TechnoLawyer NewsWire
So many products, so little time. TL NewsWire discusses and links to hot new products and services for lawyers and law office administrators.
Informative and jargon-free, each TL NewsWire article enables you to quickly understand the function of each product, and zero in on its most notable features. In each issue, you can easily revisit previous articles thanks to convenient links.

Every December, we publish the TL NewsWire Top 25 Products of the Year Awards as chosen by TL NewsWire subscribers — including you if you become a subscriber.

TL NewsWire is free. Subscribe now to TL NewsWire and any of our other newsletters by using the form on this page.


Read a recent issue
Join TechnoLawyer Now
CURRENT MEMBERSHIP: 13,772
Your First Name: 
Your Last Name: 
Email Address: 
Create Password: 
Retype Password: 
Alternate Email 
(optional)
Recent Issues
Return to List of Recent Issues

Abacus Payment Exchange Adds Payment Processing to Abacuslaw, Amicus Attorney, and Amicus Online

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a new payment processor with a flat fee per transaction that deposits funds overnight (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a Microsoft Word add-in for drafting litigation and transactional documents with a new document assembly engine, forms library, and machine-learning tools, a new legal research service that use artificial intelligence to keep you apprised of new federal legislation and regulations, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Giving clients more options to pay you results in faster payment. Consumers like using credit cards when their checking account is running on fumes, while a growing number of businesses prefer paying by ACH (echeck) for security reasons. However, third-party payment providers often charge fees and take a few days to release funds.

Abacus Payment Exchange … in One Sentence

Launched recently, AbacusNext's Abacus Payment Exchange (APX) is a payment processing platform that works within the company's AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, and Amicus Online practice management systems.

The Killer Feature

APX addresses many complaints law firms have about payment providers. There's no contract, no monthly fees, no monthly minimums, and no additional fees for premium credit cards. Instead, APX charges a flat 3% of each credit card transaction. ACH payments sail through free of charge. In most cases, APX deposits payments into your designated bank account overnight.

"APX is convenient and easy to use when clients want to pay with credit card," said Ohio-based lawyer Norman J. Ullom-Morse. "It costs us substantially less than the previous vendor we used. It also works really well in the cloud environment. At this point, APX has become a necessity for my practice."

Other Notable Features

AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, and Amicus Online contain an onboarding wizard for APX. This wizard auto-fills much of the required information such as your firm's address. You can finish the signup process anytime in case you need to retrieve information.

The wizard verifies and authenticates your credit rating through Vantage, an independent underwriter. For example, you may need to identify previous residences or vehicles. Most applications are approved within a day. APX is not privy to any of this information.

APX supports both operating and trust accounts. Accordingly, APX can deposit payments into a trust account, and deduct the 3% fee from your operating account. APX never deducts fees from trust accounts to comply with ethics rules.

In each respective practice management system, you can store a default payment method for each client to save keystrokes. You can always override this setting. APX emails clients a receipt confirming payment. With most providers, disputed charges (chargebacks) get sent to you. By contrast, APX receives chargebacks on your behalf and offers integrated tools for responding to and resolving these disputes.

The financial reports in AbacusLaw, Amicus Attorney, and Amicus Online now include APX payment data so you can assess its impact on receivables aging. "Our clients have been telling us that that invoicing and getting paid is one of the hardest parts of a legal professional's job," said AbacusNext CEO Alessandra Lezama. "APX solves these payment and invoicing challenges within the industry-leading case management software."

What Else Should You Know?

APX is PCI-compliant and securely stores all payment information in its datacenters. No payment information resides in your practice management system. Learn more about Abacus Payment Exchange.

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.

Drafting Assistant Adds Document Assembly, Expert Forms, and More to Its Microsoft Word Drafting Tools

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Microsoft Word add-in for drafting litigation and transactional documents with a new document assembly engine, forms library, and machine-learning tools (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a new legal research service that use artificial intelligence to keep you apprised of new federal legislation and regulations, an AI-powered legal research technology that provides fast answers to common legal questions, including definitions, elements of a claim, and standards of proof, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

The briefs and contracts you draft often break new ground and benefit from your legal expertise. But just as often they incorporate material that already exists. And they always contain precise syntax that is time consuming to manually proofread. As a result, drafting benefits from automation — ideally a suite of tools within Microsoft Word.

