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The Key to Being a Happy Lawyer; 20 Helpful Utilities for Geek Lawyers; Review of Clio; My Rickety Task Management System

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, September 28, 2018

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

David O'Connell, The Key to Being a Happy Lawyer (If Only for a Minute or Two)

Tom Trottier, 20 Helpful Utilities for Geek Lawyers

Ed Schieffler, Review of Clio

Josh Friedman, My Rickety Task Management System

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Coming Attractions | Practice Management/Calendars | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Serendipity | Utilities

Tabs3 Software Version 19 Brings a User-Focused Redesign to Its Deep Set of Features

By TechnoLawyer | Monday, September 24, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a popular accounting, billing, and practice management system with a new design, including customization for a more personal and productive experience (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud billing and practice management software designed to automate your practice through tags, document assembly, process automation workflows, and third-party integrations, backup software that backs up operating systems, files, databases such as Outlook, and cloud storage services such as Dropbox, and which includes ShadowProtect for faster restores, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Design and user experience have become important features of legal software, especially accounting, billing, and practice management systems given their hundreds of features. The challenge lies in making these features discoverable and accessible without clutter. One popular product recently took on this challenge.

Tabs3 Software Version 19 … in One Sentence

Software Technology has redesigned Tabs3 Billing, Tabs3 Financials, and PracticeMaster — collectively Tabs3 Software Version 19 — with the goal of making law firms more efficient.

The Killer Feature

The new look of Tabs3 Software Version 19 (Tabs3) takes advantage of widescreen displays, and offers users extensive customization. For example, you can pin matters to the new persistent navigation panel on the left. This panel also lists your recent matters and actions, and features a global search with autocomplete suggestions. Quick Launch Icons along the bottom of Tabs3 place all major features one click away.

Also new are tabs and the Home Dashboard. You can open an unlimited number of screens in side by side tabs and quickly switch among them. Tabs remain intact until you close them. The new Home Dashboard lists your calendar events on the left and your tasks on the right. Below you'll find the new Recap of Hours with your totals and charts showing your billable and non-billable hours, as well as unprocessed timers by day, week, or month. One click takes you to the full Recap of Hours with larger charts and additional data such as your progress against your billable hours target.

"Magnificent!" says Steve May, Firm Administrator of Shapiro Blasi Wasserman & Hermann, PA. "I love the tabbed interface, Quick Launch, and Home Page."

"Version 19 of Tabs3 Software is the culmination of serving law firms for 40 years," says President and CEO Dan Berlin. "We have developed a close relationship with many of our clients and industry consultants. Insight from these relationships has helped us to develop Version 19 with the precision and flexibility that modern law firms need."

Other Notable Features

Given its maturity, Tabs3 supports any law firm billing model, including rules for origination fees and how to apply lump sum client payments. Tabs3 also includes general ledger, accounts payable, and trust accounting, eliminating the need for a third-party accounting system.

Version 19 beefs up online payment options. You can add an online payment link to an email message when sending an invoice. Clients can pay by e-check or credit card powered by ProPay. The new Import Online Payments tool enables you to allocate these payments with one click or review them one by one.

On the flip side, Tabs3 also offers new Accounts Payable features, most notably Advance Client Costs for recovery of expenses. You can choose to pay select invoices only after clients have reimbursed you to preserve your cash flow. A new General Ledger report shows these advance client costs. And speaking of cash flows, the new statement of cash flows report gives you better insight when making financial decisions.

What Else Should You Know?

Tabs3 runs on Windows. Companion product Tabs3 Connect facilitates remote access from any desktop or mobile web browser. A new subscription option that includes software updates costs $72/user/month for all products. Separately, Tabs3 Billing costs $32/user/month, PracticeMaster costs $32/user/month, and Tabs3 Financial costs $8/user/month. You can still buy a traditional license if you prefer. Learn more about Tabs3 Software.

