We touched down in El Salvador at 7:30 AM on Saturday morning. The flight, despite the auspicious beginning (lines at 2 AM in JFK), was pleasant and uneventful, except for one thing … the early morning cup of coffee. I never dreamed that coffee could be SO BAD! The airline coffee, which is usually mediocre at best, was actually toxic. One would expect a little jolt, but the TACA Airlines (note the Central American origin) coffee, after an initial sip was left un-drunk. Rose nearly spit the coffee out on her lap, gasping for air. The omelets were tasty, but that coffee. …
In the past few years there have been a number of entrants into the area of Cloud-based practice management. These companies offer the promise of practice management Nirvana — run your practice on any device, from anywhere with no software installation, no server, and even no network. ActionStep, which has an installed base in New Zealand and Australia, has adapted its practice management system for the U.S. law market. I am going through their training curriculum this summer and will be releasing a formal review on TechnoLawyer’s SmallLaw newsletter in September. For now, here are a few highlights.
At the last Amicus Consultant’s Conference I demonstrated some innovative ways of improving the way HotDocs and Amicus interact. A recent post on the LinkedIn user’s group, Amicus Wizards, has prompted me to post some pictures from that demo. The question was asked why is the HotDocs interview generated automatically by Amicus so long with so many dialogs. The answer is that the automatically generated interview DOES NOT HAVE any dialogs, it is merely a list of variables that are used in the template in the order that they appear in the document.
If you have ever wondered who Basha was, there is a story to tell. In 1996, when I was packing up my office then at Kalkines, Arky & Bernstein LLP, and leaving for the “great unknown”, I knew I wanted to do something with “software”. I didn’t know what. And so I wanted a name that met two criteria: (1) Flexibility, and (2) Near the top of the Alphabet, but not so obvious. I also wanted something unique.
The answer to the question is “MatterInfoSpareLong2”. After several hours of searching, calls to former PCLaw product managers and tech support directors, I got the answer I was searching for. My odyssey had started with a simple request: “Produce a report that combines File details in Amicus Attorney with billing and receivables details in PCLaw. Having presented a seminar on integrating Amicus Attorney and HotDocs, I thought it a simple matter to integrate HotDocs and PCLaw.
On the surface, it was easy. In PCLaw there is a MattInf table that stores the Matter information. You can use the MatterID from within HotDocs to query the SQL database and get file information. On the MattInf table there is a ClientID that links to information on the primary client, allowing you to pull in client data. For current statistics, there is a MattBal that contains data on each file regarding account balance, receivables, billings etc.
Would you believe this; someone wanted to dine in the clouds. If you really want to, there is a restaurant that caters to this. Check out Yahoo!!.
Law Firm Practice Management in the Cloud is certainly a goal. For that, there are programs like Advologix, FirmManager, ActionStep, Houdini, Clio and Rockmatter, and coming soon Amicus Cloud. If you are moving your servers to the cloud, why not move yourself and have a good meal while you are at it.
The “Value-Add” in Document Management goes well beyond storage and backup. Steve Best, in an article in Law Practice Today (“Document Management: Finding it in the Cloud“) captures the essence of what distinguishes a document management system from mere cloud storage when he uses the term, “The Document Butler”.
I can picture The Butler scurrying around to make sure everything is in its proper place. I can envision the document appearing by “automagically” as my fingers reach for it, courtesy of my butler. It is always the RIGHT document that I need at the exact moment I reach for it. And more importantly, when I am finished with the document, it automagically gets filed in the right place where others can find it.
So what is this Butler worth to you? Is it worth $38/month to have him (or her) at your beck and call 24 hours a day? That rate is equivalent to 1/10 of an hour of an attorney’s time a month or 1/3 of an hour of a paralegal’s time. Just on document search and retrieval, many multiples of that amount are wasted each month.
Basha Systems uses a variety of tools to support its clients. We have standardized on the GoTo … suite of products. This includes GoToAssist for remote support, GoToMeetings for client sessions, and GoToWebinar for training. We also use GoToMeeting to remotely access our own internal computers and those of select clients who are not setup for unattended support with GoToAssist.
We have recently restructured our website navigation to make it easier for you to get the prompt and thorough support our clients have come to expect of Basha Systems. This includes a big SUPPORT button on the top of every page. Be sure to call us first to ask for your “Support Key”; in moments we will be on your desktop, inside your computer, giving you the guidance you need.
Matthew Berg recently reviewed TheFormTool Pro in the BigLaw newsletter distributed by TechnoLawyer. Having read the review and the videos of TheFormTool website, I applaud some the technology used by the developers of FormToolPro. It seems to make the “simple things” easy, and gives you somewhat more functionality than Merge Fields. The support for conditional fields and live variable edits is more than what you would expect from a cheap utility. It may be adequate for some of your needs; but not for all of your automation needs.
Don’t be deceived. Document assembly tools like HotDocs, XpressDox, DealBuilder and Exari offer a wealth more features. Handling of REPEATS or COLLECTIONS; seamless integration with databases, and support for nested levels of conditional logic are assumed in these systems. Check out the tool of course, but you will soon want to take automation to the next level of efficiency.
Total Attorneys advertised practice management in the cloud for $1/month per user. I recently came across Josh Campman’s review (Choosing Practice Management Software Part 1.5 of 2) and checked out their website (TotalAttorneys.com). I have not had a chance to review the offering, but plan to in the future. For now though, I wish to note that price-points are not what they seem.