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.

TL NewsWire is free. Subscribe now to TL NewsWire and any of our other newsletters by using the form on this page.


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TL NewsWire Top 10 and Top 25 Products of 2014 Awards

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

You and your fellow TL NewsWire subscribers have done it again. You've chosen the winners of the TL NewsWire Top 10 and Top 25 Products of 2014 Awards.

Here's how you did it. We reported on nearly 200 new products in TL NewsWire this year. When you clicked to visit a product's website and learn more you also voted for that product. These clicks are more meaningful than if we subjectively chose the winners. Besides, who better to judge what's hot and what's not than lawyers and law firm administrators like you?

You'll notice several themes as you read through the winning products — document automation, document management, integrations (especially with Microsoft Office), and litigation management.

Without further ado …

WINNERS OF THE TL NEWSWIRE TOP 10 PRODUCTS OF 2014 AWARD

1. pdfDocs 4.1

The PDF format paved the way for the paperless law office, electronic filing, and the iPad as briefcase. So it's fitting that DocsCorp's pdfDocs 4.1 finds itself in first place. Designed specifically for law firms, pdfDocs 4.1 handles all the basics while also providing advanced tools such as Organizer Project and Binder Project for assembling closing books, deal books, and ebriefs.

2. MetaJure

It's not every year that new software for document management hits the scene, which explains the high level of interest in MetaJure. Unlike traditional document management systems, MetaJure eschews manually-created document profiles in favor of automatic indexing and Google-like search technology.

3. Primafact

In theory, clients pay you to focus on the facts and legal issues, not to organize their case file. Designed for litigation, Primafact keeps all case-related documents and email in a virtual binder. Integration with scanners and built-in optical character recognition (OCR) enables you to add everything that arrives on paper and make it searchable.

4. Lexis for Microsoft Office 4.2

Microsoft Word remains a fixture for legal writing, but Outlook has made inroads as clients often prefer an email message to a formal memo. Lexis for Microsoft Office works within both, enabling you to download all cited cases and other materials. It also checks your quotations and citations.

5. Digital WarRoom Express

Most lawsuits don't have a big budget. At a cost of just $99 per year, Digital WarRoom Express enables you to cull, review, and produce up to 50 GB of email and other electronic data across your cases (it handles up to 500 document formats). The Defensibility Log watches your back while you work.

6. Drafting Assistant - Transactional 2.0

Lawyers have long relied on the Deal Proof technology within Drafting Assistant - Transactional for proofreading their Word and WordPerfect documents. The new version integrates with Practical Law's Standard Documents and Clause Library to help you jump-start your drafting.

7. Timestream

Ntrepid's Timestream builds a timeline for your case as you add events and associated details (documents, issues, location, people, etc.). When it's time to discuss settlement or go to trial, you can use Timestream to give your presentation.

8. Transporter Genesis

The cloud is here to stay, but the jury has yet to return a verdict on private versus public cloud. Last year, Connected Data ranked first in the TL NewsWire Top Products Awards with Transporter, its initial private cloud product. Transporter Genesis is like Transporter on steroids, providing Dropbox-like functionality for up to 150 people.

9. MyCase Websites

Every law firm needs a mobile-friendly website so it's no surprise that MyCase Websites is in the top 10. Now just $500, marquee features include a content management system, and responsive design so that your website automatically adjusts to all screen sizes.

10. NetDocuments ndOffice

"Integration" has truly come of age this year. NetDocuments ndOffice essentially places the NetDocuments cloud document management system within Microsoft Office. This means you can open documents from and save documents to NetDocuments without leaving Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.

WINNERS OF THE TL NEWSWIRE TOP 25 PRODUCTS OF 2014 AWARD

Congratulations to the next 15 hottest products of 2014 ranked in order by most clicks!

11. Synergy Matters

Synergy Matters combines practice management with document management and automatic time capture. Accordingly, it automatically tracks the time you spend working on your PC. Its cost recovery technology tracks copies, faxes, prints, and scans so you can cover your costs or at least bill for the time you spend at these devices.

12. Actionstep 14.7

Actionstep helped pioneer automated workflows within practice management software. The new Activity Log complements these workflows via a Facebook-style feed that keeps everyone apprised of what's happening across your firm. The new Scratch Pad captures your strokes of brilliance.

13. PhraseExpander Professional 4.0

Why let programming stand between you and document assembly? Nagarsoft's PhraseExpander Professional stores text such as clauses in groups. Using Quick Find, you then insert the material you need to build a document. PhraseExpander Professional integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

14. Pathagoras 2014

Like the contestants on Iron Chef, lawyers can create any number of documents from the same core ingredients. Pathagoras keeps your text snippets organized in Collections. Environments further increase your speed by hiding irrelevant Collections. Pathagoras works inside Microsoft Word. It doesn't require any programming.

