TechnoLawyer NewsWire
So many products, so little time. TL NewsWire is a weekly newsletter that discusses and links to hot new products and services of interest to legal professionals.
Concise, informative, fun to read, and jargon-free, TL NewsWire enables you to stay on top of more than 225 new products and services every year. We structure each article so that you can quickly understand the function of each product, and zero in on its most important features.

Periodically, we publish special roundup issues of TL NewsWire that focus on a single product category (e.g., ergonomic desks, personalized iPad news apps, etc.). Every December, we publish a special issue listing the most popular new products of the year according to TL NewsWire subscribers.

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


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eDiscovery Point Wants to Put Lawyers Back in Charge of Their Cases

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud ediscovery software designed with the help of litigators that includes free processing (see article below), a practice management app with integrated online payments, a project management app with automated workflows, and an over-the-top television service for news junkies. Don't miss the next issue.

The rise of ediscovery added an additional layer of complexity for lawyers and their teams. Faced with abstruse technology and pricing, some lawyers ignored ediscovery altogether, missing out on all the juicy evidence in email and social media. Fortunately, technology marches on, and what used to be complex and time consuming becomes simple enough for litigation support, paralegals and lawyers to handle themselves.

eDiscovery Point … in One Sentence

Launching this week, Thomson Reuters eDiscovery Point is a cloud ediscovery processing, review, and production platform with a focus on speed and user experience.

The Killer Feature

With eDiscovery Point, you pay per gigabyte only for the smaller data set you choose to move to review after processing and filtering. This means that your unlimited access to eDiscovery Point's processing and pre-review tools don't cost anything to use.

After creating a new case, you can upload up to 10 GB of collected data via your web browser or FTP. Alternatively, you can ship the data to Thomson Reuters on physical media (similar to Westlaw's reference attorneys, eDiscovery Point has a support team available 24/7).

eDiscovery Point automates processing tasks such as de-NISTing, de-duplication, metadata extraction, virus detection, and conversion and indexing of scanned documents. The processing engine starts returning documents within minutes so you can start working on them as well as your case strategy.

eDiscovery Point offers do-it-yourself Data Assessment tools to help you find potentially relevant documents and email for review. You can run searches and filter documents by custodian, file type, date range, and email fields such as TO, CC, and BCC. You can also view data by source path or PST structure. For large data sets, you can use eDiscovery Point's five-step predictive coding wizard to save time eliminating non-responsive data.

Other Notable Features

When you complete the pre-review process, you assign culled documents to your review team. The review workflow displays the document you're viewing on the left, information about the document above, and Document Coding options on the right. There's also a search bar that uses the same syntax as Westlaw to reduce your learning curve so you can quickly find what you need.

You can mark documents as responsive and privileged, assign issue tags, add notes, highlight key passages, zoom in and out, and apply Bates stamps. You can redact text with precision by selecting it with your mouse. For large areas, you can redact by drawing a box.

Assisted by an advisory board of litigation support professionals and litigators, the development team focused on making the tool easy to use. "We wanted to give control back to lawyers and their teams," says James Jarvis, Vice President of Product Management and Partnerships for Thomson Reuters Legal Managed Services. For jobs too large for your team, Legal Managed Services (formerly Pangea3) can do the work for you as well as provide a document review team.

What Else Should You Know?

eDiscovery Point works in all major web browsers on Macs and Windows PCs. You can login using the same OnePass password you use for Westlaw and other Thomson Reuters services. The company guarantees 99.99% availability, and stores your data in the United States. You can enable two-factor authentication for additional security. Learn more about eDiscovery Point.

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.

LEAP Offers Small Law Firms an Integrated Front and Back Office

Friday, January 29, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a practice management system that can also power your law firm's website (see article below), an iOS app for capturing and organizing your handwritten notes, and two apps for discovery document processing and review. Don't miss the next issue.

