletters, and SharePoint. The service gives you access to more than four million articles and posts daily, including LexisNexis exclusive sources such as Law360, The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, and The Wall Street Journal.

In addition, LexisNexis Newsdesk includes prominent blogs such as Above the Law, social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, and popular website forums. You can add any RSS feed for personal blogs and other publications not in LexisNexis Newsdesk but which nevertheless publish important information.

"Current awareness and deep insights into facts and trends are essential as practitioners weigh risks and make decisions for their clients," LexisNexis Managing Director of the North American Research Solutions Sean Fitzpatrick tells us. "LexisNexis Newsdesk harnesses the power of big data analytics to create the most conclusive picture of your topic by delivering vital intelligence drawn from millions of news and social media sources, including top-tier legal media such as Law360."

Other Notable Features

Everyone in your firm can have their own customizable dashboard. Users can access multiple dashboards such as their own and one for their department. In addition to article links, a dashboard can also contain charts for analyzing media coverage. For example, you can show coverage of your firm by journalist and publication. In articles that mention your firm, LexisNexis Newsdesk can show you the "share of voice" — how much prominence your firm received in media coverage. Templates enable you to quickly create new charts.

You begin putting together your dashboard using LexisNexis Newsdesk's Smart Indexing technology, which enables you to drill down to a specific topic by entering terms of interest to you — a client, industry practice area, regulation, etc. This tool shows you related topics to help you pinpoint the exact topic of interest.

Along the right side of the screen, filters or "facets" enable you to fine-tune your dashboard feed. For example, you can include only articles that contain the terms of interest to you in the headline and lead paragraph or contain a minimum number of mentions, and exclude specific sources, industries, etc. You can adjust these settings anytime. For important news, you can create email alerts for instant notification.

LexisNexis Newsdesk has become popular among law librarians who use the Email Manager to create and send customized email newsletters to lawyers in the firm. You can add people to a newsletter one by one or create a group and then add everyone in the group to the newsletter. A newsletter can contain the same feeds as a dashboard. Alternatively, you can add Curated Feeds with handpicked articles. Any articles you choose will automatically be included in the next issue of the newsletter. You can schedule how often to send new issues of the newsletter.

What Else Should You Know?

The Android and iOS apps for LexisNexis Newsdesk enables you to access your dashboard on the go. Learn more about LexisNexis Newsdesk.

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: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Legal Research | TL NewsWire

WordPerfect Office X8 Aims to Help Law Firms Streamline Their Software Portfolios

By Neil J. Squillante | Friday, May 20, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a word processing suite with legal and PDF tools (see article below), an iPad Pro case that may reduce the risk of theft, a gadget to help you sleep better by reducing external noise, and an email app designed to save you time. Don't miss the next issue.

It's fun to learn about new software products, but implementation? Not so much fun. Accordingly, the more each application can do, the fewer applications you need, the less money you spend, and the less training is required. Call it Suite's Law since such multifunction products often reside in a suite.

WordPerfect Office X8 … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this month, WordPerfect Office X8 (X8) is the latest edition of the most popular legal-specific word processing suite.

The Killer Feature

Corel relied heavily on feedback from legal users during the development of X8. The end result is a word processor with legal-specific features that obviates additional products.

For example, X8 contains advanced PDF tools. In addition to creating PDF documents, you can convert PDF scans to editable WPD documents thanks to built-in OCR. Reveal Codes enable you to clean up any odd formatting. You can also create PDF forms with X8, including drop-down menus, tool tips, and electronic signatures. Other PDF features include support for PDF/A and document security.

X8 also includes a number of built-in legal tools such as Bates Numbers and Pleading Paper (you can design your own). AfterShot 2 is a nondestructive photo organizer and editor with a $40 value that Corel now includes at no charge. The only extra that costs extra is Perfect Authority for automating the creation of tables authorities in briefs ($164.99).

"There may be more productivity apps around than ever, but lawyers quickly find that most simply aren't powerful enough to rely on," Senior Product Manager Cindy Howard tells us. "We asked our power users to tell us the most important improvements we could make in X8 for their workflows — and then we delivered."

Other Notable Features

Corel also set out to deliver some crowd pleasers for longtime fans. For example, you can now display Reveal Codes on the left or ride side of your monitor as there tends to be more unused space there than below your document. Additionally, you can adjust the color and other Reveal Codes settings, and save the Reveal Codes of a particular document in a separate document for review. X8 now includes a Reveal Codes glossary for any shorthand you don't understand.

The many law firms that use their own templates will welcome the new Template Viewer. You can create as many custom templates as needed and store them in a nested hierarchy. X8 automatically creates thumbnails of each template to make it easier for your staff to find the one they need.

Back in the early days of computing, lawyers and staff would often place an official WordPerfect Keyboard Template over their function keys for one stroke access to key features such as macros. With the ability to customize function keys, this one-size-fits all overlay became a relic. But now it's back — you can print a customized Keyboard Template that maps to your function keys.

Other features include an improved Macro Manager, the ability to hide any menu item and lock toolbars to reduce helpdesk calls, the option to include spaces in word and character counts, increased levels of Undo, short form citations in Perfect Authority, and support for high resolution monitors.