Drafting Assistant … in One Sentence

Thomson Reuters' Drafting Assistant adds document assembly, reference, and proofreading tools to Microsoft Word (there's also a Drafting Assistant web app).

The Killer Feature

The new Build Document feature offers document assembly technology and a library of expert templates via integrations with Contract Express and Practical Law respectively. You start by selecting one of your own templates or a Practical Law template. Either way, you then use Contract Express' technology to enter data into the form fields to build your document.

Drafting Assistant can save your work at any point in case you need to hunt down some information or conduct research. Click the My Projects button to view recent documents, both completed and in progress. The Practical Law template library encompasses 12 practice areas, including antitrust, bankruptcy, commercial transactions, intellectual property, litigation, and real estate.

Other Notable Features

Drafting Assistant resides in a tab in Microsoft Word's Ribbon. Clicking the Drafting button opens a panel alongside your Word document that contains Build Document and other tools. Among these is the new Locate Precedent tool. Powered by machine learning, Locate Precedent enables you to compare a provision drafted by you or opposing counsel against publicly filed agreements in EDGAR. If you find a phrasing you prefer, you can add it to the document.

Also in the Drafting Assistant panel are a variety of tools for litigators, including the Locate Authority tool, which uses machine-learning technology similar to that of Locate Precedent. Select an argument in your brief and Locate Authority finds a supporting citation that you can add in your preferred style with a click. Flags & Links enables you to spot negative KeyCite signals for authorities you're citing. Alternatively, WestCheck creates a KeyCite report of all authorities in a separate document.

Other litigation tools include TOA Builder to build a table of authorities and Authority Compiler to a create PDF ebrief. "Drafting Assistant makes creating tables of authorities quick and easy," said Sarah Mauldin, Director of Library Services at Smith, Gambrell & Russell. "I like getting to look a bit like a magician by using a tool that transforms a painful process into one that is much less onerous."

Rounding out the suite of tools is Deal Proof, which has its own dedicated button in the Drafting Assistant ribbon tab. Deal Proof finds potential errors in your document such as undefined terms, unused terms, inconsistent paragraph numbering, punctuation errors, etc. Like a spell checker, Deal Proof now updates in real time as you make corrections.

What Else Should You Know?

Until this year Drafting Assistant required Windows. The Mac version will launch later this year, initially with Flags & Links and WestCheck followed by more tools in the future. "Mac users will have access to two of the most used features from Drafting Assistant," said Craig Larson, Vice President, Productivity Solution at Thomson Reuters. "Drafting Assistant provides a full range of solutions that improve efficiency and streamline document drafting workflows, validate citations, and perform other critical drafting tasks no matter where users are or what computing platform they are using." Learn more about Drafting Assistant.

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.

Federal Developments Knowledge Center Brings Subject Matter Experts and Artificial Intelligence to Bear on Federal Legislation and Regulations

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a new legal research service that use artificial intelligence to keep you apprised of new federal legislation and regulations (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of an AI-powered legal research technology that provides fast answers to common legal questions, including definitions, elements of a claim, and standards of proof, document and email manegement software that integrates with Microsoft Office and scanners to consolidate all client-related data in one location, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

The dramatic shift in public policy positions by the Trump administration and Republican Congress has resulted in a myriad of regulatory changes in the executive branch with the prospect of major legislation such as health and tax reform around the corner. Keeping up with this activity is daunting.

Federal Developments Knowledge Center … in One Sentence

Wolters Kluwer's Federal Developments Knowledge Center offers one-stop-shopping for analysis, news, and primary source material related to federal legislation and regulations.

The Killer Feature

More than 100 attorney editors comprise the team behind the Federal Developments Knowledge Center. One of their innovations is Smart Charts, which provide insights on recent activity within practice areas of interest to you. Smart Charts encompass more than a dozen practice areas, including Banking and Finance, Global Trade, Health Care, Immigration, Securities, and Tax.

