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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

When Your Way is the WRONG Way


Law Office Systems, Inc. Spring 2017 Newsletter

 

●        When your way is the WRONG way

●        New Billing Services Offered

●        Upcoming Presentations and LOS News

●        Product updates

  

When Your Way is the WRONG Way – Let Us Help You Make Your Office Run Better

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” could be costing your firm tens of thousands of dollars annually. Sometimes “doing it wrong” means not having efficient or effective processes in place; other times it means not knowing where the money is coming in from or how it is being spent. This is our sweet spot in helping our clients. When we manage billing for our clients, we improve cash flow and internal processes by streamlining procedures.
Read more . . .


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.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Law Office Systems Fall 2016 Newsletter

Technology Changes Afoot

Technology has changed every job over the last few decades. Even the appliance repair people and package delivery people now carry a laptop they use for recording notes, documenting their work, getting directions and other tasks.  The practice of law and even being a legal technology consultant has changed as well.


Read more . . .


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Law Office Systems Spring 2016 Newsletter

We're Going Local!

For those of you near Montclair NJ, we have exciting news!  For many years, Carol successfully ran User Groups for lawyers and their staff to improve their use of technology.  We are now in the planning stages of scheduling quarterly meetings in Montclair.  These meetings will provide you with an opportunity to meet other local attorneys as well as learn about best practices in using technology to improve your law practice.  The first meeting will be in late September. Email us to be added to our mailing list if you are interested in attending.  Please share this newsletter with any other local attorneys or firms that might also be interested in participating. 


Read more . . .


Monday, April 27, 2015

Law Office Systems April 2015 Newsletter


Timeslips 2016 and Major Changes:  

There are big changes on the horizon for Timeslips.  For firms using version 2013, support is ending on June 30th, 2015 with the release of version 2016 ( instead of October as in years past).  If you want to be on a supported version (or at least own it so it can be installed later), you may want to consider either purchasing version 2015 this month before the price increase or plan on purchasing 2015 along with 2016 next month at pre-release pricing.  While we will be able to help you with unsupported versions, newer versions are designed to run better on newer versions of Windows. For those of you on versions 2014 and 2015, we wanted to make you aware of upcoming changes in case you wanted to take advantage of the promotion.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Law Office Systems October 2014 Newsletter

In the Clouds

The pricing and features of most of the law-oriented cloud applications have not yet caught up to their server-based competitors.  This is sure to change over the next few years.  While we support firms on Clio, Netdocuments, Carbonite online backup, Office 365 and other cloud-based applications, we find that firms that already own servers have tended to stick with their server based programs. Over the last year we have seen firms begin to migrate their email to Microsoft Office 365 and add online backup with Carbonite.  At less than $10 per month, firms can get hosted Exchange along with the Microsoft Office Suite.  Many of the legal practice management programs include links through Exchange enabling you to have your contacts and calendar automatically synchronized with your smartphone.  Cloud backup services like Carbonite are also reasonably priced and offer peace of mind in the event of a server crash, virus or other disaster.  Firms just starting who don’t have legacy data or servers can more easily justify the higher monthly costs of cloud based billing, document and practice management.  There are many companies vying for market share, particularly in the back office functions.  We are keeping our eyes out for innovative, cost effective solutions for our clients.  Feel free to call us to discuss what options might work for your firm. 

Technology Updates

Time Matters: Time Matters 14 (and TimeMatters/Billings Matter 14) will be available by the end of this month.  For firms on Annual Maintenance Plans, you will receive an email with a link to download. If you have automatic update turned on, the first person logging into Time Matters after the new version has been released will be prompted to download it. 

Due to major changes in the upgrade process, you should contact us before you upgrade to avoid losing data.  We also strongly recommend turning off the automatic update to allow you to control the timing of the upgrade and ensure you have a solid backup before installing.  To do this, go under File/ Setup/ General/ Program Level and Change “Check for New Version” to Never.  When you are ready, you can download the new version from the link in the email or under Help/ Program Updates/ Check for Updates.   As with any new version, we recommend that you wait until enough other customers have upgraded and worked with it for at least a month before scheduling your upgrade. 

Carol had an opportunity to beta test TimeMatters 14, which gave her a good first look at new available features. The biggest change is that for firms already on version 13, there is now an “in place upgrade” for both Time Matters/ Billing Matters and the Time Matters Exchange Sync.  Older versions will require an import process like previous versions.   No matter which version you are currently on, there are steps we recommend doing prior to the upgrade so that the Time Matters folders no longer refer to a specific version.   

