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Is This the Most Robust Practice Management System of Them All?

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, January 24, 2019

Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product is a cloud practice platform that eliminates the need for QuickBooks and other third-party products thanks to its expansive suite of features (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to many previous TL NewsWire Hot Products, including an Android and iPhone app for capturing billable time on the go, including multiple timers, voice-to-speech, and other shortcuts. Don't miss the next issue of TL NewsWire.

The branch of mathematics known as chaos theory posits that unpredictable events are normal, not out of the ordinary. Busy, growing law firms know this all too well, always expecting the unexpected. This explains why many seek practice management software to bring as much order to this chaos as possible. The more your software can do, the better equipped you'll be.

Zola Suite in One Sentence

Zola Suite is a cloud-based practice management platform that offers billing, financial and trust accounting, matter and document management, full email capabilities, and much more.

The Killer Feature

"Zola Suite is a fully-unified practice management system on which you can run your law firm without having to juggle multiple integrations," says founder, CEO, and Chief Product Architect Fred J. Cohen, J.D. Cohen often uses the word "robust" to describe Zola Suite. The Add New Entry button at the top of every screen serves an apt metaphor for this characterization. Unlike similar buttons in competing products, this one gives you access to all major functions instead of just a handful.

Zola Suite's robustness results in several key differentiators, the most unique of which is its built-in email and calendar apps -- an endeavor few competitors have attempted. Zola Suite works with Office 365, G Suite, and other services. You can encrypt messages using RPost (included at no cost), automatically save them to the corresponding matter, and record a time entry, all from a single screen. The calendar sends standard invites that recipients can accept in all major email and calendar systems. You can continue to use Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, etc. as you do now.

Continuing with this "robust" theme, Zola Suite includes an accounting system that eliminates the need for products like QuickBooks. You'll find small touches like showing the Sent Date on invoices as well as major timesavers like the ability to bulk email invoices, trust requests, and statements of account. Thanks to its ability to connect with banks, you can import bank and credit card transactions for faster reconciliations.

"We are a mid-sized firm and Zola definitely helped us grow," says Thomas Dunlap, founder of Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig PLLC. "It's a fantastic cloud-based solution for a firm with multiple locations and attorneys that need to collaborate on a single platform."

Other Notable Features

Similar depth exists across Zola Suite's other functions. For example, the trust accounting system prevents you from assigning more than a matter's trust balance to an invoice even if the underlying bank balance is larger, the billing system can track hard and soft costs, and the task management system has features like multiple assignees and subtasks typically found in project management systems. Reports include all the ones you'd expect plus proprietary reports like Timekeeper Productivity and WIP-AR-Trust for greater visibility.

Zola Suite also has features for your clients. The company's Caseway secure portal enables clients to pay invoices, scan documents, and communicate with your firm. Zola also offers a white-label mobile app that can be customized with your firm's branding. Clients can download your app from the Apple or Google stores.

What Else Should You Know?

Zola Suite offers three plans -- Core ($59 per user per month), Enterprise ($79), or Enterprise Plus ($89). The optional branded app has a one-time setup cost of $99. Zola Suite integrates with sister product Zola CRM for managing your marketing efforts. Explore Zola Suite and bookmark the website.

About TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. Each week, TL NewsWire reports on the hottest new products for lawyers and law office administrators. The innovative structure of TL NewsWire articles enable you to quickly understand each product's value proposition, and then zero in on its killer feature and other notable attributes. In each issue, you can easily revisit our back catalog of articles and the most recent TL NewsWire Top 25 Products Awards. Subscribe to TL NewsWire.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Email/Messaging/Telephony | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Capture Billable Time on the Go as It Happens and Before You Forget

By Neil J. Squillante | Thursday, January 10, 2019

Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product is an Android and iPhone app for capturing billable time on the go, including multiple timers, voice-to-speech, and other shortcuts (see article below). Don't miss the next issue of TL NewsWire.

Lawyers lead increasingly complex and harried lives. One unfortunate side effect is lost billable time, especially when out of the office. While there's no escaping the laws of physics and adding more hours to the day, you can prevent lost time by capturing it on your smartphone. And now there's a new app for that.

PCLaw Go in One Sentence

PCLaw Go is a new timekeeping app for Android and iOS devices that enables users of the popular legal billing and accounting system PCLaw to post billable time entries from their smartphone while out of the office.