15. imageFORMULA DR-M160II

Most desktop scanners top out at 30 pages per minute. Canon's imageFORMULA DR-M160II doubles that speed without doubling the footprint (it measures 9.09 x 11.02 x 9.76 inches). The Kofax VRS Elite software included with the scanner removes hole punches, crops and straightens documents, notifies you about hardware problems, and even handles blueprints and other documents with a colored background.

16. TrialPad 4.0

Thanks to TrialPad 4.0 (and TranscriptPad 2.0), Lit Software cemented its reputation as the leading pure play developer of legal iPad apps. The new version of TrialPad has a search box on every screen for quickly pulling up any exhibit. The search results contain thumbnail document previews.

17. Surface Pro 3

The Surface Pro 3 has a higher resolution screen than the MacBook Air, which Microsoft has targeted in its advertising campaign. You can add a detachable keyboard and powered stylus. A touch-friendly version of Office remains MIA, but it runs any existing software compatible with Windows 8.

18. Legal Publish

Blogs have gone from curiosity to mainstream to underpowered relic. Legal Publish offers a suite of tools such as role-based privileges, customizable workflows, and a media library for creating more sophisticated online publications. Legal Publish also contains tools for creating proposals, and integrates with email services, social media platforms, customer relationship management apps, and Google Analytics.

19. Worldox for Mac Version 1.15

Too many lawyers use Macs nowadays for providers of document management systems to ignore. Worldox for Mac is a client for the popular Worldox GX3 document management system. Worldox for Mac integrates with Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook so that you can save client-related email and attachments to Worldox GX3.

20. WordPerfect Office X7 Legal Edition

The legal industry remains a stronghold for WordPerfect. Corel responded this year by including Perfect Authority with the Legal Edition for the creation of tables of authorities. Perfect Authority supports Bluebook, California Style Manual, Florida Rule 9.800, and Louisiana Public Domain formats.

21. PeopleMap on WestlawNext

Lawyers often forget their role as gumshoe. PeopleMap on WestlawNext enables you to unearth gems from blogs, chat rooms, and social networks, as well as photos and business data. Unlike other public records services, PeopleMap shows you non-obvious connections that may lead you to hidden assets. Google Maps integration literally puts these assets on the map.

22. Equil Smartpen 2

Atlantis. El Dorado. Smartpens. When a legend has such appeal, it's hard to give up on it. Ludia's Equil Smartpen 2 works on paper, stores what you write without the need for any other device, transfers your notes to your Windows PC, Mac, iPad, or Android device, and converts your handwriting to editable text.

23. Varidesk Pro Plus

You'd like to stand up for telephone calls, but you can't bear to part with your mahogany desk. Varidesk Pro Plus transforms any desk into a standup desk by adding up to 17.625 vertical inches. The two levels house your monitor and/or a laptop, and your mouse and keyboard respectively.

24. CosmoLex

CosmoLex takes a finance-centric approach to practice management. Its conflicts checking and trust accounting tools enable you to efficiently intake new clients. A cloud application that stores data only in domestic datacenters, CosmoLex also offers billing, calendars, cost recovery, task management, and time tracking.

25. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 13 Legal

The latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking tears down some of the remaining barriers to speech recognition. You no longer need to train the software or buy a pricy microphone. In a reversal of roles, Dragon NaturallySpeaking can read what you write back to you.

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.

Transporter Genesis: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers a network appliance that offers Dropbox-like cloud storage with better security (see article below), a smart email app that works its magic on your device, software that helps you fine-tune patent applications, and a desktop scanner that can transform into a network scanner. Don't miss the next issue.

ROLL YOUR OWN CLOUD

Once upon a time, law firms paid a consultant to buy a PC and configure it as a file server. When that file server died, they repeated the cycle. In recent years, many firms understandably switched to Dropbox or one of its public cloud competitors. Even firms that continue to operate their own file server often find that their employees use public cloud services on the sly. It's the age old convenience trumping security conundrum at work.

Transporter Genesis … in One Sentence

Launched earlier this month, Connected Data's Transporter Genesis is a network appliance for creating a private cloud.

The Killer Feature

Unlike file servers and traditional Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances, Transporter Genesis looks like Dropbox to end users. In Mac and Windows, you navigate through files and folders in the operating system. On Android and iOS devices, you use the free File Transporter app from which you can send documents to other apps.