What Else Should You Know?

WordPerfect Office X8 Standard Edition sells for $249.99 (Full) or $159.99 (Upgrade). However, Bar Association members can purchase the full suite for $124.99. WordPerfect Office X8 runs on Windows 7 and later. Learn more about WordPerfect Office X8.

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: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | TL NewsWire

TrialPad Seeks to Shift the Balance of Power in Trial Presentation Technology

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an iPad app for trial presentations with special support for the iPad Pro (see article below), a free virtual private network for iOS, an intelligent email assistant, and a multi-platform database. Don't miss the next issue.

Tech savvy lawyers have debated for years whether the iPad can replace a laptop. It turns out that real life is not mutually exclusive. The iPad performs certain tasks better than a PC and vice versa. Many lawyers now own multiple devices, and use the best tool for a given job. For trial presentations, many lawyers swear by the iPad.

TrialPad 4.5 … in One Sentence

Launching today, LIT SOFTWARE's TrialPad 4.5 is a popular trial presentation app for the iPad.

The Killer Feature

The new version of TrialPad leverages the size and resolution of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, enabling you to preview and annotate documents more easily, and view longer file names without truncation. TrialPad also supports the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. For example, you can use the Command-F key combination on the Smart Keyboard to start a search, and use the Apple Pencil to more precisely create callouts and annotations.

TrialPad creator Ian O'Flaherty also runs a trial presentation company. When he first launched TrialPad in 2010, O'Flaherty targeted smaller, less document intensive trials. "This is no longer the case," he tells us. "TrialPad 4.5 on an iPad Pro is faster and more versatile than Windows software even in complex trials. And it also remains the best choice for do-it-yourself trials without a consultant like me."

Other Notable Features

TrialPad's new Snapshot tool enables you to capture annotations and callouts exactly the way you want to present them. TrialPad saves Snapshots as PDFs in their own folder for quick access. You can email, print, or upload them to cloud storage. The Snapshot tool works whether you're displaying just one document or two documents side by side in Split Screen mode.

To go along with the new Snapshot tool, TrialPad offers improved annotation tools. The Pen tool snaps to 90-degree angles when using the straight line option. When a highlight overlaps an earlier highlight, the intersecting highlights don't get darker but instead remain transparent and readable. A long press on any tool reveals additional options.

The new version of TrialPad also makes it easier to prep exhibits. You can add exhibit stickers in bulk, and even replace previous exhibit stickers if necessary. If you use LIT SOFTWARE's DocReviewPad for document review and production, you can move selected documents into TrialPad organized by issue code.

When it's time to go live, TrialPad tries to prevent human error. When Output is switched off, the Blank, Freeze, and Present buttons remain visible but grayed out. Similarly, Apple's Split View is disabled to prevent accidentally showing another app such as your email or an outline.

What Else Should You Know?

LIT SOFTWARE has taken advantage of new Apple technologies, resulting in an improved full-screen mode, faster PDF rendering, smoother zooming, and use of iTunes for backup and transferring cases between iPads. A new training mode shows your fingers as round dots on an external display. TrialPad 4.5 costs $129.99 (it's a free update for users of TrialPad 4 and later). Learn more about TrialPad 4.5.

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: Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | Presentations/Projectors | TL NewsWire

BlueStylus Seeks to Offer the Best Value in Cloud Billing Software

By Neil J. Squillante | Friday, May 6, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud billing software that might have the lowest price in its category (see article below), a service that enables you to connect cloud apps to create automated workflows, a social media scheduling app, and an iOS calendar app. Don't miss the next issue.

When law firms look at their credit card statements, they see an increasing number of software subscriptions, one of which never comes under scrutiny — their Exchange email service. For this reason, when law firms consider adding another app to their workflow, they ask, "How much will it cost, and will it integrate with my email?"

BlueStylus … in One Sentence

Launched recently, BlueStylus is cloud billing software that also offers document sharing and email integration at a comparatively low price of $7 per user per month without an annual contract commitment.

The Killer Feature

BlueStylus connects directly to your inbox or any other folder in your Exchange email account. Once connected, it can automatically file your incoming and outgoing email and attachments in the corresponding matter.

This works by placing the matter number in the subject line or anywhere else in an email message. BlueStylus recognizes this matter number and files your message and any attachments. It then captures all future replies related to this initial message. You can also manually file email messages that don't have an embedded matter number.

Other Notable Features

Upon logging into your account, the main Dashboard lists key performance indicators such as revenue, matter distribution, a summary of billings per timekeeper, etc. You can drill down into any of these items.

The intake process for new matters automatically checks for conflicts and saves a report if needed someday. Along with your email, BlueStylus stores documents. You can see who uploaded a document and when. Other practice management features include automated workflows for sequential tasks that notify the next person in line, a calendar for matter-related events, and a client portal for securely sharing documents with clients.

Matters and timekeepers can have default billing rates. You enter time by using the timer or the quick entry form at the top of the Time dashboard. Either way, you can add a note to your time entries in addition to a billing code. The Time dashboard also lists your unbilled time such as events on the calendar, completed tasks, etc.