The Killer Feature

The designers of PCLaw Go set out to eliminate barriers between you and capturing billable hours. The built-in timer enables you to contemporaneously record a billable activity and enter that time on the go. You can run multiple timers simultaneously and switch among them. You can also enter time manually after the fact.

Either way, the matter lookup in PCLaw Go quickly finds the applicable matter in PCLaw for the associated time entry. When tapped, the Explanation Field expands to consume most of the screen for comfort and context when writing a detailed description of the entered time. PCLaw Go takes advantage of underlying technologies in Android and iOS such as voice-to-text for dictating your description.

When the explanation field is collapsed, the time entry screen displays the date, duration, matter, client, task code, explanation code, and rate (including exceptions). Your firm can select which fields in addition to the duration and matter are required versus optional.

When you're done with the time entry, one tap sends it to your PCLaw software. The app confirms receipt. If you use Time Matters, LexisNexis offers Time Matters Go offering similar functionality.

Other Notable Features

PCLaw Go can remind you to enter time daily, on weekdays, or on a specific day using your smartphone's notification system. You also choose what time you want to receive your reminder notifications.

You can save a time entry in progress as a draft. The Drafts screen also lists paused timers. One tap from Drafts takes you to History, which serves as a dashboard. At the top is a calendar. Tap on a day to view all the time entries for that day and the total time captured.

"There is a high demand for busy professionals to stay connected, even when they are on the go," says Scott Wallingford, Vice President of Strategy and Product Management for LexisNexis Law Firm Software Solutions. "PCLaw Go allows users to capture their time from anywhere, reducing time loss and increasing revenue. We've incorporated useful features like voice-to-text, a built-in timer, and automatic spelling correction to ensure that this app is both easy to use and convenient."

What Else Should You Know?

PCLaw Go requires PCLaw 14.2.2 or higher. Getting up and running involves two steps. Your administrator installs a utility on your PCLaw server and configures PCLaw Go. Invited users receive a link to the PCLaw Go app via email. The app is also available for download from the App Store for the iOS version or Google Play for the Android version. PCLaw Go honors all the same security settings as PCLaw, and PCLaw Go transmissions are encrypted (none of this data is stored by LexisNexis). Explore PCLaw Go and bookmark the website.

About TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. Each week, TL NewsWire reports on the hottest new products for lawyers and law office administrators. The innovative structure of TL NewsWire articles enable you to quickly understand each product's value proposition, and then zero in on its killer feature and other notable attributes. In each issue, you can easily revisit our back catalog of articles and the most recent TL NewsWire Top 25 Products Awards. Subscribe to TL NewsWire.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | TL NewsWire

Practice Management Software That Spans the Entire Client Lifecycle

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product is cloud practice management software that tracks "opportunities" in addition to matters, namely your sales pipeline prior to when clients engage your firm (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to many previous TL NewsWire Hot Products, including a litigation analytics product that enables you to analyze the historical record of experts and judges to inform your case strategy and brief writing. Don't miss the next issue of TL NewsWire.

Remember when you were a young lawyer and wondered where clients come from? Eventually, your boss sits you down, tells you about the facts of life, and asks you to pitch in with rainmaking efforts. Most practice management systems don't accommodate this aspect of your legal career, but one company seeks to change this.

matters.Cloud in One Sentence

matters.Cloud is a practice management system that covers the entire lifecycle of your clients, including prior to engagement when they're prospects.

The Killer Feature

Typically, practice management systems use a new client or matter the starting point for data collection. This skips the critical marketing and sales phase during which prospects contact you. matters.Cloud includes this initial phase, eliminating the need for separate customer relationship management (CRM) or intake software.

You enter organizations as you see fit. You can then add notes and tasks to help you close the deal. Assign tasks to colleagues and add other details such as contacts, addresses, etc. as you obtain more information. At this stage, there's no "matter" so instead you create an "opportunity" -- a term of art in CRM software that means a potential sale. You can track time spent on opportunities to analyze your rainmaking activities. Make your most important opportunities "Favorites" for fast access from the Dashboard.

matters.Cloud recently added a visual pipeline much like you would find in CRM products to better visualize your sales process. The pipeline functions like a Kanban board in which you move opportunities through each stage. To assist your sales outreach, matters.Cloud integrates with Mailchimp for email marketing.

"matters.Cloud utilizes the latest technology allowing lawyers to collaborate, interact with clients and get an up to date picture of their matters from initial intake to completion," says founder Fraser Mayfield.

