Passover – Rabbinical Mandated Spring Cleaning – For the Law Office

Every year, I engage in a little ritual I like to call “rabbincally mandated spring cleaning” – in other words, turning my kitchen over for Passover.  One of the most interesting things about pulling out my Passover dishes and pots each year is that I get to read year old newspapers.  It is always rather comforting to read about some horrific event that was happening in the world a year ago and realize we survived it.  This year, as I was taking out my Passover stuff and glancing over the year-old newspapers, I was struck with a thought.  Everything has a history, even news stories.  And sometimes, things that seem extremely important at one time turn out to be not so important later on.

Software has history.  Especially the software that we use in our daily business life.  And sometimes, in the urge to immediately solve a present issue with fascinating new software, we skip over history.  Let’s say, two years ago, your office installed a up to the minute Practice Management System, such as Time Matters or TABS/Practice Master.  After the pain and agony of initial setup, it was wonderful – a real step forward.  But, fast forward two years and that wonderful practice management software system begins to look as antiquated as last year’s newspaper stories.  You’re ready to move to The Cloud – chuck out the old, in with the new.

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Time Matters Tip – Integration Broken After Windows Upgrade

This issue has been popping up from time to time. It affects those who are diligent with their windows updates. If you have found that Word or Outlook integration just doesn’t work and gives a cryptic error, try the tips below. The issue is when the TM Plugins for Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) give the following error: “Unable to Load Time Matters Integration.”

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Time Matters/LNTPA Installer Error – InfoEnt.msi – On Open of Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer

I don’t normally post installer bugs, but this is one that crops up from time to time and is difficult to swat down.  And so, for my purposes and anyone who works with Time Matters or LNTPA, here is the solution.  This bug happens because the Time Matters installer as well as the update utility makes registry changes that require a reboot.

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Time Matters Installer Error – On Loading Internet Explorer After Upgrade to Time Matters 10 SR2

It happen on a client. Every time they opened Internet Explorer or Outlook, they would get a Time Matters error and it would attempt to run a setup file.  It was looking for a file called infoent.msi. No matter what you did, click Cancel, OK, the problem would keep recycling.  A reboot didn’t solve the problem.  Nothing would make the darn thing go away.  I thought this was isolated to my client, until I started discussing it with other CIC’s.  Marc Wexler had seen it and had a solution.  The best solution came from Wells Anderson.  Read on for the solution.

The True Cause

The cause of the error had to do with a Windows installer that had not “completed” all steps of its installation.  The incompletion was triggered when you opened Outlook or Internet Explorer, most likely because the installation routine, in my case, an upgrade to Time Matters 10 Service Release 2 was trying to build integration to those applications and was interrupted.  When you open one of those applications, it would then try to complete the installation, but since the installer had closed and removed itself, it could no longer find the file “infoent.msi” to complete the action.  I am sure programmers could come up with a more precise explanation.

The Solution

You could call techsupport, if you were on annual maintenance.  Or, you go to the Microsoft Knowledgebase and click on the article titled: Use the Windows Installer CleanUp Utility to remove Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003 (found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290301).  Or you could just click here to download the Cleanup Utility.

(1) Run the EXE to install the Cleanup Utility
(2) Find “Windows Install Clean Up.
(3) Find the entry for LexisNexis/Practice Advantage installer
(4) Click on Delete.
(5) When done, go into File -> Setup -> General -> Workstation Level and run both the Word Processor Setup and the Additional Program Setup.

The problem should go away.

Credenza, Houdini, AdvologixPM, RocketMatter, Clio, TimeMatters 10 & Amicus 2010

Wow!!!!! The marketplace for practice management software has exploded this year.  They must have added something to the water that programmers drink (they do drink , don’t they?).

Well, yesterday, Gavel & Gown released Credenza (Click for more info).  Now you can have your Outlook and your case management; no synchronization, no exchange.  Rather, you now have FILES within Outlook.  A $9.95/month subscription is the cost.

Meanwhile, I am currently reviewing HoudiESQ. This system is a web-based practice management system designed by Frank Rivera (who architected Time Matters World Edition). It is offered on either a SAAS (Software as Service) or self-hosted basis. What is different is that it entirely redesigns and rethinks the interface for a practice management system.  Stay tuned for my review in Technolawyer later this month.

Not to be outdone, LexisNexis has released Time Matters 10 (on an all-SQL platform).  Apart from major improvements in stability and access speed, the system includes Desktop Extensions.  These widgets give you a window into Time Matters on your desktop and could change entirely the way you work with your practice management system.

Gavel & Gown, with the release of Amicus 2010 Premium Edition, has produced a solid, stable product.  While continuing its focus on “separate offices”, the Premium Edition, centralizes the data on a single SQL Server (full SQL Server 2008 Standard is included with the license) and added extensive customization in the form of custom pages and custom records.

On the SAAS front, RocketMatters, Clio and newcomer AdvologixPM are coming into their own.  Each have been progressively adding features to fill out the requirements of a robust practice management system.  Clio and RocketMatter have expanded their billing and trust accounting features. AdvologixPM, with its support for extensive customization, has released a new document automation module that lets you launch full document packages, populated with data from the Force.com platform.

