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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Exterro Project Management for Law Firms Standardizes Your Firm's Processes for Optimal Client Service

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud project management software designed for law firms (see article below), a document management tool for Office 365 users, a document management tool for Google Apps for Work users, and an ad blocker for iOS. Don't miss the next issue.

Every law firm has mission-critical processes but most law firms don't document them let alone manage them through software. This dramatically increases training costs for new employees, and inhibits the productivity of your most seasoned veterans. Even in a small firm, it's impossible to personally supervise every employee every minute of the day. The answer to this problem lies in project management software but most products on the market don't cater to the unique needs of law firms.

Exterro Project Management for Law Firms … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Exterro Project Management for Law Firms is project management software designed specifically for managing law firm projects and their corresponding workflows.

The Killer Feature

The folks at Exterro like to talk about "user defined process orchestration." Translation — Exterro Project Management for Law Firms centralizes your firm's processes and accompanying documentation. Here's how it works. You begin by creating a Workflow or tweaking one of the many templates that Exterro includes. A Workflow consists of connected "Activities." Each activity can contain checklists, tasks, and/or instructions. A Project such as matter intake, appellate brief, litigation hold, document production, estate planning package, real estate closing, etc. can consist of one or more workflows.

You begin a new project from within the software or by sending an email message. This initiates the corresponding workflows. Activities are automatically assigned to the appropriate person based on the workflow, but you can modify them as needed. Completing an activity triggers the next activity in the workflow. In addition to assigning activities to employees, you can also assign them to clients or third party service providers.

You can adjust projects and their workflows on the fly. This can entail removing activities you don't need, adding one-off activities, changing the order of activities, reconfiguring dependencies, and noting an Issue (a problem blocking an activity). Most importantly, you can "Push" an activity to accelerate a project (e.g., review a custodian's documents for an upcoming deposition).

"Exterro has a long history of enabling legal teams to apply the discipline of process optimization and project management to work smarter," Exterro Chief Marketing Officer Bill Piwonk told me. "Exterro Project Management for Law Firms continues this legacy, as we've architected it specifically to enable law firms of any size to easily tailor tasks, activities, and workflows to match their unique ways of managing projects across their firm."

Other Notable Features

The main dashboard lists all existing projects to which you have access and their status. You can toggle between a card view and list view. The card view lists the status in percentage terms with a visual progress bar. Projects tagged as a "Favorite" appear above all the other projects for fast access.

Another dashboard exists for viewing all tasks assigned to you across multiple projects and activities. You can add your own ad hoc tasks here and thus use Exterro Project Management for Law Firms to manage all your tasks in one place.

Three key reports — Project Tracker, Resource Utilization, and Project Analytics — keep your projects on track. Project Tracker displays the progress of each project by client or across all clients. Resource Utilization offers charts to assess how your team is being deployed across all projects and how well each person is performing. Project Analytics enables you to zero in on overdue and blocked projects.

What Else Should You Know?

Exterro Project Management for Law Firms is priced on a per subscriber basis. It runs in all web browsers. Learn more about Exterro Project Management for Law Firms.

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.

TimesManager Legal Adjusts to Your Law Firm's Billing Practices Rather Than Try to Change Them

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud time billing software with mobile smarts that integrates with QuickBooks and ebilling systems (see article below), software that enables you to scan to Dropbox and other cloud services, a free project management app for Office 365 users, and wireless noise-canceling headphones. Don't miss the next issue.

The less time spent capturing your billable time and expenses, the more time you can spend practicing law. That's the theory behind legal billing software, but it's really just table stakes. Your billing software must also accommodate the many fee arrangements lawyers negotiate with clients and one other, integrate with accounting systems, and support ebilling standards such as LEDES.

TimesManager Legal … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this year, JDi Data's TimesManager Legal is a cloud billing application with Android and iPhone apps.