Other Notable Features

The Dashboard in matters.Cloud befits the modern era with a Google Scholar search box and your favorite Twitter feeds alongside your most relevant matters and opportunities, monthly billable hours, upcoming and overdue tasks, and the time entry tool. matters.Cloud integrates with the popular writing service Grammerly to ensure clear and concise time entries.

The calendar in matters.Cloud shows your time entries for each day. Days without any time display the time entry tool for quick input. The matters.Cloud mobile app for Android and iOS also helps you stay up-to-date on time tracking, including the ability to initiate a call from the app and have the time recorded. "The mobile app has all the same functionality as the desktop web app," says Mayfield.

Given its emphasis on the entire client lifecycle, matters.Cloud offers conflict checking via its global search. Just as importantly, you can track all contacts associated with your matters and their relationship — opposing counsel, parties, service providers, etc. You can also create custom fields to track anything else of importance. Everyone with whom you've ever dealt will arise in your conflict searches.

What Else Should You Know?

Whether it's your state bar or GDPR, matters.Cloud enables you to comply with any applicable data privacy regulations. Thanks to matters.Cloud being built on Google Cloud, you can choose to store your data in the United States, Australia, Europe, or India. The company isolates your database and encrypts all data at rest and in transit. matters.Cloud costs $25 per month per user. Explore matters.Cloud in more detail and bookmark the site.

About TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. Each week, TL NewsWire reports on the hottest new products for lawyers and law office administrators. The innovative structure of TL NewsWire articles enable you to quickly understand each product's value proposition, and then zero in on its killer feature and other notable attributes. In each issue, you can easily revisit our back catalog of articles and the most recent TL NewsWire Top 25 Products Awards. Subscribe to TL NewsWire.

Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Practice Management/Calendars | TL NewsWire

Get Inside the Heads of Experts and Judges Using Their Own Historical Data

By Neil J. Squillante | Sunday, December 16, 2018

Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product enables you to analyze the historical record of experts and judges to inform your case strategy, including an expert's track record on Daubert challenges and citations your judge prefers (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to many previous TL NewsWire Hot Products, including cloud billing software for solos and small firms with new trust accounting and other billing productivity tools. Don't miss the next issue of TL NewsWire.

Everyone engages in mind reading. It's human nature. But it's not a good idea when it comes to the expert witnesses and the judges in your cases. You're much better off analyzing actual data.

Context in One Sentence

Context on Lexis Advance is a new litigation analytics product that enables you to visualize and leverage the historical record of experts and judges to draft better arguments.

The Killer Feature

Context grew out of Ravel Law, which LexisNexis acquired in 2017. Ravel Law garnered attention for its judge analytics offering, enabling lawyers to get inside the head of a judge before starting a legal research project.

With access to the vast store of legal knowledge on Lexis Advance, including more than 380,000 expert witness profiles, the Ravel Law team has achieved a breakthrough they call "case-law language analytics" -- the ability to transform unstructured documents into actionable data.

This has paved the way for Expert Analytics. Search for an expert and Context displays a dashboard with charts showing that expert's case volume by year, area of law, and jurisdiction, and another chart showing the hiring party breakdown. You'll also find current and past curricula vitae, contact information, and more.

Click the Analytics tab and you see the practical results of case-law language analytics. The Challenges Outcome Analysis chart lists the expert's Daubert challenge history, including the percent of testimony admitted, admitted in part, and excluded. An accompanying table lists each case, the basis of the challenge (methodology, qualification, relevance, or procedural), and the outcome. To the right, you'll find the corresponding court opinions for exploring these challenges in more depth.

"A resource like Context enables an attorney to better strategize," says Diana Witt, Director of Library Services at Akerman LLP. "Leveraging its analytics increases the probability of winning a case."

Other Notable Features

Context also brings case-law language analytics to bear on judges with Judge Analytics. After entering the name of your judge, the dashboard provides the judge's biography, contact information, etc. High-level charts break out opinion volume by year and area of law.

The Analytics tab takes you to the judge's Motion Outcomes chart, which compiles the percentage of motions granted, granted in part, and denied by 100 different motion types. You can filter by area of law, court, and motion type. Click on the type of motion that interests you and Context lists the applicable court opinions and outcomes.

