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

Chrometa for Android: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an Android app that automatically tracks your telephone calls and text messages (see article below), a Bluetooth keyboard that works with any device, a portable USB charger that consumes virtually no space, and an iPhone app that digs up the dirt on your contacts. Don't miss the next issue.

AN ANDROID APP THAT CAPTURES CALLS AND TEXT MESSAGES

The best tool for tracking billable time is the one that does so automatically. The second best tool is the one you have with you. Because software cannot (yet) read your mind, you need both tools. This means a smart app for your smartphone.

Chrometa for Android … in One Sentence

Launched this week, Chrometa for Android tracks your billable time, including telephone calls and text messages, and securely sends it to your Chrometa or Chrometa Teams account.

The Killer Feature

Chrometa is a popular web application that uses locally installed apps to automatically track the time you spend working on your Mac or Windows PC (Chrometa Teams is the multi-user version). Lawyers who use Chrometa told CEO and Co-Founder Brett Owens that they like the convenience of communicating with clients via text messages but find it difficult to bill for them.

Chrometa for Android addresses this problem by automatically capturing the time you spend on text messages as well as telephone calls. You finalize your captured time, and either generate bills or export the data to your firm's billing software using Chrometa. You control when to sync your smartphone with Chrometa. This enables you to prevent sending your personal communications over a weekend or while in vacation to Chrometa.

If you use Google Contacts, Chrometa can match each telephone number when you sync so that it can organize your time entries by client. Keyword-based rules in the web application categorize all your time entries in an even more granular manner, including assigning the corresponding matter (project) and grouping those that are not billable.

"By popular request, we added text message capture to the latest version of our Android app," says Owens. "Thanks to all the billable time Chrometa for Android can capture, lawyers can get paid for all the time they spend communicating with and producing work for clients."

Other Notable Features

In addition to automatically capturing telephone calls and text messages, Chrometa for Android also enables you to manually enter time for other activities. The time entry screen lists your billable time, a field for a description, and a list of clients and matters from which you can choose.

Manual time entry takes two forms. You can quickly enter billable time after the fact. Alternatively, you can start a stopwatch within Chrometa for Android when you start a billable task such as a meeting. When the billable event ends, you stop the timer and create a time entry based on the stopwatch. You can pause and resume the stopwatch as often as needed during a billable task.

What Else Should You Know?

Chrometa for Android is free for Chrometa and Chrometa Teams users. The app works on smartphones running Android 2.3 and later. Chrometa ranges in price from $12 to $19 to $29 per month depending primarily on how many devices you want to track. Chrometa Teams costs the same per user. Learn more about Chrometa for Android.

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.

Rocket Matter iPad Edition: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers the new iPad app for a popular practice management system (see article below), a portable scanner that works with Android and iOS devices, a communications automation iPhone app, and device for improving and tracking your sleep. Don't miss the next issue.

LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT ON THE IPAD TAKES ORBIT

Law firms like the benefits of infrastructure but not its baggage. For example, back in the 1990s, law firms welcomed server-based practice management systems because of the collaboration they made possible. But they stuck the servers out of sight. Nowadays, cloud practice management systems have completely eliminated the need for local servers. However, web browsers have become a pain point given the resurgence of native software thanks largely to iOS.

Rocket Matter iPad Edition … in One Sentence

Announced today and launching soon, Rocket Matter iPad Edition is a free app for users of Rocket Matter, a cloud practice management system.

The Killer Feature

Rocket Matter iPad Edition features a customizable dashboard so that you can instantly see what's happening with your matters as well as across your entire law firm if you have the access rights. In addition to choosing what to display and the color palette, you can further customize the dashboard with a personal avatar and photos.

From the dashboard, you can access documents, add notes to a matter, create calendar events, delegate tasks, enter time, generate bills, review trust account balances, etc. Rocket Matter iPad Edition offers the same functionality of the web version of Rocket Matter.

"The Rocket Matter iPad Edition is not just a mere app," Rocket Matter CEO and Co-Founder Larry Port told us. "It's an entire tablet-based solution that ties into Rocket Matter's cloud data storage. We've carefully watched how lawyers, law firms, and bar associations have all eagerly embraced the practical advantages that tablets provide. We took these observations and combined them with direct suggestions from our lawyer partners to build unmatched legal practice management software."

Other Notable Features

Complementing the dashboards, Rocket Matter iPad Edition can generate a number of reports that provide a detailed snapshot of your firm's financials, including accounting, billing, and trust accounting. Customizable parameters and date ranges enable you to generate a report with the data you want. If you have an AirPrint or other compatible printer, you can print reports directly from your iPad.

Good design makes products easier to use. Legal cloud software companies have the most talented designers and user experience engineers in the industry. Rocket Matter has such an abundance of so-called "front-end" talent that it also designs websites for law firms. This team created a new user interface specifically for the iPad. Port describes the screens in Rocket Matter iPad Edition as "sleek, intuitive, and seamless."