In accordance with your internal controls, invoices can require several approvals before they're printed or emailed. An interactive Aging Report enables you to email delinquent clients. When you get paid, you apply the payment so that BlueStylus matches your accounting system.

What Else Should You Know?

BlueStylus has an on-boarding process that walks you through all the key settings such as your firm name and logo, users and their billing rates, the invoice template you want to use, billing codes (UTBMS is an option), email credentials for sending invoices (works with any email address), active matters, etc. BlueStylus works in all desktop browsers. A mobile app for iOS and Android enables you to use BlueStylus on the go. Learn more about BlueStylus.

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 | Document Management | TL NewsWire

Nutshell Aims to Automate Law Firm Marketing on the Cheap

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, April 28, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a marketing automation app that costs less than most apps in this genre (see article below), a new legal research tool, a powered iPad Pro stand, and a VPN that works on all major platforms. Don't miss the next issue.

In the beginning, lawyer rainmakers spent significant time keeping their Rolodex up-to-date. Then personal information managers (PIMs) moved these contacts into software. This century gave us client relationship management software and then marketing automation software, often with high price tags.

Nutshell … in One Sentence

Nutshell is cloud marketing automation software priced significantly lower than most such products.

The Killer Feature

Nutshell enables you to create a sales process for your firm. For example, if your firm spans several practice areas you can assign leads for each practice area to a different partner. Nutshell can ingest contacts from the forms on your website to trigger these assignment rules. Email templates enable you to send elaborate messages to leads with one click. Nutshell can automatically create a set of tasks for each new lead and assign them. You can also manually add tasks such as creating a proposal.

Other Notable Features

In addition to its web form capabilities, Nutshell can import contacts from any source, including Outlook. Nutshell can also extract contact information from scanned business cards. You can categorize contacts with tags. Thanks to an integration with Zapier (sold separately), you can send contacts from Nutshell to a practice management system such as Clio, and also to Office 365 and Google Contacts.

Nutshell offers click-to-call functionality. After verifying your identity and telephone number, you can click the Call button for any contact to place a call from your computer that looks like it's coming from your phone. Nutshell logs the call in that contact's activity timeline. You can optionally record calls too. Click-to-call also supports several VoIP services, enabling you to place calls through apps such as Skype, RingCental, and Kixie.

As noted above, Nutshell contains basic email marketing tools. It also integrates with MailChimp (sold separately) if you need more functionality and reporting. Other features include threaded discussions, integration with Gmail and Outlook for capturing email conversations, and extensive reporting to help you analyze your sales process and forecasts.

What Else Should You Know?

In addition to using Nutshell in a web browser, you can also use it in the Android and iPhone app. Nutshell costs $20 per user per month for the Starter version. The Pro version, which you'll need for sales process automation, click-to-call, and implementation assistance, costs $35 per user per month. Learn more about Nutshell.

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: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | TL NewsWire

Smart Writing Set Lavishes Attention on the Paper, Not Just the Smart Pen

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a smart pen and accompanying app that captures the notes you take in a tablet-shaped paper notebook (see article below), a case management app for litigators, a folding Bluetooth portable keyboard, and a task management app. Don't miss the next issue.

Digital note-taking takes three forms — writing on paper and then scanning what you write, writing on a tablet using a stylus, and writing on paper using a smart pen that captures what you write. Technology companies have dominated all three types, but the latter seems ripe for participation by companies renowned for their paper notebooks.

Smart Writing Set … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this month, Moleskine's Smart Writing Set consists of a smart pen, special Moleskine notebook, and a mobile app.

The Killer Feature

Moleskine calls its paper notebook the Paper Tablet not because it's a tablet, but because it's about the same size and shape as a tablet, including rounded corners. The Paper Tablet consists of 176 pages of thick paper. You can write on both sides. An email symbol at the top of each page enables you to email that page to someone with a tap of the smart pen (you then need to use your Android or iOS device to finish sending the message).

Other Notable Features

Called the Moleskine Pen+, the smart pen is made by Neo, the company behind the N2 smart pen. A camera on the Pen+ captures what you write. This eliminates the need for a transmitter that competing products use. The paper in the Paper Tablet contains small dots that enable the Pen+ to identify its location on the page.

The Pen+ stores up to 1,000 pages of notes for offline use. Whether live or after the fact, your notes eventually end up in the free Moleskine Notes app for iOS (Android version coming soon). The app's built-in OCR makes your notes searchable.

The app automatically tags notes by date, location, and page. You can apply custom tags such as a client/matter name, and then view a list of all notes with that tag. An optional recording feature enables you to playback your notes along with the audio.

What Else Should You Know?

Moleskine Notes syncs with Evernote and Google Drive. You can export notes in PDF, JPG, PNG, or SVG formats. The Smart Writing Set costs $199, including one Paper Tablet and one Pen+. Additional Paper Tablets cost $29.95 each. Learn more about Smart Writing Set.

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: Gadgets/Shredders/Office Gear | TL NewsWire
 
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