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.

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Contract Tools Makes Drafting and Proofreading Agreements More Efficient

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for analyzing, drafting, and proofreading contracts (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud practice management software five years in the making, a legal ebook reader app, case analysis software, an add-on for document management systems, a project management app for law firms, a virtual desktop service, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Contracts consist of structured data — sections, subsections, defined terms, etc. This means that software can save you time when drafting and also reduce errors through improved proofreading. Microsoft Word doesn't offer any specialized tools for contracts so you'll need an add-in.

Contract Tools … in One Sentence

Launched this month, Paper Software's Contract Tools is a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for drafting, analyzing, and proofreading agreements.

The Killer Feature

Traditional contract software has fallen into one of two camps — drafting or proofreading. This can result in having to purchase two or more products. By contrast, Contract Tools offers both drafting and proofreading tools, thus providing one-stop shopping.

"It's also fast and flexible," Paper Software co-founder Benjamin Whetsell told me when he visited our office recently. "To analyze contracts, Contract Tools uses a number of patent-pending technologies to analyze, say, 200 pages of dense legalese in a few seconds." Whetsell demonstrated Contract Tools' speed using a number of such agreements. It looked instantaneous.

Other Notable Features

Contract Tools resides in a panel adjacent to your document. A menu at the top enables you to navigate through the various tools. For example, the Provisions tool lists all the sections and subsections in the agreement. Click on any provision to jump there in the document. Similarly, the Defined Terms tool lists all defined terms, and the number of times each appears in the agreement. You can jump to a defined term's initial definition or to anywhere else in the document it resides.

Contract Tools doesn't just analyze your agreements. It also makes them interactive. Double-click a defined term for its definition, double-click a cross reference to view it, etc. The Back button brings you back to where you started. When you scroll through a document, Contract Tools displays the names of sections in large type as you reach them.

Virtually every contract contains sections that refer to other sections. The Related Items tool gives you omniscience beyond the human brain. For example, let's say you're reviewing Section 7. Contract Tools displays all the other sections that Section 7 references, all the sections that reference Section 7, and all the defined terms in Section 7. And of course you can jump to any of these with a click.

It's common practice to add placeholders, bracketed text, highlighted text, and comments to agreements while drafting to avoid losing your train of thought. The To-Dos tool in Contract Tools automatically finds these unfinished items so you won't forget to circle back. Also, Contract Tools' Autocomplete suggests defined terms as you type, reducing the number of placeholders you'll need in the first place.

For proofreading, the Drafting Errors tool lists problems such as undefined and duplicate defined terms, inconsistent formatting, unmatched punctuation, and list order errors. This list updates when you save your work. You can also ignore and hide problems that Contract Tools flags.

Microsoft Word's simplistic search tools don't cut it with lengthy agreements. Contract Tools enables you to search by number, date, time of day, unit of time, and money in addition to word searches. Thus, you can quickly find the termination date, the purchase price, interest rate, etc.

What Else Should You Know?

Contract Tools works with Word 2007 or later on Windows 7 or later. It costs $10 per month per user or $100 per year per user ($8.33 per month). Learn more about Contract Tools.

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.

Zola Suite Leaves No Practice Management Feature Unexplored Thanks to Five Years in Development

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers new cloud practice management software five years in the making (see article below), a Windows utility for managing multiple monitors, an online directory that connects you to prospective clients, and a Chrome plug-in that prevents you from using weak phrases in your email messages. Don't miss the next issue.

The expectations for practice management software keep rising. You want a polished user experience and design, the same functionality on your smartphone as on your desktop, workflow automation, email and document integration, financial management, and no data silos or duplicate data entry. Whew — that's quite a demanding list.

Zola Suite … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Zola Media's Zola Suite is cloud practice management software that includes document management, general ledger and trust accounting, and much more.

The Killer Feature

As I started my sixth page of notes during my online demo of Zola Suite, I asked Zola Media's Founder and Architect Fred Cohen how many years it had taken to build the software. "Five," he replied.

Cohen and his team seem to have left no feature unexplored, including parity between the desktop web app and the iPhone and Android apps. This means you can access the data you need on the fly in the mobile app as well as create new records. Additionally, the mobile app takes advantage of your smartphone — it contains a business card and document scanner with built-in OCR for adding contacts and searchable PDF documents to Zola Suite.

Zola Suite features many user experience touches such as the use of color — matters are purple, contacts are yellow, etc. The top right of every table has a real time search filter and a + button for adding a new record.