After selecting one or more practice areas, you choose from several Document Types — Enacted Law, Executive Order, Final Rule, Proposed Legislation, etc. A table then lists Key Federal Developments with links to the primary source, Related Expert Analysis with links to news coverage, and WK Commentary. Written by the attorney editors, WK Commentary saves you time by providing the effective date, a synopsis, and the likely impact and next steps. Instead of periodically checking a Smart Chart, you can set up email alerts for one or more practice areas.

Other Notable Features

The Federal Developments Knowledge Center dashboard provides the entry point to Smart Charts. It also contains linked lists of presidential actions, bills and enacted law, rules and regulations, news headlines, white papers, and other references. Click See All for any of these items to view the full feed in reverse chronological order with new items since your last visit highlighted to save you time. At the top of the dashboard, you can search through all or selected types of content.

Federal Developments Knowledge Center offers artificial intelligence (AI) to provide predictive analytics for legislation, including a Bill Breakdown to help you assess proposed bills so that you can advise your clients. An AI algorithm called Predictive Outlook provides two percentages — Pass Prediction (whether a bill will exit its committee and get passed in that chamber) and Percent Chance of Enactment. A chart illustrates the positive and negative forces affecting the bill and their relative weight in forming the Predictive Outlook. In addition to the Bill Breakdown, you'll also find links to the bill and related bills and statutes, as well as statements about the bill by the president and administration officials.

"Amid so much regulatory uncertainty, attorneys have been hard pressed to monitor multiple sources, analyze information and gauge potential impact for their clients," says Dean Sonderegger, Vice President & General Manager, Legal Markets & Innovation. "Federal Developments Knowledge Center is designed to directly address those pain points, identifying the issues that will have a real impact on clients and giving legal professionals a comprehensive source of up-to-the-minute information so they can advise their clients with more speed, ease and agility."

What Else Should You Know?

Every item in Federal Developments Knowledge Center offers a printer-friendly version. You can also email any item or export to Word format (Excel format for Smart Charts and other tables). You can try the service for free without obligation. Learn more about Federal Developments Knowledge Center.

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.

Lexis Answers Uses Artificial Intelligence to Cut to the Chase in Legal Research

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an AI-powered legal research technology that provides fast answers to common legal questions, including definitions, elements of a claim, and standards of proof (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of document and email manegement software that integrates with Microsoft Office and scanners to consolidate all client-related data in one location, ediscovery software for quickly and inexpensively collecting and reviewing documents and email in small cases, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

When you need a legal definition, the elements of a claim, a standard of proof, etc. — legal basics that lie beyond the reach of your memory — it seems like a waste of time to skim cases for the answer. Instead, an intelligent assistant like those in our smartphones should provide the answer instantly.

Lexis Answers … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Lexis Answers is a free enhancement to Lexis Advance that saves you time by using artificial intelligence to anticipate your legal research needs.

The Killer Feature

Lexis Answers doesn't cost extra. It's baked into Lexis Advance. When you enter a search that falls within Lexis Answers' wheelhouse, an Answer Card appears atop the search results.

Product Manager Michael Etgen gave me a demo of Lexis Answers. He starts by entering the search "define res judicata." The Answer Card contains a definition from Bouvier Law Dictionary. Etgen then changes the search to "elements of res judicata." The Answer Card for this search lists res judicata's three elements taken from a Fifth Circuit case with a handy link. Etgen adds "NY" to this search. The Answer Card changes to show the elements of res judicata in New York, referencing a New York Court of Appeals case.

You need not memorize precise syntax to use Lexis Answers. It lists suggested answers as you type that you can select, and understands intent across different variations of language. For example, both "what is the definition of res judiacata" and "define res judicata" generate the same result. As Etgen demonstrated, Lexis Answers also understands jurisdictions such as states.

A team of lawyers with subject matter expertise trains the Lexis Answers algorithm, an ongoing process to ensure this flexibility, improve results, and expand the corpus of knowledge Lexis Answers understands. The algorithm also incorporates intelligence from Shepard's to ensure that cases used to provide answers are among the leading authorities as was the case for the above res judicata example.

Other Notable Features

Below the Answer Card, you'll find case law search results with your Lexis Answers query among the terms in the Search Term Map. Click on this term in the Search Term Map to view it in context without leaving the search results. The Search Term Map also tells you where in the opinion the term appears and its density throughout the opinion.

"Our goal is to create a smarter starting point to research," says Jeff Pfeifer, Vice President of Product Management at LexisNexis. "Using machine learning and advanced natural language processing technologies, Lexis Answers actually understands and interprets the intent of a user's search query — saving them time and effort by surfacing specific and actionable insights right at the top of their search results. This artificial intelligence powering Lexis Answers makes research easier, quicker and more intuitive than ever."

What Else Should You Know?

Lexis Answers currently encompasses legal topics from federal jurisdictions and most U.S. states and territories. As he wraps up my demo, Etgen tells me coverage will continue to expand to include all legal issues in all U.S. jurisdictions. Learn more about Lexis Answers.

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.

Synergy Matters Automates the Capture of Client-Related Documents and Email

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers document and email manegement software that integrates with Microsoft Office and scanners to consolidate all client-related data in one location (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of ediscovery software for quickly and inexpensively collecting and reviewing documents and email in small cases, a cloud practice management app with desktop-class features and per-case rather than per-user pricing, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Even the most detail-oriented lawyers find it challenging to keep all the information associated with a matter in one convenient location. You shouldn't have to develop elaborate systems to achieve this. Instead, software should do this work for you.

Synergy Matters 3.0 … in One Sentence

Launching this week, Legal Matters Software's Synergy Matters 3.0 is a document and email management system that automates the consolidation of all client-related data.

The Killer Feature

You can begin using Synergy Matters immediately after importing your client and matter information from your accounting software. As users work on matters, Synergy Matters prompts them to import their existing documents. The Outlook add-in works similarly, enabling you to import email and attachments. Legal Matters Software President John Ryan tells me that most law firms get up and running in less than a day, often just two hours.

Once you import a matter's documents and email, you can grant access rights to matters and organize the information within matters using nested folders as you see fit. From this point forward, a number of tools keep all new documents and email within Synergy Matters. Automatic email capture occurs whether you initiate messages from within a matter in Synergy Matters or from within Outlook. In the latter scenario, the Outlook add-in enables you to attach documents from Synergy Matters and save your message in the corresponding matter. A similar Microsoft Word add-in captures all new client-related documents.

Integration with scanners helps you go paperless. Built-in OCR makes these scanned PDF files searchable. Synergy Matters also captures incoming and outgoing faxes.

"The intuitive nature of Synergy Matters makes training new staff easy, and having the same interface for bringing in emails, scans, faxes and downloaded research means the documents all end up in the correct place," says Troy Berg, Manager, Information Technology at Doak Shirreff.

Other Notable Features

Synergy Matters also offers new collaboration tools. When you use the For Review tool to send a document to a colleague, Synergy Matters marks the document as out for review and notifies your colleague. If your colleague makes changes, Synergy Matters creates a new version. Click the History button for a complete audit trail of who worked on the document and when. You can revert to any prior version as well as create a new version with its own history.

"Synergy Matters 3.0 is the result of lawyers working closely with us to enhance their workflows," says Ryan. "In particular, the For Review process offers foolproof internal collaboration with an audit trail."

Synergy Matters' dashboard lists your active cases within the past 30 days. The search bar enables you to find any case. Within matters, the new Chronological View lists all the files in reverse chronological order regardless of their location within a folder.

What Else Should You Know?

Other features of Synergy Matters include Combine as PDF to merge selected documents into a single PDF file, automatic time capture of your activity for billing or proof of work when splitting fees, ethical walls, a notes tickler within each matter, and cost recovery. Synergy Matters runs on Windows PCs. Pricing starts at $125 per month for up to five users. Learn more about Synergy Matters 3.0.

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

As a fairly unsophisticated technophile, I find the TechnoLawyer Newswire helps explain new software, gadgets, and other products in language I can understand. Plus, it always provides links to a fuller explanation of the product or service. All in all, a very helpful read for an old lawyer trying to keep up.
- Jack P. Doran, Esq., Law Office of Jack Doran
Advertise With Us


Powered by PeerViews About Us | Advertise With Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
TechnoLawyer • PeerViews Inc., 100 Church Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10007
Copyright © 2017 PeerViews Inc. All rights reserved.