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LEAP Brings Document Automation and Forms to Practice Management Software

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management software with a growing library of forms and templates, and built-in document assembly and e-filing (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of an Outlook add-in that addresses attachment headaches and reduces the risk of career-threatening errors, a due diligence and business intelligence research service with a new approach to presenting data from public filings, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Once a luxury, document automation has become essential in law firms. Consumers of legal services want to pay for your expertise, not for you to noodle around in Microsoft Word formatting a scanned form and manually entering data.

LEAP … in One Sentence

LEAP is a cloud practice management system with built-in document assembly and a growing library of forms and document templates.

The Killer Feature

The creators of LEAP identified an unmet need in the legal industry several years ago. Law firms store client and matter information in a practice management system, but cannot use this data to create documents without a significant investment in document assembly software. And even after such an investment, law firms still need to download forms from various courts and agencies, and buy templates from various providers.

LEAP provides all three of these components in one product — practice management, forms and templates ("forms"), and document assembly. LEAP currently contains more than 2,000 forms in more than a dozen practice areas ranging from bankruptcy to estate planning to family to real estate. "Since the start of 2017, LEAP Content has added over 600 new forms across the various states and areas of law," says Kelly Clifford, President of Content. The LEAP Forms Blog, to which you can subscribe, keeps you apprised of new additions by practice area and by jurisdiction.

In addition, LEAP recently unveiled built-in e-filing. You enter your court login credentials, choose the case file, and select the documents you want to e-file. LEAP currently supports e-filing in bankruptcy courts, USCIS (immigration), and New York and New Jersey state courts.

Other Notable Features

You can search LEAP for a form or browse by jurisdiction and practice area. Forms run in Microsoft Word, both the Windows and Online versions. Fields within forms auto-populate with data from LEAP. The form wizard identifies missing data. Once you add missing data to a case file, you can rerun the form with one click.

Customize LEAP's forms and create your own document templates using more than 25,000 fields. LEAP stores your custom templates so that you need not reinvent the wheel in the future. Without any programming, your templates can include questionnaires, calculations, Ask/Result (multiple-choice answers), and If/Then/Else statements (e.g., if a female, use female pronouns throughout the document). LEAP's content team can assist you in creating your first five templates at no charge.

You can save completed documents in Word or PDF format. If you're creating several documents, LEAP can combine them into a single PDF file. LEAP saves all versions of the documents you generate in the corresponding matter. The History of Changes provides an audit trail, while the Compare tool generates a redline of two versions.

LEAP automatically captures the time you spend creating a document for billing purposes. As we've reported previously, LEAP includes billing, document management, and practice management in addition to the document automation tools discussed above. LEAP also includes a modern, mobile-friendly website and blog for your firm.

What Else Should You Know?

LEAP runs in a dedicated native app for Windows, iOS, and Android, as well as in a web browser. The monthly subscription includes technical support and software updates. Learn more about LEAP.

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 | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Litéra Smart Send Adds Attachment and Security Tools to Outlook

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an Outlook add-in that addresses attachment headaches and reduces the risk of career-threatening errors (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a due diligence and business intelligence research service with a new approach to presenting data from public filings, a cloud software platform that automates entity formation and compliance tasks, and enables you to offer these services under your own brand, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

For years you've heard about so-called email killers but nothing has come of all the hype. Email reigns supreme for internal and external law firm communications. Instead of trying to kill email, how about improving it?

Litéra Smart Send … in One Sentence

Litéra Smart Send is an Outlook add-in that offers tools for managing attachments and preventing email mishaps.

The Killer Feature

Many of your email messages don't say much. All the action is in the attachments, which can slow you down. For example, your document management system (DMS) may use naming conventions you don't want to disclose or which may cause confusion. Also, instead of sending many attachments, you may want to send a single PDF or ZIP file. "Experts have shown that there are up to 27 disjointed steps in the process of managing email attachments," Litéra President Paul Domnick tells me. "With Litéra Smart Send there is one."

Domnick's talking about Litéra Smart Send's recently enhanced Attachment Manager. It enables you to attach documents from any repository — local hard drive, network share, DMS, etc. Add entire folders with a click. Instead of sending attachments using their original name, you can rename them. These name changes only affect the copies you send, not the originals.

