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
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Legalinc Modernizes Entity Formation and Compliance Through Practice Automation

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud software platform that automates entity formation and compliance tasks, and enables you to offer these services under your own brand (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of do-it-yourself ediscovery collection software at a price point far below the industry average, cloud practice management software for law firms that crave the billing and automation features of legacy software, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Entity formation and ongoing management can seem like Dante's Inferno with each secretary of state a figurative Circle of Hell thanks to archaic websites, inconsistent compliance notifications, and manual, paper-based processes. How about some modernization and uniformity?

Legalinc … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Legalinc automates tasks related to business formation, entity management, and registered agent services, and enables you to offer these services under your own brand.

The Killer Feature

You can use Legalinc's services directly from its website. Alternatively, you can incorporate LINC, a private-label (white-label) version of Legalinc, into your own website. LINC is free, including complete integration assistance.

With LINC powering your website, you can offer do-it-yourself business formation services similar to LegalZoom. Prospects can choose from several packages. For example, you could charge extra for registered agent services, an online entity management dashboard, etc. Also, these new businesses may need additional legal services that your firm can provide — trademark filings, lease negotiations, private placements, etc.

"Legalinc is an incredible partner for us, says Kevin Vela, co-founder of Vela Wood P.C. in Texas. "We leverage their LINC technology platform to better and more efficiently service our clients. I can't imagine using anyone else for state filing matters."

Other Notable Features

Legalinc CEO and Founder Erik Treutlein describes Legalinc as a "practice automation software company." "By leveraging the power of software to navigate thorny requirements across all U.S. jurisdictions, Legalinc outshines the clunky, antiquated processes offered today," says Treutlein. "We are committed to automating mission-critical legal services through secure, scalable software."

When forming a new entity, Legalinc displays all state fees, including options for expedited processing. Legalinc can create C and S corporations, LLCs, nonprofits, DBAs, and more in all 50 states. Legalinc can serve as the entity's registered agent.

Legalinc's Compliance Calendar lists deadlines for the entities you manage, enabling you to identify and address compliance challenges. Legalinc can send you and your clients email alerts (on your behalf) for upcoming filing deadlines, status changes, and so forth. If you need a document such as Good Standing that's not available online, Legalinc can retrieve it quickly from the state and upload it to your account.

The Entity Dashboard lists the formation and all subsequent orders as well as the accompanying documents — incorporation, annual reports, state advices, and tax filings. Not all states have gone digital so Legalinc scans and uploads mail received from such states. Similarly, you can upload documents created outside of Legalinc's purview such as board minutes. Accordingly, every compliance document associated with the entity resides in Legalinc. If you're using LINC, you can provide access to this dashboard under your own brand to your clients.

What Else Should You Know?

Legalinc can transfer all the entities your firm currently manages to its platform for free. Legalinc charges an annual fee per entity plus any applicable state filing fees. Treutlein tells me that Legalinc charges significantly less than industry giants like CT Corporation. This gives you more latitude when pricing the services powered by Legalinc that you offer clients. Learn more about Legalinc.

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.

Actevis Collection Wizard Offers Affordable Do-It-Yourself Ediscovery Collection for Small Cases

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers do-it-yourself ediscovery collection software at a price point far below the industry average(see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud practice management software for law firms that crave the billing and automation features of legacy software, a federal tax law research tool that facilitates point-in-time analysis and redlines showing changes, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Most litigators work in firms with fewer than five lawyers and handle disputes with a relatively small number of witnesses. However, most ediscovery software for collecting potential evidence — electronically stored information (ESI) — from custodian computers is cost prohibitive.

Actevis Collection Wizard … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Actevis Collection Wizard is forensically defensible, do-it-yourself ediscovery collection software at a low price point.

The Killer Feature

Before starting his demo, Actevis Systems' Chief Software Architect Martin Reich tells me about what I'll call the "ediscovery collection gap." Hiring a consultant to run collection software such as industry giant EnCase costs about $2,000 per custodian.

Accordingly, many litigators omit custodians to save money. Or they may forego using such software altogether, and instead instruct custodians to self-collect from their computers using drag and drop to an external drive. These litigators run the risk of being called as a witness if opposing counsel challenges the chain of custody or completeness of the collection. Mistakes can result in sanctions.

Actevis Collection Wizard offers forensically-sound do-it-yourself collection for $100 per custodian computer. "Actevis Collection Wizard already complies with proposed FRE 902(14) on data collection audit trails expected to become final this year," says Reich. "As a lawyer, you shouldn't collect evidence in a haphazard manner," adds co-founder David Golden. "You don't want your evidence and your competency in ediscovery challenged by opposing counsel."

Other Notable Features

Actevis Collection Wizard runs on Windows PCs. Once downloaded, it walks you through three steps. First, you select the target drive or folder (the C drive is the default). Second, you select the output format such as the native files in the folder structure on the custodian machine or a small set of ZIP files. Third, you select where to save the copy. When configuring the settings, you can exclude file types such as images, restrict the collection to a specific date range, etc.

