IPhone App – Ontario Criminal Lawyers Management Application (Matters360) – Beta

This is a quick draft video of a small portion of the IPhone application for the Ontario Criminal Lawyers Practice Management System.
My apologies for the sound troubles. I will update the video as soon as I can, but I have been asked so many times for the video so I am posting it early.

 
 

Built on Advologix, and showing the Salesforce1 platform.

 

 

AdvoLogix awarded Salesforce1 Mobile Certification Badge

AdvoLogixBanner

Perhaps a little known fact – our criminal package for Ontario operates at firms in Ontario. It is built on Advologix. Salesforce1 is an exciting welcome addition to our criminal system. I have full access to all of my data while I am out of the office. Lately that has been with my IPhone6 Plus. I am the envy of the other lawyers. Keep close to the blog and I will share a video and some screen shots soon…

Matt Stone
Criminal Lawyer and Technology Expert

Congratulations to our friends at AdvoLogix

AdvoLogix has extended the rich mobile features found in the base Salesforce1 mobile platform with an extended set of functionality for legal matter management. This allows law firms and legal teams to extend their reach to critical case information beyond the desktop to mobile devices of all shapes and sizes.

 

Canadian Law Firm Chooses Netdocuments

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http://blog.netdocuments.com/leading-canadian-law-firm-soloway-wright-conducts-a-dms-selection-process-choosing-netdocuments-for-document-and-email-management

Soloway Wright LLP, a leading Canadian commercial real estate and litigation firm, has selected NetDocuments’ document and email management service over HP Autonomy’s server-based document management system, iManage.  As the firm continues to grow in the Ottawa / Eastern Ontario regions, the need for improved organization, mobility, and increased security became apparent, and the firm began the due diligence and selection process with the help of an outside consulting firm.

Watch for our series of posts on using NetDocuments – including the integration with Advologix.

Time Matters – Matter based security exception issue

Do you set matter security exceptions from within the matter in Time Matters? There is an issue with this:

Here is the link to the official issue: Click here to go to article directly

Have you done a security audit in Time Matters lately?

Time Matters chain templates

The idea of a template of activities in a Matter is attractive. In implementation they are difficult to manage and may not do what you expect. I have written about Chains for years in all forums and with all clients. I will keep this post short though.

A typical Chain concept would be preparing for Trial. We have a trial date set. There are a series of Due Dates that are attached to that date. Perhaps 60, 90 and 180 days before you want to ensure tasks are complete. You set up the chain, with the trial date as the base date. You fire the Chain and add the tasks. You then open each task and change the staff to the appropriate staff. A chain must have all of the same staff on all of the records.

The trial date changes..as they so often do. You open the trial date, change the date and expect all of the tasks to move along with the trial. You get the prompt that subsequent dates will update. This leaves the tasks on the original dates and not attached to the now moved trial date. Not what I would want.

So what is a firm to do? I see 2 options:

  1. If the trial changes – you have to add a new chain. You then have to worry about what was done on the previous chain and decide whether you should delete the original chain and all of the events. Either way, you have some manual comparing to do
  2. Form Styles can act as check lists. You could have the Trial form style track all of the key steps
  3. Manage the tasks and the trial separately. If the trial moves, perhaps you should analyze each task and update accordingly. This is simplified if you use process based tasks – which is a series of smaller tasks that make up one process task.

Time Matters is such an easy and effective tool, you can manage your business without these chained records. When you learn to leverage the important features of Time Matters you will be empowered to manage you data.

Taking your Law Office paperless and in the cloud for $500 and $5/month per user

If you are not ready to purchase a document and email management system BUT you would like to be able to review your documents from anywhere there is a basic answer. What you need:

  1. Scanner – my recommendation is a Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 (on sale at costco.ca for $399 until February 9 2014 http://www.costco.ca/Fujitsu-ScanSnap-iX500-Wireless-Duplex-Colour-Scanner.product.100096421.html)
  2. Staple removers – get several kinds from your office supply store
  3. Stapler – to re-staple after scanning
  4. Box.com account – Starter for up to 10 users $5/month per user (https://app.box.com/pricing/)

This is all easy. Here are your steps.

  1. Install the BoxSync application.  https://sites.box.com/sync4/
  2. Create a folder in Box for your Matters.
  3. Sync that folder to your desktop.
  4. Create a folder for a Matter.
  5. Scan your first documents using the ScanSnap. Save them to the folder from 4.
  6. The box sync app will upload the scan to Box.com
  7. Install the box apps on your phone and tablet. Open the application and review the scanned image

Other options:

  1. You can copy your existing documents into the Matter folders from #4 above. Be careful how much you copy at one time, as the Box Sync app will have to upload each document
  2. If you are working with multiple users, you can sync the Matters to their desktop as well.