Perfection isn't required. If you forget a document, you can return to the Attachment Manager and add it. You can also change the order of attachments. When you finalize the order, Litéra Smart Send can enter the name of each document into the body of your email message to provide the recipient with a table of contents.

The Attachment Manager provides a number of document handling options. You can send selected documents in PDF format instead of the original format, combine selected documents into a PDF binder with a cover page and table of contents, or compress selected documents into a ZIP archive.

Litéra Smart Send applies all these settings when you send the message. If you need to send the same message over and over again, Litéra Smart Send can save everything locally or in your DMS for one-click reuse. This obviates having to redo the settings each time

Other Notable Features

In addition to easing your workflow, Litéra Smart Send also prevents career-ending errors. Examples of such faux pas include replying to all (especially when you're a BCC recipient), exposing an internal thread to an outsider, and misaddressing a message.

Litéra Smart Send gives you three options for restricting Reply-All — warn users who click the Reply-All button, disable the button when the number of recipients reaches a certain threshold, or disable it completely. When disabled, you can give advanced users a keyboard shortcut for Reply-All.

To prevent revealing internal discussions, Litéra Smart Send can warn you when the number of replies in a thread reaches a certain threshold. Other security settings enable you to disable Outlook's autocomplete, alert BCC recipients when they click Forward or Reply-All, and append a stamp when sending privileged email.

What Else Should You Know?

Litéra Smart Send integrates with the Litéra Metadact-e utility to remove metadata from the attachments you send. DMS integrations include iManage, NetDocuments, and Worldox. An API enables you to create your own custom integrations. Pricing for Litéra Smart Send starts at $33 per user with volume discounts available. Learn more about Litéra Smart Send.

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: Document Management | Email/Messaging/Telephony | TL NewsWire

Clarion Delivers Due Diligence Insights in Minutes, Not Hours

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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

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

Clarion … in One Sentence

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

The Killer Feature

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

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

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

Other Notable Features

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

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

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

What Else Should You Know?

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

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

Topics: Legal Research | TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Legalinc Modernizes Entity Formation and Compliance Through Practice Automation

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, March 23, 2017

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

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

Legalinc … in One Sentence

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

The Killer Feature

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

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

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

Other Notable Features

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

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

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

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

What Else Should You Know?

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

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

Topics: TL NewsWire | Transactional Practice Areas

Actevis Collection Wizard Offers Affordable Do-It-Yourself Ediscovery Collection for Small Cases

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers do-it-yourself ediscovery collection software at a price point far below the industry average(see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud practice management software for law firms that crave the billing and automation features of legacy software, a federal tax law research tool that facilitates point-in-time analysis and redlines showing changes, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Most litigators work in firms with fewer than five lawyers and handle disputes with a relatively small number of witnesses. However, most ediscovery software for collecting potential evidence — electronically stored information (ESI) — from custodian computers is cost prohibitive.

Actevis Collection Wizard … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Actevis Collection Wizard is forensically defensible, do-it-yourself ediscovery collection software at a low price point.

The Killer Feature

Before starting his demo, Actevis Systems' Chief Software Architect Martin Reich tells me about what I'll call the "ediscovery collection gap." Hiring a consultant to run collection software such as industry giant EnCase costs about $2,000 per custodian.

Accordingly, many litigators omit custodians to save money. Or they may forego using such software altogether, and instead instruct custodians to self-collect from their computers using drag and drop to an external drive. These litigators run the risk of being called as a witness if opposing counsel challenges the chain of custody or completeness of the collection. Mistakes can result in sanctions.

Actevis Collection Wizard offers forensically-sound do-it-yourself collection for $100 per custodian computer. "Actevis Collection Wizard already complies with proposed FRE 902(14) on data collection audit trails expected to become final this year," says Reich. "As a lawyer, you shouldn't collect evidence in a haphazard manner," adds co-founder David Golden. "You don't want your evidence and your competency in ediscovery challenged by opposing counsel."

