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, fun to read, informative, 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

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Legal: Read Our Exclusive Report

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers speech recognition software for lawyers that works with nearly any microphone such as the one on your smartphone (see article below), a cloud word processor with new spreadsheet functionality, an iOS scanning app with OCR, and an online payroll processing service. Don't miss the next issue.

BENEVOLENT DICTATION

A meme exists to the effect that no one makes telephone calls anymore. Except that many people still make many telephone calls, including lawyers. Furthermore, voice recognition has become an area of intense research. Every smartphone now includes it. In short, your voice is still a thing. Maybe you should learn to use it more productively.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Legal … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this month, Nuance's Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Legal is speech recognition software designed for legal work.

The Killer Feature

In Dragon's early days, the difference between success and failure depended on your diligence and your microphone. It required reading training materials and an optimized microphone. Nuance realizes that training software is like watching paint dry and thus a deal killer.

The microphones built into computers have become so good that Dragon 13 Legal works with most of them. Automatic microphone detection lists all available microphones, enabling you to switch among them. If you prefer dictating on your feet or perhaps while holding a yoga pose, you can use your Android smartphone or iPhone as a wireless microphone. Alternatively, you can dictate into the free Dragon Recorder app for the iPhone and then import the files into Dragon 13 Legal.

Nuance has also eliminated the need to train the software (though it remains an option for optimal accuracy). You can expect 99% accuracy out of the box with this percentage improving as the software adapts to your voice. A language model tuned for legal terms and a legal dictionary means that Dragon 13 Legal understands legalese. The software also knows how to format citations.

Other Notable Features

The Dragon 13 Legal Macro Recorder enables you to integrate with any other product you use. For example, you can create a voice macro to run a conflicts search in your practice management system. Meanwhile, Smart Format Rules enable you to teach Dragon 13 Legal how to handle abbreviations, paragraph numbers, etc. to obviate having to make the same corrections repeatedly.

Another automation feature of sorts enables you to proofread your documents by listening to them. You can play your original dictation, but you'll likely find the text-to-speech playback more helpful.

What Else Should You Know?

Dragon 13 Legal enables you to control the toolbar and other commands by voice in popular applications such as Microsoft Word 2010 and later, WordPerfect X6 and later, Gmail, and the major web browsers. Dragon 13 Legal requires Windows 7 or later. It costs $799. If you don't need the legal features, Dragon 13 Premium costs $199 and Dragon 13 Professional costs $599. Learn more about Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Legal.

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 X7 Legal Edition: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an office suite that includes software for automating tables of authorities (see article below), an iOS email app compatible with most email protocols and services, an iOS law dictionary app that works inside other apps, an iOS app for organizing paper stickie notes (not a joke). Don't miss the next issue.

A POPULAR OFFICE SUITE SWEETENS ITS LEGAL BUNDLE

Software is unpredictable regarding its ability to upend the status quo. However, it follows a predictable path. Multi-functional software such as a word processor renders single-purpose utilities obsolete. This process is now playing out regarding products to create tables of authorities.

WordPerfect Office X7 Legal Edition … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Corel's WordPerfect Office X7 Legal Edition is an office suite that now includes Perfect Authority (normally $199.99), which automates the creation of tables of authorities.

The Killer Feature

Perfect Authority works with citations in Bluebook, California Style Manual, Florida Rule 9.800, and Louisiana Public Domain formats. You need not manually mark citations as Perfect Authority finds them unassisted.

You can place the table of authorities you generate in your current document or create a separate document. Either way, you can update the table of authorities as often as necessary. When placed in the same document, the table of authorities can contain a page number hyperlinks.

Perfect Authority's Option Sets enable you to create, save, and apply settings for citation type, dot leaders, fonts, margins, Passim, sorting, and more. You can create multiple Option Sets for different courts, document types, etc. The Dictionary Editor further enhances automation by storing short-forms and legal terms with the correct capitalization and spelling.