Context also provides Citation Patterns for the judge you're researching. This means you can cite opinions in your brief that your judge is likely to find persuasive. A chart lists the judges most frequently cited by your judge (including self-citations). Cards that resemble those in Lexis Answers group related citations by point of law and display the key language from each case for you to copy and paste into your brief.

What Else Should You Know?

"With a few keystrokes, Context delivers the critical insights and analysis attorneys need to more quickly and successfully prepare their cases for court," says Jeff Pfeifer, Vice President of Product Management. "When attorneys know what specific language a judge regularly uses, or how well an expert's testimony will stand up to judicial scrutiny, they are empowered to argue more persuasively and effectively on behalf of their clients. Only Context delivers this level of insight, right from the very start of the litigation process." Explore Context on Lexis Advance and bookmark the website.

About TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. Each week, TL NewsWire reports on the hottest new products for lawyers and law office administrators. The innovative structure of TL NewsWire articles enable you to quickly understand each product's value proposition, and then zero in on its killer feature and other notable attributes. In each issue, you can easily revisit our back catalog of articles and the most recent TL NewsWire Top 25 Products Awards. Subscribe to TL NewsWire.

Topics: Legal Research | Litigation/Discovery/Trials | TL NewsWire

Kurent Adds Trust Accounting, Billing Productivity Tools, and User Roles

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product is cloud billing software for solos and small firms with new trust accounting and other billing productivity tools (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to many previous TL NewsWire Hot Products, including knowledge management software that enables you to mine your firm's own work product and the SEC's EDGAR database for model clauses and precedents using classification technology pioneered by Intelligize. Don't miss the next issue of TL NewsWire.

When you succeed in business for 40 years, you gain valuable insights into what solos and small firms actually need. When creating a new cloud legal billing product, this means you can carefully add valuable features such as trust accounting, and avoid unnecessary clutter to maximize ease of use.

Kurent in One Sentence

Tabs3 Software's Kurent is cloud legal billing software for small firms that now includes trust (IOLTA) accounting as well as many new productivity features.

The Killer Feature

The Trust dashboard in Kurent houses the new trust accounting tools but you can access much of this functionality in other areas of the software. For example, from within a matter you can create a trust account, set minimum and target balances, send a trust request (these can be automated), pay bills from the trust account, and more.

Creating a trust request generates an invoice that you can email, print, or download as a PDF. LawPay integration enables clients to fund their trust accounts via credit card. To save time, you can batch send trust requests using criteria of your choosing such as all matters below the minimum balance. The Bank Activity and Trust Ledger reports enable you to monitor trust accounts.

"With 40 years of experience making Tabs3 Software, we have learned that most solos and small firms want an easy way to manage their billing," says Tabs3 Software President and CEO Dan Berlin. "Without elaborate practice management features to get in the way, billing in Kurent takes minutes, allowing firms to focus on their clients, not their billing software."

Other Notable Features

Given the new trust accounting features, Kurent lets you know about trust balances when approving invoices. This is just one of many new features Tabs3 Software has added to the invoicing system. Chief among these is the ability to combine invoices, which gives clients a complete picture of all their activity for multiple matters.

Just as you can batch send trust requests, you can also batch send invoices for legal work, including reminders for unpaid invoices (you can also automate reminders). With Quick Add, you can add a new client and matter on the fly when entering a fee or cost. Your invoices will be on brand thanks to a choice of invoice templates and a myriad of customization settings.

"I have used Timeslips for many, many years," says Doss Law General Manager Dennis H. Doss. "Kurent makes entering time a breeze, posting payments simple, and billing much easier. In my opinion, Kurent is a winner."

Kurent has added many new functions designed for the way many lawyers work. For example, you can add notes to matters and convert them into billable entries, create text shortcuts to speed up data entry, apply User Roles to limit access with a high degree of granularity, and create Quick View widgets that display data (e.g., matters with unbilled activity) and provide a menu of options for taking action. New reports provide deeper insight on user productivity and historical transaction activity.

What Else Should You Know?

Kurent now integrates with QuickBooks Online, including contacts, matters, payments, and refunds. You can migrate existing contacts, matters, accounts receivable, and unbilled fees to Kurent during setup. Kurent costs $26 per user per month with an annual commitment ($29 month to month), including unlimited support. Explore Kurent in more detail and bookmark the website.

About TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. Each week, TL NewsWire reports on the hottest new products for lawyers and law office administrators. The innovative structure of TL NewsWire articles enable you to quickly understand each product's value proposition, and then zero in on its killer feature and other notable attributes. In each issue, you can easily revisit our back catalog of articles and the most recent TL NewsWire Top 25 Products Awards. Subscribe to TL NewsWire.