The Killer Feature

Billable time and expenses that occur out of the office risk being forgotten if not captured immediately. The Android and iPhone TimesManager apps enable you to create a time slip with a few taps. The Android app can even interview you to ensure you haven't overlooked anything. When you create an expense, you can use your smartphone's camera to scan the receipt, store a linked copy in PDF format, and attach it to an invoice. You can search all client records and documents in the mobile app.

Other Notable Features

JDi Data has long served the insurance and legal markets with its ClaimsManager and PolicyAdministrator products. Because an increasing number of lawyers used ClaimsManager, JDi created TimesManager to serve a larger portion of the legal market. "Like many of the products we have created over the past 20 years, TimesManager was developed in response to customer needs," Founder and Chairman James DeRosa told me. "It was specifically designed to reduce recording inaccuracies and increase the productivity of legal professionals."

Setting up TimesManager involves entering or importing your existing clients and matters, timekeepers (including their access rights), and preferred billing arrangements. TimesManager accommodates the many fee arrangements law firms use nowadays. You can assign rates for timekeepers and matters, use activity and blended rates, implement ABA, LEDES, and UTBMS as well as your own custom billing codes, etc. If you don't specify a rate for a matter, you can add the rate during the first time entry.

When you're in the office, a customizable dashboard provides you with key performance indicators. TimesManager can start a timer automatically when you start work thanks to macros that integrate with Microsoft Office. You can backfill any missed time as well as override a timer if necessary. The Outlook add-in enables you to convert an email message into a time entry. As with expenses, TimesManager stores a copy of the email message in PDF format and links it to the time slip for future reference.

TimesManager supports common billing workflows. You can route pending fees and expenses electronically to those in your firm who need to approve them or print reports for review on paper. Billing partners can reject line items, apply write-offs, and split bills using dollars or a percentage with Times Manager handling the math.

TimesManager integrates with ebilling systems such as Legal Tracker (formerly Serengeti) and TyMetrix. You can alternatively email and print invoices. TimesManager integrates with QuickBooks (Windows), Tabs3, and other popular accounting systems.

What Else Should You Know?

Other features include Google-like global search, document management with built-in optical character recognition (OCR), speech recognition for data entry, customer relationship management (CRM), calendars, trust accounting, and task management. TimesManager Legal costs $29 per user per month, including unlimited telephone and email support. JDi Data offers optional back office bookkeeping and other services through its Shared Services program. Learn more about TimesManager.

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.

Boxtop Brings Secure Virtual Workspaces to Law Firms

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a virtual desktop and private cloud storage service designed for the needs of law firms (see article below), a cloud app for assigning work to lawyers in your firm, an iOS app for notes and tasks, and a network storage appliance. Don't miss the next issue.

When feasible, companies should use their own products (colloquially known as "eating your own dog food"). Everyone in the mostly open office space at Tabush Group uses a tiny computer connected to one or two monitors. These aren't Windows PCs but the employees are using Windows.

Boxtop … in One Sentence

Tabush Group's Boxtop is a private cloud service that enables law firms to use virtual Windows desktops with all their favorite applications but without any infrastructure management.

The Killer Feature

Tabush Group Founder and President Morris Tabush explained to me during my tour of the office that the secure thin client appliances on everyone's desk are optimized for Boxtop and included at no additional charge. They're outfitted with solid state drives (SSDs) and a Gigabit Ethernet port. However, Boxtop also works on your existing PCs as well as Macs, iPads, iPhones, and Android phones and tablets.

Boxtop's "device agnostic" approach enables you to use your Windows desktop with your Windows and web apps and your documents regardless of your location or the device you're using. Boxtop even preserves the "state" of your virtual desktop. For example, if you leave the office in the middle of a sentence in a Word document, logging in at home will take you right back to that sentence.

"Lawyers and their staff need to be fully productive with seamless access to their entire IT environment from anywhere, and not have to think about how the IT works," Tabush told me. "Boxtop helps them achieve this by moving everything together to the cloud. Our clients love that Boxtop is just so simple, and provides them secure access to their work from any Internet-connected device."

