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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LEAP 365 Offers Practice Management and Document Assembly Everywhere You Go

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management and document assembly software that runs on Windows PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Android devices (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of proofreading software for contracts, four cloud practice management apps, an ebook law library, an add-on for document management systems, litigation case management software, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Staying on top of your practice during idle time such as air travel, waiting in line, etc. obviates the need to spend time catching up when you return to the office. This level of productivity requires software that works on any device.

LEAP 365 … in One Sentence

Released at an event at Yankee Stadium on September 12, 2016, LEAP 365 is law practice management software designed for a multi-device world.

The Killer Feature

LEAP started in Australia and grew to become the practice management leader there after which it launched in the U.K. and U.S. In 2010, LEAP moved to the cloud in a unique manner, combing the speed of a Windows desktop app with the convenience of the cloud for back-end data storage. This eliminated the need to maintain a local server.

The new LEAP 365 recognizes that lawyers now use multiple devices, and that Macs have made inroads in small firms. The new web app brings LEAP 365 to Macs. The Windows app remains available along with the iOS and Android apps for using LEAP 365 on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

During the Yankee Stadium event (which I attended), four LEAP product specialists respectively operated an iPhone, Windows PC, Mac, and iPad, handing off work to each other "seamlessly."

"We challenge ourselves to make the most innovative legal practice management software on the market, so lawyers have the freedom to work when and where they want," LEAP USA CEO Chris Stock told me.

Other Notable Features

LEAP 365 also offers a first — an integration with Microsoft Word Online for document assembly. The LEAP Windows app has long integrated with the Windows version of Word for document assembly. The company worked with Microsoft to bring this functionality to the new web app. LEAP 365 stores the documents you create in the corresponding matter, and enables you to create a time or fee entry. Documents created in Word Online work with all other versions of Word.

LEAP offers complimentary setup of your firm's templates so that you can take full advantage of its document assembly technology. In addition, LEAP 365 offers a growing library of state and federal forms. Along with document assembly, LEAP 365 includes document management with advanced features such as document comparison and versioning.

The web and iPhone apps mirror the functionality of the other LEAP 365 apps but also offer additional functionality. The web app contains a suite of reports for law firm owners. With the iPhone app, you can initiate a call from a client's contact card, automatically track the length of the call, and then dictate additional details to complete the time entry. The iPhone app also has a document scanner, enabling you to scan documents directly into a matter using the iPhone's camera.

What Else Should You Know?

LEAP announced three other key integrations at its event — QuickBooks Online for accounting, Office 365 for email, and RapidPay (powered by LawPay) for credit card processing. LEAP 365 costs $129 per user per month. This includes setup, training, and technical support. It also includes a modern website for your law firm. Learn more about LEAP 365.

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.

Thomson Reuters Legal Business Development Solutions Connects Internal and External Data to Identify Opportunities

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers client relationship management (CRM) software that connects to external data sources to help you identify opportunities and gain a competitive edge (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of practice management software that automates trust requests, a virtual desktop service with enhanced security, a Word add-in for analyzing contracts and finding errors, case analysis software for litigation matters, legal project management software, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

A recent study by research firm Gartner found an alarming "data gap" in customer relationship management (CRM) software. For example, a law firm of 500 lawyers has 35,840 contacts with out-of-date information in its CRM software, and fails to capture 76,800 contacts entirely. Even worse, the data in CRM software lacks access to external data sources such as court dockets to provide insights. This data gap results in missed opportunities in an era of slowing law firm growth.

Thomson Reuters Legal Business Development Solutions … in One Sentence

Thomson Reuters Legal Business Development Solutions integrates Business Development Premier and Monitor Suite to automate CRM data capture and provide insights from external data sources such as Westlaw.

The Killer Feature

Business Development Premier's optional integration with Monitor Suite's Intelligence Center demonstrates the benefits of blending internal and external data. For example, you can analyze your firm's litigation matters by jurisdiction. This enables you to see where you've done work for a given client. More importantly, you can identify jurisdictions where you have significant experience and where a client has litigated but not hired you. Similarly, jurisdictions where you've never done work may reveal merger and lateral hiring opportunities.

Another widget shows trends over time — both your matters and those of your competitors. You can view the percentage of a client's litigation matters you handle versus the share your competition gets. Another tool lists all the news coverage of your litigation matters, which may identify friendly journalists to engage with.

Other Notable Features

Business Development Premier uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM for its traditional CRM functions. It collects data automatically from Microsoft Exchange, Elite Time & Billing, Thomson Reuters information services, and other such sources to eliminate the data gap noted above.

For example, it automatically harvests from email, calendars, and address books in Exchange accounts to identify new contacts and update existing contacts. It even parses email signatures. The patented Relationship Classification and Relationship Strength algorithms identify colleagues who have a relationship with a given contact and the strength of each relationship respectively.

The Corporate and Executive Insights accessible from Business Development Premier arm you with information that can persuade prospects and clients. Someone you know may receive a promotion to senior management or become a director of a public company. Or perhaps you want to connect with Prospect A and find through Business Development Premier that Person B who knows Colleague C at your firm serves on the same board as Prospect A. Now you have a path to meet Prospect A.