Other considerations:

  1. Security – be sure to turn on 2 factor authentication in Box.com. This way each time you log onto your Box.com account with your username and password, you have to use a second form of authentication.  I use text message code to my phone. This way I can access documents when I am at court from the library computer and not worry that I have compromised security.
  2. Archives – As a Matter closes, you probable do not want to sync it to your desktop. I move the Matter folder to an archive folder that is only in the cloud. You have to do this from the Box.com website. You can move the folder. The Box sync app will remove it from your desktop

This is taking your documents and making them available. It is file folders that are the same on your desktop, all of your mobile devices and the cloud. This is not a document management system. If you are looking for a cloud document management system, take a look at NetDocs.

I will follow up with some blogs on setting up the ScanSnap and Box.com.  I also have my box.com account integrated into Matters360 for criminal lawyers.

Until next time…

 

Time Matters Shipping Defaults?

Shipping Defaults

It seems as though I have to take a step back and explain why the shipping defaults of Time Matters do not work effectively.  In the big picture, is this a big deal?  Not to our clients, as part of our implementation is configuring the application for optimal usage.  It is just mouse clicks to fix, but it does take some time and an understanding of how people use Time Matters.

Time Matters has within it all of the tools that you need to run your business. The feature set is broad, the product is mature, it is used by thousands of firms and the database is Microsoft SQL.  A recipe for success.

The shipping defaults are not optimal for your firm to pick up Time Matters and use it quickly. This is one of the causes of the perceived “steep learning curve”.  I could spend some time and  list each and every setting that I think should be tweaked, but that would take some time so I will pick a few illustrative examples.

Main Toolbar
This one is philosophical. As the English language is left to right, we are taught to think the top left is the most important. Time Matters ships with Calendar, Contacts, Matters, Docs, Lexis, Message, Inbox, journal etc…. 2 icons that everyone should remove immediately are the Inbox and the Messenger. The Time Matters Inbox will cause everyone issues in implementation and you are best served using Outlook as your email client (with the TM Connect). The lack of a ToDo list icon leaves out one of the most powerful areas of the program.

To me, the most important thing a law firm deals with is:

  • Matters
  • Key Dates or Deadlines
  • ToDos or tasks
  • Events

Putting them in order dictates to your staff the order you believe. This is also the foundation for how in 10 clicks you can be assured you are on top of everything.

QuickTabs
The golden egg in Time Matters, when you master the quicktab you will enjoy an incredible boost in productivity and comfort with your data.

The shipping defaults are for priorities. (I will leave that discussion for today.) Then listed are:

  • Today
  • This Week
  • Last Week
  • This Month
  • Last Month

As this is a list of things that we have todo… I am not sure the week or month tabs offer any help with Time Matters. If it is Friday…why do I want to see the todos I had this week (which is from Monday until today). These filters were added with Billing Matters as periods for reporting on billing and somehow made it to the other lists. Do you want to know what you did last week or last month?

This is an easy fix, everyone wants:

  • Today – only not done
  • Next 7 days – only not done
  • Next 30 days – not done
  • All Not done
  • New ToDos. We sneak this one in to highlight the true power in Time Matters

Forms overload
Each form in Time Matters (and lists) ship with many buttons, icons and fields. Most will never be used. Years ago, this was showing the power of Time Matters by exposing all of the options. Today’s computer user has seen Google.

Easy to fix. Remove all of the icons, tabs and fields that are never used. If you have a need for them in the future…turn them back on.

I  picked just a few areas to illustrate the shipping defaults are off the mark, but the bright side is they can be fixed. Our users do not experience a steep learning curve as we have configured Time Matters to expose those areas that will greatly benefit your firm.

 

 

Using Time Matters and PCLaw. DO NOT upgrade to Time Matters 12

There is an issue with the link in Time Matters 12 and PCLaw. If you ever use the billing address in PCLaw, the link will leave you with the wrong billing address. This means your bills could be sent to the wrong person/address. The released information is below:

Product News
Time Matters 12 Integration with PCLaw Software and Use of Alternate Billing Addresses
Based on feedback from the CIC Community, we have identified an issue that may impact customers using Time Matters 12 with supported versions of PCLaw software.

