A Sampling of My Favorite Products from 2013 ABA TechShow

Here is a summary of my favorite vendors and products from ABA TechShow 2013. I hope next year I can get a few Cincinnati attorneys to attend with me. Mark your calendars – March 27th – 29th. It would be such a pleasure showing you around the TechShow. While reading through my list of Top Picks, have an open mind and be willing to spend a little to realize the potential you have to make your practice more efficient. And more efficiency leads to happier clients and more revenue.

Three days of the ABA TechShow just may not be quite enough when there are so many great presentations, authors to meet and products to experience first-hand. But I did my best to make it around to most of the 100 vendors in the exhibit area. I wanted to visit and test drive products that I thought would add value to a solo/small firm practice. So here are my top picks. If there are any products you want to try, let me know. I have access to discounts for some of the products.

WordRake – I have tried this product and it is one of the best Word add-in products for editing I have seen. WordRake helps you write better by instantly editing Microsoft Word documents and suggesting changes you can accept or reject to create clear and concise documents by eliminated useless words and phrases.  It’s an editor that identifies extra language to remove for brevity and clarity. With WordRake legal editor, you’ll edit your legal documents quickly, professionally, and all within Microsoft Word! Once you step back and realize the amount of time you spend composing documents, this product is just a no-brainer. $99 for one year. You can download a 3-day trial, which is what I did. You’ll be hooked. Just do it…

logo_legal_transcriptionE-Typist, Inc. – This is a small company right here in Ohio. I liked the simplicity of this product – you dictate, transfer you audio files, E-Typist transcribes, proofreads and sends them back to you – for as little as 1¢ per word. Really, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. There are 4 options for submitting your audio file – Just do it…

  1. Dial in your dictation on a toll-free line OR
  2. Upload files from your digital voice recorder or PC to a secure server OR
  3. Email your voice files OR
  4. Dictate on your iPhone, Smartphone or Blackberry and send your files  (you will need to download an app – $14.99). Dictate directly into your iPhone, utilizing the Dictamus app or DictaDroid for Androids. Then save your dictation and “share” it. You can record up to 90 minutes of dictation. The apps have all the recording features of a digital voice recorder – and won’t use your cell phone minutes.

orange-clock-black-rimChrometa – Even with the trend towards flat fees and other alternative billing arrangements, the billable hour is not dead yet. I started using this product day I got home. I love it. It tracks everything I do on my computer – every email written, every document I produce and every phone call I make from my mobile device. The web interface is easy to use and it has not affected anything else running on my PC. You can sync your time entries right into Clio, Rocket Matter or export to an Excel file or .iff file for QuickBooks.  It’s a beautifully seamless product for capturing your time, applying time to the correct matter and producing more accurate invoices. Since you are capturing more time, you just might make more money. And it’s priced right – $19/mn. Give it a try. It really is simple. Just do it…

abillity-TM-logo_236x77_RGB_72dpiAnother simple product, focused on one thing – capturing time spent on phone calls. A few minutes here or a half-hour there adds up quickly, and before you know it, you’ve lost billable hours and left sizable revenue on the table.  With this product you can capture time not only on your mobile phone but also on your office phone (if you have a VoIP system). You can record or type a quick memo about the call, as it happens, for quicker reconciliation and more descriptive billing records. All call records are accessed via a web portal and can be exported to a .csv file for integration with your billing system. I tried it and saw first-hand how simple and quick this application worked. It is currently in beta mode. If you would like to participate as a beta user, let me know.  Just do it…

SmokeballFinally, a simple and affordable document automation application that integrates seamlessly with Outlook and Word. And it has a cool name. This tool sits within Microsoft Word to assist you in generating forms and letters for your matters. But the really amazing part is it comes with thousands of Court Forms at no extra charge. They maintain the forms making sure they are always up-to-date and they are stored as Word documents so you can easily modify them. Smokeball stores the details of all clients and matters as you work, so it is automatically building your database for future access. For $29/mn you get a document automation system that includes automation of letters and forms, document management and version control, and email management with Outlook plus 1000s of court forms. At this time, not all states are available. But they are committed to adding court forms as requested and the tool is simple enough for you to convert any current Word document into a form. Just do it…

logikcull128E-discovery products were a the largest product category represented in the exhibit hall. One of the newcomers in this growing arena is Logikcull.  Here is a nice article by Brett Burney about this great e-discovery software. No gigabyte fees – you are charged by month for the amount of documents you need to upload. It’s a very robust product, well designed to work on mobile devices, recognizing that legal professionals also use mobile phones and tablets to get work done. Go mobile with your e-discovery, when you upload your documents into Logikcull, they get converted into web-viewable formats so you can access them without the constraints of original software. You can try it for free. If you do, let me know how you like it. Just do it…

Hope you find the time to check out these products and see how you can use them in your practice.

And finally, keeping with the theme, I’ll end this post with one of my favorite motivational speeches – “Just Do It”, a speech by Art Williams . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y86o1snrC-I

Peggy Gruenke, LawBizCOO

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