The fewer moving parts in a small law firm, the better. More complexity tends to increase administrative costs. In the technology realm, the more your practice management system can handle, the more you can dispense with single-function products.

LEAP … in One Sentence

LEAP is a legal accounting and practice management system that encompasses both front and back office tasks.

The Killer Feature

For your front office, LEAP offers document assembly and management of contacts, calendars, documents, and email. For your back office, LEAP offers billing and IOLTA-compliant trust accounting. It integrates with QuickBooks Online for your general ledger.

LEAP is a hybrid cloud solution — you access it from a Windows desktop app but the data is securely hosted on U.S.-based servers. The LEAP mobile app for iOS and Android take advantage of your smartphone's capabilities. For example, you can capture telephone calls with clients for time entries, and scan a document into LEAP using the camera.

"LEAP is for small law firms wishing to become more efficient, more flexible, and make more money," CEO of LEAP Chris Stock tells us. "LEAP's integrated system enables small law firms to do more work with the same number of people."

Other Notable Features

Because LEAP is a Windows app, it offers deep integration with Microsoft Outlook and Word. You can start new documents and email messages from LEAP, and automatically record the billable time you spend on them. LEAP can convert documents into PDF format when you email them. The Outlook integration also extends to your calendars.

LEAP can manage all of your firm's information. For example, it captures and automatically files inbound email, and integrates with scanners. You'll want to start new documents in LEAP because of its forms and templates. The company continually adds templates in many practice areas plus you can create your own.

Other document management features include audit trails, versioning, document viewer, document comparison, and combination of PDF files. Perhaps best of all, rather than email a document to colleagues, you can email them a link to the document so that the final version remains in LEAP.

LEAP's electronic timesheet with autocomplete enables timekeepers to enter their time. LEAP also handles cost recovery and expenses with the ability to group disbursements into a single line item. You can output bills in Word or PDF format, and email them from LEAP so that they get filed in the corresponding matter. Trust accounting enables you to manage retainers and apply payments.

What Else Should You Know?

LEAP includes LEAP Websites at no extra charge. This service includes mobile-friendly templates from which you can choose, a WordPress blog, email newsletters, and search engine optimization. Some LEAP customers that already have a website use LEAP Websites for a second website around a practice area. LEAP starts at $129 per user per month with a 12-month money-back guarantee. The company reinvests $6 million per year into new features for LEAP. Learn more about LEAP.

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.

Tabs3 Version 18 Streamlines Billing, Trust Accounting, and Payments

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers billing software designed to make billing your time and managing trust accounts easier (see article below), an email app for Android and iOS that integrates with Skype, a Dropbox alternative created specifically for law firms, and a security certification program for law firms. Don't miss the next issue.

Law firms face several conundrums. For example, your firm must bill time to generate revenue, but the administrative work involved in billing time consumes time. Also, retainers make it easier to get paid, but state bar compliance requirements make trust accounting an ethics minefield. Your legal billing software should minimize administrative overhead and risk.

Tabs3 Version 18 … in One Sentence

Launching this week, Tabs3 Version 18 is legal billing software that focuses on streamlining billing, trust accounting, and payments.

The Killer Feature

Tabs3 now automates payment from trust accounts. You can set up this feature so that it complies with your state's ethics rules. For example, you can apply payments to current work and accounts receivable or just one.

While you can print checks, Tabs3 supports electronic funds transfer (EFT) for faster payment. You can combine multiple deposit, EFT, and check transactions into a single item for simplified reconciliation. However you combine them, Tabs3 tracks all transactions for reporting purposes. The bills you send clients show these automatic payments.

Other Notable Features

Tabs3 has also improved its reconciliation tools for bank accounts, trust accounts, and credit cards. The start screen enables you to enter interest and service fees for the month. You can then import transactions rather than enter them manually (most financial services companies offer transactions for download via your online account).