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

PracticePanther Adapts to and Automates Your Firm's Processes

By TechnoLawyer | Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud billing and practice management software designed to automate your practice through tags, document assembly, process automation workflows, and third-party integrations (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of backup software that backs up operating systems, files, databases such as Outlook, and cloud storage services such as Dropbox, and which includes ShadowProtect for faster restores, OCR software that automatically finds unsearchable documents in your document management system, Windows PCs, and cloud storage services, and makes them searchable, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Because of their internal processes, no two law firms are alike. These processes become the foundation of the firm's culture. New employees experience culture shock until they learn these processes. Likewise, your billing and practice management system will never fit in unless it too can acclimate to your firm's unique set of systems.

PracticePanther … in One Sentence

PracticePanther is a cloud-based billing and practice management system that emphasizes customization and which integrates with dozens of third-party applications for additional flexibility.

The Killer Feature

"Tags are a key PracticePanther differentiator," says Senior Account Executive Sam Alkoubey as he begins my demo. He's referring to the ability to append descriptors to any data in PracticePanther — contacts, events, clients, matters, time entries, prebills, invoices, etc. You can restrict tag creation to administrators to foster consistency and prevent near-duplicates.

Tags enable you to create applications within PracticePanther without any programming skills. For example, you can create a customer relationship management system by creating a set of tags to track contacts as they move from prospect to client. You could then email all prospects who complete an initial consultation within the past month but have not yet signed an engagement letter.

PracticePanther also offers custom fields, which work in conjunction with tags. You can group a set of related custom fields such as for a practice area intake form and associate this group with a tag. Then you could generate a report comparing your firm's practice areas across a range of metrics.

Other Notable Features

CEO David Bitton tells me that PracticePanther has surpassed older rivals in terms of overall functionality. "With contact and matter management, automated time tracking and invoice generation, document and workflow generation, email and calendar sync, and countless more sophisticated features, we are proud to offer the highest-rated and most intuitive law practice management software that is used in over 170 countries worldwide," says Bitton.

PracticePanther has a main dashboard as well as dashboards for each major function. From the main dashboard, you can access each of these functions, including an internal messaging system. Additionally, this dashboard lists your firm's overall financials if you have access rights, your billable time and targets, and recent activity in your matters. To the right are active timers and the ability to start new ones.

The billing system accommodates all business models — hourly, flat, contingency, and even subscription (recurring payments). You can set rates by timekeeper and matter, use UTBMS task codes, customize invoice templates with your logo and terms, enter multiple time entries simultaneously, edit prebills on the fly, receive a notification when clients view an invoice, and accept payment by e-check and credit card via LawPay. PracticePanther includes trust accounting and check printing, and also offers QuickBooks integration for bookkeeping.

Other features include a list view for the calendar and color-coded events, integration with Box and Dropbox for document management, document assembly that takes advantage of custom fields, automated workflows that consist of dependent tasks triggered by preceding tasks or date calculations, dozens of reports ranging from incomplete tasks to origination of matters, and a client portal with support for web forms.

What Else Should You Know?

PracticePanther runs in all major web browsers. You can also use the free iOS and Android apps. Choose from three plans — Solo, Essential, or Business — that cost $39, $59, or $79 per month respectively with an annual commitment. Learn more about PracticePanther.

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

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Online/Cloud | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Three-Part Task Management System; Mediators Are Not Svengalis; Reviews of Ecco Pro, Adobe Sign

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, September 14, 2018

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Bryan Sims, My Three-Part Task Management System

Robert Rice, Mediators Are Not Svengalis

Rodrick Enns, Ecco Pro Alive and Kicking

Philip Franckel, Review of Adobe Sign

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Coming Attractions | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

Review of Microsoft's FindTime Plus 44 More Must-Reads

By TechnoLawyer | Monday, September 10, 2018

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected the 45 best legal technology articles, podcasts, and videos from the past week. Below you'll find a sampling from today's issue, including our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week. BlawgWorld is free so don't miss the next issue — sign up now.