"As a former practicing attorney, tech geek and design nerd, I was frustrated by the limitations of the available practice management solutions," Cohen told me. "Together with my amazing team, we are doing things with Zola Suite that we believe will fundamentally change the way lawyers use practice management software. Our matter-based approach and dedicated iOS and Android apps that take advantage of smartphone hardware are creating quite a buzz and I am humbled by the response."

Other Notable Features

Zola Suite integrates with most IMAP and Microsoft Exchange email services, including Gmail and Office 365. Composing a new email message from within a matter automatically starts a timer. Contacts in Zola Suite auto-populate when addressing the message. These messages reside in Zola Suite but also behave normally in Gmail, Outlook, and on your smartphone. Similarly, you can file incoming messages in Zola Suite, and convert them into tasks.

Speaking of task management, you can "mind dump" as Cohen puts it to quickly enter tasks. These get assigned to you initially but you can later assign them to others, add a due date, and receive a notification when they're completed or overdue. Tasks contain a time entry tool and the ability to generate Task Templates facilitating multistep, recurring workflows such as client intake.

Cohen describes Zola Suite's Notes as "robust enough to replace OneNote." Similarly, Zola Suite can replace QuickBooks thanks to double entry general ledger accounting, check printing, trust accounting, and LawPay integration for credit card processing. The document management system offers nested folders with drag and drop, global search, retention of all document versions, and unlimited storage.

Other features include telephone call tracking, time entry, a calendar with support for email invitations, user permissions, and UTBMS codes.

What Else Should You Know?

When billed annually, Zola Suite costs $68 per attorney per month and $34 per support staff per month. A special plan for solos costs $49 per month. An optional branded client portal enables your clients to securely access their documents and pay invoices. Learn more about Zola Suite.

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.

ProView Puts Your Law Library in Your Briefcase

Friday, August 12, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a large legal ebook library and reader app for web browsers, iPads, and Android tablets (see article below), a lead generation service that requires five years of experience to use, an enterprise communications service, and a new color laser printer. Don't miss the next issue.

Think of a legal reference you often use. You bookmark pages for later reference, highlight key passages, and jot down notes in the margin. Then the next edition replaces the current edition. What happens to your annotations?

Thomson Reuters ProView … in One Sentence

Thomson Reuters ProView is a growing library of legal ebooks that you can use in any desktop web browser as well as in native iPad and Android tablet apps.

The Killer Feature

ProView recently gained portable annotations. This means you can import your bookmarks, highlights, and notes to a new edition. If material in the new edition resides in a different location, ProView moves your corresponding annotations. When deletions occur, ProView gives you the option to move the annotation to a new related location or delete them if no longer relevant. You can continue to access all prior editions with your annotations intact.

ProView enables you to create Issue Labels and assign them to your annotations. Using the Filter Annotations tool, you can list all annotations pertaining to an issue. When you share a section or selected text with others, you can include your annotations. Two sharing options exist. With the Create a Link feature, you can send a pinpoint link to other ProView users. Alternatively, you can export your selection in PDF format.

Other Notable Features

With a web browser, you can access the entire ProView library. The tablet apps are limited to the ebooks you've downloaded, which you can read and annotate without a live Internet connection such as when you're in court.

You can filter available ebooks by author, publisher, title, jurisdiction, and subject. Or you can just enter a search. You can add your own custom categories to an ebook's metadata to create your own collection. The Recently Read tool lists all the ebooks you recently accessed.

The left side of each ebook contains a hyperlinked table of contents. Citations within ebooks contain a live Westlaw link for one-click access. ProView's settings enable you to adjust text size, line spacing, background and text color, highlight colors, and issue labels.

You can search within ebooks using the same Boolean syntax as Westlaw. A cheat sheet within the search tool lists all available search connectors. Your saved searches appear in both the web app and tablet apps. ProView also passively saves your activity, enabling you to jump back to a section, annotation, etc. (the tablet apps store two weeks of history while the web app stores your current session).

What Else Should You Know?

Solo and small law firms can buy ebooks individually as needed. Larger firms can choose from two licensing options (LMS eLibrary or IP eLibrary), both of which work with Westlaw OnePass for single sign-on. Learn more about Thomson Reuters ProView.

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.

CaseFleet Marries Practice Management and Case Analysis for Litigation Matters

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a practice management app for litigators that organizes the facts, issues, and court deadlines of your cases (see article below), a document assembly add-in for Microsoft Word that can use Excel files and databases as data sources, a practice management app with client intake forms that you can host on your website, and a new keyboard case for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Don't miss the next issue.

Traditional practice management apps tend to focus on managing your law firm, an important task for sure. But they lack tools for managing litigation matters. Meanwhile, litigation apps tend to focus on just one aspect of litigation such as ediscovery or depositions. As a result, a void in the market exists.

