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Contract Tools Makes Drafting and Proofreading Agreements More Efficient

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for analyzing, drafting, and proofreading contracts (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud practice management software five years in the making, a legal ebook reader app, case analysis software, an add-on for document management systems, a project management app for law firms, a virtual desktop service, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Contracts consist of structured data — sections, subsections, defined terms, etc. This means that software can save you time when drafting and also reduce errors through improved proofreading. Microsoft Word doesn't offer any specialized tools for contracts so you'll need an add-in.

Contract Tools … in One Sentence

Launched this month, Paper Software's Contract Tools is a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for drafting, analyzing, and proofreading agreements.

The Killer Feature

Traditional contract software has fallen into one of two camps — drafting or proofreading. This can result in having to purchase two or more products. By contrast, Contract Tools offers both drafting and proofreading tools, thus providing one-stop shopping.

"It's also fast and flexible," Paper Software co-founder Benjamin Whetsell told me when he visited our office recently. "To analyze contracts, Contract Tools uses a number of patent-pending technologies to analyze, say, 200 pages of dense legalese in a few seconds." Whetsell demonstrated Contract Tools' speed using a number of such agreements. It looked instantaneous.

Other Notable Features

Contract Tools resides in a panel adjacent to your document. A menu at the top enables you to navigate through the various tools. For example, the Provisions tool lists all the sections and subsections in the agreement. Click on any provision to jump there in the document. Similarly, the Defined Terms tool lists all defined terms, and the number of times each appears in the agreement. You can jump to a defined term's initial definition or to anywhere else in the document it resides.

Contract Tools doesn't just analyze your agreements. It also makes them interactive. Double-click a defined term for its definition, double-click a cross reference to view it, etc. The Back button brings you back to where you started. When you scroll through a document, Contract Tools displays the names of sections in large type as you reach them.

Virtually every contract contains sections that refer to other sections. The Related Items tool gives you omniscience beyond the human brain. For example, let's say you're reviewing Section 7. Contract Tools displays all the other sections that Section 7 references, all the sections that reference Section 7, and all the defined terms in Section 7. And of course you can jump to any of these with a click.

It's common practice to add placeholders, bracketed text, highlighted text, and comments to agreements while drafting to avoid losing your train of thought. The To-Dos tool in Contract Tools automatically finds these unfinished items so you won't forget to circle back. Also, Contract Tools' Autocomplete suggests defined terms as you type, reducing the number of placeholders you'll need in the first place.

For proofreading, the Drafting Errors tool lists problems such as undefined and duplicate defined terms, inconsistent formatting, unmatched punctuation, and list order errors. This list updates when you save your work. You can also ignore and hide problems that Contract Tools flags.

Microsoft Word's simplistic search tools don't cut it with lengthy agreements. Contract Tools enables you to search by number, date, time of day, unit of time, and money in addition to word searches. Thus, you can quickly find the termination date, the purchase price, interest rate, etc.

What Else Should You Know?

Contract Tools works with Word 2007 or later on Windows 7 or later. It costs $10 per month per user or $100 per year per user ($8.33 per month). Learn more about Contract Tools.

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 | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Zola Suite Leaves No Practice Management Feature Unexplored Thanks to Five Years in Development

By Kathryn Hughes | Thursday, August 18, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers new cloud practice management software five years in the making (see article below), a Windows utility for managing multiple monitors, an online directory that connects you to prospective clients, and a Chrome plug-in that prevents you from using weak phrases in your email messages. Don't miss the next issue.

The expectations for practice management software keep rising. You want a polished user experience and design, the same functionality on your smartphone as on your desktop, workflow automation, email and document integration, financial management, and no data silos or duplicate data entry. Whew — that's quite a demanding list.

Zola Suite … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Zola Media's Zola Suite is cloud practice management software that includes document management, general ledger and trust accounting, and much more.

The Killer Feature

As I started my sixth page of notes during my online demo of Zola Suite, I asked Zola Media's Founder and Architect Fred Cohen how many years it had taken to build the software. "Five," he replied.

