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Product Beat

Practice Management Tech News from ABA TECHSHOW

By Gwynne Monahan

Another Legalweek. Another ABA TECHSHOW. Another slew of announcements from legal tech vendors. How is one to stand out?

Legal practice management software vendor Smokeball has an answer: celebrity endorsement. To kick off ABA TECHSHOW 2019, Smokeball launched a “behind the scenes” video with Calista Flockhart (aka TV lawyer Ally McBeal) that takes on “current hot topics like mansplaining, ‘dishing the java’ and dropping the F-bomb at work while filming a commercial for Smokeball.” Wait, hold on, watch it first.  It’s quite entertaining.

Makes you nostalgic, doesn’t it?

Before you run to your streaming service of choice to binge watch “Ally McBeal,” let’s cover the rest of the practice management software announcements, in alphabetical order.

Bill4Time Dives Into Practice Management

Cloud-based billing software Bill4Time is expanding into the law practice management space. Aimed at solo practitioners and midsize law firms, Bill4Time now offers case management and project management, including a task management dashboard where users can create, assign and track tasks for specific projects and add custom descriptions and details for each task. Filters allow users to find tasks by priority level, assigned employee, client, project, due-date status or completion status. And, since this is a time-billing app, tasks are easily converted into time entries. Bill4Time’s timekeeping and billing tools are designed to allow for flexible billing — billable rates, flat fees or a combination. Bill4Time integrates with payment apps including LawPay, PayPal, Stripe and others.

The standout, though, is the sleek metrics dashboard, which users can customize to track key performance indicators.


Learn more at Bill4Time‘s website.

Clio +20

That’s 20 new integrations. Yes, 20.

Some that stick out include BillerAssist, which “boosts revenues by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to allow law firms to tailor their work to what their clients are likely to pay for,“ and BillerAssist LEDES Edition that “combines BillerAssist and LedesAssist into one awesome app, increasing revenues while decreasing write-offs, invoice disputes, and other hassles.” How’s that for streamlining processes?

Clio Grow, the company’s new lead management and marketing platform, now integrates with MailChimp and WordPress, to name a few. If you want something more plug-and-play than WordPress, Clio integrates with LawLytics, which “provides an easy-to-use system for building a website without the hassle of designing, building and maintaining a world-class website. Firms can market themselves more effectively and create custom forms to deliver new leads to Clio Manage and Clio Grow.”

But wait, there’s more! Clio’s most intriguing integration is with chatbots.

Check out Clio’s App Directory for yourself. What else can you automate and streamline in your practice?

MyCase DevLab and Product Updates

If you were at ABA TECHSHOW last week and dropped by the MyCase booth, you watched them build a new feature requested by MyCase users: text message payment reminders to clients! It’s fascinating watching software developers work (pair programming, anyone?), which makes it easy to skip over the other news from MyCase. From a press release:

  • For capturing leads and ultimately converting them to new business, updated features include Lead Stage Tracking, Lead Analytics Dashboard, Prospective Client Management Tools (to-dos and events).
  • For getting paid faster, MyCase has rolled out LEDES-formatted billing, In-Office Payments, automated invoice reminders — and that brand-new text messaging feature.
  • And features like Case Stage Tracking, Color-coded Calendar Events and Dropbox integration help users keep tabs on cases and streamline internal processes.

What lawyer doesn’t want to get clients, and get paid in a timely manner? Bookmark this to keep tabs on updates from MyCase.