Congratulations to Mark Kaelin of TechRepublic on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: How Microsoft Outlook's FindTime Simplifies Scheduling

Never Fail to Find a Document Again (Even Those You Don't Know Exist)

How Secure Is Office 365? What Lawyers May Not Know

The Unexpurgated Elon Musk (Video)

Microsoft To-Do Gets Inking Support on Windows 10

Dell XPS 15 vs. Asus ZenBook Pro 15: Face-Off

Expanding Apple Reminders With Third-Party Apps (Podcast)

How to Receive BlawgWorld
Our newsletters provide the most comprehensive coverage of both legal technology and mainstream technology of interest to the legal profession. But not the only coverage. BlawgWorld enables you to stay on top of all the noteworthy legal and mainstream technology articles (and podcasts and videos) published elsewhere without having to hire a research assistant. Even when you're busy, you won't want to miss each issue's Pick of the Week. Subscribe now for free.

Topics: BlawgWorld Newsletter | Coming Attractions | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars

How I Changed My Practice to Remain a Happy Lawyer; Reviews of Topaz Electric Pen, Everything, Copernic, Nomorobo

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, September 7, 2018

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Mark Olberding, How I Changed My Practice to Remain a Happy Lawyer

Michael Schwartz, Review of Topaz Electric Pen for Digital and Print Signatures

Harry Steinmetz, Review of Daylite for Team Scheduling

Mark Olberding, Review of Everything Versus Copernic for Desktop Search

Jim Fortson, Review of Nomorobo

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Business Productivity/Word Processing | Coming Attractions | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Practice Management/Calendars | Technology Industry/Legal Profession | TL Serendipity | Utilities

The Stuff of Case Management Dreams

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, July 5, 2018

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

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

Needles 5 … in One Sentence

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

The Killer Feature

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

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

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

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

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

Other Notable Features

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

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

What Else Should You Know?

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

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

Topics: Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Review of WhenWorks Plus 52 More Must-Reads

By TechnoLawyer | Monday, June 25, 2018

Coming today to BlawgWorld: Our editorial team has selected the 53 best legal technology articles, podcasts, and videos from the past week. Below you'll find a sampling from today's issue, including our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week. BlawgWorld is free so don't miss the next issue — sign up now.

Congratulations to Brett Terpstra of MacStories on winning our BlawgWorld Pick of the Week award: WhenWorks Ends the Scheduling Back-and-Forth

Go Beyond the Practice Management Status Quo

How to Create a Template in Microsoft Word

The PDF Format 25 Years Ago This Week

Here's Why the Surface Book 2 Is Worth $3,000 (Video)

Intel and the Danger of Integration

Meet the AI That IBM Research Is Teaching to Debate Human Beings

How to Receive BlawgWorld
Our newsletters provide the most comprehensive coverage of both legal technology and mainstream technology of interest to the legal profession. But not the only coverage. BlawgWorld enables you to stay on top of all the noteworthy legal and mainstream technology articles (and podcasts and videos) published elsewhere without having to hire a research assistant. Even when you're busy, you won't want to miss each issue's Pick of the Week. Subscribe now for free.

Topics: BlawgWorld Newsletter | Coming Attractions | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | Practice Management/Calendars

Important Feature Missing From All Practice Management Software; Review of Time Matters AMP; Is It Now Safe to Use a Mac in Law Practice?

By TechnoLawyer | Friday, June 22, 2018

Today's issue of TL Serendipity contains these articles:

Neil Squillante, An Important Feature Missing From All Practice Management Software

Michael Caccavo, Review of Time Matters AMP

Harry Steinmetz, PCs Don't Have an Advantage Over Macs Anymore in Law Practice

Courtney Schael, Macs Are Better Than Windows PC in Desktop Search

Don't miss this issue — or any future issues.

How to Receive TL Serendipity
Our most serendipitous offering (hence its name), TL Serendipity consists of contributions by TechnoLawyer members who have important information to share. You'll no doubt enjoy it because of its mix of interesting topics and genuinely useful knowledge, including brutally honest product reviews and informative how-tos. The TL Serendipity newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Coming Attractions | Consultants/Services/Training | Document Management | Networking/Operating Systems | Practice Management/Calendars | TL Serendipity

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

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, June 21, 2018

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

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

AbacusLaw … in One Sentence

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

The Killer Feature

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

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

Other Notable Features

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

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

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

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

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

What Else Should You Know?

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

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

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire
 
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