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | TL NewsWire

Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional Powered by Intelligize Offers Roundtrip Searches of Your Firm's Work Product and the SEC

By Neil J. Squillante | Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product is knowledge management software that enables you to mine your firm's own work product and the SEC's EDGAR database for model clauses and precedents using classification technology pioneered by Intelligize (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to many previous TL NewsWire Hot Products, including a popular document assembly product rewritten with more accessible authoring tools embedded in Microsoft Word and a modern browser-based experience for end users. Don't miss the next issue of TL NewsWire.

When a law firm grows to a certain size, you become unaware of most of the work product being produced in your own practice group. Over the years, you can even forget about your own work product. Accordingly, being able to find and reuse past work product has become an essential productivity tool in corporate practice.

Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional Powered by Intelligize in One Sentence

Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional Powered by Intelligize (Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional), which integrates with your firm's document management system to better classify your firm's work product, incorporates the search technology of Intelligize for more precise and expansive search results.

The Killer Feature

Intelligize revolutionized SEC EDGAR searches — so much so that LexisNexis acquired the company in 2016. As a result, Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional is built on Intelligize, enabling you to search both your firm's work product and EDGAR using a similar interface.

The Intelligize integration brings more than 300 classifications to your firm's documents with a 90% confidence level. For example, document types include Articles of Merger, Asset Purchase Agreement, Stock Purchase Agreement, Underwriting Agreement, etc.

Not all helpful work product resides within your firm. With one click, you can transfer your Lexis Search Advantage search to Intelligize to find similar documents among all SEC filings. Another click takes you back to Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional.

"Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional Powered by Intelligize is one example of how we put the power of data-driven law in our customers' hands," says Jeff Pfeifer, Vice President of Product Management, LexisNexis. "This new tool in the Lexis Analytics suite sits behind a firm's firewall and helps attorneys mine enriched internal documents while searching precedent agreements filed with the SEC to deliver better client value."

Other Notable Features

Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional has a two-paned interface with your search criteria on the left and the search results on the right. In addition to entering keywords, you can also choose from several filters, including the new Intelligize document types noted above as well as specific deal points (e.g., gold in the backyard and sandbagging in merger agreements). Other search filters include document title, clause title, parties involved, attorneys, firms, companies, governing law, jurisdictions, and date range. Your firm can customize these search fields when you implement Lexis Search Advantage| Transactional.

The new tabbed interface for search results enables you to toggle back and forth among searches. Icons next to each item in the search results indicate document format (Word, PDF, etc.). A new "tags" feature draws your attention to a document's significant attributes. A designated team at your firm can define all the "public tags" for consistency. You can supplement these with your own personal tags (called "My Tags") that only you can see. You can use both types of tags to narrow your search results.

Each document that your searches reveal contains a rich set of metadata for quick exploration, including definitions, reps and warranties, covenants, conditions, and remedies and indemnification. Click a covenant such as "gold in the backyard" for example and Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional displays that provision in a snippet. You can export multiple snippets and compare them side by side in an Excel document.

What Else Should You Know?

Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional integrates with popular document management systems such as NetDocuments, iManage, and eDOCS. All security settings in your document management system, including ethical walls, are inherited by Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional. Explore Lexis Search Advantage | Transactional Powered by Intelligize and bookmark the website.

About TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. Each week, TL NewsWire reports on the hottest new products for lawyers and law office administrators. The innovative structure of TL NewsWire articles enable you to quickly understand each product's value proposition, and then zero in on its killer feature and other notable attributes. In each issue, you can easily revisit our back catalog of articles and the most recent TL NewsWire Top 25 Products Awards. Subscribe to TL NewsWire.

Topics: Collaboration/Knowledge Management | Document Management | Legal Research | TL NewsWire

Advanced Document Automation Capabilities Without the Complexity

By Neil J. Squillante | Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product is a popular document assembly product rewritten with more accessible authoring tools embedded in Microsoft Word and a modern browser-based experience for end users (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to many previous TL NewsWire Hot Products, including cloud billing and practice management software that now includes full business accounting, eliminating the need for a third-party solution. Don't miss the next issue of TL NewsWire.