 

Versions Affected

  • Time Matters 12 alone or with Service Pack (SP) 1 or 2 applied when linked to any supported PCLaw version ONLY IF the alternate billing address field in PCLaw is used

Description
Customers who use alternate billing addresses for one or more matters in PCLaw may experience an issue with that field after data has been imported and converted from PCLaw to Time Matters.

If “Use PCLaw Alternate Address” is selected during the data import and conversion process, when using the alternate billing addresses, some data may be duplicated on subsequent matters that did not already have an alternate address specified.

 

Webstar Description
4989922 Time Matters shows wrong alternate billing address on PCLaw tab.

 

Actions Taken
We will email potentially-impacted customers to notify them about this issue.

Resolution
We are currently targeting to address this issue in the Time Matters 13 release, targeted for release to the CIC Community in October 2013.

Refrain from using the alternate billing address field in PCLaw, until we have notified you that the issue has been addressed.

Time Matters Form Styles

Time Matters has a powerful feature – form styles. In essence when you add a record and give it a certain code – the data entry screens can change.  It positioned Time Matters to be able to adapt to different practice areas in a firm which made Time Matters very saleable. If the firm could not standardize everything, each area could take their own piece of the application and do what they wanted.

Historically we used this feature to combat one of the short falls of Time Matters – the ability to relate and describe how people relate to a matter.  You would customize a Matter form for litigation and would set fields to be :

  • Plaintiff
  • Defendant
  • Judge

You could add a Matter for an Estate and set fields  to be:

  • Attorney
  • Beneficiary
  • Spouse
  • Child

Everything looks great, but as you implement Time Matters, you get the requests for more than 1 Plaintiff, Co-Defendant or many children or spouses.  Another level of complexity gets added when someone wants to add:

  • Lawyers
  • Experts

You quickly realize there are not enough fields on the matter for all the permutations of the Matters. You then turn to the related tab. You add a relationship code for Lawyer and Expert. Now users can add as many as they want.

The next request you get from the users is:

  • Which lawyer represents which party?
  • Each expert – are they for us or against us? Not to mention, which issue are they testifying for or are they just a consulting expert?

Unfortunately…the shipping defaults of Time Matters, even when customized with the tools that you have do not hit the mark with what you need.  The answer is simple (and should be part of the shipping defaults) you add a UDR – we call it people and that record defines the relationship of Contacts on a Matter or People. You can add as many people you want to a matter and describe them in anyway.

So…now you have different form styles for different areas of law and you out grew the feature – but I will say you only outgrew it in the way you implemented it.  This is when each area of law starts to add many fields to compensate and the forms are no longer consistent.  You have to train staff how to use each form based on the type and the logic is different for each type.

A little way into your implementation, you are asked to pull some reports (or perhaps automate some documents). You begin to create reports or quicktabs and you realize the fields you need across all matters are not in the same position on the forms…that means you cannot report across Matters.

Form styles are also used in many ways that hinder an implementation. Another example is the default Event form. It has fields for:

  • With – presumably who the event is with (along with a full address)
  • Location
  • Client Phone

Users will fill these fields out then ask them to show on the calendar, the smart phone of the lawyer and in the matter as they have not completed the description completely. With data in some many fields….it cannot be shown in all those places especially on any phones.  When you have a deposition, staff add for more fields : court reported, person being deposed etc etc etc

When you implement form styles for these different types of events, you have to train staff more, worry about data entry and deal with the partner that wants it all on their phone.

The answer is to simplify. Leverage the 2 main fields

  • Description – Deposition of Expert Jesse James at NorthView Reporting services
  • Memo – include the address. Include any notes like court reporter, whether they have been booked and when you confirmed

Form styles are a powerful portion of Time Matters that I leverage daily (see discovery tracking, delegation) but should be used only when necessary. When they can increase the office’s productivity and simplify the end user’s life.  If you have many, many form styles and a form style for almost everything…you should step back and ensure you are gaining the true benefit of this feature.

Matters360 – Ontario Criminal Lawyer Management System is in Beta

The Cloud, SaaS application designed and used by high volume criminal lawyers across Ontario is in beta.

Manage:

  • Client intakes
  • Crown PreTrial status
  • Client Meetings
  • Resolutions
  • Your unique Payment plans
  • ensure Legal Aid is verified
  • Quickly and easily adjourn your court dates
  • A complete ToDo and tickler system
  • the simple form documents and letters
  • and much, more more

Do you want it? Send me an email: matt@7secondsystem.com