For trust accounts, Tabs3 offers a Three-Way Reconciliation report. Considered a best practice, this ensures that the bank balance, check register, and each client's trust account all match up. It's difficult to pull this off without software like Tabs3. Other new features include streamlined month-end procedures, greater flexibility in financial reporting, and improved fee and cost entry.

Tabs3 Connect, which offers secure access to Tabs3 from a smartphone and tablet, now supports macros. For example, if your firm sets up text macros in Tabs3, you can now use them in Tabs3 Connect. PracticeMaster, the company's practice management app, also sports new features. Chief among these, the new Fee Recap tool enables you to identify days with unbilled activities. PracticeMaster integrates with Tabs3.

What Else Should You Know?

Tabs3 offers a number of "strategic" integrations with third parties. With the new integration with ProPay, you can start accepting credit cards within minutes. ProPay offers low processing fees compared to other options for law firms, and a simpler payment process that obviates the need to ask your clients for credit card security codes (regulators frown on storing these). Other integrations include Chrometa, HotDocs, PenSoft, ScanSnap, Symphony OCR, and Worldox. Learn more about Tabs3 Version 18.

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.

LawBase Offers Comprehensive Case and Matter Management With Best-Of-Breed Integrations

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a case and matter management system that can automate your practice and integrate with the products you already use (see article below), speech recognition software for legal teams, an add-in for Word that enhances Track Changes and fixes common formatting problems, and an online meeting service. Don't miss the next issue.

Lawyers tend to specialize as this gives you deep insight into a given area of law and thus a competitive advantage. Your case and matter management software should go just as deep so that it can track every aspect of your work, and keep your team informed and on the right track.

LawBase 12.5 … in One Sentence

Launching this week, LawBase 12.5 is a popular case and matter management system known for its depth and integrations, the newest of which involves automated court rules.

The Killer Feature

LawBase CEO Phil Homburger describes LawBase as "adaptable and configurable." The distinction lies in LawBase's architecture — a sandboxed database that holds all your firm's data and each user's settings.

Instead of adding just a few custom fields here and there, LawBase enables you to design automated workflows that interact with other products and online services when necessary. Think of it as a hub for all the work performed by your firm.

LawBase includes a number of templates for practice areas such as general practice, insurance defense, mortgage refinancing, mass tort, personal injury, government agencies, corporate legal departments, etc. You can work with the company to build a custom implementation if needed.

"We have provided case and matter management software to the legal industry for more than three decades," Homburger tells us. "In this time, we have found that the flexibility offered in LawBase adds tremendous value to our clients. This flexibility extends to the integration with a myriad of other products which has proven the benefit of our best-of-breed approach."

Other Notable Features

Contacts, calendars, matters, and whatever other data types you track each reside in a Cabinet. Each Cabinet contains nested Smartfolders that contain all the data. The "smart" in Smartfolders refers to tools such as searching and filtering, user access controls, notifications, and statuses. Cross-referencing enables you to access the contents of one Smartfolder from another.

Workflows and integrations also reside in Smartfolders. The newest integration is with Calendar Rules. Just about any other software product can integrate with LawBase according to Homburger. Popular integrations include Microsoft Outlook, iTimeKeep, Carpe Diem, HotDocs, iManage, NetDocuments, Tabs3, Juris, Timeslips, and Worldox.

As an example, a LawBase workflow could generate a Word document using a HotDocs questionnaire, store the final version in Worldox, email it through Outlook to a client, efile it with an agency, and post a time entry to Tabs3 — all without leaving LawBase.

What Else Should You Know?

The Report Generator within LawBase enables you to create every imaginable report without the need for a separate product. You can host LawBase in your firm or through virtual desktop providers such as LegalWorkspace, mindSHIFT, and Uptime Legal Systems. Learn more about LawBase 12.5.

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.

TL NewsWire Top 10 and 25 Products of 2015 Awards

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Below you'll find the TL NewsWire Top 10 and Top 25 Products of 2015 Awards — chosen by TL NewsWire subscribers.

