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

EstateExec: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud application for estate settlements that all concerned can access (see article below), an iOS email app that intelligently processes your messages, another iOS email app that transforms email messages into tasks, and an enterprise-grade replacement for Dropbox with mobile apps. Don't miss the next issue.

FACILITATING ESTATE SETTLEMENTS VIA THE CLOUD

While death causes grief, it can also provide a financial cushion. Accordingly, anything that gets between beneficiaries and their inheritance becomes a problem — including probate lawyers like you. The key to contentment (and referrals) lies in keeping all concerned informed about the estate.

EstateExec … in One Sentence

Launched recently, EstateExec is a cloud application for tracking, calculating, and sharing information about trust and estate settlements, including assets, debts, expenses, and distributions.

The Killer Feature

Once you set up an estate, you can grant online access to clients, executors, beneficiaries, other lawyers, etc. You can choose limited read-only access or full administrator access. This empowers clients to obtain status updates when they want without needing to reach out to your office. Those with full access can update information such as assets they sell.

"EstateExec applies the latest cloud-based technology to the estate settlement process," EstateExec Board Member Dan Stickel tells us. "This results in an easy and affordable way to simplify the estate and trust settlement process while providing enhanced client services at the same time."

Other Notable Features

The developers of EstateExec set out to make estate and trust settlement "easier by simplifying the process even for old hands with battle-tested spreadsheet templates," says Stickel. EstateExec's central repository tracks all estate assets, debts, expenses, etc. This not only documents each transaction for record-keeping purposes, but also tracks what's left for distribution in the estate — including funds of sold assets.

Thus, if you sell Uncle Jimmy's Apple Watch Edition because that jokester left it equally to two beneficiaries, EstateExec will track the sale and the eventual distribution of the funds from the sale. Distribution planning tools can mark assets for future distribution, and then mark them complete when finalized.

You'll spend most of your time in the Assets table, which functions like a spreadsheet. It lists all assets by type, value, distribution status, and more. "It's like Quicken, but geared towards estate settlement rather than household finance," says Stickel.

On-the-fly reports via sorting and filtering enable you to answer any question you might have or receive about the estate. You can sort the Assets, Debts, and other tables by column, including secondary sorting (e.g., sort by asset type and then value). Each table column contains a search field for filtering. For example, you can find remaining assets of a certain type, at a certain location, or with a certain keyword such as "watch," the value of assets received per beneficiary, all assets worth more than a certain value, and much more.

Regardless of whether you choose to give others access, you may also want to send them saved reports. You can export reports in PDF format for a professional look, as well as in CSV format for analyzing in Excel or importing into products such as QuickBooks.

What Else Should You Know?

EstateExec runs in all major desktop and mobile browsers. It costs $79 per estate regardless of size. You can try EstateExec for free. Learn more about EstateExec.

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.

Adobe Document Cloud: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud PDF service with tools for paperless workflows (see article below), practice and project management software for midsize and large law firms, a portable Bluetooth keyboard that fits in your pocket, and Windows virtualization software. Don't miss the next issue.

RETHINKING PDF SOFTWARE FOR A MULTI-DEVICE WORLD

Unlike most technologies, the PDF format becomes more powerful and downright invaluable with each new leap forward. Digital signatures, scanners, mobile devices, and of course the cloud have all made the mighty PDF even mightier. The biggest player in the PDF software world (and inventor of the format) just took the wraps off its next-generation PDF platform.

Adobe Document Cloud … in One Sentence

Announced this week and launching soon, Adobe Document Cloud is a service for creating paperless workflows.

The Killer Feature

Adobe offers a cloud storage service called Acrobat.com, a digital signature service called EchoSign, and a mobile app called Adobe Reader. Adobe Document Cloud replaces all three with the mobile app renamed Acrobat DC. Acrobat XI and Microsoft Office 365 also integrate with Adobe Document Cloud.

Other Notable Features

A number of apps exist that can scan a document using the camera on your smartphone or tablet. However, these scans never look as good as the output from a dedicated scanner because of shadows and imperfect perspectives when snapping the photo. Adobe claims that Acrobat DC eliminates these imperfections so well that the resulting documents are suitable for archival purposes.

Acrobat DC supports editing of documents you scan thanks to automatic optical character recognition. If you scan a document with form fields, Acrobat DC can convert it into a form on the fly that you can fill out on your mobile device. You can also electronically sign both Word and PDF documents, the former thanks to the integration with Office 365.

