"Tidbits and Bytes: Sharing the
By Pat Yevics
NOTE: One of my favorite
technology publications is Law Office Computing, published six times a
year by James Publishing. Although some of the articles can be a little
“techie”, most are very easy to read and understand. The focus is on solo
and small firm practitioners, and all the reviews of software are done by
practitioners. This month, I am going to go through some tips and
information from recent issues.
Law Office Computing
“ProLaw and Timeslips
‘Discovering’ Solo Practitioners” (June/July 2003). Timeslips and
ProLaw both now have time and billing (Timeslips) and case
management (ProLaw) software specifically for solo practitioners.
Timeslips for Sole Practitioners
was reviewed by two solo practitioners, and both recommended it. It
received mixed reviews on Setup and Tutorial, with one saying it was easy
and the support was good and the other saying it was difficult with
hard-to-get support. However, both reviewers said that the Time and
Expense Tracking were excellent and the Account Receivable Tracking was
adequate for solos. Both agreed that the product was “powerful and
customizable” with “enough flexibility to meet most solo attorney’s
The major disadvantage was that the
program could not be networked and only has capacity for two timekeepers.
If you need to upgrade at a later time, this can be done without losing
any of the database information from the solo version.
ProLaw Ready is a smaller
version of the practice management software ProLaw, which is
designed for larger firms and much more expensive. According to the
reviewer who also reviewed the full version, this is still a powerful and
comprehensive package and not just a watered down version. It is still,
however, rather expensive.
“The Digital Law Office,” by
Joseph L. Kashi and Tom Boedeker (August/September 2003). In this
excellent article, this small firm found “changing to an all-digital
filing system was surprisingly easy.” Some of the lessons they shared
- Store all imaged documents on a network
file server so they are accessible to all staff.
- Have the hardware to completely back up
the network. A high-capacity tape drive is still best.
- Use the document imaging format that
will make it easiest to share documents.
- Adobe Acrobat is the industry standard.
Consider the full version.
- Buy the fastest scanner you can afford.
“Hear All About IT,” by
Lilledeshan Bose (June/July 2004). A website from the Harvard Law School’s
Berkman Center for Internet and Society (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/audio/home)
publishes the most controversial issues related to Internet law and
technology as audio files that can be downloaded or streamed from the
site. It is targeted towards attorneys and researchers who spend a lot of
time on computers.
“Lend Me Your Ears: Nation’s Highest
Court Finds Its Audio Files at the Center of Supreme Court Project”
(December/January 2004). The OYEZ Project (www.oyez.org/oyez/frontpage)
provides access to more than 2,000 hours of Supreme Court audio, including
every oral case heard since 1995 and selected cases since 1955. Listeners
can read transcripts while listening to the audio.
“ProxiLaw Lets Attorneys be
Attorneys” (December/January 2004). This website (www.proxilaw.com)
was an outgrowth of the legal consumer site LegalZoom. Legal Zoom was set
up by attorneys (including Robert Shapiro of OJ fame) to allow the public
to create documents without using an attorney. ProxiLaw acts as an
on-demand virtual paralegal. The documents that can be created include
LLC, Incorporations and POA, as well as many others. There are a variety
of pricing structures. This could be helpful to new practitioners.
“GuruNet for Windows,” reviewed
by Andy Green (June/July 2004). Unlike a web search engine which gives you
a series of links when you do a search, GuruNet for Windows (www.gurunet.com)
gives you answers to specific questions. You can even click on a word in a
document and it will try to find a definition. “Unlike Google, GuruNet
makes intelligent assumptions on the type of information you want and
displays relevant data in sensible formats.” Although its legal
information needs improvement, this can save you time. The cost is $29.95
“How to Pick a Document
Management Vendor,” by Dennis LeStrange (August 2003 issue of Law
Technology News). For small firms to be able to handle large cases,
they would need to use an outside vendor to manage the documents for the
case. According to Dennis LeStrange of IKON Office Solutions, using the
wrong vendor could be disastrous. His tips for choosing the right vendor:
1. Look for a vendor who does business in
many geographic regions.
2. Check reputation for consistency between locations.
3. Choose a vendor that can handle and reproduce documents in a variety
4. Look for vendors that maintain relationships with technology
companies that are familiar with the legal community.
On a further note, MSBA offers detailed
comparisons of various software products, providing pros and cons of each
one. Listed below are some of the reviews that we can make available to
Comparison of find utilities to
help locate scanned materials.
Review of Dragon Naturally
Speaking 7 Legal Solutions.
Comparison of software for
Comparison of anti-spam software.
Review of the new billing
program, Billing Matters 5.0.
Comparison of remote access
Review of software to create time
lines for presentation.
If you are interested in receiving
any or all of these, please send an e-mail with your mailing address to
firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (800)
492-1964, ext. 3039. For a more extensive list of information packets
available, please go to
www.msba.org/departments/loma/index.htm. If there is any topic you
would like reviewed or researched, please contact me. We are here to help