These connections sometimes occur in your head, but Business Development Premier can significantly amplify them because software is better at crunching so-called "big data" than human memory. In addition to identifying sales and merger opportunities, Business Development Premier can also help fine-tune attorney bios across your firm, unearth cross-selling opportunities, and find colleagues with relevant experience when building a client team.

What Else Should You Know?

Your web browser offers the best way to experience the many charts and tables Business Development Premier provides. However, the free mobile app offers a subset of data designed for what you're likely to need on your tablet or mobile phone when out of the office. With the mobile app, you can record activities, manage contact lists, obtain insights like those described in this article, and access data from Elite applications such as 3E and MatterSphere. Learn more about Thomson Reuters Legal Business Development Solutions.

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.

Clio Makes It Easier to Replenish Trust Accounts and Track Marketing Efforts

Friday, September 09, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers cloud practice management software with new tools for automating client trust account replenishment and tracking marketing activities (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a virtual desktop service with two-factor authentication, an ebook law library, case analysis cloud software for litigators, an add-on for document management systems, legal project management software, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Many law firms require a retainer upfront during the client intake process but these funds often fail to cover the entire cost of a matter. During the twists and turns of a thorny litigation or a complex deal, clients may need to replenish their trust account several times. This process should become more automated to reduce the inherent friction of asking for money.

Clio … in One Sentence

Clio is a popular cloud practice management application that recently beefed up its trust accounting features and added tools for tracking marketing activities.

The Killer Feature

Clio's new Trust Requests feature enables you to ask clients to fund one or more of their matters or their account generally. You can specify a different amount per matter. During the approval process, you can add a note and edit any of the trust requests. Clients receive trust requests the same way they receive invoices — via the Clio Connect portal, email, or postal mail depending on your firm's preferences.

The Bills Dashboard lists all trust requests and their payment status. Clio tracks information for each payment that most jurisdictions require, including check number or wire transfer details. When you apply trust funds to a bill, Clio restricts you to funds available for that matter to prevent accounting errors. You can move funds marked for an inactive matter to a different matter upon receiving client approval. Using Clio's role-based permissions, you can restrict who has authority to move and apply trust funds.

Other Notable Features

Clio's Trust Ledger and Trust Listing reports facilitate compliance with monthly and annual trust accounting reconciliation requirements, including all activity related to trust requests. The Trust Ledger report displays trust information by practice area, clients, matters, etc. You can sort by date range and omit funds held in escrow. The Trust Listing report offers a simpler view by practice area. The reports are interactive, enabling you to drill down to individual transactions. You can export the reports in PDF or CSV formats.

Clio has partnered with LawPay for integrated credit card processing. This eliminates the $20 per month subscription LawPay charges for its highest level of service (you can transfer your existing LawPay account to Clio). When you send bills and trust requests electronically, clients can pay securely using a web browser. Clio also has a virtual terminal for processing credit card payments manually. "Clio users that accept credit cards receive same-day payment 30% of the time," Clio's lawyer-in-residence Joshua Lenon told me. "This improves cash flow and reduces time spent on collections."

Also new in Clio is the Campaigns feature for tracking your marketing efforts. You can generate trackable phone numbers that forward to your firm's number. When you use one of these phone numbers in an advertisement, you can precisely track the number of leads and clients it generates. Similarly, Clio can track the number of leads from landing pages on your website.

What Else Should You Know?

Clio runs in all desktop and mobile web browsers, and in native apps for Android and iOS. You can choose from three plans — Starter ($39 per user per month), Boutique ($59 per user per month), or Elite ($99 per user per month). Trust Requests and integrated credit card billing require the Boutique or Elite plan. Learn more about Clio.

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 Offers Virtual Desktops Secured by Two-Factor Authentication

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a virtual Windows desktop and network service that recently added two-factor authentication (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of a contract drafting and proofreading tool, three cloud practice management apps, software for capturing the dark data that doesn't make it into your document management system, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Many lawyers hesitate to store client and firm documents outside their law firm in the so-called "cloud." But the convenience is undeniable. Even more convenient is moving your applications to a virtual desktop environment, which eliminates the need to buy and manage servers. Just as significant differences exist among hardware and software products, the same is true of cloud services. Some focus more on security and client services than others.

Abacus Private Cloud … in One Sentence

Abacus Data Systems' Abacus Private Cloud is a secure, virtual Windows desktop and network service that makes your data and applications accessible from any Mac, Windows PC, iPad, smartphone, etc. using Microsoft Remote Desktop.

The Killer Feature

The "private cloud" in Abacus Private Cloud's name refers to the fact that Abacus Data Systems uses three geographically dispersed U.S.-based datacenters over which it has full control.