Other Notable Features

Because of Tabush Group's origins as an IT consultancy, Boxtop offers a lot of support — "high touch, high customization" as Tabush puts it. First, Boxtop provides a complimentary assessment of your firm's Internet connection. Boxtop recommends a minimum speed of 10-15 Mbps. If your firm needs to upgrade its Internet access, this cost is more than offset by no longer having to pay for servers and their maintenance according to Tabush.

Next Boxtop evaluates the legacy applications you use. Boxtop is compatible with popular legal products such as Amicus Attorney, HotDocs, PCLaw, Tabs3, Time Matters, Worldox, and many others. Boxtop supports Microsoft Office either via your own license or an Office 365 subscription.

Finally, Boxtop migrates all your documents. Boxtop offers both virtual network drives as well as private storage space for each user. BT Sync is a Dropbox-like technology included with Boxtop for accessing documents offline. Boxtop connects to local printers in your office, home, and even at hotels without compromising security. This eliminates risky methods such as using a thumb drive on a public computer.

Boxtop houses your data and applications in high-security datacenters in New York and Seattle. "Private cloud" means that Tabush Group owns the servers, not the datacenter. Your data is encrypted at rest and in transit.

What Else Should You Know?

Boxtop starts at $149 per user per month with no long-term contract required. Approximately, 15% of Boxtop users in a law firm opt for the Power User upgrade, which gives them more storage and administrative control of their virtual desktops. A one-time onboarding fee depends on your legacy environment. It takes about 3-4 weeks to move your firm to Boxtop and train everyone. Learn more about Boxtop.

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 Newsdesk Reveals Hidden Trends in the Media Coverage You Care About

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a business intelligence tool for monitoring news and social media about your clients, competitors, practice areas, and more (see article below), a cloud accounting and practice management app with features for midsize law firms, and two marketing automation apps. Don't miss the next issue.

Media coverage has exploded. In theory, you now have greater insight into your clients, competitors, practice areas, key industries, and other news related to your work. In practice, finding this information would consume all your time, leaving you no time to work. This is a job for a media analysis tool.

LexisNexis Newsdesk … in One Sentence

LexisNexis Newsdesk is a business intelligence solution for monitoring and analyzing news and social media.

The Killer Feature

LexisNexis Newsdesk enables you to stay on top of relevant news through a web dashboard, email alerts, email newsletters, and SharePoint. The service gives you access to more than four million articles and posts daily, including LexisNexis exclusive sources such as Law360, The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, and The Wall Street Journal.

In addition, LexisNexis Newsdesk includes prominent blogs such as Above the Law, social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, and popular website forums. You can add any RSS feed for personal blogs and other publications not in LexisNexis Newsdesk but which nevertheless publish important information.

"Current awareness and deep insights into facts and trends are essential as practitioners weigh risks and make decisions for their clients," LexisNexis Managing Director of the North American Research Solutions Sean Fitzpatrick tells us. "LexisNexis Newsdesk harnesses the power of big data analytics to create the most conclusive picture of your topic by delivering vital intelligence drawn from millions of news and social media sources, including top-tier legal media such as Law360."

Other Notable Features

Everyone in your firm can have their own customizable dashboard. Users can access multiple dashboards such as their own and one for their department. In addition to article links, a dashboard can also contain charts for analyzing media coverage. For example, you can show coverage of your firm by journalist and publication. In articles that mention your firm, LexisNexis Newsdesk can show you the "share of voice" — how much prominence your firm received in media coverage. Templates enable you to quickly create new charts.

You begin putting together your dashboard using LexisNexis Newsdesk's Smart Indexing technology, which enables you to drill down to a specific topic by entering terms of interest to you — a client, industry practice area, regulation, etc. This tool shows you related topics to help you pinpoint the exact topic of interest.

