The Cloud and Canadian Lawyers

The cloud is an interesting evolution. Defining the cloud is always a conversation.

We use the cloud extensively. So extensively, that as a computer dies, I am up and running (exactly as I was before) in minutes not hours, days etc. I do have high speed internet that is stable and consistent.

As a consultant – Our team stores documents in the cloud. We do project management in the cloud. Our help desk is in the cloud. Our training manuals/materials are in the cloud. Our email is in the cloud. Our mind mapping/thought management is in the cloud. We have online meetings and online training sessions. We remotely manage most of our clients so that we can work after hours. We support Matter Management applications in the cloud.

As a Lawyer. We store and backup documents in the cloud. Our collaboration is in the cloud as we are in different cities. Our Matter Management is in the cloud. Presently, we run the criminal business on Advologix. Being built on top of the Force.com platform we can do a lot with it, including scheduled reporting, anywhere access and take complete control over the interface.

The problem? Or a potential issue? Where is the data? It is not stored in Canada. It is in the North American cluster. NA7.

What does a Canadian Lawyer do when they want to use Matter Management in the cloud and have their data in Canada? Right now? There is no option. I looked into Clio and although it is located in Canada (British Columbia) there is no guarantee your data will reside in Canada.

With long ears, I hear there will be an option in the near future. If you are interested drop me a line and we can discuss or I can let you know when it will be announced.

Billing Matters – still using it? What you should do.

If you are using Billing Matters, you have been for many years. I have been involved with Billing Matters well before it was ever launched. I did the premium solutions support for Lexis and Kelly Jones and I did a national seminar just on Billing Matters.

What should you be doing now?

1. Spending some time with the validity of your data. There is data in your database that you cannot see.  A good indicator is the size of your database and how quickly it is growing.

Recommendations:
Be careful of your database size and rate of growth. If you are using a free version of SQL, consider upgrading.
Purchase Sharpshooter from DataEquity. It will run analytics on the data that you cannot see. If you are interested, contact me and we will offer special pricing or bundled services.

2. Make sure  your system is set up properly.  Do your bills look right? Do your reports add up? Can you analyze the data in your reports?

Recommendations:
If you are unsure, you can contact me and I will set up a consultation with Kelly of our team. She can quickly assess your situation, offer suggestions and get your Billing Matters tuned up.

3. Be consistent, Be concise.  Use the product the same each time. Whenever you discount an invoice do it the same way. This way you can analyze the impact.

Recommendations:
Have a firm meeting and get everyone on the same page.

4. If you are not on the current version, upgrade. With your AMP, you have access to support and during the upgrade process some of your data is cleaned.  Billing Matters currently has an issue with growing the database with empty space as you enter time and other transactions. When you upgrade, this empty space is cleaned. If you are on the current version, there is no supported fix.  Although the fix is ran during the upgrade process, the same fix is not supported on a current version of Billing Matters.

Recommendation:
SharpShooter gives your invaluable insight into the current status of your Billing Matters database.

Lexis Nexis decides not to discontinue Billing Matters billing functionality

The following was finally released to the public by LexisNexis.

We would like to share some good news with our loyal Time Matters and Billing Matters customers. In response to customer requests and, after careful consideration, LexisNexis has decided NOT to discontinue the billing functionality of Billing Matters software. Customers have indicated that thebilling capabilities within the software are an integral part of their daily workflow and firm billing processes. Therefore, we are announcing the continuation of software support and maintenance for the billing components of Billing Matters (reversing the announcement we made in 2009 indicating plans to discontinue the entire product as of December 31, 2013). We will also begin work to enhance and evolve the billing functionality of Billing Matters in a future release, expected to include improvements in report writing, electronic billing, mobile options and archive capabilities. We will also be developing new training resources on the Billing Matters billing functionality and announcing those as they become available.