Document automation software has long promised to accelerate legal document creation while reducing errors. However, in the effort to empower end users, the authoring tools have traditionally added layers of technical complexity that impede wide adoption. With the launch of a new platform, a document automation pioneer seeks to make authoring more accessible so that anyone in any law firm can automate any document.

HotDocs Advance in One Sentence

AbacusNext rewrote its venerable document assembly software to create HotDocs Advance, which offers a modern user interface and authoring tools that run inside Microsoft Word.

The Killer Feature

HotDocs Advance consists of HotDocs Author (this replaces HotDocs Developer) and HotDocs Advance web application (the template repository and drafting tool for end users).

"HotDocs Advance is the new simple, scalable, and modern document platform from the market leader in document automation," says senior product manager Nigel Richards. "We have taken our vast years of experience building our market-leading products and crammed that knowledge into the all-new HotDocs Advance, providing our users with an unparalleled platform for creating and consuming HotDocs templates."

HotDocs Author resides in a tab in Microsoft Word's ribbon. From here, you can turn existing documents into templates using the HotDocs Field Editor, a palette similar to what you would use to apply styles. For example, you might select a party's name and convert it to a "Content Placeholder," a dynamic text field that can later be populated by the end users who run the template. You only need to create a Placeholder once as HotDocs Author finds all the other locations.

AbacusNext is especially excited about the ability to use complex, interdependent logic that built the HotDocs reputation without having to write code. Instead, creating rules resembles formula building in Excel, thus lowering the barrier to entry to the most powerful aspects of template creation.

These advanced template options include grouping related questions, conditional True/False or If/Else/Or logic to skip irrelevant provisions, connecting to auxiliary templates to add boilerplate language, mathematical calculations, and multilingual documents.

As an example, a template for an employment agreement can offer different provisions depending on the employee's compensation, title, and geographic location.

Other Notable Features

End users access dynamic interactive HotDocs interviews via a web browser. Each interview consists of form fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, etc. with progress indicated by green checkmarks. There's no need to fuss with formatting. The template repository now includes role-based permissions to selectively present templates to users, reducing the friction created by sorting through irrelevant templates.

HotDocs Advance Workgroups add to the platform's collaboration capabilities. Workgroups permits multiple users to collaborate within a template simultaneously, while maintaining audit trails of user activity and changes. You can even edit answers to quickly correct an error in a document.

According to AbacusNext, HotDocs Advance's modernized user experience can reduce drafting time by up to 90%.

What Else Should You Know?

HotDocs Advance can be deployed on-premises or as a cloud service. Integration capabilities include Active Directory to automatically define workgroups and permissions, connections to document and practice management systems for auto-populating data, and the ability to embed templates on your website for dynamic, self-service document generation. The new architecture that facilitates these integrations will make it easier to incorporate emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and smart (blockchain) contracts. Explore HotDocs Advance and bookmark the website.

About TL NewsWire
So many products, so little time. Each week, TL NewsWire reports on the hottest new products for lawyers and law office administrators. The innovative structure of TL NewsWire articles enable you to quickly understand each product's value proposition, and then zero in on its killer feature and other notable attributes. In each issue, you can easily revisit our back catalog of articles and the most recent TL NewsWire Top 25 Products Awards. Subscribe to TL NewsWire.

Topics: Automation/Document Assembly/Macros | TL NewsWire

Accounting, Billing, and Practice Management Converge in the Cloud

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, November 8, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire Today's TL NewsWire Hot Product is cloud billing and practice management software that now includes full business accounting, eliminating the need for a third-party solution (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to many previous TL NewsWire Hot Products, including cloud timekeeping software for small and midsize firms that automatically captures and categorizes your time. Don't miss the next issue.

It's hard to believe but lawyers once carried both a cell phone and a Palm Pilot, and earnestly debated the benefits of specialized hardware. More recently, lawyers have debated specialized software versus all-in-one software. The latter has the momentum, especially the convergence of accounting, billing, and practice management functions.

Firm Central in One Sentence

Thomson Reuters' Firm Central is cloud practice management and billing software (rated A by TechnoLawyer) that now includes full accounting functionality for front and back office management in one solution.

The Killer Feature

"Having the accounting built into the practice management system is extremely useful, more accurate and a huge time saver," says elder law attorney William B. Rambaum of William B. Rambaum PA.

One of the principal reasons Firm Central saves attorneys like Rambaum time is because the new accounting system eliminates the need for third-party accounting software. Firm Central now has all the same core functionality as products like QuickBooks — chart of accounts, check printing, credit card payments, general ledger, management of payables and receivables, etc.