Email often trips up collection projects. For example, web-based ediscovery tools cannot collect email when Outlook is running according to Reich. Also, many custodians don't know how to export PST files from Outlook. Actevis Collection Wizard collects email from Outlook regardless of its state and without the need to create a PST file. The Recycle Bin likewise can pose collection challenges but not for Actevis Collection Wizard.

To ensure that each copy is identical to its original counterpart and that no tampering has occurred, Actevis Collection Wizard uses the latest file verification protocols — known as "hashing." A group of automatically generated reports provides a defensible audit trail if challenged. For example, the reports list all your settings and all collected files and their corresponding hashes. An expert can use these reports to authenticate the files you produce to opposing counsel. You can have the Collection Summary report emailed to you when the collection process concludes.

What Else Should You Know?

You can run Actevis Collection Wizard an unlimited number of times on a custodian PC for 90 days. This enables you to export in native file format for early case assessment, and then again later for importing into your ediscovery review software. Learn more about Actevis Collection Wizard.

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.

Centerbase Offers a Cloud Practice Management Path for Firms With Complex Billing Requirements

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management software for law firms that crave the billing and automation features of legacy software (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a federal tax law research tool that facilitates point-in-time analysis and redlines showing changes, a legal research service that now provides insights on the judges overseeing your cases in certain federal practice areas, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Many law firms find cloud practice management products alluring but lacking in functionality compared to legacy on-premises products. The market seems ripe for cloud practice management software that bridges this gap.

Centerbase … in One Sentence

Centerbase is cloud practice management software with billing and workflow features for law firms with complex business processes such as revenue allocation rules.

The Killer Feature

Before giving me a demo, Founder and CEO John Forbes tells me, "Our sophisticated billing functionality makes Centerbase a great option for law firms looking to move to the cloud from older, server based software such as Time Matters, Timeslips, and Juris."

Forbes is referring to features like the Matters Dashboard, which has functionality similar to Time Matters' Power Views. You can configure the Matters Dashboard to display just about anything related to a matter, including billing information.

You can also configure settings such as trust account thresholds, timekeeper rates, and compensation rules on a firm-wide basis or at the client or matter level. These rules can encompass factors like partner commissions and origination credit. You can also create rules specific to your practice area. For example, your state may require allocating overpayments by clients to a trust account.

Centerbase supports financial controls such as closing dates that lock posted transactions, prebill approvals, write-offs, and adding trust replenishments to the amount due on invoices. Customizable Invoice Templates enable you to create different invoice designs for certain clients or matter types. Invoice delivery options include email, PDF, and ebilling protocols such as LEDES, the latter of which you can configure to accommodate any system. Centerbase also supports credit card payments from a payment button in email invoices.

Centerbase includes a number of reports such as accounts receivable, fee receipts, and timekeeper analysis. The company routinely adds reports based on customer requests. Certified consultants can create custom reports for you.

"Centerbase increased the productivity and efficiency of our entire firm," says Kenneth Sheets, partner at Payne & Blanchard, which switched from Juris. "The team over at Centerbase has been there with us throughout the transition process, making it easier on everyone."

Other Notable Features

If Centerbase doesn't support a process in your firm, you can create a Workflow using the company's free Database Designer. These Workflows can automatically generate and assign tasks to lawyers and staff, send automated email, generate documents from templates, fill in form fields, and create new records. Potential uses include client intake, project management, and referral tracking. You access Workflows from the Custom Actions menu in the Matters Dashboard and other dashboards.

Centerbase takes a unique approach to email and document management. An Outlook add-in can file email messages and attachments in the corresponding matter. Time slips can be created in Outlook when you view or send an email. For documents, Centerbase can appear as a mapped drive in Windows such as on your file server. Any documents placed there become available in Centerbase and vice versa. Centerbase includes 5 TB of space.

What Else Should You Know?

Other key integrations include on-premise Microsoft products, Office 365, and QuickBooks Online. The Centerbase Mobile app provides access to everything on your iPhone. Most importantly, you can enter time on the go. Centerbase costs $52 per user per month. Learn more about Centerbase.

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.

Standard Fed Plus Brings Point-in-Time Analysis and Comparison Tools to Tax Law

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a federal tax law research tool that facilitates point-in-time analysis and redlines showing changes (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a legal research service that now provides insights on the judges overseeing your cases in certain federal practice areas, practice management and legal accounting software that can download bank and credit card transactions for faster reconciliations, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Tax lawyers are historians. Specifically, they often must identify differences over time by comparing versions of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax Code) and related materials. Surprisingly, most do this by looking back and forth at two versions of these materials, which can lead to mistakes in interpretation.

Standard Fed Plus … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, U.S.' Standard Fed Plus is a new online practice tool based on the Standard Federal Tax Reporter that enables you to compare versions of the tax laws and commentary at different points in time with redlines of the changes.

The Killer Feature

Given that lawyers usually redline their own documents, why not the law too? This clever idea led tax-lawyer-turned-product-director Benjamin Snipes to develop Standard Fed Plus accessed within Cheetah, Wolters Kluwer's new legal research platform.