Cohen and his team seem to have left no feature unexplored, including parity between the desktop web app and the iPhone and Android apps. This means you can access the data you need on the fly in the mobile app as well as create new records. Additionally, the mobile app takes advantage of your smartphone — it contains a business card and document scanner with built-in OCR for adding contacts and searchable PDF documents to Zola Suite.

Zola Suite features many user experience touches such as the use of color — matters are purple, contacts are yellow, etc. The top right of every table has a real time search filter and a + button for adding a new record.

"As a former practicing attorney, tech geek and design nerd, I was frustrated by the limitations of the available practice management solutions," Cohen told me. "Together with my amazing team, we are doing things with Zola Suite that we believe will fundamentally change the way lawyers use practice management software. Our matter-based approach and dedicated iOS and Android apps that take advantage of smartphone hardware are creating quite a buzz and I am humbled by the response."

Other Notable Features

Zola Suite integrates with most IMAP and Microsoft Exchange email services, including Gmail and Office 365. Composing a new email message from within a matter automatically starts a timer. Contacts in Zola Suite auto-populate when addressing the message. These messages reside in Zola Suite but also behave normally in Gmail, Outlook, and on your smartphone. Similarly, you can file incoming messages in Zola Suite, and convert them into tasks.

Speaking of task management, you can "mind dump" as Cohen puts it to quickly enter tasks. These get assigned to you initially but you can later assign them to others, add a due date, and receive a notification when they're completed or overdue. Tasks contain a time entry tool and the ability to generate Task Templates facilitating multistep, recurring workflows such as client intake.

Cohen describes Zola Suite's Notes as "robust enough to replace OneNote." Similarly, Zola Suite can replace QuickBooks thanks to double entry general ledger accounting, check printing, trust accounting, and LawPay integration for credit card processing. The document management system offers nested folders with drag and drop, global search, retention of all document versions, and unlimited storage.

Other features include telephone call tracking, time entry, a calendar with support for email invitations, user permissions, and UTBMS codes.

What Else Should You Know?

When billed annually, Zola Suite costs $68 per attorney per month and $34 per support staff per month. A special plan for solos costs $49 per month. An optional branded client portal enables your clients to securely access their documents and pay invoices. Learn more about Zola Suite.

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

ProView Puts Your Law Library in Your Briefcase

By Neil J. Squillante | Friday, August 12, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a large legal ebook library and reader app for web browsers, iPads, and Android tablets (see article below), a lead generation service that requires five years of experience to use, an enterprise communications service, and a new color laser printer. Don't miss the next issue.

Think of a legal reference you often use. You bookmark pages for later reference, highlight key passages, and jot down notes in the margin. Then the next edition replaces the current edition. What happens to your annotations?

Thomson Reuters ProView … in One Sentence

Thomson Reuters ProView is a growing library of legal ebooks that you can use in any desktop web browser as well as in native iPad and Android tablet apps.

The Killer Feature

ProView recently gained portable annotations. This means you can import your bookmarks, highlights, and notes to a new edition. If material in the new edition resides in a different location, ProView moves your corresponding annotations. When deletions occur, ProView gives you the option to move the annotation to a new related location or delete them if no longer relevant. You can continue to access all prior editions with your annotations intact.

ProView enables you to create Issue Labels and assign them to your annotations. Using the Filter Annotations tool, you can list all annotations pertaining to an issue. When you share a section or selected text with others, you can include your annotations. Two sharing options exist. With the Create a Link feature, you can send a pinpoint link to other ProView users. Alternatively, you can export your selection in PDF format.

Other Notable Features

With a web browser, you can access the entire ProView library. The tablet apps are limited to the ebooks you've downloaded, which you can read and annotate without a live Internet connection such as when you're in court.

You can filter available ebooks by author, publisher, title, jurisdiction, and subject. Or you can just enter a search. You can add your own custom categories to an ebook's metadata to create your own collection. The Recently Read tool lists all the ebooks you recently accessed.