The calendar functions have been made more like Outlook with drag and drop options and color on Weekly and Monthly calendars.  The biggest changes to version 14 aren’t visible but will improve the program in many ways.  Lexis has upgraded to the latest version of Clarion which builds in coding for creating PDFs and formatting saved emails properly.  This upgrade will allow Lexis programmers to focus on adding new functions and enhancing an already excellent practice management program.   

If you have questions about upgrading to version 14 or are looking to do more with Time Matters, please contact us so we can assist you.

PCLaw: PCLaw 14 was released at the end of August. Some of the improvements include new functionality that allows you to streamline billing by means of email; ability with the My Clients dashboard to attach phone calls and collection memos.

Phone support for PCLaw 11 will end on April 30, 2015. Please contact us to discuss when you should upgrade.

Timeslips 2015: Timeslips’ latest version began shipping on June 25, 2015.  Among the highlights are enhancements to streamline preparation of bills for electronic billing services using LEDES 98B and other formats; the ability to associate specific task and expense codes with specific clients or groups of clients; more information when changing Client classifications from open to inactive; the ability to print a watermark on draft versions of bills; and improved support for digital dictation of slip descriptions and other text boxes. Version 2015 also includes the ability to print a payment receipt that can be provided to your clients and four additional text fields for each client that can be printed on bills.

Support for version 2012 (and earlier versions) ends on October 30, 2014.  There is a promotion of $75 off each license for firms on version 2011 or earlier.  We would be happy to talk with you about whether you should upgrade. 

How We Can Help

If you are on older versions of any law office management software, we can help you evaluate your options and help you find the right technology to improve your firm’s services and procedures. 

If you haven’t reviewed how you use your current technology, you might want to consider having us do a consultation review.  Many firms upgrade from version to version without considering whether new features or functions can be used to streamline or improve existing procedures.  Sometimes a small enhancement such as the ability to export information to Excel or save as a PDF can save a lot of time and effort.  Sometimes, we find firms are using the long way or tedious steps to accomplish simple tasks rather than investing time to learn how to do things quicker or more efficiently.  Let us review the changes in your applications and plan for training to get the most out of your technology. 

If you are not sure whether your firm has sufficient protections in terms of passwords and off site backup, we can make recommendations to ensure your firm’s technology continuity. 

Upcoming Presentations

Carol will be speaking at the New Jersey ICLE program “Hanging out your Shingle” on Friday, November 14th, 9am-3pm at 1 Constitution Square, New Brunswick, NJ. To register, you can call NJICLE Customer Service at 732-214-8500 or by clicking here.

Law Office Systems Website

Our website has a new look and new content is being added regularly.  The new site (still at www.losinc.com) also gives us a platform for my new blog, Law Firm Connections. With Law Firm Connections, we will provide practical tips, best practices and law firm management and technical advice geared toward small and solo law firms.  We will share resources – both people and technology -- to improve your workflow and productivity. 

You can read Carol’s blog posts under the Blogs tab on the Law Office Systems website or subscribe to get emails when there are new posts.  You can also follow Carol on her Twitter account LOS Twitter and Like Us on Facebook.   Of course, you can still reach us the old fashioned ways by email or phone.  We look forward to connecting with you!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Law Office Systems August 2015 Newsletter


Doing More with Technology You Already Have

In the last two months, we have worked with firms that have been using Time Matters for many years but felt they were under-utilizing its power.  One firm needed more fields to capture information on their matter screens.  We also discussed minor changes to their document management and the possibility of adding a Parties User Defined Record type to better handle information about medical providers and other experts for their clients.  We talked about using Lookup Lists with fields to capture important information more consistently.  Another firm had also been using Time Matters for many years and collected a list of questions to review.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Law Office Systems June/July 2014 Newsletter

It Can Happen to Anyone

Even if you have replaced your older Windows XP, Windows 2003 server and older workstations and have up to date antivirus software, there are some vicious viruses that can sneak through and wreak havoc on your network.  Opening a seemingly innocent looking email attachment can almost instantly encrypt all of your documents and images on your workstation as well as any folders on your office server that are mapped from your workstation.  The Cryptolocker virus with its demand for ransom to recover encrypted files began making the news last October.  Some malware, like Gameover Zeus, have capitalized on the worldwide popularity of the World Cup with infected websites.  Even though the creators of these nasty bugs were recently arrested, their handiwork is still out there to infect unsuspecting computer users.  As one of the manufacturers of antivirus software said, “We can never catch up to them.”  Hackers have also targeted law firms knowing they tend to be more lax about passwords and security than their corporate clients. 