"Perfect Authority was developed and integrated into WordPerfect Office as a result of numerous requests from our loyal users," Corel Executive Vice President of Graphics & Productivity Nick Davies told us. "The automatic creation of tables of authorities from within WordPerfect saves lawyers and their teams a significant amount of time."

Other Notable Features

Because the PDF format has become essential to law practice, Corel has enhanced the PDF capabilities in WordPerfect. For example, you can now create PDF forms, import PDF documents and edit them, save documents in PDF or PDF/A formats, and apply security settings.

The new Favorites features facilitates quick access to frequently-used documents and enables you to open several documents simultaneously. The enhanced Macro Manger contains several new macros.

Other improved features include Bates numbering, metadata removal, redaction, optical disc burning (via Roxio), and of course the perennially popular Reveal Codes. BrainStorm training videos help you get up to speed.

What Else Should You Know?

WordPerfect Office X7 Legal Edition costs $349.99. Those eligible can upgrade for $224.99. Corel offers discounts via many bar associations. You can try it for free. Learn more about WordPerfect Office X7 Legal 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.

CosmoLex: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers an integrated billing, practice management, and trust accounting cloud application (see article below), an add-on for WestlawNext, an iOS app for creating diagrams, and a cloud time-tracking application. Don't miss the next issue.

LEGAL PRACTICE MANAGEMENT FOR ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR BUSINESS

Last decade, integrated software was like an army that had advanced beyond its supply lines. It held a lot of promise, but the technology simply didn't exist yet to make it successful. From force of habit, many small law firms still use a smorgasbord of software products, but the times have changed.

CosmoLex … in One Sentence

Updated recently, CosmoLex is a cloud legal practice management application with integrated billing, calendaring, conflicts checking, task management, and trust accounting.

The Killer Feature

Integration of your law firm's finances and client work eliminates duplication and reduces errors. For example, CosmoLex handles the entire client intake process. You can use it to conduct a conflicts search, schedule the initial meeting on the team calendar, enter the initial retainer into a new trust account, assign the matter's initial set of tasks to you and your team, convert completed tasks into billable time entries, generate a bill, and apply the retainer to the bill.

"We knew that a simple but robust integration of calendaring, task tracking, billing, and trust accounting would solve the majority of operational efficiency problems at small law firms," CosmoLex CEO Dr. Rick Kabra told us. "The bonus of anytime/anywhere access to these capabilities in the cloud exponentially increases the productivity gains realized."

Other Notable Features

CosmoLex's 360-Degree Financial View is a one-page dashboard that displays a snapshot of important financial data across all matters, including fee advances in an operating or trust account, unbilled work, and unpaid bills.

You'll find support for any style of billing such as hourly, contingent, and flat fee. Time entry requires just three clicks or taps. The Shorthand tool expands abbreviations that you set up for faster entry. Built-in cost accounting enables you to charge for overhead. Billing features include invoice customization, batch billing into PDF or Word format, and the ability to email invoices and reminders for past due invoices.

CosmoLex handles any trust accounting scenario, including preventing common trust accounting mistakes such as ledger card over-draft, three-way bank reconciliation, an audit trail of all trust account activity for each client and matter, low retainer replenishment requests, check printing (standard and voucher-style), and statements for clients that comply with your governing ethics rules. Trust accounts are always audit ready and IOLTA compliant.

CosmoLex goes beyond traditional conflicts checking. For example, finding a matching name doesn't necessarily mean a conflict exists. For this reason, the Conflict Checking function shows you relationships (e.g., John Smith was a witness for opposing counsel in a case five years ago).

Law firms must safeguard client data from external threats, and limit access internally. CosmoLex uses only datacenters in the United States with the latest encryption and other security protocols. Your data gets backed up automatically every four hours. Role-Based User Security enables you to create groups of people to designate which functions of CosmoLex they can access.

What Else Should You Know?

CosmoLex features a responsive design that automatically adapts to smaller screen sizes, enabling you to use it in any web browser on any device. CosmoLex costs $50 per user per month ($43 if you pay annually). You can try it for free. Learn more about CosmoLex.

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.

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.

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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