The left side of each ebook contains a hyperlinked table of contents. Citations within ebooks contain a live Westlaw link for one-click access. ProView's settings enable you to adjust text size, line spacing, background and text color, highlight colors, and issue labels.

You can search within ebooks using the same Boolean syntax as Westlaw. A cheat sheet within the search tool lists all available search connectors. Your saved searches appear in both the web app and tablet apps. ProView also passively saves your activity, enabling you to jump back to a section, annotation, etc. (the tablet apps store two weeks of history while the web app stores your current session).

What Else Should You Know?

Solo and small law firms can buy ebooks individually as needed. Larger firms can choose from two licensing options (LMS eLibrary or IP eLibrary), both of which work with Westlaw OnePass for single sign-on. Learn more about Thomson Reuters ProView.

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

Topics: Legal Research | TL NewsWire

CaseFleet Marries Practice Management and Case Analysis for Litigation Matters

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, August 4, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a practice management app for litigators that organizes the facts, issues, and court deadlines of your cases (see article below), a document assembly add-in for Microsoft Word that can use Excel files and databases as data sources, a practice management app with client intake forms that you can host on your website, and a new keyboard case for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Don't miss the next issue.

Traditional practice management apps tend to focus on managing your law firm, an important task for sure. But they lack tools for managing litigation matters. Meanwhile, litigation apps tend to focus on just one aspect of litigation such as ediscovery or depositions. As a result, a void in the market exists.

CaseFleet … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this year, CaseFleet is a litigation practice management and case analysis app.

The Killer Feature

At its essence, litigation involves three components — research, analysis, and synthesis. CaseFleet's Timeline tackles all three, enabling you develop an understanding of the facts and issues in each of your cases. Think of it as a mashup of CaseMap and TimeMap that runs in your web browser.

You build each Timeline by entering facts and evidence along with the date and time. You can assign one or more Issues to each fact. You can also enter Contacts and connect them to facts. These connections enable you to generate reports using the Filter — a search tool in which you can list all the facts within a date range that pertain to one or more Issues and Contacts. You can export the entire Timeline or a filtered portion in Word or PDF format.

Links to source documents such as deposition exhibits and transcripts keep these materials a click away. Linking documents works by dragging and dropping a file from your desktop onto a fact. CaseFleet's proprietary technology eliminates duplicates and maintains the link to each original even if you change its filename. CaseFleet integrates with Dropbox and Box for file storage.

Other Notable Features

Unlike the team calendars in traditional practice management apps, the Legal Calendar in CaseFleet focuses exclusively on court and other litigation deadlines. You can use colors to denote different types of events (e.g., red for motions, blue for depositions). The Legal Calendar supports full-day events, offers a List View, and contains a Filter for viewing specific types of events. You can sync the Legal Calendar to Google Calendar and Outlook.

In addition to managing your litigation matters, CaseFleet also helps you secure them in the first place. The Leads Pipeline enables you to track prospective clients, remember to follow up with them, and identify your best sources of new business. When prospects hire your firm, you can convert them to cases.

"Our goal as a company is making litigators more successful and simplifying the work they do," CaseFleet CEO Jeff Kerr told me. "We help litigators master the past (the facts and evidence) through Timelines and see the future (deadlines & key dates) with our Legal Calendar. No other software does this much for practicing litigators. Moreover, we provide practice management functionality as part of the same package."

What Else Should You Know?

Other features of CaseFleet include time tracking with a start/stop timer, expense tracking, billing, and trust accounting. CaseFleet starts at $29 per user per month ($24 with an annual contract). Learn more about CaseFleet.

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

Onit's Contract Management Suite: Read Our Exclusive Report

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers contract lifecycle management software (see article below), a word processor designed for complex documents, cloud ediscovery document review software, and a business card scanner for your smartphone. Don't miss the next issue.