The best way to protect yourself is to assume your systems will be attacked.  Take precautions against getting infected but also protect your data in the event of an infection.  Making sure you have upgraded from Windows XP can help, although Cryptolocker and others are not limited to older operating systems.  Keep your firm’s antivirus software up to date and verify it scans your systems regularly.  Add MalwareBytes Anti-Root  to your quiver of tools to further root out any infections.  Finally, review your firm’s backup systems.  Make sure your critical data is backed up off site by a company that stores incremental copies of your data.  While it’s convenient to have USB drives locally, business level remote backup vendors allow you to restore prior to an infection.  In the event of an attack that encrypts your data, these vendors can provide you with a snap shot of your backed up data just before it was attacked.  From personal experience, I opened an email that got through my antivirus software and silently encrypted thousands of files. We have been using Carbonite for our backups for several years and offering it to clients who were looking for backup solutions.  Thankfully, after restoring, I didn’t lose a single file! 

Carbonite recently announced a hybrid backup solution that allows for a fast, full restore locally as well as cloud backup of the same files if something catastrophic happens to the premises.  The Carbonite Appliance is a local backup device that can store up to 1 TB of data from your server and workstations and includes up to 500 GB of cloud backup.  As Carbonite partners, we can offer this business continuity solution to your firm.  Contact us to learn more about this or other ways we can help your firm manage and protect its technology. 

Technology Updates

Timeslips 2015: Timeslips’ latest version began shipping on June 25, 2015.  Among the highlights are enhancements to streamline preparation of bills for electronic billing service; the ability to associate specific task and expense codes with specific clients or groups of clients; more detail when changing client classification from open to inactive; ability to print a watermark on draft versions of bills; and improved support for digital dictation of slip descriptions and other text boxes. Version 2015 also includes the ability to print a payment receipt that can be provided to your clients and four additional text fields for each client that can be printed on bills.

Support for version 2012 and earlier ends on October 30, 2014.  Contact us to discuss whether you should consider upgrading. 

Time Matters: Time Matters 13.1 (and TimeMatters/Billings Matter 13.1) came out in February.  The service release added support for links to QuickBooks 2014, Timeslips 2014, HotDocs 11, Windows 8.1 and Internet Explorer 11.  Among other fixes was the ability to save multiple Outlook emails as documents (prior to the release, they had to be saved one at a time).  If you have questions, are looking to do more with Time matters or are on an older version, please contact us so we can assist you.

How We Can Help

If you are on older versions of any law office management software, we can help you evaluate your options and help you find the right technology to improve your firm’s services and procedures. 

If you haven’t reviewed how you use your current technology, you might want to consider having us do a consultation review.  Many firms upgrade from version to version without considering whether new features or functions can be used to streamline or improve existing procedures.  Sometimes a small enhancement such as the ability to export information to Excel or save as a PDF can save a lot of time and effort.  Sometimes, we find firms are using the long way or tedious steps to accomplish simple tasks rather than investing time to learn how to do things quicker or more efficiently.  Let us review the changes in your applications and plan for training to get the most out of your technology. 

If you are not sure whether your firm has sufficient protections in terms of passwords and off site backup, we can make recommendations to ensure your firm’s technology continuity. 

Upcoming Presentations

Carol will be presenting “Tips for Managing Your Email instead of it Controlling You” for the NJSBA Technology Breakfast series on Wednesday, September 3rd, 8am-10am at the NJSBA headquarters, 1 Constitution Square, New Brunswick. 

Law Office Systems Website

Our website has a new look and new content is being added regularly.  The new site (still at www.losinc.com) also gives us a platform for my new blog, Law Firm Connections. With Law Firm Connections, we will provide practical tips, best practices and law firm management and technical advice geared toward small and solo law firms.  We will share resources – both people and technology -- to improve your workflow and productivity. 

You can read Carol’s blog posts under the Blogs tab on the Law Office Systems website or subscribe to get emails when there are new posts.  You can also follow Carol on her Twitter account LOS Twitter and Like Us on Facebook.   Of course, you can still reach us the old fashioned ways by email or phone.  We look forward to connecting with you!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Law Office Systems June 2014 Newsletter

Technology Updates

Ts 2015 will be released on June 25, 2015. 

Major new features:

Watermark on bills- makes it easier to see which are draft versions

Secondary address on client information

Enhancements to Time Capture which was added in v2014 including improved speed, merge multiple timeslips together, drag and drop groups to merge multiple timers, ability to create and add filters on custom search criteria

More details when changing classifications such as making clients inactive.  Can now see outstanding balance, balance age and other details before changing the classification.

