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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Compare Documents Faster and Gain Deeper Insights Without Leaving Microsoft Word

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers document comparison software that adds legal-specific functionality to Microsoft Word's Track Changes and which integrates with popular document management systems (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a Mac document management system that combines the familiarity of the Finder with legal-specific tools such as automated email capture, a legal payments platform that enables your firm to accept payment by e-check or credit card without having to change your billing process, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Microsoft Word's Track Changes offers a barebones document comparison experience designed for the mass market, not legal professionals. But it's convenient because it resides where you work — in Word. Recognizing this, Evolution Software set out to enhance Track Changes rather than require you to change your workflow.

NOVO Compare … in One Sentence

Evolution Software's NOVO Compare is document comparison software that enhances Microsoft Word's Track Changes for generating legal-specific redlines.

The Killer Feature

NOVO Compare resides in its own toolbar on the Microsoft Word Ribbon. Once you configure NOVO Compare, the QuickCompare menu enables you to compare documents with a minimum of clicks. "Our clients asked us to develop a better way to quickly and efficiently compare documents," says CEO Chris Cangero. "QuickCompare is our solution, delivering a practical design and advanced automation."

With QuickCompare, you can compare the active document to another open document in the background, a local or network document via Windows Explorer, or a different document or version in your document management system (DMS). Without any extra clicks, you can decide to make the active or the target document the baseline.

NOVO Compare integrates with the following DMS — iManage, NetDocuments, OpenText, SharePoint, and Worldox. If you use one of these, QuickCompare gains additional options such as comparing he last two versions of a document in your DMS, two different documents in your DMS, or a document in your DMS to a local document.

"NOVO Compare and QuickCompare specifically is of great value to our firm's users," Cheyenne Harden, Director of Information Technology at O'Reilly Rancilio P.C. "QuickCompare allows our staff to reduce the time it takes to produce and correct legal documents. It is truly a timesaver!"

Other Notable Features

NOVO Compare offers a deep collection of settings. You can save sets of settings and switch among them from the toolbar. Most importantly, you can decide what to include and exclude when comparing documents. For example, you can exclude white space, comments, formatting and case changes, etc. You can also modify how changes are shown and in what color.

Other settings enable you to choose the format of the redline (DOCX, DOC, PDF, or XPS), the page layout, whether to show the reviewing pane, how to handle paragraph and footnote numbering, and whether to create a Comparison Summary report in a separate document or before or after the redline. One of the more interesting settings acknowledges today's widescreen monitors, enabling you to show the original and modified documents alongside the redline. In this view, scrolling through the redline automatically scrolls the other two documents.

A number of tools exist for reviewing a redline and accepting/rejecting changes. You can magnify changes to make them easier to see without changing the formatting of the underlying document. You can also switch between a traditional redline view and Word's inline track changes. If you prefer reviewing on paper, you can choose from two settings depending on how much detail you want.

What Else Should You Know?

NOVO Compare integrates with Outlook for sharing redlines. Select the format, and send only the redline or also the original and/or the modified document. NOVO Compare costs $99 per user per year. This includes new features, software updates, and technical support. Learn more about NOVO Compare.

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.

That's Not the Finder, That's DocMoto v4

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Mac document management system that combines the familiarity of the Finder with legal-specific tools such as automated email capture (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a legal payments platform that enables your firm to accept payment by e-check or credit card without having to change your billing process, document assembly software that you can use within other applications such as your document or practice management system, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Given that tens of millions of people use Macs, Apple does not focus on the needs of law firms when it creates new versions of macOS. As a result, law firms grow increasingly frustrated with the rudimentary document management tools in the Finder as they amass more documents and client-related email.

DocMoto v4 … in One Sentence

CHL Software's DocMoto v4 is a Mac document management system with a new Finder-like interface that offers organizational and sharing tools for documents and email.

The Killer Feature

"DocMoto version 4 merges the latest thinking from Apple along with our own designs and customer feedback to produce a DMS that better serves the way lawyers really work," says Director of CHL Software Neil Cameron.