When TL NewsWire subscribers read about a product of interest this year and clicked for more details, they passively casted a vote. Passive voting is the most meaningful type of voting for awards. The winners below genuinely attracted the most interest.

As you read about the winning products, you'll notice many that help lawyers create, annotate, and manage documents. Other hot product areas include email, law firm finances, litigation, and PDF. Finally, most of the products offer one or more key integrations, which enables law firms to combine previously siloed products into a cohesive system.

TL NewsWire is free — sign up now so you can choose next year's winners.

Congratulations to all the winners! Without further ado …

WINNERS OF THE TL NEWSWIRE TOP 10 PRODUCTS OF 2015 AWARD

Congratulations to the 10 hottest products of 2015 ranked in order by most clicks!

1. Matter Center for Office 365

Microsoft first previewed Matter Center at the ILTA Conference in August 2014. When Matter Center launched in September 2015 and we reported on it, TL NewsWire subscribers went bananas, vaulting it to a first place finish. Matter Center underscores the enduring popularity of both Microsoft Office and document management in the legal industry.

2. American Legal Style for PerfectIt 3

Fittingly in the year that gave us Ex Machina, American Legal Style for PerfectIt 3 proofreads your Word documents for incorrect citations and other style problems. It's like having Bryan Garner in your computer. Indeed, Garner's "The Red Book" is among the references American Legal Style for PerfectIt 3 can check your documents against.

3. Synergy Tools 1.0

Perhaps no legal software entrepreneur understands the pain of small law firms like Legal Matters Software founder John Ryan. Pretty much a gift to small firms given its $59.95 price, Synergy Tools 1.0 addresses nine pain points encountered daily by legal professionals who live in Windows Explorer.

4. Spark

It takes courage to build an iPhone email app given Apple's not-too-shabby Mail app. However, Readdle's Spark addresses Mail's biggest shortcoming — attachment handling. Spark enables you to attach documents from Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, and other cloud services the way your brain works — while writing your message.

5. LiquidText

LiquidText challenges you to use an iPad to annotate documents with interactions that don't exist on a PC but which hail from the world of pen and paper. Unlike Microsoft Word, Acrobat, etc., LiquidText gives your comments just as much of the spotlight as the document on which you're commenting. Apple named LiquidText the Most Innovative iPad App of 2015.

6. Capture.it Time Capture

Passive time capture apps like Capture.it capture the imagination of lawyers because let's face it — tracking your time stinks. Capture.it takes automatic time-tracking to new heights by periodically prompting you to assign captured time to matters, eliminating the need to open Capture.it for a dedicated billing session at the last minute each month.

7. Smokeball

Smokeball burst on the scene this year with a document-centric approach to practice management. Integrations with Word and Outlook and a document assembly engine keep all communications with clients and work product centrally organized. Smokeball also handles the yeoman's chores of practice management such as contacts and calendars.

8. LegalWorks

Uptime Legal merits a tip of our hat as the only company in 2015 that won two TL NewsWire Top Products awards. First up, LegalWorks is a cloud document management system. At many firms, Outlook is the hub through which documents usually arrive and leave. LegalWorks' Outlook integration enables you to save and retrieve documents from within Outlook.

9. iPad Pro

The long rumored iPad Pro arrived along with a first-party keyboard case and digital pencil. Like virtually all Apple products, the iPad Pro resulted in fierce online debates and vitriole among geeks. Meanwhile, lawyers and others who have long craved an iPad with a display the size of a sheet of paper are buying them like hotcakes.

10. LegalNature Pro

Launched in 2011 to offer complex legal documents to people whom LegalZoom doesn't serve, LegalNature found that it had many lawyers among its customers. Enter LegalNature Pro, which enables lawyers to automate their own documents while continuing to use LegalNature's forms.

WINNERS OF THE TL NEWSWIRE TOP 25 PRODUCTS OF 2015 AWARD

Congratulations to the next 15 hottest products of 2015 ranked in order by most clicks!