CaseFleet … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this year, CaseFleet is a litigation practice management and case analysis app.

The Killer Feature

At its essence, litigation involves three components — research, analysis, and synthesis. CaseFleet's Timeline tackles all three, enabling you develop an understanding of the facts and issues in each of your cases. Think of it as a mashup of CaseMap and TimeMap that runs in your web browser.

You build each Timeline by entering facts and evidence along with the date and time. You can assign one or more Issues to each fact. You can also enter Contacts and connect them to facts. These connections enable you to generate reports using the Filter — a search tool in which you can list all the facts within a date range that pertain to one or more Issues and Contacts. You can export the entire Timeline or a filtered portion in Word or PDF format.

Links to source documents such as deposition exhibits and transcripts keep these materials a click away. Linking documents works by dragging and dropping a file from your desktop onto a fact. CaseFleet's proprietary technology eliminates duplicates and maintains the link to each original even if you change its filename. CaseFleet integrates with Dropbox and Box for file storage.

Other Notable Features

Unlike the team calendars in traditional practice management apps, the Legal Calendar in CaseFleet focuses exclusively on court and other litigation deadlines. You can use colors to denote different types of events (e.g., red for motions, blue for depositions). The Legal Calendar supports full-day events, offers a List View, and contains a Filter for viewing specific types of events. You can sync the Legal Calendar to Google Calendar and Outlook.

In addition to managing your litigation matters, CaseFleet also helps you secure them in the first place. The Leads Pipeline enables you to track prospective clients, remember to follow up with them, and identify your best sources of new business. When prospects hire your firm, you can convert them to cases.

"Our goal as a company is making litigators more successful and simplifying the work they do," CaseFleet CEO Jeff Kerr told me. "We help litigators master the past (the facts and evidence) through Timelines and see the future (deadlines & key dates) with our Legal Calendar. No other software does this much for practicing litigators. Moreover, we provide practice management functionality as part of the same package."

What Else Should You Know?

Other features of CaseFleet include time tracking with a start/stop timer, expense tracking, billing, and trust accounting. CaseFleet starts at $29 per user per month ($24 with an annual contract). Learn more about CaseFleet.

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.

Onit's Contract Management Suite: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers contract lifecycle management software (see article below), a word processor designed for complex documents, cloud ediscovery document review software, and a business card scanner for your smartphone. Don't miss the next issue.


Working in a legal department can feel like being in a bumper car as you're bombarded daily with requests to review new contracts and stay on top of leases, software licenses, and other agreements with important date-related terms. Manual systems comprised of email and spreadsheets can seem like chewing gum and bailing wire, inadequate to the task.

Onit's Contract Management Suite … in One Sentence

Onit's Contract Management Suite (Onit) is contract lifecycle management software for corporate legal departments.

The Killer Feature

Onit features a Contract Review & Approval portal through which managers and salespeople can submit contracts to the legal department. You can configure the intake form for each type of contract routinely submitted. Based on preset rules, Onit routes each submitted agreement to a designated lawyer for review. Designated lawyers receive an email notification, and also see the contract on their dashboard.

Each contract has a "Phased Workflow" feature to ensure compliance with your company's policies and to ensure a timely review. These workflows accommodate parallel or serial processes and conditional logic. For example, contracts involving more than $1M can require an extra approval from your general counsel. Lifecycle metrics can be added to track the number of days it takes to approve and finalize the contract.

Tools within the Phased Workflow environment enable you to communicate with the business team and attach markups and supporting materials. Onit also provides a unique email address for each contract so that any email you need to send automatically gets filed in that contract's workflow.

Other Notable Features

Onit's Contract Administration solution facilitates the management of contracts with auto-renewals and other important date-related terms. For example, Onit can alert you whenever a contract's notice date approaches in case you want to take action. Each contract has its own timeline with key milestones to assist your review of its salient provisions.

As noted above, each lawyer in your department has a personalized dashboard with charts and tables showing contracts pending approval, contracts per phase, contracts by type and value, etc. From your dashboard, you can apply filters to find a specific contract as well as run and save reports or export them in Excel format.

In addition to reviewing and administering contracts, you can also use Onit to offer pre-approved contracts such as NDAs that managers in your company can use without any delay.

What Else Should You Know?

Onit integrates with Adobe Sign (formerly EchoSign) and DocuSign for digital signatures. Onit logs these digital signatures within each contract's Phased Workflow for audit trail purposes. Onit runs in all web browsers. Learn more about Onit's Contract Management Suite.

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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