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Monday, February 27, 2017

Not Broken? Really?!

 

Not Broken? Really?!

There’s an old expression, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In truth, we can’t think of a single situation where this is good advice.  It’s particularly bad advice when dealing with technology.  As the main driver of software, Microsoft has long had an obsolescence policy where they limit support to Windows, Office and other products to three to five years.  Legal software vendors have followed suit and typically support the current version with two previous.  Using applications that are over a decade old for your firm’s billing or other critical functions is just a bad idea.  While they might still work, there will come a time when it won’t.  When that comes, your options will be limited, help to resolve issues will be hard to find, the costs will be higher and you could jeopardize the financial security of your law firm. 
 
As the legal software market, has matured, vendors are adding fewer and fewer new functions and features.  The cost to upgrade may seem less valuable when historically the vendor added many bells and whistles with each new release.  In today’s environment, much of the cost to upgrade supports ongoing maintenance and support services.  Software companies, particularly those serving smaller markets like smaller law firms, need ongoing revenue to stay in business and maintain and improve their products.  Newer vendors offering cloud products have built their business models around annual subscriptions.  Law firms that remain on decades old software have done nothing to support the companies whose products they rely on. If every law firm did this, those vendors would be out of business. 
 
Often, lawyers who use older versions end up paying in ways they don’t even realize.  Sending bills by email has become more common in recent years. Older versions of billing programs had either rudimentary ways to send bills electronically or none at all.  The hidden cost of staying on older versions means that sending bills and getting paid take more time than they would with a recent version of the same program. 
 
If your firm is relying on older, unsupported versions of programs that you use every day to manage your practice, you owe it to yourself to speak with us and come up with a technology plan and budget to upgrade. 
 

Software Updates

 
As consultants, we make it our business to evaluate and recommend the best solutions for our clients’ needs.  We regularly review new products, confer with colleagues, and make sure we have a pulse on new solutions and best practices.  For years, we have been certified on some of the “best of breed” products including Time Matters and Timeslips.  Recently, Carol, Marc and Amy were certified on TimeSolv and have become leading consultants on LEAP.  Pricing policies, lack of new features, complicated or expensive upgrades have made many law firms shop around for new solutions.  If you are in the market but overwhelmed by the choices, you may want to attend the upcoming NJSBA Solo and Small Firm Conference.  Carol will be moderating a panel of attorneys using different cloud practice management / billing programs at both the North and South Jersey locations.  This panel will let you see the differences among the products and hear about what practicing lawyers like about the products they use.  If you are unable to attend and would like a copy of the materials, please let us know. 
 

Timeslips

Sage recently announced a price increase for the “perpetual” (buy once and own) version of Timeslips 2017.  The cost increased by approximately $75 per license.  Back in 1985, when it was first released, the first version of Timeslips cost only $99.  Of course, back then, interest rates were 10%+ and we were on something like DOS 3.0 on computers that cost thousands of dollars and had less power and storage than an iPhone!  When version 2018 ships later this year, support will end for versions 2015 and earlier.  Sage offers Timeslips with two different options- Perpetual, where you pay once and own the product and Premium, where you purchase an annual subscription that includes more features, more frequent software updates and access to support.  Both versions will have service releases shortly. As always, we suggest holding off installing it until we are sure it doesn’t break anything.  At some point, we anticipate there will only be a subscription option.  If you are due (or overdue) for an upgrade this year, let us know and we’ll be happy to discuss our recommendation for your firm. 
 

Time Matters

We anticipate a service release coming soon for Time Matters 16.  Recently, we have been working with two companies whose products expand the functionality of Time Matters that may be of interest. LawToolBox brings court rules into Time Matters along with automated rule changes, custom reports and reminders to make sure none of your litigators miss a deadline.  LawToolBox can also work directly with Office 365 as well as other practice management products.  MetaJure is a unique document management system that can work alone or in conjunction with Time Matters.  Using powerful indexing and search technology, Metajure can help you locate text in Time Matters documents, data, emails and email attachments with a Google-like search screen.  If you would like to learn how LawToolBox or Metajure can help your lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact us!
 

PCLaw

Earlier this month, Lexis released PCLaw 15.5 which includes approximately 34 detect repairs.  System requirements have changed so review them before upgrading. PCLaw 15.5 is not supported on Microsoft Edge (browser included with Windows 10).  If you are upgrading from an earlier version, you may want to work with a consultant to ensure your environment can support SQL which is now required for the database.   
 
If you are interested in getting pricing or have questions about upgrading or considering other options, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can assist you. 
 

LEAP

You may have seen an advertisement or exhibit featuring LEAP. LEAP is a cloud-based practice manage solution that is aimed at assisting solo and small firms with their day to day operations. After much success in Australia and the UK in 2016 LEAP came to the U.S. Many of our LEAP clients love the Office 365 Integration which allows for speedy document automation and time capturing. Since we became certified, we have completed several installations and training. If you would like to learn more about LEAP, have a demonstration, or have us assist you with an analysis to see if this software is right for you, please contact us.
 

TimeSolv

For those looking for a well-designed, feature rich, cloud-based billing and trust accounting option, you may want to consider TimeSolv.  In business since 1999, the company completely rewrote their program a few years ago.  TimeSolv has developed a conversion from Timeslips that includes historical data. For firms on older, unsupported versions, this is worth considering.  TimeSolv offers links to both QuickBooks OnLine and QuickBooks Desktop as well as a client payment portal using LawPay.  If you want to send paper bills, they will even mail them for you! If you are looking at ways to streamline your firms billing and improve your firm’s cash flow, ask us about TimeSolv. 
 

Law Office Systems News

Upcoming Presentations

Carol is facilitating a panel of attorneys discussing “Law Office Management – Attorneys Speak about What They Use and Why It Improves their Practices” at the NJSBA Solo and Small Firm Conference at 10:45am-noon on Saturday March 4th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ and on Saturday March 18th at the Sheraton Hotel in Parsippany, NJ.  For registration information, click here or contact the NJSBA. 
 
Carol has also been asked to speak on the “View from the Trenches” program at the New Jersey Association for Justice Boardwalk seminar in Atlantic City, NJ on Friday, April 29th at 1:45pm.  Contact NJAJ for registration information. 
 
Carol was also recently asked to serve on the NYSBA Solo and Small Firm Advisory Panel. 
 
We have also begun to post more content on our LinkedIn Page.  Follow us on our company page.



Law Office Systems, Inc. is based in Montclair, NJ and provides technology consulting and training to law offices in the tri-state area and beyond.



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168 Midland Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042
| Phone: 973-746-6454
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