When you navigate to a section of the Standard Federal Tax Reporter in Cheetah, Standard Fed Plus displays a timeline across the top of the page listing every date on which that section changed. This facilitates a Point-in-Time Analysis — click a date to read that version, click another date, etc. If you need more context during your research, you'll find links to the corresponding legislative history and Standard Federal Tax Reporter commentary. You can also find tax-related case law. Standard Fed Plus can save you about 15 minutes per search according to Snipes.

Given the volume of changes that can occur in the Tax Code, the Redlining Comparison Tool in Standard Fed Plus enables you to compare two versions of a section with additions in green and deletions in red similar to Track Changes in Microsoft Word. In fact, you can copy and paste this redline intact into a Microsoft Word or WordPerfect document such as in a research memo or opinion letter you're drafting. The algorithm Snipes and his team created further reduces "immaterial noise" from the redline.

"Standard Fed Plus is part of our ongoing effort to introduce new, user-friendly and authoritative solutions to frequent challenges faced by tax attorneys and other tax professionals, and integrate accurate content into their workflow," said Dean Sonderegger, Vice President & General Manager, Legal Markets & Innovation. "Even looking beyond the game-changing Point-in-Time Navigation and Redlining Comparison features, Standard Fed Plus combines authoritative content, expert analysis, practice tools, and a current awareness for legal professionals seeking to gain insights on today's most challenging tax matters."

Other Notable Features

In addition to its federal tax offerings, Cheetah contains primary and secondary tax materials from the CCH and Aspen imprints across many other practice areas ranging from antitrust to employee benefits to securities and more. Iconic titles such as Mergers, Acquisitions, and Buyouts by Ginsburg, Levin and Rocap are exclusive.

Cheetah sports a new, responsive design that adjusts to any size screen from a large monitor to an iPhone. Features such as auto-fill and auto-suggest speed up your searches. Related Content and Metadata links enable you to dig deeper without having to run a separate search. You can use the ever-present Copy Link tool to send a colleague to a case, Tax Code section, etc.

What Else Should You Know?

Standard Fed Plus currently encompasses versions the tax laws from 1986 to today, including CCH's commentary and legislative history, and will soon extend this history back to 1917. Learn more about Standard Fed Plus.

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 Now Includes Insights on Judges Powered by Lex Machina

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a legal research service that now provides insights on the judges overseeing your cases in certain federal practice areas (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of practice management and legal accounting software that can download bank and credit card transactions for faster reconciliations, practice management software with a Dropbox-like mechanism for sharing files with clients, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Winning a case requires more than understanding the facts and applicable law. You also need to size up the judge, opposing counsel, and the parties. Understanding this human dynamic can tip the balance in your favor.

Lexis Advance … in One Sentence

Lexis Advance is a leading legal research service that now includes litigation analytics from Lex Machina.

The Killer Feature

When you next have a case on an antitrust, copyright, patent, trademark, or securities issue, you can use Lexis Advance to research the judge presiding over your case. Soon you'll also be able to research opposing counsel and competing law firms.

This data comes from Lex Machina, a company LexisNexis acquired in 2015. Lex Machina transforms data from federal court dockets into live charts. In Lexis Advance, you can access this data by clicking on the hyperlinked judge's name in the text of a case or in the new Legal Analytics box to the right of the case text.

This link takes you to a summary with the judge's biographical information, open cases by practice area, comparisons to other judges in the district, cases filed by year, and case timelines. These latter charts give you a sense of how long the dispute may take to resolve and the odds of a trial. Lexis Advance users can access these summaries without a Lex Machina subscription.

"With access to summary charts, graphs, and information about judges from Lex Machina, Lexis Advance users can quickly and accurately understand the justice presiding over their case, better anticipate his or her behavior and illuminate probable case outcomes — with the option to click out to Lex Machina for more detail," says Sean Fitzpatrick, Managing Director for North American Research Solutions at LexisNexis. "It is an early step in our strategy to integrate high value analytic and visualization tools directly into the Lexis Advance research experience."

Other Notable Features

For deeper insights, you can click from this summary in Lexis Advance to the Lex Machina website if you have a subscription to the latter. Lex Machina's Motion Chains enables you to analyze your odds of success for a specific type of motion based on historical data. Similarly, you can see how opposing counsel has performed on similar cases or before your judge. You can also research parties, case damages, venues, practice areas, etc. for business development purposes. As you research, you can download briefs, exhibits, and other documents from cases of interest.

Lex Machina offers a growing number of specialized apps. For example, Patent Portfolio Evaluator lists the complete litigation history for a specific patent. Damages Explorer enables you to forecast likely damages and attorney fees as well as compare damages when forum shopping. Early Case Assessor gives you an overview of the plaintiff's litigation history from recent activity to venues to counsel. Other apps consist of Courts & Judges Comparator, Law Firms Comparator, and Parties Comparator.

What Else Should You Know?

In addition to litigation analytics, you'll notice another new feature in Lexis Advance — Reason for Shepard's Signal. This provides you with instant context for each dreaded red or yellow Shepard's signal or instant peace of mind when the signal is green. Reason for Shepard's Signal is currently available for cases since 2003 with older cases coming soon. Learn more about Lexis Advance.

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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