Even better, the first-party nature of these features enables Firm Central to exceed the capabilities of third-party products. This is best exemplified by Firm Central's new Auto-Posting rules and Dashboard.

With Auto-Posting, you can automatically apply client payments, firm expenses, and more. For example, when a client pays you, Firm Central can automatically post all the related transactions to accounts receivable, the client's trust account, and your firm's general trust account. If the invoice contains several categories of charges, Firm Central can further split payments among accounts for legal fees, recovered expenses, taxes, and write-offs.

With the new Dashboard, you can see Revenue by Practice Area, Top Clients by Revenue, Aging AR, Unpaid Invoices, Unbilled Expenses, Fees Collected, and more on one screen.

"With Firm Central's fully integrated trust and business accounting software, lawyers can now manage all aspects of their practice in one secure complete platform," says Mark Haddad, general manager of Thomson Reuters' Small Law Firm segment. "Solo and small firm lawyers can quickly and easily track their financial activity and generate detailed reports, all within Firm Central. This approach improves efficiency, making it easier to manage finances and keep a close eye on the bottom line."

Other Notable Features

When clients pay you via credit card, Auto-Posting becomes even more automated. Firm Central includes ClientPay, enabling you to embed payment links and QR codes into invoices. ClientPay offers a lower-than-average rate of 1.95% for most transactions, and processes payments in a compliant manner to prevent ethics violations.

Firm Central offers a number of other notable advanced features. Switch between cash and accrual accounting to view your firm from different perspectives. Reconcile bank, credit card, and trust accounts, save a report in PDF format, and even undo a reconciliation if necessary. Apply client payments and pay bills in bulk or individually. Create rules defining who can request and approve checks.

More than a dozen reports in Firm Central enable you to analyze your firm's performance. Reports include balance sheet, profit & loss, collection realization by client, matter, or lawyer, sales tax liability, write-offs, and more.

What Else Should You Know?

Thomson Reuters offers several Firm Central plans, including options such as Deadline Assistant for rules-based litigation calendars. The Import Accounts tool gets you up and running quickly by importing clients, matters, accounts, and balances from your existing accounting system. Thomson Reuters provides migration support if needed. Explore Firm Central in more detail.

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

Topics: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | TL NewsWire

Smart Time 5 Brings Am Law 200 Timekeeping Technology to Small Law Firms for the First Time

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, October 25, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud timekeeping software for small and midsize firms that automatically captures and categorizes your time (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 uses artificial intelligence to find court opinions that match the facts, legal issues, and jurisdiction of your client's case, new research tools for analyzing, visualizing, and identifying trends in health care fraud and securities violations, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

The billable hour has proven a durable business model but it remains a source of frustration for small law firms. Contemporaneous timekeeping requires expensive software that only large firms can afford while reconstructing billable time requires too much effort and is inherently unreliable. Having your assistant enter your time combines each of these flawed approaches.

Smart Time 5 … in One Sentence

Launched this month, Smart Time 5 is the first cloud version of this established timekeeping software, making it available to small law firms for the first time.

The Killer Feature

Many of the country's largest firms use the on-premises version of Smart Time. Version 5 "brings features long used by Am Law 200 firms to small firms for the first time," says Smart Time Apps CEO & Founder Todd Gerstein.

For example, Smart Time includes Billing Guidelines that prevent users at your firm from posting time entries that don't comport with internal or client policies. You can create these guidelines at the firm, client, or matter level. Gerstein showed me a few common guidelines such as no block billing and descriptions limited to a certain number of characters. Using "narrative text logic, you can even require certain words (e.g., "email" must be paired with "regarding").

"What we've built is a single, but infinitely scalable, timekeeping solution," says Gerstein. "Whether you're a small, midsize, or large firm, you get the exact same system and features that make Smart Time the most powerful timekeeping system on the market."

Other Notable Features

Smart Time accommodates all three methods of timekeeping — contemporaneous, reconstructive, and collaborative. Contemporaneous timekeepers can use timers and create time entries when they complete each task. A local Windows application records all your activity for accurate reconstructive tracking that you and/or your assistant can access using the web interface.