Please note however, the decision to sunset the accounting functionality of Billing Matters (also known as Billing Matters Plus) remains unchanged. Since the billing features within Billing Matters software were reported by customers as more widely used—by a wide margin—than the accounting features, we do not believe a policy change is warranted for the accounting functionality. Therefore, all support, maintenance and training for the accounting components of Billing Matters will end on December 31, 2013 as previously announced. If you have been using the accounting features of Billing Matters, you will need to start considering alternative solutions such as linking your current accounting data in Billing Matters with Intuit® QuickBooks® Pro® or Premier Edition, versions 9, 10 or 11.

LexisNexis® Law Firm Practice Management has been helping law firms streamline their operations and improve client service for over 20 years. Looking ahead, we are committed to providing a robust, industry-leading feature set within all of our software products—Time Matters, the billing components of Billing Matters, PCLaw®, Juris® and LexisNexis® Firm Manager™—valued by our customers.

7 Second System Plug-Ins announced on Technolawyer

7 Second System introduced the Time Matters community to the 7 Second Plug-Ins for Time Matters through a technolawyer technorelease.

What are plug-ins? If you are a 7 Second System client…you should have them. If not, contact me. The plug-ins are:

1. A configured easy to use interface for Time Matters. The goal is… Time Matters is easy to use, easy to learn.
2. Supporting powerviews to ensure you can see the data that you need instantly. We have developed the functionality that we think is needed in Time Matters. We were tired of waiting for an improved user experience.
3. Step by step training instruction on usage of the plugins and Time Matters.
4. An integrated Help Desk. Have questions/issues submit a help ticket and track that ticket until it is closed. You can also review all tickets submitted by your firm.

Why make Plug-Ins?  My view is they are needed. The Time Matters initial user experience needs work and it has not changed in some time and candidly we do not see any change in the near future.  We took control of the future and we take control of the end user experience. As we shape that experience, we ensure your firm adopts Time Matters consistently. The end result is an application that everyone uses. You get your data your way.

We have a series of videos at 7SecondSystem.com and they are on Youtube.com as a playlist. All of the videos will play below in a series. Feel free to skip the ones that you are not interested in:

Document Plug-In
Discovery Tracking Plug-In
Notes Plug-In
Calendar Plug-In
Email Plug-In

Time Matters crashing? Have you tried everything? An answer?

I will start with this…. in general we do not have crashing issues. We carry lots of clients, many of which are on our fixed fee implementation….that means we support all issues – technical, set up and training. So if we had crashing, I would be busy all day dealing with it.

We have a standard methodology in dealing with issues that arise:

1. If Time Matters 9 – make sure the tmw0.ini file and the registry are not in conflict.
2. If isolated to a user, we copy settings from our model user.
3. If isolated to the program level, we toggle the setting.

So isolation works and many/most issues can be traced to the data in Time Matters…because your preferences are saved as data.

Ok.. so you have been there and tried that. Next you have to limit the data in Time Matters and you should start to look at the data that you cannot see from within Time Matters. Here is an example.. this is my personal database. You can see in the video below that there are many ‘users’ in my system that are not users here in our office. This could cause issues under certain circumstances.  You can also see that there are settings in the data that do not exist in our system. A good example is the quickbooks entry… no Quickbooks linked to Time Matters here.

CAUTION – THIS VIDEO SHOWS DESTRUCTIVE DATA PRACTICES. If you make a mistake there is no way to undo.  BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP and even then I am not sure I recommend a typical end user do this…

Time Matters training – 7 Second System Training and Support

The 7 Second System has guaranteed training from its inception. We use a variety of mediums including onsite support, online meetings, help videos and manuals. We have added an integrated help system to Time Matters and also to all of the Speed Matters products. For existing clients we are making our way to everyone and updating your powerviews to include the help system.

We are also working on a help desk software implementation. We all receive so much email that it is difficult to ensure we have fixed your questions to your satisfaction when there are multiple consultants working on the implementation. In keeping with the one stop shopping approach we are implementing this help desk solution. It will allow you (and any of your users) to submit help desk tickets. Our team will monitor these tickets, utilize our best resources and be more responsive. We will also allow you to track all of your tickets for your firm regardless of who has submitted. Hang tight for our release.