Other Notable Features

Actevis Collection Wizard runs on Windows PCs. Once downloaded, it walks you through three steps. First, you select the target drive or folder (the C drive is the default). Second, you select the output format such as the native files in the folder structure on the custodian machine or a small set of ZIP files. Third, you select where to save the copy. When configuring the settings, you can exclude file types such as images, restrict the collection to a specific date range, etc.

Email often trips up collection projects. For example, web-based ediscovery tools cannot collect email when Outlook is running according to Reich. Also, many custodians don't know how to export PST files from Outlook. Actevis Collection Wizard collects email from Outlook regardless of its state and without the need to create a PST file. The Recycle Bin likewise can pose collection challenges but not for Actevis Collection Wizard.

To ensure that each copy is identical to its original counterpart and that no tampering has occurred, Actevis Collection Wizard uses the latest file verification protocols — known as "hashing." A group of automatically generated reports provides a defensible audit trail if challenged. For example, the reports list all your settings and all collected files and their corresponding hashes. An expert can use these reports to authenticate the files you produce to opposing counsel. You can have the Collection Summary report emailed to you when the collection process concludes.

What Else Should You Know?

You can run Actevis Collection Wizard an unlimited number of times on a custodian PC for 90 days. This enables you to export in native file format for early case assessment, and then again later for importing into your ediscovery review software. Learn more about Actevis Collection Wizard.

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

Centerbase Offers a Cloud Practice Management Path for Firms With Complex Billing Requirements

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management software for law firms that crave the billing and automation features of legacy software (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a federal tax law research tool that facilitates point-in-time analysis and redlines showing changes, a legal research service that now provides insights on the judges overseeing your cases in certain federal practice areas, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Many law firms find cloud practice management products alluring but lacking in functionality compared to legacy on-premises products. The market seems ripe for cloud practice management software that bridges this gap.

Centerbase … in One Sentence

Centerbase is cloud practice management software with billing and workflow features for law firms with complex business processes such as revenue allocation rules.

The Killer Feature

Before giving me a demo, Founder and CEO John Forbes tells me, "Our sophisticated billing functionality makes Centerbase a great option for law firms looking to move to the cloud from older, server based software such as Time Matters, Timeslips, and Juris."

Forbes is referring to features like the Matters Dashboard, which has functionality similar to Time Matters' Power Views. You can configure the Matters Dashboard to display just about anything related to a matter, including billing information.

You can also configure settings such as trust account thresholds, timekeeper rates, and compensation rules on a firm-wide basis or at the client or matter level. These rules can encompass factors like partner commissions and origination credit. You can also create rules specific to your practice area. For example, your state may require allocating overpayments by clients to a trust account.

Centerbase supports financial controls such as closing dates that lock posted transactions, prebill approvals, write-offs, and adding trust replenishments to the amount due on invoices. Customizable Invoice Templates enable you to create different invoice designs for certain clients or matter types. Invoice delivery options include email, PDF, and ebilling protocols such as LEDES, the latter of which you can configure to accommodate any system. Centerbase also supports credit card payments from a payment button in email invoices.

Centerbase includes a number of reports such as accounts receivable, fee receipts, and timekeeper analysis. The company routinely adds reports based on customer requests. Certified consultants can create custom reports for you.

"Centerbase increased the productivity and efficiency of our entire firm," says Kenneth Sheets, partner at Payne & Blanchard, which switched from Juris. "The team over at Centerbase has been there with us throughout the transition process, making it easier on everyone."

Other Notable Features

If Centerbase doesn't support a process in your firm, you can create a Workflow using the company's free Database Designer. These Workflows can automatically generate and assign tasks to lawyers and staff, send automated email, generate documents from templates, fill in form fields, and create new records. Potential uses include client intake, project management, and referral tracking. You access Workflows from the Custom Actions menu in the Matters Dashboard and other dashboards.

Centerbase takes a unique approach to email and document management. An Outlook add-in can file email messages and attachments in the corresponding matter. Time slips can be created in Outlook when you view or send an email. For documents, Centerbase can appear as a mapped drive in Windows such as on your file server. Any documents placed there become available in Centerbase and vice versa. Centerbase includes 5 TB of space.

What Else Should You Know?