Traditionally, reconstructive trackers like this require sleuthing to match activities with matters. Smart Time features a Relationship Engine that automates this matching. After importing your clients and matters, you can expect Smart Time to correctly categorize about 75% of your billable activity. "Learn" and "Block" buttons next to each unrecognized time entry on the Time Capture & Entry dashboard train Smart Time further until it attains near 100% accuracy (the Block button trains Smart Time to ignore activities such as personal email, etc.).

Smart Time enables you to prospect for missing time by selecting a blank block of time on the main dashboard and running a Gap Analysis. This generates a list of recorded unbilled activity during that time period. According to Gerstein, Smart Time's Gap Analysis recovers 8-10 hours of additional billable time per timekeeper per month on average. The main dashboard offers a wealth of additional business intelligence tools that slice and dice your time data to give you greater insight into your goals.

"Smart Time has been the only software that has facilitated my ability to bill contemporaneously or to recreate my time three months later (I happen to do both)," says Liz Messianu, a partner at Florida-based Lubell Rosen. "Nothing is missed, nothing is left unbilled which you have touched, phoned, created, read, looked at, or sent electronically. What more can a busy attorney want? It works."

What Else Should You Know?

Smart Time offers mobile apps for Android and iPhone, enabling you to add and edit time entries on the go. The mobile app has all the same functionality, including timers. Learn more about Smart Time 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: Accounting/Billing/Time Capture | TL NewsWire

Finish Your Legal Research 25% Faster and Never Miss a Relevant Case

By TechnoLawyer | Thursday, October 11, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a legal research service that uses artificial intelligence to find court opinions that match the facts, legal issues, and jurisdiction of your client's case (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of new research tools for analyzing, visualizing, and identifying trends in health care fraud and securities violations, a popular accounting, billing, and practice management system with a new design, including customization for a more personal and productive experience, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Remember the days of struggling to find a case with similar facts? Or wondering if opposing counsel missed a key case? Or learning that your legal research plan doesn't include a reference? If these old days sound like your present day, keep reading.

Casetext … in One Sentence

Casetext is an online legal research service with an artificial intelligence (AI) search engine called CARA designed to save you time and deliver better results.

The Killer Feature

Casetext supports Boolean syntax and natural language searches but CARA offers a third alternative. You drag and drop a complaint, brief, etc. into the CARA search platform. Then enter a few keywords (e.g., copyright, duty of care, mezzanine debt, Robinson-Patman, etc.).

This CARA search results in a list of cases ranked by relevance based on the facts, legal issues and jurisdiction of your client's case. Symbols indicate whether the case is cited in the document you uploaded, enabling you to find cases not cited by opposing counsel.

"Get a motion that you have to respond to, run it through CARA, put some keyword searches in, and I bet you you'll get your answers very, very quickly," says Karen Coolman Amlong of The Amlong Firm. "And I think the proof is in the pudding. You get that kind of response, and you say, 'Wow. This is cool.' And then you look at the pricing and say, 'It's really cool.'"

"Thanks to CARA, legal professionals finish their research about 25% faster than with traditional tools," says Casetext CEO and Co-Founder Jake Heller. "For too long, we lawyers have had to choose from a handful of not-so-great and expensive legal research options. Our goal at Casetext is to change that. We've brought cutting-edge, efficient legal research technology that attorneys actually love using to over two dozen Am Law 200 firms, as well as to over 700 solo attorneys and small firms like The Amlong Firm."

Other Notable Features

No matter what type of search you run, Casetext offers a number of tools to help you pinpoint the best cases. You can search within a search and limit search results to jurisdictions and courts of interest. Casetext highlights Key Passages — portions of the case frequently cited — and lists these citations for you to explore with a click. The Casetext Citator at the top of each case warns you about negative treatment.

Along the left side of the search results you'll find several AI-powered tools. Holdings displays the court's legal conclusions in the cases listed whereas Black Letter Law lists indisputable findings in these cases. You can also review cited statutes and regulations, as well as related briefs, client memos, and articles from top law firms.

When you copy a passage from a case, Casetext's Copy with Cite technology automatically adds the citation in Bluebook format to your clipboard. It also formats the passage you copy as a block quote if it contains 50 or more words. You can copy the passage as a parenthetical citation if you prefer.

What Else Should You Know?

Casetext includes all federal cases, all state appellate cases from the 1950s to present (California from the 1850s), and all state and federal statutes and regulations. A Casetext subscription costs $65 per month with an annual commitment ($89 per month otherwise), and includes unlimited access to everything. Learn more about Casetext.

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
 
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