ONIT'S CONTRACT MANAGEMENT SUITE AIMS TO MAKE CONTRACT REVIEW AND ADMINISTRATION MORE EFFICIENT

Working in a legal department can feel like being in a bumper car as you're bombarded daily with requests to review new contracts and stay on top of leases, software licenses, and other agreements with important date-related terms. Manual systems comprised of email and spreadsheets can seem like chewing gum and bailing wire, inadequate to the task.

Onit's Contract Management Suite … in One Sentence

Onit's Contract Management Suite (Onit) is contract lifecycle management software for corporate legal departments.

The Killer Feature

Onit features a Contract Review & Approval portal through which managers and salespeople can submit contracts to the legal department. You can configure the intake form for each type of contract routinely submitted. Based on preset rules, Onit routes each submitted agreement to a designated lawyer for review. Designated lawyers receive an email notification, and also see the contract on their dashboard.

Each contract has a "Phased Workflow" feature to ensure compliance with your company's policies and to ensure a timely review. These workflows accommodate parallel or serial processes and conditional logic. For example, contracts involving more than $1M can require an extra approval from your general counsel. Lifecycle metrics can be added to track the number of days it takes to approve and finalize the contract.

Tools within the Phased Workflow environment enable you to communicate with the business team and attach markups and supporting materials. Onit also provides a unique email address for each contract so that any email you need to send automatically gets filed in that contract's workflow.

Other Notable Features

Onit's Contract Administration solution facilitates the management of contracts with auto-renewals and other important date-related terms. For example, Onit can alert you whenever a contract's notice date approaches in case you want to take action. Each contract has its own timeline with key milestones to assist your review of its salient provisions.

As noted above, each lawyer in your department has a personalized dashboard with charts and tables showing contracts pending approval, contracts per phase, contracts by type and value, etc. From your dashboard, you can apply filters to find a specific contract as well as run and save reports or export them in Excel format.

In addition to reviewing and administering contracts, you can also use Onit to offer pre-approved contracts such as NDAs that managers in your company can use without any delay.

What Else Should You Know?

Onit integrates with Adobe Sign (formerly EchoSign) and DocuSign for digital signatures. Onit logs these digital signatures within each contract's Phased Workflow for audit trail purposes. Onit runs in all web browsers. Learn more about Onit's Contract Management Suite.

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

Topics: TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

MetaJure ILLUMINATE Seeks to Become Your Document Management System's BFF

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

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers knowledge management software designed to supplement your document management system (see article below), a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for drafting and proofreading contracts, a rear camera system with an accompanying smartphone app for older cars, and an iPhone app to help you achieve goals. Don't miss the next issue.

In theory, a document management system should contain all the content in your law firm, including email. In practice, this goal remains elusive. Accordingly, your firm would benefit from a tool that can find documents outside of your document management system.

MetaJure ILLUMINATE … in One Sentence

Launched this month, MetaJure ILLUMINATE is knowledge management software designed to supplement a document management system.

The Killer Feature

"In most firms, more than 50% of their knowledge is stuck in email and file shares that never make it into the document management system," MetaJure President & CEO Rob Arnold told me. Arnold and his team refer to this content as "dark data" because lawyers and staff often have trouble finding it or forget it exists.

ILLUMINATE connects to the repositories of dark data such as the firm's Exchange server and your assistant's hard drive. It also connects to popular document management systems such as iManage and Worldox. Connecting these data sources doesn't require any changes to your firm's infrastructure according to Arnold. Built-in OCR technology makes scanned documents searchable.

Once up and running, ILLUMINATE enables you to search all of your firm's accumulated knowledge from one screen. "With ILLUMINATE, firms can finish the job their document management system started and unify 100% of their knowledge into a single system that's as easy to use as Google," adds Arnold. "Firms can cost-effectively unlock email and legacy repositories, discovery files, and other sources of structured or unstructured data. That's their competitive advantage."

Other Notable Features

As Arnold notes, ILLUMINATE offers a Google-like search box that you access in a web browser. ILLUMINATE supports Boolean operators, wildcards, fuzzy searches, and proximity searches. However, most customers use natural language searches because of ILLUMINATE's algorithm and relevancy ranking. This technology removes duplicates from search results, and understands both context and content. For example, if you represent the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) and search for "path agreement," ILLUMINATE ignores generic uses of the word "path."

