Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a customizable, multiuser text entry automation utility that runs in Windows, Mac, and iOS applications (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a popular cloud practice management system that now offers a full-featured mobile app, a chat system, and payment processing, a service that enables you to analyze IP portfolios for M&A due diligence, litigation strategy, and prior art research, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.
Legal drafting involves a constant battle between precision and time spent. While hard enough for one lawyer to balance, it becomes even more of a challenge to scale across a law firm. Automating boilerplate language enables everyone at your firm to use carefully crafted language in a few keystrokes, ensuring consistency across work product.
TextExpander … in One Sentence
Smile's TextExpander is an automation tool for quickly entering frequently-used text in any application on Windows, Mac, and iOS.
The Killer Feature
TextExpander offers cloud-based administration tools. This enables everyone in your law firm to benefit from centrally managed "Snippets" — Smile's term for TextExpander's text automations — on all their supported devices.
TextExpander computes statistics so that you can see which snippets have the highest usage, and how much time your staff saves en masse. Sales and Business Development Manager Mike Burda tells me that the average TextExpander user saves one hour per day on average assuming a typing speed of 60 words per minute.
"I use TextExpander for many things in my practice — including responding to discovery," says lawyer Stewart Albertson of Albertson & Davidson in a blog post. "I have over 60 objection "snippets," including attorney-client privilege, work product doctrine, calls for expert's opinion from a lay person, etc. Before TextExpander I used to cut and paste from a template of objections. While this works, in my experience it takes much longer and it is easy to get lost in a large response file. As you can imagine, using TextExpander speeds the process up for responding to written discovery. Give it a try."
Other Notable Features
At its most basic, TextExpander enables you to type a shortcut such as "sig" in conjunction with a hot key of your choosing to enter your email signature snippet at the end of a message in Outlook. Snippets can contain rich text formatting, hyperlinks, images, and even HTML. They can span many paragraphs such as an entire engagement letter. You need not memorize TextExpander shortcuts. Instead, you can use another hot key to view a list on the fly and search through them. Your firm's TextExpander administrators can organize snippets into folders to make it easier for users to find the one they need.
More advanced snippets can incorporate conditional text. Such text appears next to a checkbox that controls whether to include it or not. For example, you may not want to include your mobile number in your signature every time so you can omit it by default unless you check its box. Additionally, snippets can perform date and other calculations, prompt you to enter data or choose an option from a menu, remove formatting of text on the clipboard, complete forms, etc.
Snippets can incorporate other snippets. With these "Nested Snippets," your administrator could reference a marketing snippet within each user's signature snippet. This would enable your firm to consistently promote whatever it wants in everyone's signature without users having to do anything.
What Else Should You Know?
TextExpander Team costs $7.96 per user per month billed annually ($9.99 otherwise). The Life Hacker plan for single users costs $3.33 per month billed annually ($4.16 otherwise). You pay only for active users and can accrue credits. The administrator tools provide control over access rights. Learn more about TextExpander.
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