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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Recent Issues

Below you can see some recent issues of this newsletter.

Return to List of Recent Issues

Lexis for Microsoft Office 5.2: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an software that adds legal proofreading and research tools to Microsoft Outlook and Word (see article below), case analysis software that integrates with a legal research service, and two applications that enable you to run virtual OS X and Windows machines on a Mac. Don't miss the next issue.

ADD PROOFREADING TOOLS AND MORE TO MICROSOFT OFFICE

All legal documents inevitably contain errors. As a lawyer, you're responsible for getting the law right. But you should not have to shoulder the burden of finding inconsistencies, undefined terms, and other common issues — especially because they're easy to miss. These mundane but critically important tasks are best handled by software.

Lexis for Microsoft Office 5.2 … in One Sentence

Launching this week, Lexis for Microsoft Office 5.2 brings proofreading, legal research, and drafting tools to Microsoft Word and Outlook.

The Killer Feature

The new version of Lexis for Microsoft Office includes proofreading tools for drafting and review powered by Microsystems' well-regarded EagleEye technology.

From the Microsoft Word ribbon, you can use the Terms & Phrases tool to find undefined terms and inconsistent phrases in your document. The Definitions List ensures that you don't miss any defined terms or use inconsistent definitions for the same term.

Lexis for Microsoft Office also checks your document for accuracy and completeness. Regarding the former, it finds missing quotation marks and parenthesis, inconsistent numbering, and incorrect references. Regarding the latter, you can mark items as incomplete using your own custom term such as "Review." Later, you can locate all of these items for removal/replacement before you share the document.

"Effective and efficient document review is vital to the success of litigation and transactional practitioners alike," LexisNexis vice president, Lexis Advance Jeff Pfeifer tells us. "With the integration of EagleEye tools, we are giving Lexis for Microsoft Office users powerful means to automatically scan for consistency and errors, enabling them to deliver more precise, accurate, and complete agreements, briefs, pleadings and other documents."

Other Notable Features

In addition to the EagleEye integration, Lexis for Microsoft Office now integrates with document management systems through Lexis Search Advantage. From one search box, you can search Lexis Advance, your firm's documents, and/or the open web.

The integration with Lexis Advance has grown deeper too. Most notably, your Lexis Advance Work Folders now appear within Word and Outlook so that you can save, search, and download source materials without leaving these programs. Using drag and drop, you can insert quotations from cases, phrases from Matthew Bender forms, etc. into your Word documents and email messages.

The new version of Lexis for Microsoft Office also includes enhancements to the litigation tools. When creating a table of authorities with Lexis for Microsoft Office, you can now use "passim" in place of the page numbers cited. Settings enable you to adjust when it should appear. The page numbers remain intact below the surface so you can still click for a pinpoint preview of the source. Lexis for Microsoft Office supports the 20th edition of The Bluebook.

Also new, Get Cited Documents now exists in both Word and Outlook since email messages often include citations. As its name suggests, this tool retrieves from Lexis Advance source materials cited in a Word document or email message.

What Else Should You Know?

Lexis for Microsoft Office works with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. It requires Microsoft Office 2007 or later and a Lexis Advance subscription. Learn more about Lexis for Microsoft Office 5.2.

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.

Dragon Professional Individual 14: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers speech recognition software for Windows PCs with hands-free editing and formatting (see article below), speech recognition software for iOS and Android, speech recognition software for Macs, and an iPad app for remotely accessing and controlling Macs and PCs. Don't miss the next issue.

HANDS-FREE WRITING, EDITING, AND FORMATTING

The allure of speech recognition software lies in its ability to cut out the middle man — your keyboard and mouse or a transcriptionist. This means the software must go beyond text entry into the realm of editing and formatting.

Dragon Professional Individual 14 … in One Sentence

Announced this week and launching soon, Nuance's Dragon Professional Individual 14 (Windows) is speech recognition software with automation tools.

The Killer Feature

Dragon Professional Individual enables you to exercise a lot of control over your documents. However, consulting a user guide or even a cheat sheet takes you away from your work. The new version addresses this by enabling you to access all possible voice commands by saying "What Can I Say."

This displays a menu of options that you use your voice to choose — select navigation commands, correction commands, formatting commands, punctuation commands, or the help system. When you make a choice, you drill down to a submenu with the commands written in such as way that you can insert the proper word when you speak (e.g., for the "Go Up N Lines" command, you would insert a number in place of N).

Other Notable Features

Dragon Professional Individual enables you to create custom commands for your workflow. These can include multiple steps. For example, you can email a document to a group of colleagues and also print a copy for yourself with one voice command. Also on the customization front, you can create custom word lists for legal terms, party names, etc. so that Dragon Professional Individual will understand you and use the correct spelling and capitalization. You can import and export custom commands and custom words.