Within a web browser, cloud applications function only when you have an Internet connection. This is a limitation of web browsers. By contrast, Rocket Matter iPad Edition works with or without an Internet connection. Any changes you make while offline synchronize when you reconnect to the Internet.

What Else Should You Know?

While Rocket Matter iPad Edition is free, it requires a Rocket Matter subscription. Prices range from $52 per month per user for the two-year plan to $65 per month per user without a long-term commitment. The company also offers annual and quarterly plans. You can try Rocket Matter for free for 30 days, including Rocket Matter iPad Edition. Learn more about Rocket Matter iPad Edition.

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.

Abacus Private Cloud: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a virtual desktop and network service that eliminates the need for you to buy and maintain server hardware (see article below), active noise canceling headphones, an Outlook add-on that analyzes your email messages for grammar and style and makes suggestions, and a legal research service. Don't miss the next issue.

TAKE A PERMANENT VACATION FROM MANAGING TECHNOLOGY

Some people who claim to take a vacation cook their own meals. This isn't a vacation. It's called camping (even when it occurs in a city). Most vacationers are not among the world's most talented cooks. Indeed, many people plan their restaurant itinerary as carefully as their other vacation activities. Nowadays, technology shares similarities with vacations. Some law firms still want to manage everything onsite, but most would prefer to let experts handle the "cooking" via the cloud — if only they could find the right "restaurant."

Abacus Private Cloud … in One Sentence

Launched this week, Abacus Data Systems' Abacus Private Cloud (APC) is a secure virtual desktop and network service on which you can run any software you want.

The Killer Feature

Law firms love the idea of outsourcing their IT infrastructure, but have concerns about security and functionality. Abacus Data Systems CEO Alessandra Lezama spent most of her career managing datacenters. She tells us that most online applications use the so-called public cloud. Your firm's confidential client data might reside on the same server as a videogame in a country with an unstable government.

APC resides in datacenters owned and operated by Abacus Data Systems in the United States. Furthermore, although the company offers a practice management system called AbacusLaw, APC is software agnostic. This means you can use whatever products you want while still reaping the benefits of the cloud.

Here's the deal. APC works on any Internet-connected device — Mac, PC, iPad, and smartphone. After logging in, a virtual desktop takes over your screen. From here you run the software you've asked Abacus Data Systems to install — QuickBooks, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, etc. You can also use any web browser to run cloud applications such as Clio and WestlawNext. APC offers deep integration for AbacusLaw and Office 365.

"Piecemeal technology is no longer sufficient to remain competitive in today's legal landscape," says Lezama. "APC can take any local IT infrastructure and desktop software environment and weave it into a fully integrated, virtual workplace accessible remotely from any device anywhere, anytime."

Other Notable Features

In addition to a virtual desktop, APC provides you with a virtual network comprised of SSD drives. You won't need a file server anymore. You share documents with colleagues using the Corporate Drive (a User Drive exists for your personal documents). You can scan to and print from these virtual drives, which save every version of your documents.

APC requires no capital investment. Abacus Data Systems takes care of the entire deployment, including 24/7 monitoring and technical support, antivirus protection, backups, maintenance, security updates, software upgrades, etc.

The datacenters that house APC have five tiers of physical, network, and data security. This has earned APC the SOC2/SSAE16 certification. Abacus Data Systems guarantees 99.999% uptime — the highest possible. Your data, which you can retrieve anytime, has its own dedicated IP address.

What Else Should You Know?

You can tailor APC to meet your firm's specific requirements. You can scale your use of computing resources up or down quickly to adjust to the needs of your law firm. Pricing starts at $165 per month with no long-term contract required. Learn more about Abacus Private Cloud.

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.

LexisNexis PCLaw 14: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an integrated accounting, billing, and practice management system with automated billing technology (see article below), a multifunction inkjet printer with specifications similar to that of laser printers, software for running Windows on your Mac, and a popular stock photo store that significantly reduced and simplified its pricing today. Don't miss the next issue.

THE SOONER YOU BILL, THE FASTER YOU GET PAID

Some studies have shown that up to 20% of a law firm's invoices are in arrears at any given time. This negatively impacts cash flow, not to mention morale if you have difficulty meeting payroll. This problem often stems more from inefficient billing workflows than from deliberately delinquent clients. Better technology can therefore improve your cash flow.

LexisNexis PCLaw 14 … in One Sentence

Launched this week, LexisNexis PCLaw 14 is a financial and practice management application with new automated billing technologies.

The Killer Feature

Batch Email Billing enables you to review, edit, and email multiple invoices to clients — 5, 10, 100, or more simultaneously. If you accept credit cards, PCLaw can process and apply payments to further increase payment speed and reduce delinquencies.