The company recently improved access security by offering two-factor authentication as an option at no additional cost. This requires everyone at your firm to use a second form of identity in addition to a password — namely a code sent to a free app available for Android and iOS. During my demo, Chief Solutions Architect Tomas Suros explained that delivery of the code by app is more secure than delivery by text message because of the latter's vulnerability to being hijacked as reported by Wired in June 2016.

Other Notable Features

Additional security measures include encryption of your data at rest and when transmitted, and secure tunnels to your firm's printers and scanners. Administrator tools enable you to control access to applications, documents, printers, etc. Abacus Private Cloud is capable of full HIPAA compliance, enabling you to securely store health-related documents on your virtual network.

Security can tax performance. Suros discussed various means by which Abacus Private Cloud escapes this trap to provide performance similar to local software even when using a 4G cellular connection. For example, all the servers in the three datacenters use solid state drives (SSD), which are much faster than traditional hard drives.

Abacus Private Cloud's Document Service offers virtually unlimited storage for your firm's documents. This acts like a network drive without the hassle of managing a file server. Practice management software Amicus Attorney, now owned by Abacus Data Systems, is among the many popular Windows applications you can run in Abacus Private Cloud. Others include AbacusLaw, Office 365, QuickBooks, and Adobe Acrobat.

AbacusLaw 2016, the new version of the company's other practice management software, has been optimized for Abacus Private Cloud. Many of the new features focus on practice automation, including case handling checklists, standardized workflows, and deadline tracking across your firm.

What Else Should You Know?

The company's Professional Services team sets up your private cloud and software, provides training, and can import legacy data if necessary. Regarding ongoing technical support, everyone has experienced the misery of two or more vendors pointing fingers at each other when you report a problem. Suros refers to this as a "vendor unaccountability loop." By contrast, he notes that Abacus Data Systems is your sole point of contact for any issues that arise. "It's another core advantage of our private cloud over consumer cloud services," he said. 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.

Contract Tools Makes Drafting and Proofreading Agreements More Efficient

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for analyzing, drafting, and proofreading contracts (see article below). In addition, you'll find links to the previous 11 TL NewsWire features, including our coverage of cloud practice management software five years in the making, a legal ebook reader app, case analysis software, an add-on for document management systems, a project management app for law firms, a virtual desktop service, and much more. Don't miss the next issue.

Contracts consist of structured data — sections, subsections, defined terms, etc. This means that software can save you time when drafting and also reduce errors through improved proofreading. Microsoft Word doesn't offer any specialized tools for contracts so you'll need an add-in.

Contract Tools … in One Sentence

Launched this month, Paper Software's Contract Tools is a Microsoft Word add-in with tools for drafting, analyzing, and proofreading agreements.

The Killer Feature

Traditional contract software has fallen into one of two camps — drafting or proofreading. This can result in having to purchase two or more products. By contrast, Contract Tools offers both drafting and proofreading tools, thus providing one-stop shopping.

"It's also fast and flexible," Paper Software co-founder Benjamin Whetsell told me when he visited our office recently. "To analyze contracts, Contract Tools uses a number of patent-pending technologies to analyze, say, 200 pages of dense legalese in a few seconds." Whetsell demonstrated Contract Tools' speed using a number of such agreements. It looked instantaneous.

Other Notable Features

Contract Tools resides in a panel adjacent to your document. A menu at the top enables you to navigate through the various tools. For example, the Provisions tool lists all the sections and subsections in the agreement. Click on any provision to jump there in the document. Similarly, the Defined Terms tool lists all defined terms, and the number of times each appears in the agreement. You can jump to a defined term's initial definition or to anywhere else in the document it resides.

Contract Tools doesn't just analyze your agreements. It also makes them interactive. Double-click a defined term for its definition, double-click a cross reference to view it, etc. The Back button brings you back to where you started. When you scroll through a document, Contract Tools displays the names of sections in large type as you reach them.

Virtually every contract contains sections that refer to other sections. The Related Items tool gives you omniscience beyond the human brain. For example, let's say you're reviewing Section 7. Contract Tools displays all the other sections that Section 7 references, all the sections that reference Section 7, and all the defined terms in Section 7. And of course you can jump to any of these with a click.

It's common practice to add placeholders, bracketed text, highlighted text, and comments to agreements while drafting to avoid losing your train of thought. The To-Dos tool in Contract Tools automatically finds these unfinished items so you won't forget to circle back. Also, Contract Tools' Autocomplete suggests defined terms as you type, reducing the number of placeholders you'll need in the first place.

For proofreading, the Drafting Errors tool lists problems such as undefined and duplicate defined terms, inconsistent formatting, unmatched punctuation, and list order errors. This list updates when you save your work. You can also ignore and hide problems that Contract Tools flags.

Microsoft Word's simplistic search tools don't cut it with lengthy agreements. Contract Tools enables you to search by number, date, time of day, unit of time, and money in addition to word searches. Thus, you can quickly find the termination date, the purchase price, interest rate, etc.

What Else Should You Know?

Contract Tools works with Word 2007 or later on Windows 7 or later. It costs $10 per month per user or $100 per year per user ($8.33 per month). Learn more about Contract Tools.

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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