Because your documents reside in the cloud, any changes you make become available everywhere, including on your Mac or PC via your web browser, Acrobat XI (PDF), and Word (DOCX). The document manager in Adobe Document Cloud supports nested folders for organization.

What Else Should You Know?

You can gain access to Adobe Document Cloud by subscribing to Acrobat XI for $14.99 per month. This also enables you to install Acrobat XI Professional on your Mac or PC. Alternatively, you can subscribe to Adobe Document Cloud alone at a lower but as of yet unannounced price. Learn more about Acrobat Document 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.

FactBox: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a cloud case analysis application (see article below), a Windows taskbar utility, cloud project and task management software, and an Outlook add-on for searching your email. Don't miss the next issue.

CASE ANALYSIS MEETS THE CLOUD

Pity the Sisyphean litigators of yesteryear who used word processing software to painstakingly create and maintain digests connecting facts and issues. And pity the clients who overpaid for this manual labor. Wait. Yesteryear? Many litigators still don't use case analysis software, which uses a database to crunch facts and issues. Perhaps the cloud and its user experience advantages can turn the tide.

FactBox … in One Sentence

Launched recently, Lynx Workflow's FactBox is a cloud application for case analysis.

The Killer Feature

Once you enter facts and connect them to issues and subissues, you can slice and dice the data in various reports.

For example, you can generate an old school chronology listing all the facts by date. This report can take the form of a memorandum or table. Similarly, you can create a digest listing all the facts associated with a given issue.

You can customize reports, choosing whether to include items such as Key Date, Title, Content, Sources, and Contributor (your colleagues). When finalized, you can export reports in Word format.

In addition to assigning one or more issues to a fact, you can also assign customizable tags. You could create a tag for a deponent after which you can generate a report for this tag with all the facts and issues to cover in the deposition.

Other Notable Features

You start using FactBox by creating a case. Facts can consist of your notes, deposition testimony, discovery documents, photographs, etc. You enter notes and testimony using FactBox's rich text editor. The text editor has tools for character formatting, highlighting, and paragraph indenting.

You link source documents to facts. FactBox handles all popular document formats such as Word and PDF. As you enter facts and documents, you apply issues and tags as well as a Key Date if applicable.

Other features include the ability to view data by any parameter, second-level sorting (e.g., sort by issue and then by date), unlimited cases, and multiple accounts (for contract lawyers).

FactBox is hosted on redundant servers in physically secure datacenters in the United States. The company routinely hires audit firms to evaluate its security with penetration tests.

What Else Should You Know?

FactBox runs in all major desktop and mobile web browsers. You can also use it via the desktop Mac and Windows apps. FactBox costs $49 per month for one user and 1 TB of data, $179 per month for up to 5 users and 3 TB of data, $329 per month for up to 15 users and 5 TB of data, and $499 per month for unlimited users and unlimited data. The company discounts annual plans. You can try FactBox for free. Learn more about FactBox.

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.

cleanDocs Mobile: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers software that removes metadata from documents you email from your smartphone (see article below), a service that provides your firm with your own branded own app for client communications and referrals, an iOS keyboard for entering text snippets, and a stand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Don't miss the next issue.

A SAFER MOBILE EMAIL EXPERIENCE

Now that you live in a multi-device world, you should not have to switch to a different device to complete a task. For example, suppose you apply a few final touches to a Word document using Word for iOS. You want to email it to your client but first you need to remove the metadata. Must you wait until you get back to your PC? Not anymore.

cleanDocs Mobile … in One Sentence

Launched recently, DocsCorp's cleanDocs Mobile removes metadata from documents you email from iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone devices.

The Killer Feature

cleanDocs Mobile integrates with your firm's Exchange server to clean email attachments before they get sent. Given this necessary intervention, speed is essential for a good user experience. DocsCorp's CEO Dean Sappey tells us that cleanDocs Mobile "cleans email at blistering speeds to minimize productivity losses and delays."

Most metadata cleaners need to open the authoring application (e.g., Microsoft Word), which can take about 10 seconds. In a large firm, significant bottlenecks can form at the server such that lawyers have no idea when their message will get sent.