Other Notable Features

Unlike public cloud services, you control the location of Transporter Genesis (e.g., your office most likely or a data center of your choosing). Owning the actual box gives you other forms of control. Most notably, there's no subscription to pay. You just buy the hardware configured to your specifications.

If you have two offices, you can house a Transporter Genesis in both locations and automatically keep them synced, thus providing redundancy if you lose power or suffer some other connectivity problem in one of the offices.

Transporter Genesis offers a number of administrator tools. You can create users and assign them to groups to enforce restrictions. You'll find support for Microsoft Active Directory. Even users can exercise some control by accessing all prior versions of their documents and creating read-only versions of documents they share.

What Else Should You Know?

You can choose from two models — the Genesis 75 and Genesis 150. The Genesis 75 offers up to 12 TB of storage and supports up to 75 users. The Genesis 150 offers up to 24 TB or storage and supports up to 150 users. Both have dual Gigabit Ethernet connectors and fit in a rack mount. Despite being hardware, you can try Transporter Genesis for free. Learn more about Genesis Transporter.

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.

Equil Smartpen 2: Read Our Exclusive Report

Friday, November 21, 2014

Originally published in our free TL NewsWire newsletter. Instead of reading TL NewsWire here, sign up now to receive future issues via email.

YOUR DIGITAL PAPER MATE

Handwritten notes remain a fixture of legal practice. They have largely remained insulated from the software world much like grocery stores. But it's only a matter of time until software eats every task and every industry. In the case of handwritten notes, software needs a hardware accomplice.

Equil Smartpen 2 … in One Sentence

Announced in September and shipping this month, Ludia's Equil Smartpen 2 is a Bluetooth ballpoint pen that captures your handwritten notes and illustrations in its corresponding apps.

The Killer Feature

An arms race exists between powered ink pens like the Equil Smartpen 2 used on paper and powered styli used directly on a tablet's screen. Previously, both required the presence of your tablet. Powered styli cannot escape this requirement.

However, the Equil Smartpen 2 stores your writing in its onboard memory. You need not have the Equil apps up and running (though you can). Instead, you just need the Smartpen, the Receiver clip, and any paper.

Other Notable Features

Equil Smartpen 2 sidesteps the need for special paper thanks to the aforementioned Receiver. Measuring 3 x 0.5 x 0.9 inches, the Receiver clips to the top of any notebook so that it can record what you write. The pen measures 5.9 x 0.5 inches, and runs for up to eight hours. Both items fit into the included charging case. A full charge takes two hours.

The Smartpen transmits your notes to your choice of Equil Note or Equil Sketch (both free). Equil Note runs on Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS. The app's handwriting recognition technology can convert your notes into editable and searchable text. Equil Note connects to iCloud, Dropbox, and Evernote. You can export notes in a variety of standard formats for use elsewhere.

What Else Should You Know?

The Smartpen is pressure sensitive, and supports gestures for controlling functions in the apps. Adding to its portability, the Smartpen uses standard ballpoint cartridges that you can buy in an office supplies store. Equil Smartpen 2 costs $169.99. Learn more about Equil Smartpen 2.

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.

TranscriptPad 2: Read Our Exclusive Report

Friday, November 21, 2014

Originally published in our free TL NewsWire newsletter. Instead of reading TL NewsWire here, sign up now to receive future issues via email.

TRANSCRIPT REVIEW FOR THE IPAD FAN

Preparing reports of relevant deposition testimony used to involve copying and pasting into a word processing document and wrestling with the formatting (this was barbaric enough so let's not even mention paper and highlighters). Dedicated desktop software brought some sanity to this process. However, transcript review is perhaps the most portable task in litigation. Laptops have never worked well on a lap, and have long since ceded the crown as the most portable type of computer.

TranscriptPad 2 … in One Sentence

Launched this week, Lit Software's TranscriptPad 2 is a significant update to the popular iPad app for reviewing transcripts and creating reports.

The Killer Feature

The new version of TranscriptPad is optimized for iOS 8 and runs natively on both 32-bit and 64-bit chips. This means that it'll run fast on older iPads and even faster on 64-bit iPads — namely, the iPad Air, Air 2, mini 2, and mini 3.

Lit Software also redesigned the user experience and user interface. For example, a new tap and hold gesture enables you to more quickly open, rename, duplicate, and delete case folders. You can jump to any page in a transcript by dragging a slider or tapping the page/line indicator and typing a page number.