Orion 5 Launches 

No, not a spacecraft launch. Orion 5 is the latest iteration from Orion Law Management Systems. It “marks a significant leap forward for Orion’s technology, including hundreds of new features and improvements to both Orion desktop and iOrion mobile platforms,” according to a press release. Speaking of the press release, it outlines five (get it?) specific updates better than I can:

  • ePrebill Manager. Orion’s ePrebill Manager module provides a complete electronic workflow system for managing the prebilling process.  Customers using either Orion Desktop and iOrion mobile app via a tablet can eliminate paper from their prebill process with ePrebill Manager’s digital tools to route, annotate and finalize invoices as well as track write-downs and realization figures.
  • Conflict Avoidance and Client/Matter Intake. Users can now easily copy and paste names directly into the Matter Intake form or import them from a text file. Orion’s Conflicts search scope has been expanded to include prospective clients and involved parties. Formal searches conducted during a lateral hire are also incorporated.
  • Attorney Assignment History Tracking and Reporting. Orion 5 now assigns an Effective Date for the Originating, Managing, Project Manager and Responsible Attorney designations. Originating and Project Manager field assignments can be split and their evolving roles can be tracked over time. Revenue-related reports now offer Assignment History and Effective Dates for greater transparency and more accurate chronology of events.
  • Reserved Word Enforcement for e-Billing. Orion integrates with many e-billing tools and has now made these integrations stronger with Reserved Words Enforcement. Users assign a reserved word set to a particular matter and, as a fee description is entered, the entry is scanned for words, phrases and punctuation that have been red-flagged by the e-billing software. Disallowed language can then be automatically replaced or manually corrected.
  • Maps and Rideshare Apps. iOrion is a complete financial management mobile app you can use to access data from Orion using any iOS or Google Android device — and now users can request a rideshare using Uber or Lyft as well as get directions using Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze from within the app.

That is a nice set of new features and improvements. To learn more, visit the Orion website, here.

Thomson Reuters Debuts Panoramic

Panoramic, Thomson Reuter’s newly announced practice and matter management platform, builds on Practical Law’s knowledge management resources and 3E’s financial management system to connect “the front and back office.” And that’s huge. But there’s more.

According to the press release: “At the heart of Panoramic are dynamic Matter Maps, created and kept up to date by expert Practical Law attorney editors. These Matter Maps include the phases and underlying tasks needed to execute a specific legal matter, helpful not only in managing and doing the work but also for understanding the matter and building budgets. A sophisticated logic system that guides users to the specific tasks relevant to the facts of their case and provides a common language between the front and back office … In this way, Panoramic also helps partners and pricing directors achieve more informed and faster scoping and budgeting.” Panoramic’s dashboards pull financial data from 3E going back five years.

The matter maps are, essentially, project workflows developed by Practical Law. Firms can add their own documents and customize the matter maps. Think about it: You open a new matter in your practice management app and expert editors point you to model documents and serve up practical guides you need to brush up on the law.

Panoramic can also help firms better manage legal matters. Once a matter is planned, it can be set in motion by assigning tasks to individuals, and detailed dashboards show progress and budget.  (Artificial Lawyer has early thoughts on the “mega-platform.”)

More than 100 users are now participating in betas.

The product, which launches this spring, is aimed at current Practical Law and Elite customers, though a standalone version is available for matter mapping and project management.

For more information, visit the company’s website, here.

Zola Suite Features Customizable Matters Views

Zola was on hand at ABA TECHSHOW to demonstrate its new customized matter interface. Users can now choose what shows up on their matters dashboard and filter matters by practice area, responsible attorney, open date, or even custom fields. These filters can be saved, giving you multiple views, so you can get a quick snapshot of your caseload as well as others on your team.

Learn more about Zola Suite here.

A lot of announcements. Lots of cool features released. It’s always a pleasure when Legalweek and ABA TECHSHOW roll around because we get to see what big features everyone has been working on the past year.

Joan Feldman contributed to this report.

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Gwynne Monahan

Gwynne Monahan is a freelance writer and editor who follows the mantra: Write Well. Edit Better. Best known by her Twitter handle @econwriter5Gwynne follows consumer trends in technology, and how they may impact the practice of law. She helps connect the dots so lawyers can more effectively, and efficiently run their practices. Quick with a book suggestion, witty comment or a laugh, Gwynne also enjoys baseball, jazz, foods she couldn’t get in Canada (you’ll have to ask her) and the sound of the “L.” She earned her M.Sc., with honors, in IT and Privacy Law from The John Marshall Law School.

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