By contrast, cleanDocs Mobile uses "Binary Level" and "Multi-Threaded" Processing. Binary level processing eliminates the need to use the authoring application. As an added benefit, you don't need the authoring application installed on your device. Multi-Threaded processing means that cleanDocs Mobile takes full advantage of the multi-core CPUs in today's servers. The end result is that cleanDocs Mobile removes more than 100 metadata types from documents at sub-second speeds.

Other Notable Features

cleanDocs Mobile works hand in hand with cleanDocs Desktop, the latter of which runs on the PCs in your firm. Accordingly, any documents already cleaned by one don't get cleaned by the other, further increasing the speed.

Similarly, cleanDocs Mobile gives you and your colleagues more control than server-based products. DocsCorp refers to this as "contextual cleaning." This means that cleanDocs Mobile enables you to make cleaning decisions and apply your firm's cleaning policies when warranted (e.g., you don't need to clean a document emailed internally to a colleague, or you don't want track changes or comments removed when collaborating with an external party).

Regarding the Exchange integration, cleanDocs Mobile sends messages directly through Outlook rather than through relay servers. This not only ensures that your Sent Mail is identical on all devices, but also minimizes the risk of downtime caused by problematic email messages. Outlook resolves any issues by rerouting such email.

What Else Should You Know?

"cleanDocs Mobile is more than a metadata cleaning tool," Sappey tells us. "It's a unified approach to metadata management that recognizes the need for a more flexible, secure, and user-friendly solution for both desktop and mobile users." Learn more about cleanDocs Mobile.

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.

Synergy Tools 1.0: Read Our Exclusive Report

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Today's issue of TL NewsWire The feature article of today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Windows utility that automates common law office document tasks. The Roundup section covers an online store for interactive legal forms, a virtual legal consultation and lawyer referral service, and a social news app. Also, if you missed last week's TL NewsWire feature article, you'll find an excerpt and link below.

NINE TIMESAVERS FOR COMMON LAW OFFICE DOCUMENT TASKS

Many small law firms suffer from a variety of document-related collaboration problems. For example, you email your colleague a Word document to review. Your colleague doesn't know where the original document resides on your firm's file server (or shared hard drive) so the final version ends up trapped in email instead of in its proper place.

Synergy Tools 1.0 … in One Sentence

Launched this month, Legal Matters Software's Synergy Tools 1.0 is a Windows Explorer companion utility that automates common law office document tasks.

The Killer Feature

Synergy Tools uses your existing file structure so it resembles Windows Explorer and even contains a button that takes you to the same location in Windows Explorer.

The Email Document Link button addresses the above email collaboration issue. Instead of attaching one or more documents to an email message, you email a link to the document. When your colleague clicks the link, the original document opens. Your colleague can work on the document without needing to know its location, and can reply to your email message when finished.

Other Notable Features

Lawyers of course also need to email documents to clients and others. This means leaving Windows Explorer to start an email message, and then returning to Windows Explorer to drag the document into the email message. In Synergy Tools, you select one or more documents, and then click the Email Document button. This automatically creates an email message with the documents appended as attachments.

The PDF format has become ubiquitous in law firms. Synergy Tools contains three PDF-related features. Convert to PDF converts any documents you select into PDF format using the same file name. Merge as PDF enables you to combine all selected documents into a single PDF file in the order you specify such as for deal books and ebriefs. Number PDF Pages enables you to apply a stamp to every page in a PDF file. You can use it for Bates stamping as it accommodates any combination of letters, numbers, and other symbols in sequential order.

Lawyers often need to efile PDF documents. Instead of navigating your firm's file structure, the Copy File Path button in Synergy Tools copies a document's file path to your clipboard that you can paste into your web browser's document upload window. The similar Copy Folder Path takes your web browser to the folder with documents you want to upload.

You'll also find two document management technologies in Synergy Tools. Document Date places the creation date at the beginning of the file name for all selected documents. This enables you bulk name documents created prior to adopting this best practice. New Version creates a new version of a document with a sequential number in its file name.

Finally, Synergy Tools includes Synergy Signature, which also exists as a standalone product. Synergy Signature enables you to apply your scanned signature in a Word or PDF document.

What Else Should You Know?

"After visiting with many law firms over the years, we found that most suffer from the same document-related inefficiencies," Legal Matters Software CEO John Ryan told us. "Synergy Tools eliminates each of these, dramatically improving productivity at a pay-once price any law firm can afford." Synergy Tools runs on Windows Vista and later. It costs $24.95. Learn more about Synergy Tools 1.0.

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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