11. Dragon Professional Individual 14

After fits and starts over the past few years, Nuance has integrated its iconic Dragon Professional desktop software with your iPhone via Dragon Anywhere. Start dictating in your office and continue in your car. Dragon Professional also offers a new help system driven by — what else? — voice commands.

12. Pathagoras On Cloud

Research and development is a way of life at ISPV, which ships a new version of its Microsoft Word add-in Pathagoras every year. In 2015, the company launched Pathagoras On Cloud, which brings the Pathagoras' document assembly tools to a web word processor. This enables you to create documents on any device as there's no need for Microsoft Word.

13. TrustBooks

Trust accounting can seem like more trouble than it's worth — until a client fails to pay a large bill. Unlike other products, TrustBooks focuses exclusively on trust accounts. It offers three-way reconciliation, warns you about low balances, and generates statements for your clients.

14. Lexis for Microsoft Office 5.2

The only product to win two consecutive years, Lexis for Microsoft Office added proofreading tools in 2015. You can find undefined terms and inconsistent phrases. Also new, integration with Lexis Advance brings your research into Microsoft Word for instant access while you're writing.

15. Summation 6

Many litigators don't always have matters in the discovery phase. Summation 6 enables you to use the software as needed rather than commit to a traditional license. It also offers one-stop-shopping as it handles case analysis and transcript management in addition to document review and production.

16. EstateExec

No one likes to plan for their death. EstateExec makes estate planning an easier sell for lawyers as it enables your clients to manage and designate all their assets using their web browser. If you don't like serving as an executor or trustee, EstateExec may help persuade someone else to take on that role.

17. FactBox

Small law firms in particular have embraced web apps for billing, practice management, and more. It stands to reason that these law firms will continue this migration. FactBox brings case analysis to your web browser with all data stored in U.S.-based datacenters.

18. Xero

Hoping to capture QuickBooks users who want a cloud accounting system, Xero rolled out QuickBooks migration this year. The process takes about three hours after which you and others can manage your firm's accounting from anywhere.

19. Worldox GX4

This release of the popular document management system focuses on saving you time through automation. For example, Follow Me Favorites shortens the process of creating a document profile to just naming the document — the same amount of effort as Windows Explorer.

20. SWING Porter for Outlook

Many lawyers view Outlook as a silo as it keeps a matter's email apart from all the other documents. SWING Porter for Outlook exports email in PDF format using your firm's naming convention. You can manually export email or use a timed schedule to automate the process.

21. Uptime Practice

The second winner from Uptime Legal, Uptime Practice enables law firms to move to the cloud without giving up their robust desktop apps such as Amicus Attorney, Needles, PCLaw, PracticeMaster, ProLaw, Tabs3, Time Matters, and WorldDox.

22. Inbox by Gmail

Google reinvented email with Gmail so who better to reinvent it again? Inbox by Gmail surfaces information from email messages so you don't need to open them. A built-in task manager and integrations with Google Keep and Google Now seek to provide missing links for email productivity.

23. Adobe Acrobat DC

After years of not getting the Internet, Adobe leapt ahead with Acrobat DC. The PDF documents you open on your desktop become available on your smartphone and tablet (and vice versa) instantly without the need to move the documents anywhere. The recent integration with Dropbox added more icing to this tempting cake.

24. Soda PDF 7

Soda PDF poses a greater threat to Nitro Pro than to Acrobat as both products compete for price-sensitive law firms that find Acrobat too expensive (especially with Adobe now pushing subscriptions). On this front, Soda PDF costs less than Nitro Pro while providing the features lawyers need such as Bates stamping, PDF-to-Word conversion, integration with scanners, built-in OCR, and more.

25. Amicus Premium 2015

You can set your clock by the annual releases of popular practice management system Amicus Premium. This year brought the Amicus Client Portal for secure communications and file sharing with clients. Unlike standalone portals, the Amicus Client Portal prompts you to bill the time you spend communicating with your clients.

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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