DocMoto looks like a Finder window. You'll immediately notice a side panel with three sections — DocMoto, Favorites, and Recent Documents. The DocMoto section gives you access to all documents via the nested folders your firm uses, your own private documents, and documents you've trashed. You can save frequently-used folders as Favorites for faster access, and open documents you're working on with one-click in the Recent Documents section.

You can open any folder in a new tab. "This tabs layout allows attorneys to keep multiple matters open simultaneously all in the one interface," says Cameron. Searches also open in a new tab so that you won't lose your place. Save any search as a Shared View, which updates in realtime as new documents are created that match your search criteria. Rounding out the new interface, a customizable toolbar enables you check documents in/out, list all versions of document, and much more.

Other Notable Features

Document management without email is incomplete so DocMoto now connects to email accounts such as Exchange, Office 365, and Gmail, and offers several tools to automate the capture of client-related email. One tool — Mailbox Rules — consists of customizable filters. For example, a rule could capture all email to or from a client. An administrator can maintain a set of standard rules for all users. Advanced users can create their own rules, including exclusionary rules to ignore personal email.

Mailbox Patterns give users more control of what email to store in DocMoto but still offer automation. Once created, Mailbox Patterns watch folders in connected email accounts, and copy messages and attachments that match to the correct location in DocMoto. Like the previous version, DocMoto also offers manual import of email via drag and drop.

When you open a document or email message in DocMoto, a three-pane display shows you the document's location, metadata such as who last edited it, and a thumbnail. From here you can view or edit the document, the latter of which checks it out and creates a new version.

"When we moved our documents to DocMoto, it was great to have access to all documents without syncing to a computer and eating up hard drive space," says Kelley McFarland, Lead Litigation Paralegal at Brown Law LLP. "Our colleagues quickly realized how easy it was to share documents with people inside and outside the firm by creating shared links to folders rather than putting documents on a USB drive."

What Else Should You Know?

The new version of DocMoto also features beefed up security, including a setting to throttle the number of documents users can download to prevent internal sabotage or theft. Learn more about DocMoto v4.

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.

Headnote Wants Your Law Firm to Get Paid Early and Often

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a legal payments platform that enables your firm to accept payment by e-check or credit card without having to change your billing process (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of document assembly software that you can use within other applications such as your document or practice management system, case management software that runs on Windows, Android, and iOS with features, customization options, and integrations that acknowledge today's world, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

The average law firm gets paid 60-90 days after sending an invoice. Second-generation lawyer Sarah Schaaf witnessed both of her parents start their own firms and struggle with collection issues. Sarah left an in-house role in Google's legal department to start a legal payments company to shorten the payment gap to days or even minutes in many cases.

Headnote … in One Sentence

Headnote is a trust-compliant e-check and credit card payments platform for law firms seeking to get paid faster with less follow-up.

The Killer Feature

Headnote eliminates complexity when it comes to getting paid. Headnote provides you with a hyperlink to a secure payment page that you then send to clients using your existing invoicing process by embedding the link anywhere — email message, Word or PDF document, practice management, billing, or accounting software, etc.

When your client receives the link, they click on it using any device, see your firm's letterhead and logo, and pay in seconds without needing to create a Headnote account.

Headnote enables your clients to pay by e-check, a feature that CEO Schaaf tells us is exclusive to Headnote and 100% compliant with IOLTA and the ABA's Model Rules for accepting online payment to both trust and operating accounts. Clients securely log into their bank account and authorize payment using the same instantaneous authentication process that banks use for transfers. Headnote teamed up with Silicon Valley Bank to create this e-check platform, which connects to more than 2,500 banks. This eliminates the older, days-long micro-deposit and account verification process.

"Headnote allows attorneys to easily begin accepting compliant online payments and improving realization rates without changing any internal billing or invoicing processes," says Schaaf. "It's a game changer for law firms and the legal industry as a whole."

Other Notable Features

You can sign up with Headnote in a few minutes, and there's no cost associated with having an account. Enter your email address and firm information, create a password, upload your logo, and connect your bank account.

You can accept only e-check payments or also allow credit cards. Headnote charges 1.9% of e-check and 3.5% of credit card transactions. To comply with ethics rules, Headnote doesn't take this fee from client payments but instead charges your firm separately. This enables you to connect a trust account for client payments.