Improved text/ conflict search – can specify where to search such as slip descriptions while excluding other fields on the slip- also improved performance

Improvements for electronic billing – allowing multiple templates for setup and ability to export multiple clients to separate files with naming options. 

Voice to text- ability to use voice recognition to enter details in the description fields of the program including slips, payments, in reference to and note fields. 

Email or print payment receipt option for client’s payment

Ability to assign specific task and expense codes to specific clients- limits the number of codes to scroll through if client only uses a limited number – good for firms that have combination of electronic and non electronic files

Four new text fields on firm’s general info screen that can be placed on client bills and client based reports. Can be used for firm’s website, email address, tax id or other info.

If you are on older versions of any law office management software, we can help you evaluate your options and help you find the right technology to improve your firm’s services and procedures.  

Windows XP and Server 2003: Next month, Microsoft is dropping support for Windows XP.  The end of life is also coming for Windows Server 2003 (July 14, 2015).  While they won’t stop running the day after support ends, it does mean that if you haven’t begun making plans to replace your old equipment, you are quickly running out of time.  Windows XP was introduced in October 2001, more than ten years ago. 

While the price of computers have dropped over the years, replacing an older computer with Windows 7 or Windows 8 also means making sure your core applications and devices such as printers and scanners will be able to run on the new machines.  Too often, firms will budget for these hard costs and leave no money available to train the staff on the updated software.  While you will generally find that the basic functions of newer versions work the same as their predecessor, there will be new functions and options added.  Often, these new enhancements can be used to streamline your workflow and shorten steps.  Let us review the changes in your applications and plan for training to get the most out of your technology. 

 

Timeslips: Timeslips 2014 Service Release 2 was released at the end of January.  It resolved issues resulting from rewriting the slip list functions among other fixes.  If you are still running an older version of Timeslips, you may want to consider upgrading to benefit from many enhancements that streamline entering data and producing bills and reports. 

Time Matters: Time Matters 13 (and TimeMatters/Billings Matter 13) allows firms to share files online securely with clients and other third parties. You can choose who has access to specific files, what functions they can do while tracking the whereabouts of the document and revoking privileges at any time. Version 13 includes automatic and scheduled backups, contact sorting by date, and color sorted matters in the calendar.  A service release is expected shortly.  As of April 30th, support for Time Matters and Billing Matters version 10 will end.  If you are still on version 10, please contact us to schedule your upgrade. 

Tabs/ Practice Master: Version 17.1 of Tabs3 and PracticeMaster were released last month.  Document management was among the major enhancements, allowing you to save documents from Word, Excel and Powerpoint as well as email attachments from Outlook. Enhanced search options and QuickViews allow you to find information quicker and easier.  Billing includes improvements to split billing and emailing of statements.  If you have questions or need assistance with your upgrade, we’re here to help.  

PCLaw: PCLaw 13 Service Release 2 was recently released.  We recommend you check with us before installing any new release. 

Law Office Systems Website -- Same Name, New Design

Our website has a new look and new content being added regularly.  The new site (still at www.losinc.com) also gives us a platform for my new blog, Law Firm Connections. With Law Firm Connections, we will provide practical tips, best practices and law firm management and technical advice geared toward small and solo law firms.  We will share resources – both people and technology -- to improve your workflow and productivity. 

You can read Carol’s blog posts under the Blogs tab on the Law Office Systems website or subscribe to get emails when there are new posts.  You can also follow Carol on her new Twitter account LOS Twitter and Like Us on Facebook.   Of course, you can still reach us the old fashioned ways by email or phone.  We look forward to connecting with you!

In Case You Didn’t Hear

For those who had not already heard, on May 31, 2013, Carol’s husband, Craig MacCallum, a flight instructor, died in an airplane accident.  He is survived by Carol and their two children.  Carol has returned to work and greatly appreciates the understanding and patience shown by our clients.  To read more about Craig, see NJ Star Ledger Article June 1, 2013.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Law Office Systems March 2014 Newsletter

Assessing Your Firm’s Technology

When was the last time you reviewed your firm’s procedures? When you last updated your software, did you spend time to see how new features could be implemented to streamline your internal workflow? Have your procedures been the same since you started your firm? If you have to think about your answers to any of these, you are due for a tech assessment!

A small investment can often yield long ranging benefits.  Consider tasks your firm does regularly such as client intake or billing.  Decreasing the time involved in editing and preparing your firm’s bills can allow your staff to spend time on billable work or collections. 

As an example, one of our clients did not have the billing rates set properly in their billing program.  Each month, their billing person had to carefully review and often edit the rates on time entries, adding hours to the billing process.  Changing the settings to bill by timekeeper and ensuring that new clients had the correct rates has saved the firm countless at least two to three hours each month. 