Other key integrations include on-premise Microsoft products, Office 365, and QuickBooks Online. The Centerbase Mobile app provides access to everything on your iPhone. Most importantly, you can enter time on the go. Centerbase costs $52 per user per month. Learn more about Centerbase.

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 | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Standard Fed Plus Brings Point-in-Time Analysis and Comparison Tools to Tax Law

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, March 2, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a federal tax law research tool that facilitates point-in-time analysis and redlines showing changes (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a legal research service that now provides insights on the judges overseeing your cases in certain federal practice areas, practice management and legal accounting software that can download bank and credit card transactions for faster reconciliations, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Tax lawyers are historians. Specifically, they often must identify differences over time by comparing versions of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code) and related materials. Surprisingly, most do this by looking back and forth at two versions of these materials, which can lead to mistakes in interpretation.

Standard Fed Plus … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, U.S.' Standard Fed Plus is a new online practice tool based on the Standard Federal Tax Reporter that enables you to compare versions of the tax laws and commentary at different points in time with redlines of the changes.

The Killer Feature

Given that lawyers usually redline their own documents, why not the law too? This clever idea led tax-lawyer-turned-product-director Benjamin Snipes to develop Standard Fed Plus accessed within Cheetah, Wolters Kluwer's new legal research platform.

When you navigate to a section of the Standard Federal Tax Reporter in Cheetah, Standard Fed Plus displays a timeline across the top of the page listing every date on which that section changed. This facilitates a Point-in-Time Analysis — click a date to read that version, click another date, etc. If you need more context during your research, you'll find links to the corresponding legislative history and Standard Federal Tax Reporter commentary. You can also find tax-related case law. Standard Fed Plus can save you about 15 minutes per search according to Snipes.

Given the volume of changes that can occur in the Tax Code, the Redlining Comparison Tool in Standard Fed Plus enables you to compare two versions of a section with additions in green and deletions in red similar to Track Changes in Microsoft Word. In fact, you can copy and paste this redline intact into a Microsoft Word or WordPerfect document such as in a research memo or opinion letter you're drafting. The algorithm Snipes and his team created further reduces "immaterial noise" from the redline.

"Standard Fed Plus is part of our ongoing effort to introduce new, user-friendly and authoritative solutions to frequent challenges faced by tax attorneys and other tax professionals, and integrate accurate content into their workflow," said Dean Sonderegger, Vice President & General Manager, Legal Markets & Innovation. "Even looking beyond the game-changing Point-in-Time Navigation and Redlining Comparison features, Standard Fed Plus combines authoritative content, expert analysis, practice tools, and a current awareness for legal professionals seeking to gain insights on today's most challenging tax matters."

Other Notable Features

In addition to its federal tax offerings, Cheetah contains primary and secondary tax materials from the CCH and Aspen imprints across many other practice areas ranging from antitrust to employee benefits to securities and more. Iconic titles such as Mergers, Acquisitions, and Buyouts by Ginsburg, Levin and Rocap are exclusive.

Cheetah sports a new, responsive design that adjusts to any size screen from a large monitor to an iPhone. Features such as auto-fill and auto-suggest speed up your searches. Related Content and Metadata links enable you to dig deeper without having to run a separate search. You can use the ever-present Copy Link tool to send a colleague to a case, Tax Code section, etc.

What Else Should You Know?

Standard Fed Plus currently encompasses versions the tax laws from 1986 to today, including CCH's commentary and legislative history, and will soon extend this history back to 1917. Learn more about Standard Fed Plus.

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

Lexis Advance Now Includes Insights on Judges Powered by Lex Machina

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a legal research service that now provides insights on the judges overseeing your cases in certain federal practice areas (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of practice management and legal accounting software that can download bank and credit card transactions for faster reconciliations, practice management software with a Dropbox-like mechanism for sharing files with clients, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Winning a case requires more than understanding the facts and applicable law. You also need to size up the judge, opposing counsel, and the parties. Understanding this human dynamic can tip the balance in your favor.

Lexis Advance … in One Sentence

Lexis Advance is a leading legal research service that now includes litigation analytics from Lex Machina.