For now, we have opened up some of the training resources for everyone to see. Take a look at the link below or review the document that is attached below for a sample:

7 Second Training

Time Matters Google Synchronization

I have been beta testing Google Connect4TM for a while. It synchronizes your Time Matters contacts and calendar to your Google calendar and contacts.  Why is this new application important? Many phones now work with Google, so we don’t always have to rely upon Outlook as the middle point.  You have to be careful when deailing with technical support and phone to Outlook to Time Matters syncs.  Time Matters tech support is not the place to be ensuring your Outlook is talking to your phone…so be sure to take that out of the mix when dealing with tech support.

Steve over at DataEquity is always on top of things and responsive. All of our clients and implementation rely upon Steve’s tools to make our lives and jobs better.  Everyone needs Sharpshooter and anyone that is using Time Matters the “default” way need to use his tools to convert to our system.

I could bore you with details, but we all like tv so…. here is a quick video:

Time Matters 10 – PCLaw 10 Link

We all know the love hate relationship that we have with the Time Matters – PCLaw link. Let’s just start with what we all know…if you are on an old version of Time Matters or PClaw (pre-version 9), I recommend that you upgrade. If that is not your cup of tea…contact us and we can discuss some of the issues that you need to understand.

Time Matters has fixed one huge issue with time entry. The description field in Time Matters was limited to 100 characters. Why was that a big deal? It made the Worksheet useless if your are verbose…and for those of you using it before the SR for 9… be careful.  Now we can enter long descriptions in Time Matters and send those to PCLaw.

Wait there is more!!!

They have updated the PCLaw worksheet to allow easier time entry and they have made it even easier to post that time to PCLaw. It acts similar to the Amicus to PCLaw link of years ago with some extra features. Users will like it. This feature alone may be worth the upgrade and adding AMP. 

Enter your time on the worksheet and watch the Matter summary information update. You can see the AR, the WIP etc for that matter in real time from PCLaw. (Note this does not include any time that has not been posted. ) When you are ready….post the time to PCLaw from the worksheet. You can also make time entries in other places in Time Matters and they show up in the worksheet….so capture the billing for all of those emails. Check out the demo video:

Time Matters 10 Installation

Time Matters 10 has been in the market for some time. As everyone knows we typically wait until the first service release to recommend an upgrade. Is there are new killer features? well…. the new powerviews are nice, but anyone using our sstem will not find them particularily helpful as we ship simple effective powerviews.
The desktop extensions are nice – The notepad, contact viewer and the agenda view. The rest need some time to mature.
We are often asked if upgrading is difficult. It never is. There are some things that you have to consider. Time Matters 10 does some data cleanup in the conversion. (Many of these issues we already find and deal with using Sharpshooter). You also want to verify your data before and after to ensure it properly made it through.

The big cavaet – your attachmnets are moved outside the database during conversion. Attachments are now stored as files in the file folder structure and not in the SQL database. It is about time…but if you are a long time Time Matters user, be prepared to wait out the conversion as it may take some time. Interested in the process? Here is a quick run through video:

Convert to 7 Second System from the shipping defaults easily and quickly

As we all know Time Matters as it ships has lots of power, but it is not harnessed. That power gets in the way and leaves the application in a state that is harder to implement and harder to use.  After years of consulting, I took some time off to readjust my philosophy and approach to Time Matters. That was the foundation of the 7 Second System.

Time Matters has to be:

  • Easy to Use
  • Easy to Understand
  • Easy to extract data
  • Even easier to extract key and critical data

If you have been using the shipping defaults (or any other variation or configuration) we make sure that you have not lost that time investment. We have automated data tools that can manipulate your data and conform it to our way of implementation.

All of our clients learn Time Matters in a few hours.
All of our clients immediately begin to use Time Matters.
We guarantee our training and implementations.

How do we do this? Take a look: