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.

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Spare Your Back With Paperless Exhibits at Your Next Deposition

Friday, April 13, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud application for paperless deposition exhibits with tools for focusing the deponent's attention and monitoring their actions (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of all-in-one practice management software with a variety of automation tools to save you time, document assembly software that resides within Microsoft Word and offers a simplified way to create templates versus traditional products, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Taking a deposition requires intense focus. Paper exhibits can break your flow. You literally need to get everyone on the same page, and there's no way to control what the witness sees. Plus hauling all that paper can make you feel more like a courier than a lawyer. One company aims to make these problems a thing of the past.

AgileLaw Electronic Exhibits … in One Sentence

AgileLaw Electronic Exhibits (AgileLaw) is a cloud application for paperless depositions that replaces printed exhibits with laptops and tablets.

The Killer Feature

With AgileLaw, everyone at the deposition uses either a laptop, iPad, or Android tablet to view exhibits. Queue an exhibit and reveal it to the court reporter, opposing counsel, and the deponent. For multipage exhibits, navigate to the specific page you want to ask questions about, and click Show Witness This Page. The witness then sees the page you want to discuss. You can even avoid paging through long documents by setting up jump points. To view actions being performed by the witness such as page changes, annotations, and magnification, click the View Witness Screen button. At any point, click Clear Witness Screen to prevent the witness from seeing anything.

"When I was practicing law many years ago, preparing for and conducting depositions was such a hassle," says AgileLaw co-founder Cyclone Covey. "We built AgileLaw E-Exhibits so that attorneys could ditch the bankers boxes and instead show up with a laptop or tablet. And we designed the product to mimic the workflow of paper-based depositions, so it can be adopted quickly and easily, with no training required."

Other Notable Features

Bob Meynardie, partner at Meynardie & Nanney, recently used AgileLaw for the first time. "I had to travel so carrying a tablet instead of bankers boxes was a godsend," he says. "I was also able to present a document that I had not initially planned on using, which I would not have been able to do without AgileLaw. I am a definite convert."

Meynardie is referring to AgileLaw's import tools, which support drag and drop as well as Box, Dropbox, Clio, and Relativity. After importing documents, you create a deposition, add the documents you plan to use to that deposition, and arrange the documents in your preferred order. You can rename documents, categorize them with labels, and add annotations that only you will see.

You can use the Mock Deposition tool for a dry run to increase your comfort level. If, like Meynardie, you need to use an unplanned exhibit during the deposition, you can add it on the fly using the import tools discussed above or have your paralegal handle it remotely without taking a break.

Prior to the deposition, all participants receive a secure PIN that gives them access to AgileLaw. During the deposition, AgileLaw can apply exhibit stamps to the documents you reveal using any alphanumeric system. At the end of the deposition, sharing the exhibits with participants requires just one click after which they receive an email message with a secure download link that requires the PIN.

AgileLaw offers four reports (called Filters) that enable you to see all documents revealed, marked as exhibits, annotated by the witness, and annotated by you.

What Else Should You Know?

AgileLaw is subscription-based with the monthly price ranging from $100 to $500 per month depending on your needs for storage and other features. All plans allow for unlimited users, cases, depositions, and participants. Learn more about AgileLaw Electronic Exhibits.

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.

Smarter Practice Management Software Designed to Save Time

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers all-in-one practice management software with a variety of automation tools to save you time (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of document assembly software that resides within Microsoft Word and offers a simplified way to create templates versus traditional products, practice management software that transforms legal billing from a multi-day process into one that takes minutes, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

There's a growing divide in the practice management world between products that include everything a law firm needs and those that expect you to add functionality through an ever-increasing array of third-party integrations. One thing's for sure — the latter approach costs more and imposes a complexity tax.

Perfect Practice … in One Sentence

Perfect Practice is all-in-one practice management software with an emphasis on automation and customization that includes case management, billing, accounting, document assembly, internal messaging, shared calendars, and more.

The Killer Feature

All practice management products contain innumerable fields for storing information. In Perfect Practice, you can make most fields a Smart Field, which acts as a trigger for nearly any function you want to automate.

For example, you can configure a Smart Field to retrieve and auto-populate data when you select a client name, generate a form requiring additional information, perform a series of calculations when you enter a property value, etc.

"We implemented a Smart Field to automate tasks that our Intake Team had to run on every new file that we received," says Nicole O'Brien, Director of IT Client Services at Woods Oviatt Gilman. "This allows our users to just click one button and take 15 minutes worth of tasks down to less than one minute."

Smart Fields work via SQL queries. Depending on your firm's needs, you can configure Smart Fields using preset functions that don't require any knowledge of SQL, create your own customized queries if you have SQL expertise, or take advantage of optional consulting services from Perfect Practice.

"The power of Smart Fields is limited only by one's imagination," says Perfect Practice Chairman Monty Helin. "Unlimited Smart Fields can be added in 30 seconds or less."

Smart Fields become even more powerful when combined with DocuTrac, the document assembly component of Perfect Practice that works with Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, and PDF forms. DocuTrac templates consist of questionnaires that generate a document after you enter the required information. Any field in these questionnaires can be a Smart Field to save time and reduce errors.

Other Notable Features

Perfect Practice greets you with a customizable dashboard that shows you whatever you want — your unbilled time, tasks, meetings, etc. Collapse dashboard panels, add, remove, or rearrange them, and drill down to more granular views.

In keeping with its focus on automation and customization, Perfect Practice makes extensive use of Checklists to automate workflows and assign the next task in line to the right person. Each Case has its own dashboard with a tickler so that you can review these activities and who performed them.

Perfect Practice ships with practice-area-specific templates to get you started. An Outlook add-in enables you to file email in the applicable case. You'll find an extensive set of reports in Perfect Practice but if you need a report that doesn't exist you can create it using Quick Reports. HIPAA-compliant security enables you to set password rules, limit access by role or individual user, monitor user activity, and even restore data after an error or tampering.

What Else Should You Know?

Perfect Practice costs $60 per user per month or you can license the software on an annual basis if you prefer. You can install Perfect Practice at your firm or use it on a hosted basis. You use Perfect Practice via the Windows desktop application or your web browser, including a mobile-friendly view on smartphones. Learn more about Perfect Practice.

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.

Add Document Assembly Tools to Microsoft Word’s Ribbon

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers document assembly software that resides within Microsoft Word and offers a simplified way to create templates versus traditional products (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of practice management software that transforms legal billing from a multi-day process into one that takes minutes, a Microsoft Outlook add-in that predicts where to file your email and even lets you know when a colleague has beat you to it and already filed the same message, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Traditional document assembly software outputs a Microsoft Word document. But you don't work within Word. Instead, you must either master the intricacies of the document assembly software or hire a consultant. A new alternative seeks to flatten the learning curve.

Word DA … in One Sentence

Infoware's Word DA adds document assembly tools to Microsoft Word, and optionally integrates with sibling add-in Word LX Professional or Word LX Enterprise for enhanced functionality.

The Killer Feature

Word DA resides in the Microsoft Word Ribbon. The clauses you regularly use when drafting reside in Microsoft Word documents. These "Templates" as they're called use Word's styles to categorize the clauses. A template can also consist of an entire document such as a trust, will, etc. that doesn't require the use of different components each time.

You create data fields (a.k.a. variables) within clauses and document templates by placing square brackets around placeholder text. Word DA replaces these data fields with the information you provide during the drafting process. For example, the data field "[Client Last Name]" would be replaced by your client's last name everywhere it appears. You need only enter the last name once when prompted.

You assemble documents from stored clauses using Word DA's Clause Tool. This three-pane window lists available clauses on the left, a preview on the bottom, and the clauses you've selected on the right. After adding clauses, you can change their order and preview the document you're about to create. When you're all set, one click combines the selected clauses into a Word document.

"Our Word DA document assembly tools provide firms with an easier way to build and manage their content while designing templates that incorporate logic and intelligence to quickly automate document creation," says Michael Barrons, Infoware's Vice President Marketing & Operations. "Our tools live within Microsoft Word, providing a simple and extremely cost-effective solution that saves legal professionals time and improves document quality and accuracy."

Other Notable Features

Many small and midsize law firms use both Word DA and Word LX Professional. The latter, which we covered previously in TL NewsWire, features a number of tools to ensure document consistency across your firm. These tools reside on the Ribbon alongside Word DA.

One such tool — Prompt — enhances the functionality of the data fields in Word DA templates by storing the information you enter. This enables you to make a change (e.g., correct a misspelling) and update that field throughout the document. The Prompt tool lists all data fields in a panel, making it faster to enter and update the fields than using Word DA alone.

Word LX's Template Designer enables you to create Word DA templates with your firm's logo and address, preferred margins, typeface styles, etc. Word LX also makes it easier to access frequently-used templates. You can even add dedicated template icons to the Ribbon. After using Word DA to create a document, Word LX can make quick work of many formatting tasks, including consistent paragraph numbering and styles, adding a DocID, and generating a table of contents.

What Else Should You Know?

Word DA costs $150 per user per year standalone (less if bundled with Word LX). Infoware helps you get up and running, including training for those at your firm who will maintain templates and create new ones. Learn more about Word DA.

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.

The New Clio Experience Promises Administrative Salvation

Friday, March 23, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers practice management software that reduces the time required for administrative chores such as legal billing and filing client-related email (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a Microsoft Outlook add-in that predicts where to file your email and even lets you know when a colleague has beat you to it and already filed the same message, a cloud practice management system that has added financial and trust accounting to complement its billing features, obviating third-party software such as QuickBooks, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

They say that time is money, but not all time is equal in the legal profession. The more non-billable time you and your staff spend on administrative tasks, the less time you can devote to billable client work. A practice management pioneer has partnered with law firms to eliminate these inefficiencies.

Clio … in One Sentence

Redesigned based on observing lawyers as they work, Clio is a cloud practice management platform with a new approach to billing, email management, and other law firm workflows.

The Killer Feature

Clio's product team spent time at over 60 law firms. They discovered that moving existing billing workflows into software offers only modest improvements. Therefore, one focus of the "new Clio experience" is getting bills out and getting bills paid in minutes rather than days.

For example, Batch Billing includes new customization options such as the ability to generate detailed or aggregate invoices, treat services and expenses differently, and select unique invoice themes to make your bills easier for clients to review. The Draft Bill page has a new layout for fast reviews without scrolling. Click the Edit button on a draft bill to change the address, add or revise descriptions, change rates, apply discounts, and even add time and expenses without leaving the invoice.

You can bulk approve and deliver invoices via email or to the Clio Connect secure client portal. Clio also streamlines payment handling, allowing you to approve a bill and apply funds held in trust to that bill in a single click. You can even apply a single payment to multiple invoices.

"We've taken nine years of learnings from working with the best law firms in the world and incorporated them into the largest, most important product release in Clio's history," says Jack Newton, CEO and Co-founder of Clio. "It is a re-platforming of Clio on a new set of web technologies making it an order of magnitude faster."

Other Notable Features

Also new is Clio's Outlook add-in. With one click, you can bulk file email messages and attachments in Clio after which these messages appear in searches and on the corresponding matter's dashboard. This integration also adds a timer to Outlook, enabling you to start the clock when you read or compose a billable email message, and save these time entries to a matter.

In addition to all the new features, Clio has also improved the user experience. The menu ribbon has moved to the side and is collapsible to increase visibility. The search box is larger, searches run 10 times faster, and search results include custom fields for more precision. The "Create New" menu and Timer are now omnipresent at the top for universal access from all screens. All records in Clio with no associated billing display an "Add Time" button to ensure that you don't overlook any billable events.

"Clio is slick, fast and intuitive," says lawyer Jason Morris, Owner of Round Table Law LLP. "The parts of the interface you need most often are always there with no scrolling."

What Else Should You Know?

Clio offers more than 90 third-party integrations — far more than any other product on the market. The new App Directory categorizes these integrations by function and practice area. Clio offers three plans — Starter ($39 per user per month), Boutique ($59), and Elite ($99). Marquee integrations such as Office 365 and QuickBooks require the Boutique or Elite plans. Learn more about Clio.

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.

One-Click Email Filing in Outlook via Artificial Intelligence

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Microsoft Outlook add-in that predicts where to file your email and even lets you know when a colleague has beat you to it and already filed the same message (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a cloud practice management system that has added financial and trust accounting to complement its billing features, obviating third-party software such as QuickBooks, an online video tutorial service to help lawyers prepare clients for depositions, mediations, and trials, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Over the years, document management systems have adapted to include email. The companies behind these products have developed all sorts of tools for saving email messages and attachments so that everyone working on a matter can access them. However, solutions to date require too much manual labor, and don't take into account multiple recipients of the same message to prevent duplicates.

ndMail … in One Sentence

Recently launched, NetDocuments' ndMail is a Microsoft Outlook add-in that uses artificial intelligence to make saving client-related email in the correct location faster and more accurate.

The Killer Feature

NetDocuments pioneered cloud document management nearly 20 years ago. In recent years, the company modernized NetDocuments to pave the way for companion products like ndMail.

Once installed, ndMail monitors your inbox to identify where in NetDocuments you likely want to file each new message. Select a message to view these recommended locations. Check a box if you agree with a prediction and the message is stored in that NetDocuments folder, inheriting the corresponding client, matter, and other associated metadata. You can file email in multiple folders. If you're unsure about a recommendation, right-click to open that location in NetDocuments for more context.

ndMail uses the sender, recipients, subject line, attachments, etc. to make its predictions. A Signal Strength Indicator to the left of each recommendation indicates the confidence level of ndMail's Predictive Email Filing technology. If none of the recommendations is a good fit, you can search or browse NetDocuments to find the correct folder, or create a new folder (e.g., new matter). ndMail learns from your behavior to improve its future recommendations.

"ndMail is unlike other email management solutions," says NetDocuments Sr. Product Manager of ndMail Bradlee Duncan. "It comes pre-loaded with accurate filing predictions, leveraging AI technology based on existing matter content and filing behaviors. This eliminates the need for complex deployment or pre-trained models to generate its predictions. The value is immediate in time saved, helping new employees get up to speed, and preventing errors."

Other Notable Features

NetDocuments realizes you're part of a law firm, and that colleagues often receive the same email messages. Therefore, ndMail includes a Global Filing Indicator in the form of a NetDocuments column in Outlook. If a colleague has already filed a message, the Global Filing Indicator in this column lets you know before you open the message. This prevents the storage of duplicate email messages in the same NetDocuments folder.

When composing an email message, ndMail works similarly, predicting where you likely want to file the message after sending it. If a recipient works in your law firm, they will see the Global Filing Indicator in Outlook to let them know you have already filed the message in NetDocuments.

If you communicate frequently on one matter, you can use ndMail's Folder Mapping as an alternative way to save messages in NetDocuments. Folder Mapping enables you to list NetDocuments folders within Outlook's navigation panel. Drag and drop multiple messages into a mapped folder to store them in NetDocuments.

What Else Should You Know?

You can deploy ndMail centrally. Some firms create a rule in Microsoft Exchange to remove filed messages from user inboxes after a specified period of time. Alternatively, you can give users the ability to keep or delete email in Outlook after filing it in NetDocuments. Learn more about ndMail.

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
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