The Killer Feature

When you next have a case on an antitrust, copyright, patent, trademark, or securities issue, you can use Lexis Advance to research the judge presiding over your case. Soon you'll also be able to research opposing counsel and competing law firms.

This data comes from Lex Machina, a company LexisNexis acquired in 2015. Lex Machina transforms data from federal court dockets into live charts. In Lexis Advance, you can access this data by clicking on the hyperlinked judge's name in the text of a case or in the new Legal Analytics box to the right of the case text.

This link takes you to a summary with the judge's biographical information, open cases by practice area, comparisons to other judges in the district, cases filed by year, and case timelines. These latter charts give you a sense of how long the dispute may take to resolve and the odds of a trial. Lexis Advance users can access these summaries without a Lex Machina subscription.

"With access to summary charts, graphs, and information about judges from Lex Machina, Lexis Advance users can quickly and accurately understand the justice presiding over their case, better anticipate his or her behavior and illuminate probable case outcomes — with the option to click out to Lex Machina for more detail," says Sean Fitzpatrick, Managing Director for North American Research Solutions at LexisNexis. "It is an early step in our strategy to integrate high value analytic and visualization tools directly into the Lexis Advance research experience."

Other Notable Features

For deeper insights, you can click from this summary in Lexis Advance to the Lex Machina website if you have a subscription to the latter. Lex Machina's Motion Chains enables you to analyze your odds of success for a specific type of motion based on historical data. Similarly, you can see how opposing counsel has performed on similar cases or before your judge. You can also research parties, case damages, venues, practice areas, etc. for business development purposes. As you research, you can download briefs, exhibits, and other documents from cases of interest.

Lex Machina offers a growing number of specialized apps. For example, Patent Portfolio Evaluator lists the complete litigation history for a specific patent. Damages Explorer enables you to forecast likely damages and attorney fees as well as compare damages when forum shopping. Early Case Assessor gives you an overview of the plaintiff's litigation history from recent activity to venues to counsel. Other apps consist of Courts & Judges Comparator, Law Firms Comparator, and Parties Comparator.

What Else Should You Know?

In addition to litigation analytics, you'll notice another new feature in Lexis Advance — Reason for Shepard's Signal. This provides you with instant context for each dreaded red or yellow Shepard's signal or instant peace of mind when the signal is green. Reason for Shepard's Signal is currently available for cases since 2003 with older cases coming soon. Learn more about Lexis Advance.

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

CosmoLex's Bank Data Feed Automatically Downloads Checking, Trust, and Credit Card Transactions

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, February 16, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers practice management and legal accounting software that can download bank and credit card transactions for faster reconciliations (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of practice management software with a Dropbox-like mechanism for sharing files with clients, software for managing trademarks and other IP assets, practice management software for personal injury lawyers, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Online banking is a modern marvel we all take for granted. However, reconciliation remains a tedious process. PDF bank statements may save trees but they don't save time. Instead, your legal accounting software should be able to download transactions directly from your bank on daily basis.

CosmoLex v4.6 … in One Sentence

Launching this week, CosmoLex v4.6 is cloud law practice and financial management software that securely retrieves checking, trust, and credit card account transactions.

The Killer Feature

CosmoLex's new Bank Data Feed technology integrates with all major banks, more than 2,000 community and regional banks, and credit card providers such as Chase and Citibank. Login verification occurs directly with each bank. Role-based permissions enable you to restrict user level access to Bank Data Feeds as well as other areas of CosmoLex for internal security.

You can review and accept transactions one at a time or in bulk from a Bank Data Feed instead of entering them manually. This may make sense for credit card statements. You can assign transactions to matters or a general ledger account.

For bank and especially trust accounts, you can instead use the Bank Data Feed for daily reconciliation. CosmoLex automatically matches the transactions your staff has entered with those from the Bank Data Feed and identifies any discrepancies.

"We identified an inability to utilize bank data feeds as a glaring weakness across the law practice management industry," says Rick Kabra, CEO of CosmoLex. "This new functionality is another example of how we continue to separate ourselves from the rest of the industry. Giving firms the ability to automatically import bank data feeds increases the value of our offering exponentially."