Headnote also handles collections with its Automated Reminder feature, which emails the payment link to delinquent clients. Choose when and how often to send reminders, and personalize the accompanying message. Some Headnote users like solo practitioner Kimberley Spire-Oh don't need this feature. "Since starting to use Headnote, my clients pay more often and much faster without me needing to remind them," says Spire-Oh. "It's a very user-friendly system and provides huge benefits to my practice."

Several specialized tools exist for specific use cases. For example, if you charge clients a flat fee for the same work over and over, you can create automatic recurring payments at set intervals. Less tech savvy clients can keep their credit card on file and authorize you to make payments on their behalf. Also, Headnote enables law firms to add a payment page to their website to make it even easier for clients to pay (setup is free).

What Else Should You Know?

Headnote offers several reports showing all transactions, all payment links, etc. If your firm uses QuickBooks, syncing your bank accounts will automatically pull in all payments made through Headnote for fast reconciliations. Learn more about Headnote.

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.

Document Automation That Resides Where You Work and Store Data

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers document assembly software that you can use within other applications such as your document or practice management system (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of case management software that runs on Windows, Android, and iOS with features, customization options, and integrations that acknowledge today's world, an online marketplace for finding contract lawyers without running afoul of ethics rules, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Document automation software should be as common in law firms as word processing software. It solves several once intractable problems — creating documents faster, reducing errors, using data that already resides in other systems and ensuring regulatory compliance when applicable. One company believes what's preventing wider adoption is where users access it.

HotDocs Hub and HotDocs Developer 11 … in One Sentence

AbacusNext's HotDocs Hub and HotDocs Developer 11, the new version of the granddaddy of document assembly platforms with 60% market share, focuses on making template authoring and third-party integrations easier.

The Killer Feature

Traditionally, when you needed to generate a document from a HotDocs template, you would open HotDocs on the desktop. You can still do this but HotDocs' new integration tools (a "REST API") enable you to incorporate it into applications that house your client data. With HotDocs serving as middleware, users at your firm may not even realize they're using HotDocs.

The most obvious front end for your HotDocs templates is your practice management system, which can autofill fields such as client name and address, opposing counsel, etc. AbacusNext's practice management products — Amicus Attorney and AbacusLaw — integrate with minimal setup. But as Global Sales Director Gary Eunson stresses, you can incorporate HotDocs into many third-party practice management systems not to mention document management systems.

The HotDocs Professional Services group can assist you with integrations and create templates for you. "Operational efficiency is still a critical issue for law firms of all sizes," says Eunson. "Creating legal documents using our market leading document automation technology provides value, not only for the law firm, but for the clients it serves."

Other Notable Features

Getting started involves a Content Author (someone at your firm or a consultant) using HotDocs Developer to create templates for all the documents your firm regularly creates. You build templates using elements such as text fields, date variables, true/false and multiple-choice dialogs, clause selectors, math formulas, etc.

Completed templates then reside in the new HotDocs Hub cloud repository, which also offers tools for user management. Version control enables you to keep all template versions and rollback changes. Template Groups collect related templates such as those for a practice group in your firm. Integration with Active Directory and other identity systems enable users to access templates. You can host HotDocs Hub behind your firewall, through HotDocs' hosting services, or with Abacus Private Cloud.

Users access templates via their browser. The main tab contains the "interview" as HotDocs calls it — essentially a form. The middle tab offers a realtime preview of the document being built. The third tab lists all the data entered into the interview. When finished, choose from formats such as Word, WordPerfect, PDF, etc., and HotDocs automatically saves the document to your practice or document management system per the integrations discussed above.

What Else Should You Know?

"HotDocs is the quintessential software for document automation," says Michael Savage, operations manager at Baugher Law Firm PLLC. "It's very robust and the possibilities are endless. Generating documents and pleadings now take a fraction of the time they normally would using any other software. I highly recommend this product." Learn more about HotDocs Hub and HotDocs Developer 11.

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 Stuff of Case Management Dreams

Thursday, July 05, 2018

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

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

Needles 5 … in One Sentence

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

The Killer Feature

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

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

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

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

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

Other Notable Features

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

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

What Else Should You Know?

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

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

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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