From the same screen, you can monitor trust account transfers and retainers applied during the billing cycle for every invoice. You can generate a report listing all the invoices you emailed. This information also resides within each client's file.

"No matter how large or successful, cash flow is king for law firms," PCLaw Product Manager Steve Fetters told us. "Law firm customers today look for every way possible to speed the billing process so they can get paid faster. Batch email billing in PCLaw 14 helps reduce monthly invoicing time from days to just hours. The sooner the bills go out, the faster payments start arriving."

Other Notable Features

LexisNexis has also enhanced the dashboards in PCLaw. For example, the My Clients dashboard now enables you to access client time sheets, document a client telephone call, and record a collection memo. As with the previous version of PCLaw, My Clients continues to display for each client appointments, email, documents, ticklers, tasks, recent time entries, and financial information such as trust balance and overdue invoices.

The My Practice dashboard displays your appointments, email, tasks, recent matters, and news pertaining to your practice areas. The My Business dashboard displays firm-wide financial data such as Key Performance Indicators with the ability to drill down to financial statements, invoices, and more.

Finally, the new version of PCLaw makes it easier to onboard new clients. In addition to checking for conflicts, PCLaw can now email an intake form to prospective clients, and later import completed forms into PCLaw. You can alternatively perform client intake during a meeting or print your firm's client intake form from PCLaw for clients who prefer paper.

What Else Should You Know?

PCLaw costs $935 for the first user and $695 for each additional user. Prices include both the software and the first year of an Annual Maintenance Plan (AMP) subscription. The AMP subscription includes telephone technical support, software updates, PCLaw Mobility for secure access to PCLaw from your smartphone, and online training courses. Learn more about LexisNexis PCLaw 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.

Lexbe eDiscovery Platform: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud ediscovery software with new near-duplicate document processing technology (see article below), a new twist on cable management, legal proofreading software that you can train, and an iOS app for creating time-lapse videos. Don't miss the next issue.

GROUP "LIKE" DISCOVERY DOCUMENTS TO EXPEDITE YOUR REVIEW

If you're like most lawyers, the documents you create go through multiple rounds of drafts. And you probably have email conversations with threads that would kill a few trees if printed. You're not the only the one who generates these so-called "near duplicates." Documents nearly but not exactly the same have become an expensive problem in ediscovery.

Lexbe eDiscovery Platform … in One Sentence

Launched this week, Lexbe eDiscovery Platform, a cloud application for processing, culling, reviewing and producing electronically stored information (ESI), now includes near duplicate grouping technology called NearDup Groupings+.

The Killer Feature

NearDup Groupings+ takes advantage of specialized servers in Lexbe's datacenter, enabling it to scale to handle cases of any size. It "runs quickly" according to the company, giving it a speed advantage over on-premise software running on a single PC or even a small cluster.

NearDup Groupings+ also speeds up the review process while minimizing risks. Grouping similar documents in a collection of ESI facilitates accelerated batch issue coding. Of course, NearDup Groupings+ doesn't only group similar responsive documents, but also similar privileged documents. This makes it less likely you'll inadvertently disclose such documents, a growing problem thanks to the volume of email, attachments, and other ESI even in small cases.

Speaking of email, it has long posed a challenge for near-duplication software not to mention mighty Gmail. Conversations involving some of the same people but on different topics often mistakenly get grouped together. NearDup Grouping+ looks beyond the sender, recipients, and subject line to group email messages more intelligently — like a human being. With more confidence in the near duplicate groupings, you can review email threads more quickly.

Other Notable Features

Lexbe eDiscovery Platform supports documents in their native format and Outlook PST files. You can also load documents in PDF or TIFF formats; it automatically processes and performs OCR on scanned documents. Bates stamping can occur at the document level for native files and on each page for PDF and TIFF files, providing for flexible review and productions.

A Google-like search interface facilitates Boolean keyword searches. Lexbe eDiscovery Platform also features more advanced tools such as concept, stemming (derivatives of root words), and fuzzy searches. Saved searches automatically include newly added documents. You'll find a standard set of issue tags, but you can also create your own custom tags.

Administrative controls enable you to automatically assign documents to reviewers for "load-balanced" reviews. Review progress reporting helps you stay on top of staffing and production deadlines. Lexbe eDiscovery Platform produces documents in whatever format you agree upon with opposing counsel (e.g., Native, PDF, or TIFF load files).

What Else Should You Know?

Lexbe eDiscovery Platform costs $22 per GB per month regardless of the number of cases and users (discounts exist for customers with large cases and/or many accounts). This price includes NearDup Groupings+. However, the latter is also available as a standalone service. When used in this manner, Lexbe delivers near duplicate load files for other popular document review products. Learn more about Lexbe eDiscovery Platform.

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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