Other Notable Features

As Kabra intimates, CosmoLex offers general ledger and trust accounting, which obviates the need to use general accounting software. The CosmoLex Accountant Program enables your accountant to use CosmoLex for free. CosmoLex works with QuickBooks formatted checks (the company also sells its own line of checks). Financial data permeates the software. For example, the Matters Dashboard lists unpaid balances, unbilled balances, and available client advances whether in trust or operating accounts.

CosmoLex adds trust transactions as a liability as a safeguard. You can enter hard costs such as a filing fee and pay it from a trust account. LawPay integration enables your clients to pay bills or fund a trust account online with a credit card.

Several integrations enable you to access your data outside of CosmoLex. The calendar integrates with G Suite and Office 365, while the document management system can use Box, Dropbox, or OneDrive as its data store. Also, Auto-Match technology files forwarded email messages and attachments in the correct matter.

Other features include task management with automated workflows (e.g., court deadline calculations), a client portal for securely chatting and sharing documents with clients, matter notes, and conflict checking.

What Else Should You Know?

Version 4.6 includes an enhanced Data Import tool to make it easier to migrate from your existing software to CosmoLex. This free tool imports clients, matters, bank transactions, accounts receivable, and trust account balances. If you need a turn-key accounting data migration, CosmoLex certified consultants can handle it for a one-time fee. CosmoLex costs $49 per user per month if paid annually ($59 if paid monthly). Learn more about CosmoLex.

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 | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

LEAP Adds Secure Client Collaboration to Its Practice Management Platform With LawConnect

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, February 9, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers practice management software with a new Dropbox-like technology for securely sharing documents and communicating with clients (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of software for managing trademarks and other IP assets, practice management software for personal injury lawyers, a court docket service for receiving alerts about cases of interest, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

The ABA's duty of technology competence seems poised to become the latest regulation adopted by all 50 states. While the rule doesn't provide specifics, many law firms have interpreted it as requiring a more secure approach to client communication and document sharing.

LEAP … in One Sentence

LEAP is practice management software that recently added secure client collaboration tools.

The Killer Feature

LEAP's new LawConnect "storage and collaboration platform" enables you to securely communicate and share documents with clients. Most competing offerings (often called "client portals") require setup before you can use them. LawConnect functions in a Dropbox-like ad hoc manner. This approach means you can share a document in seconds even if you've never previously used LawConnect.

Select one or more documents within a matter, click the LawConnect button, and choose the people with whom you wish to share the document. Recipients receive an email message with a secure link to create a LawConnect account after which they can access the document. Within LEAP, icons let you know which documents are shared and whether clients have viewed them. You can revoke access anytime with or without notifying the client.

LawConnect also facilitates secure client communication. Email notifications let you know a new message exists. LEAP's in-app notification system likewise keeps you apprised of new messages.

Other Notable Features

LEAP offers integrated timers and a timesheet for capturing time contemporaneously or after the fact. A number of technologies automate time capture. For example, Auto Text enables you to store frequently used descriptions, and enter them with a few mnemonic keystrokes. Also, LEAP lists unbilled activities that don't yet have time entries. The LEAP mobile app records billable time on the go.

In addition to capturing more time, LEAP may also get you paid faster now that it integrates with RapidPay (powered by LawPay) for online credit card processing. You can add a RapidPay link to invoices you send.

LEAP also integrates with Microsoft Office for document assembly. LEAP includes many forms (a.k.a. templates) plus you can import and create your own. These forms, which work in both the Online and Windows version of Word, can pull data from any field in LEAP, and incorporate "if/then" statements and other sophisticated logic. You can link applicable forms to a Task so that those assigned the task have everything they need. When you create a document or email message, LEAP prompts you to bill for it.

In addition to capturing documents created through automated forms, LEAP can also import entire folders during initial setup. Similarly, your existing scanning workflow can be redirected to save documents in LEAP (the Android and iPhone app contains a document scanner for mobile scanning). LEAP captures email via the Outlook add-in.

What Else Should You Know?

LEAP works on all platforms. You can use your choice of native apps for Windows, iPad, iPhone, and Android. It also runs in your web browser. LEAP includes a Google- and mobile-optimized website for your law firm to help you attract new clients. Learn more about LEAP.

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
 
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