Also new, you can feed audio recordings of other people such as a speech, podcast, or broadcast to Dragon Professional Individual to generate a written transcript. The software needs only a 90-second sample of the speaker's voice, and will not confuse that person's voice with yours.

Dragon Professional Individual integrates with Dragon Anywhere, Nuance's new mobile app. This means your documents sync so that you can start dictating on your PC and continue with your iPhone or Android smartphone. Your custom commands, shortcuts, and vocabularies exist in both products without having to set them up twice.

What Else Should You Know?

Dragon Professional Individual works on Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. It costs $300. Users of Dragon Professional and Dragon Premium can upgrade for $150 and $200 respectively. Learn more about Dragon Professional Individual 14.

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.

ThreadKM: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a secure internal messaging service that organizes your discussions and shared documents and tasks by matter (see article below), and three password managers that work on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Don't miss the next issue.

AN EMAIL REPLACEMENT FOR INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

Thanks to the app explosion of the past few years, enterprise software companies have adopted some consumer software trends — most notably messaging apps for internal communication and collaboration. This started with Yammer, which HipChat and Slack have since surpassed by offering a better user experience. But none of these tools are designed for law firms. A new product seeks to change this state of affairs.

ThreadKM … in One Sentence

Launched today, ThreadKM is a secure internal messaging and collaboration service that integrates with legal software.

The Killer Feature

ThreadKM works via native apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. You start by creating a "Workspace" for each matter. You can limit access to specific colleagues. Each Workspace can have an unlimited number of topic-specific "Threads" for group discussion (e.g., create a Thread to discuss a deposition).

In addition to text messages, you can share data such as web addresses. ThreadKM automatically displays a live hyperlink for web addresses and displays a snippet from that web page. ThreadKM stamps every message with a time stamp, and groups messages by day. You can search a specific Thread or the entire Workspace.

"Most lawyers who are overwhelmed with email have found instant messaging isn't a solution because information becomes so scattered quickly," ThreadKM CEO Dan Hauck tells us. "ThreadKM solves this problem by organizing and saving conversations in searchable, matter-centric spaces."

Other Notable Features

ThreadKM enables you to share documents (including photos) within Threads. Each Workspace contains a special area called Files where you can find all shared documents. Integrations with Clio and iManage enable you to share documents directly from those apps. ThreadKM indexes all shared documents to make them searchable — including scanned documents thanks to built-in OCR.

Each Workspace also contains an area for Tasks. ThreadKM offers a Kanban-Style task management system. This "lean" approach uses a series of columns such as "To Do," "Doing," and "Completed." Every task appears on a card within a column. The card also lists the person assigned to the task, the due date, and notes with status updates and roadblocks. This system enables you to visualize the status of a matter you're managing.

What Else Should You Know?

ThreadKM offers two configurations. Law firms with fewer than 50 users use the hosted version at $29 per month per user ($24 if paid annually). This version provides you with unlimited Workspaces, 10 GB of storage per user, and email support. Larger firms with more than 50 users must use the Enterprise version, which you can host in the cloud or on your own server. This version includes integrations with Active Directory, IntegrationBuilder, and WallBuilder as well as priority email and telephone support. You can try ThreadKM for free. Learn more about ThreadKM.

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.

Smokeball: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a practice management system that integrates with Microsoft Word for document assembly and Microsoft Outlook for email (see article below), an iPhone app that enables you to chat using email, a budget Android smartphone, and a dashboard for iPhone and Apple Watch. Don't miss the next issue.

WHAT SMALL LAW FIRMS REALLY WANT FROM PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

Even small law firms have many moving parts. This explains the word "system" in the term "practice management system." When shopping for these products, lawyers don't just want features. They want integrations and help setting up and using the integrations. In short, they want a "system," not just an app.

Smokeball … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Smokeball is a practice management system with integrated document assembly, document management, and email, as well as accompanying setup and training.

The Killer Feature

Smokeball integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Word via add-ins. For example, using client and matter data in Smokeball, you can auto-populate a Word template. Smokeball saves the draft and final document in the applicable matter after which you can email it to your client via Outlook. Smokeball likewise stores this email message and all future related email and attachments automatically.

"Smokeball integrates case management with sophisticated document automation," Smokeball president Jane Oxley tells us. "This means that while we help small law firms get more organized, we also genuinely empower them to get more done every day.