"Thanks to the power and portability of TranscriptPad 2, reading, highlighting, and creating reports occurs in a fraction of the time desktop software takes," Lit Software Founder and CEO Ian O'Flaherty told us. "No more cutting and pasting or right clicking. No more bouncing back and forth between PC, laptop, and iPad. TranscriptPad 2 combines the convenience of paper with the power of mobile software."

Other Notable Features

The company also overhauled the annotation tools. You'll find a new workflow for editing flags (split, join, and delete), and improved tools for assigning issue codes. You can also highlight and underline testimony. TranscriptPad now places blue dots next to the page/line number to indicate flags that contain notes. Designated page/line numbers appear in bold. The new cases screen features customizable case colors.

After you finish reviewing one or more transcripts, you'll find more export options for the reports you create. You can email reports in PDF, Excel, and TXT formats, or upload them to Box, Dropbox, Transporter, or a WebDAV-compatible file server. You can also print reports directly from your iPad. Importing transcripts supports all the same services, including the ability to use multiple services and navigate among them (useful as a backup or if a client wants to use their preferred cloud service).

What Else Should You Know?

Depositions need not look boring. TranscriptPad 2 has more typeface options, all which preserve the original pagination and layout. Also, 72 possible combinations of folder colors, and icons now exist. An integrated tutorial helps you get up and running (an interactive iBook is in the works). TranscriptPad 2 costs $89.99 (it's a free upgrade for existing users). Learn more about TranscriptPad 2.

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.

pdfDocs 4.1: Read Our Exclusive Report

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Today's issue of TL NewsWire covers PDF software designed for legal-specific tasks such as deal books and ebriefs (see article below), a PACER alternative that integrates with Dropbox, an iPad app for trial presentations, and an iOS and Mac app for tracking shipments sent via the USPS and more than 240 other carriers. Don't miss the next issue.

PURPOSE-BUILT PDF SOFTWARE FOR LAW PRACTICE

More than anyone else, the legal profession has made the Portable Document Format (PDF) its own. This explains why large software companies that serve the mainstream toss law firms a few bones in their PDF products. However, these products will never match those built from the ground up for the needs of law practice.

pdfDocs 4.1 … in One Sentence

Launched this week, DocsCorp's pdfDocs 4.1 is PDF software designed to help law firms manage their document workflows.

The Killer Feature

Legal teams often need to collect documents from various sources in one place, apply a uniform set of changes, and output a PDF document. pdfDocs has a new technology called Organizer Project that streamlines this process. An Organizer Project is a matter-centric workspace that resides on a local or network drive. You can create as many as you need, and create templates for your staff to ensure consistency.

You can add virtually any document type to an Organizer Project, including email messages and Microsoft Office documents. Thanks to pdfDocs' integrations, you can tap into a variety of sources such as Windows Explorer and your document management system. You can also copy documents from one Organizer Project to another.

Once you've added all the documents you need, you can reorder them, exclude one or more pages or documents, wrap the project within your firm's stationery, apply Bates numbers, headers and footers, and watermarks, etc. Lastly, pdfDocs creates a single document that you can save in PDF, PDF/A, JPEG, or TIFF format. From there you can email the final document to clients, save it to your document management system, etc. You and your colleagues can edit the saved Organizer Project any time.

Other Notable Features

pdfDocs offers other ways of interacting with PDF documents. For example, Single Document mode enables you to open and work with one PDF document. You can edit, annotate, comment, split, sign, redact, stamp, OCR, etc. pdfDocs also enables you to convert PDF documents into Word, Excel, or PowerPoint format, as well as automatically convert email attachments into PDF format upon sending.

Binder Project mode enables you to create closing books, deal books, and ebriefs with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of documents (PDF and other formats). An executive at DocsCorp describes Binder Project mode as "Organizer Projects on steroids." A Binder Project can handle any existing folder hierarchy on a local or network drive or in a document management system. After adding the documents you want, you can rearrange them, brand the Binder Project with logos and stationery sets, use a Word document as a cover page, and apply watermarks, headers and footers, date/time stamps, and security settings.

The Make Binder command converts all the documents in the Binder into PDF format, generating a printable table of contents, cross-document bookmarks, links, and an optional auto launch file for a CD or DVD. You can output to a single PDF file or keep all the documents that comprise the Binder separate. If you create the same types of Binders repeatedly, you can save your settings as a Binder Project Template.

What Else Should You Know?

The new version of pdfDocs sports an interface similar to that of Microsoft Office 2013 aimed at making tasks easier to perform and thus reducing training time. Pricing depends on number of seats you need. Learn more about pdfDocs 4.1.

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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