So what is going on?  For several years nothing happened in Practice Management.  Many vendors “treaded water”.  Some vendors exited.  Few new players entered the market.  And existing products pretty much stayed the same. There was no excitement, no ferment.  Something is clearly happening.  And it may not be good for established vendors unless they respond to the new environment and try to generate buzz and excitement about their products.  The SAAS products are looking at a complete redesign of the way practice management is done (anywhere, anytime, any platform) that reflects the new business reality.  The SAAS products also are looking at entirely new interfaces and windows into your practice data.

How can the SAAS developers do it?  There are two answers.  First, the SAAS developers control the software and the hardware.  In a hosted environment, the developer can make instant improvements.  There is no need to wait for the “long-tail” of users to upgrade; no need to support multiple platforms, legacy software and legacy hardware.  The host is the platform.  And that makes the SAAS developers much more nimble.

The second reason, perhaps, is more significant.  And that is the pricing model.  SAAS is “cheap” on the start-up, and expensive in the long run.  It is very easy and cheap to get started with Credenza, RocketMatter, Clio and AdvologixPM.  Once you have signed on, you will keep paying so long as you use the platform.  That means that there will be ever-increasing revenue for the SAAS developer so long as it continues to innovate; with the more innovation leading to more sales, and further increases in revenue. This is a “win-win” situation.  The SAAS developer wins by the “monthly” vote by the end-user paying their fee.  The user wins by having that vote courted with constant innovation.  By contrast, the up-front software sale with nominal maintenance produces a “disincentive” to constant innovation; once you reach market saturation in your segment, the revenue actually decreases.

Despite the groans from the current users, LexisNexis has got it right with its new AMP or annual maintenance plan.  In doing so, they follow the example of PC Law and STI/Tabs.  The hope is that LexisNexis uses this annualized revenue and maintenance to “innovate and improve” the product steadily and attract new users, rather than simply extract the profits from its existing user base.  It is this transition to software as a service (whether on a desktop or in the cloud) that represents the future of practice management.

Three-Click Solution with Basha Office Management System (OMS)

Have you ever wished to unlock the power of Time Matters so that any item of data you enter on a case can be retrieved in Three-Clicks of a Mouse.  For you, we have developed OMS – The Basha Systems Office Management System for Time Matters.  It takes just a few minutes to install, and will save you at least 30 minutes a day hunting for information that you have already entered.  It will make Time Matters eminently more user friendly.  Here is the basics.  Step 1: Choose your record, whether it be a matter, contact, event, todo, or UDR.  Step 2: Choose your Powerview.  There are over 80 customized Power Views in the package. Step 3: Click on PRINT or on EXPAND ALL.  It’s that easy.

The Office Management System comes with a full suite of Power Views. One of the most significant are power views that give you ALL fields on the underlying record in a single printable view.  These fields are grouped by area, with the ability to customize the label for the area, just as you can do on the record’s form style.  Moreover, the system also is dynamic.  As you change the prompts on the underlying record, the prompts on the Power View adjust.

But, there is more.  The current OMS system ships with several basic best-practices form style. These include a new INDIVIDUAL contact form style and a new CORPORATE contact form style that you can use as a base and are closely tied to the Power Views.  It also ships with a system for managing your file room and a mini litigation documents management system, previously shipped separately.  What better way to jump start your existing Time Matters installation or to use for a new installation.  We have invested hundreds of hours in developing this system which you can have in just a few minutes.  Installation and training on the system is included in the purchase price of $1500 for the first user and assistant and $200 for each additional user.  Give us a call.

Restarting and Rescusitating the Time Matters Indexer

The Time Matters indexer may get stuck or corrupted.  This article steps you through solution to that problem.

TRASH AND RECREATE THE LNDATA INDEX

1. Log Everyone out of Time Matters
2. Find the Index Folder and Rename LNDATA
e.g. P:TMW9DataIndexLNDATA
3. There may be a locked open file.  You need to make sure it gets unlocked before you move the file.
4. Log into Time Matters and leave it open to allow LNDATA to be recreated.
5. Check for the Icon in the system tray.

OPTIONAL STEP: ACTIVATE SYNCHRONIZATION
1. File -> Setup -> Program Level
2. Synchronization -> Activate Time Matters Synchronization
3. Give it a name:  MAIN OFFICE
4. Log out of Time Matters

OPTIONAL STEP: REINDEX DATABASE
Now Go to the Time Matter Utilities
1. Select the Database
2. Check box to Reindex Main Database

[Note: Potential problems if there is a SPACE in the File Path to the Data Folder]
[Caveat:  If you have extra licenses, you can leave the indexer running on the server]

Clearing out Temp Files

LOCATE THE USER PROFILE SPECIFIC “LNPTA” FOLDER and TRASH THAT
1. Make sure you can see Hidden Files.
2. You should rename the LNTPA folder.
C:Documents and Settings[UserProfile]Local SettingsTempLNTPA
3. You may need to copy the TMWORD.DAT into the new folder