Other Notable Features

Every matter in Smokeball has an associated Matter Screen, a dashboard listing a snapshot, recent documents and email, upcoming appointments and tasks, and notes. Each Matter screen displays different information specific to the type of case. Smokeball offers a variety of matter layouts that get added to your account at the time of setup. For example, the snapshot for a real estate matter can list the buyer, seller, and property details. Meanwhile, a criminal DUI matter can list key information such as arresting officer, blood alcohol level, ticket numbers, and prior convinctions. You can drill down from a Matter Screen to whatever you need.

The document assembly templates in Smokeball can generate any type of document — agreements, briefs, court forms, deeds, letters, trusts, etc. The company helps you set up your first 15 templates. During this process, you learn how to create your own so that you can continue to build your library.

In addition to storing all documents it helps you create, Smokeball can store all your firm's other documents too. You can import entire folders or one document at a time. You can also scan directly into Smokeball through its integration with ScanSnap scanners.

Similarly, Smokeball can save email that originated in Outlook. You tag the email thread with the appropriate matter after which these messages and attachments appear in Smokeball along with threads that you began in Smokeball. As with email, Smokeball's calendars and tasks also integrate with Outlook via the add-in. This enables you to enter appointments and tasks just once in either application.

Other features include contact management, full-text search, and document versioning so you can revert to earlier versions.

What Else Should You Know?

Smokeball runs as a Windows desktop application with your data synced to Smokeball's cloud, enabling you to access your account from any PC as well as from your iPhone and iPad via the free iOS app. With Smokeball's cloud serving as your back end, you don't need a server in your office. Smokeball costs $69 per user per month. The cost of setup and training depends on the size of your firm. Learn more about Smokeball.

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

Lexis Advance Tax: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a new online tax research service with flat pricing for full access (see article below), a foldable Bluetooth keyboard, a wireless flash drive, and a mobile app for capturing your billable time on the go. Don't miss the next issue.

START AND FINISH YOUR TAX RESEARCH HERE

When conducting tax research, sometimes you want a simple search box while other times you want a helping hand. Most importantly, you want peace of mind that you're searching all the relevant sources you could possibly need. A new online tax research service aims to offer this at a flat, all-inclusive price.

Lexis Advance Tax … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Lexis Advance Tax is an online tax research service for tax lawyers and other tax professionals.

The Killer Feature

Lexis Advance Tax consists of nearly 1,400 sources, including primary law, treatises, and news. Regarding the latter, the service includes exclusive access to tax news and analysis from Tax Analysts. You can create customized email alerts for tax issues of interest to you. For example, you can create an alert for a section of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), a client, etc.

Three daily publications — Tax Notes Today, State Tax Today, and Worldwide Tax Daily — enable you to monitor developments in federal, state and local, and international tax law respectively. Each publication has a corresponding daily email alert that you can elect to receive with headlines and live links to the most notable 6-8 stories.

Other Notable Features

Lexis Advance Tax enables you to search the Lexis Tax Advisor — Federal Code Reporter by IRC section. The text of the code section occupies most of the screen, while a vertical navigation bar on the left provides immediate access to key related content (both primary law and analytical sources). Related content includes proposed, temporary and final Treasury regulations, legislative history back to 1954 (including excerpts from key Congressional committee reports explaining each change), explanations of each subsection and tax-planning tips written by Matthew Bender authors, case annotations, and more.

Among the content highlights, Lexis Advance Tax includes administrative decisions and case law, Lexis Tax Advisor — Federal Topical (a 550-chapter treatise on federal taxation), Shepard's Citations Service, and a forms library with sample documents for use in estate planning, probate, and estate administration. It also includes more than 80 treatises from Matthew Bender and others covering specific areas of tax law such as Rhoades & Langer, U.S. International Tax; Federal Income Taxation of Corporations Filing Consolidated Returns; and Federal Taxation of Inventories. If needed, you can add CCH tax materials and Law360 to your Lexis Advance Tax plan.

When you conduct a search, you can restrict the results to one or more sources or search the entire federal, state and local, or international databases. Designed with the help of a committee of leading tax lawyers and beta tested by a team of 15 tax lawyers, Lexis Advance Tax works in all major desktop and mobile web browsers. Additionally, you can access it through the Lexis Advance iPad app if you prefer. Lexis Advance Tax uses the same login credentials as Lexis Advance, enabling you to seamlessly switch between the two services.

What Else Should You Know?

"Getting tax ramifications right every time is absolutely vital for a tax practitioner's success," LexisNexis Managing Director of North American Research Solutions Sean Fitzpatrick tells us. "Lexis Advance Tax gives them the confidence to deliver advice thanks to its current industry news and vast collection of federal, state, and international authorities in one convenient platform — a combination you can't find anywhere else." Learn more about Lexis Advance Tax.

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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