Along the left side, three filters enable you to narrow your searches by source, file type, and date. Search results display the document path for quick access to any folder. The built-in document viewer supports many file types and highlights your search terms. From the document viewer, you can open a document in its native application. If necessary for discovery or other purposes, you can export all the documents listed in the search results with one click.

The Sharing Center in ILLUMINATE enables users to share documents and email with individuals or groups. A dashboard displays the percentage of sharing taking place. Regarding security and privacy, ILLUMINATE honors any restrictions already in place. Additionally, you can create rules that limit users to specified data sources and create ethical walls when necessary.

What Else Should You Know?

You can deploy ILLUMINATE in your firm on your own server or on the private MetaJure cloud. MetaJure recently partnered with LexisNexis for its hosting service. Pricing for ILLUMINATE starts at $2,500 per year. Learn more about MetaJure ILLUMINATE.

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 | Coming Attractions | Document Management | TL NewsWire

Firm Manager 2.0 Broadens Its Appeal With Features Requested by Larger Small Firms

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management software with process automation tools that comes in two versions (see article below), a privacy tool for deleting your Google footprint, a note-taking app for Android and iOS, and a desktop scanner that offers more than double the speed of the ScanSnap iX500. Don't miss the next issue.

Process automation — streamlining routine tasks with the help of technology — has caught the attention of law firms. Who wouldn't want improved productivity, a better work product, more satisfied clients, and higher employee morale? The logical location for process automation is your practice management software.

Firm Manager … in One Sentence

Launched this week, LexisNexis' Firm Manager 2.0 is cloud practice management software with process automation technologies among other new features and key integrations.

The Killer Feature

Firm Manager's new customizable templates help get new cases off the ground and keep them on track. Matter Intake Templates contain practice-area specific fields for information you need to perform work. You can add custom fields and even create your own templates. Checklist Templates are designed to prevent errors and reduce time spent providing oversight. Each checklist template consists of a group of related tasks for one of your firm's workflows.

When you assign tasks, you can track their status in the Matter Status sidebar. The progress bar turns red when a task is overdue so you can quickly spot problems. If you assign a budget to a matter, a similar status bar displays how much of the budget remains as you and your team work on the matter.

Other Notable Features

The Home dashboard in Firm Manager keeps you apprised of your events and tasks, which you can sync with Google Calendar and Office 365. The dashboard can also list other information depending on your role such as recent activities from across your firm. With the new role-based permissions, you assign one of three roles to each user in your firm, two of which limit access. For example, you can prevent lawyers and staff from changing billing rates or viewing firm revenue.

Speaking of revenue, Firm Manager has beefed up its financial tools. Most notably, Firm Manager integrates with both the desktop version of QuickBooks and QuickBooks Online. Creating an invoice in Firm Manager automatically creates the same invoice in QuickBooks.

Also new, batch invoicing enables you to create a workflow that comports with your firm's controls for processing and reviewing time entries. You can write off time, apply discounts to invoices, pay invoices from one or more trust accounts, and customize the design of invoices.

Firm Manager also offers financial reporting, including aging, billing and payment history, trust account summary, and productivity summary. The Money Finder feature lists all unbilled activities so that nothing falls through the cracks.

What Else Should You Know?

Firm Manager comes in two versions — Starter ($29 per user per month) and Essentials ($44 per user per month). The latter includes intake and checklist templates, role-based permissions, QuickBooks integration, and reporting. "Solo and small firm attorneys can now choose the Firm Manager software package that squarely fits their business needs based on their firm's size and complexity," Director of Product Management Wes Gillette told me. "Whether a solo is looking to get more control over the practice as a whole, or a larger firm wants to chart productivity and grow its business, these new package options provide a tailored range of features and benefits." Learn more about Firm Manager 2.0.

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

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.

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Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | TL NewsWire
 
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