Another client was frustrated with the default settings for Microsoft Word when they upgraded.  A short remote session allowed us to change the settings so that new documents had the font and line spacing they preferred.  A quick lesson on adding frequently used functions to the Quick Access bar alleviated much of their frustration and has improved their document production. 

Another firm hadn’t realized they could use the “Send to Excel” option in Time Matters as an easy way to generate reports or lists.  In each situation mentioned, the time and cost to the firm was minimal but the benefits are ongoing. 

 Think about what tasks are taking too long in your firm.  We can help you save time and money by improving your firm’s use of its existing technology. 

Technology Updates

If you are on older versions of any law office management software, we can help you evaluate your options and help you find the right technology to improve your firm’s services and procedures. 

Windows XP and Server 2003: Next month, Microsoft is dropping support for Windows XP.  The end of life is also coming for Windows Server 2003 (July 14, 2015).  While they won’t stop running the day after support ends, it does mean that if you haven’t begun making plans to replace your old equipment, you are quickly running out of time.  Windows XP was introduced in October 2001, more than ten years ago. 

While the price of computers have dropped over the years, replacing an older computer with Windows 7 or Windows 8 also means making sure your core applications and devices such as printers and scanners will be able to run on the new machines.  Too often, firms will budget for these hard costs and leave no money available to train the staff on the updated software.  While you will generally find that the basic functions of newer versions work the same as their predecessor, there will be new functions and options added.  Often, these new enhancements can be used to streamline your workflow and shorten steps.  Let us review the changes in your applications and plan for training to get the most out of your technology. 

Timeslips: Timeslips 2014 Service Release 2 was released at the end of January.  It resolved issues resulting from rewriting the slip list functions among other fixes.  If you are still running an older version of Timeslips, you may want to consider upgrading to benefit from many enhancements that streamline entering data and producing bills and reports. 

Time Matters: Time Matters 13 (and TimeMatters/Billings Matter 13) allows firms to share files online securely with clients and other third parties. You can choose who has access to specific files, what functions they can do while tracking the whereabouts of the document and revoking privileges at any time. Version 13 includes automatic and scheduled backups, contact sorting by date, and color sorted matters in the calendar.  A service release is expected shortly.  As of April 30th, support for Time Matters and Billing Matters version 10 will end.  If you are still on version 10, please contact us to schedule your upgrade. 

 

Tabs/ Practice Master: Version 17.1 of Tabs3 and PracticeMaster were released last month.  Document management was among the major enhancements, allowing you to save documents from Word, Excel and Powerpoint as well as email attachments from Outlook. Enhanced search options and QuickViews allow you to find information quicker and easier.  Billing includes improvements to split billing and emailing of statements.  If you have questions or need assistance with your upgrade, we’re here to help.  

PCLaw: PCLaw 13 Service Release 2 was recently released.  We recommend you check with us before installing any new release. 

Law Office Systems Website -- Same Name, New Design

Our website has a new look and new content being added regularly.  The new site (still at www.losinc.com) also gives us a platform for my new blog, Law Firm Connections. With Law Firm Connections, we will provide practical tips, best practices and law firm management and technical advice geared toward small and solo law firms.  We will share resources – both people and technology -- to improve your workflow and productivity. 

 

You can read Carol’s blog posts under the Blogs tab on the Law Office Systems website or subscribe to get emails when there are new posts.  You can also follow Carol on her new Twitter account LOS Twitter and Like Us on Facebook.   Of course, you can still reach us the old fashioned ways by email or phone.  We look forward to connecting with you!

In Case You Didn’t Hear

For those who had not already heard, on May 31, 2013, Carol’s husband, Craig MacCallum, a flight instructor, died in an airplane accident.  He is survived by Carol and their two children.  Carol has returned to work and greatly appreciates the understanding and patience shown by our clients.  To read more about Craig, see NJ Star Ledger Article June 1, 2013.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Outlook Search–Right under your nose!

Think about how you use Outlook. You hopefully know how to create folders, add attachments and set up rules to better manage the volume of emails we all get these days.  But have you mastered the search functions? If not, it’s time to look beyond the search box at the top of your inbox.

In Office 2010, when you click in that Search box, the ribbon of options is displayed.

On that ribbon, are advanced search tools that let you look for emails by sender’s name within a date range as well as other filters.  Take some time to look more closely and you’ll find you are locating that “email in the haystack” of your inbox faster. 

Originally posted on Lawtopia.net


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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
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