Along the right side of the screen, filters or "facets" enable you to fine-tune your dashboard feed. For example, you can include only articles that contain the terms of interest to you in the headline and lead paragraph or contain a minimum number of mentions, and exclude specific sources, industries, etc. You can adjust these settings anytime. For important news, you can create email alerts for instant notification.

LexisNexis Newsdesk has become popular among law librarians who use the Email Manager to create and send customized email newsletters to lawyers in the firm. You can add people to a newsletter one by one or create a group and then add everyone in the group to the newsletter. A newsletter can contain the same feeds as a dashboard. Alternatively, you can add Curated Feeds with handpicked articles. Any articles you choose will automatically be included in the next issue of the newsletter. You can schedule how often to send new issues of the newsletter.

What Else Should You Know?

The Android and iOS apps for LexisNexis Newsdesk enables you to access your dashboard on the go. Learn more about LexisNexis Newsdesk.

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.

WordPerfect Office X8 Aims to Help Law Firms Streamline Their Software Portfolios

Friday, May 20, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a word processing suite with legal and PDF tools (see article below), an iPad Pro case that may reduce the risk of theft, a gadget to help you sleep better by reducing external noise, and an email app designed to save you time. Don't miss the next issue.

It's fun to learn about new software products, but implementation? Not so much fun. Accordingly, the more each application can do, the fewer applications you need, the less money you spend, and the less training is required. Call it Suite's Law since such multifunction products often reside in a suite.

WordPerfect Office X8 … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this month, WordPerfect Office X8 (X8) is the latest edition of the most popular legal-specific word processing suite.

The Killer Feature

Corel relied heavily on feedback from legal users during the development of X8. The end result is a word processor with legal-specific features that obviates additional products.

For example, X8 contains advanced PDF tools. In addition to creating PDF documents, you can convert PDF scans to editable WPD documents thanks to built-in OCR. Reveal Codes enable you to clean up any odd formatting. You can also create PDF forms with X8, including drop-down menus, tool tips, and electronic signatures. Other PDF features include support for PDF/A and document security.

X8 also includes a number of built-in legal tools such as Bates Numbers and Pleading Paper (you can design your own). AfterShot 2 is a nondestructive photo organizer and editor with a $40 value that Corel now includes at no charge. The only extra that costs extra is Perfect Authority for automating the creation of tables authorities in briefs ($164.99).

"There may be more productivity apps around than ever, but lawyers quickly find that most simply aren't powerful enough to rely on," Senior Product Manager Cindy Howard tells us. "We asked our power users to tell us the most important improvements we could make in X8 for their workflows — and then we delivered."

Other Notable Features

Corel also set out to deliver some crowd pleasers for longtime fans. For example, you can now display Reveal Codes on the left or ride side of your monitor as there tends to be more unused space there than below your document. Additionally, you can adjust the color and other Reveal Codes settings, and save the Reveal Codes of a particular document in a separate document for review. X8 now includes a Reveal Codes glossary for any shorthand you don't understand.

The many law firms that use their own templates will welcome the new Template Viewer. You can create as many custom templates as needed and store them in a nested hierarchy. X8 automatically creates thumbnails of each template to make it easier for your staff to find the one they need.

Back in the early days of computing, lawyers and staff would often place an official WordPerfect Keyboard Template over their function keys for one stroke access to key features such as macros. With the ability to customize function keys, this one-size-fits all overlay became a relic. But now it's back — you can print a customized Keyboard Template that maps to your function keys.

Other features include an improved Macro Manager, the ability to hide any menu item and lock toolbars to reduce helpdesk calls, the option to include spaces in word and character counts, increased levels of Undo, short form citations in Perfect Authority, and support for high resolution monitors.

What Else Should You Know?

WordPerfect Office X8 Standard Edition sells for $249.99 (Full) or $159.99 (Upgrade). However, Bar Association members can purchase the full suite for $124.99. WordPerfect Office X8 runs on Windows 7 and later. Learn more about WordPerfect Office X8.

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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