Nick Augustine is the principal of Pro Serve PR Marketing, a firm that provides marketing and public relations advising and services for law firms. Nick’s practice includes advising attorneys on career development and leveraging knowledge, skills and abilities. Nick earned a communications and rhetorical studies degree from Marquette University and a law degree from The John Marshall Law School where he is an active Alumni Board member.
Last week I attended ABA Techshow 2012 at the Chicago Hilton and the Expo Hall was packed with vendors, some new and some favorites, and the law firm technology industry is strong. I visited with several vendors and there are a few products and services I recommend to attorneys in transition among vendors.
Seven products and services are useful for lawyers in solo practice and larger firms:
- Digital War Room. E-discovery solutions powered by Dell’s servers make preparing trial warfare and litigation more palatable when you have products that make your job easier, without hiccups. This product boasts a collaborative approach to e-discovery. Ingesting and indexing data, through some really smart technology, makes this product easy for any lawyer to use, regardless of size and scope.
- Jura Law. Legal docketing is easy and you are less likely to miss a deadline when you use this product offered through Law Bulletin Publishing Company. There is also a Westlaw legal docketing product I’ve used, and Jura Law’s platform and interface are easier to use and more user friendly, in my opinion. Simply input your case information and adjust your settings to meet your needs. I’d suggest keeping a hard backup copy of everything for redundancy and audit purpose.
- Pro View. A Thomson Reuters product that brings Westlaw to your iPad (Android soon) as an application, is a sure bet for busy lawyers on planes, trains and in court. You only need a Wi-Fi connection when you periodically download updates for the application. Highlight a single word or sentence and send it off to your legal team or pull it up later, you will save time and be better able to serve clients with Pro View. Think of Pro View as being an e-book with Westlaw.
- Rocket Lawyer. This “on call” program for layperson end users allows that user to reach a lawyer “on call” with Rocket Lawyer, as a product benefit. Attorneys can apply to be vetted for participation in the program. Sometimes people just need a simple contract, or need document review, and instead of flying in the dark, Rocket Lawyer keeps costs down and provides access to lawyers. Backed by Google who invested heavily last year, we are likely to hear more from Rocket Lawyer in the near future.
- Rocket Matter. After you pick up new work from Rocket Lawyer clients, track your time and billing with Rocket Matter. This web and app-based program will track how you spend your time on your computer. Spend too much time on Facebook? Rocket Matter will tell you exactly how much time you spend on various activities. This is a nice tool because you can critique your efficiency and billing when you aren’t in the heat of the moment. There’s nothing more bothersome than hitting the breaks on a project for a 0.25 phone call, and if you don’t remember to write down your time, on the back end you will likely under bill.
- Ruby. Solos should love Ruby, the receptionist service with style, brains and a professional attitude. I asked the Ruby representative if their receptionists could use Google to look up an address, and she said, “Of course!” Ever had a client lost, trying to find 35 E. Wacker, when they are on South Wacker, totally confused? The last thing you need is a call center in Omaha to stumble through that call. Oh, your Ruby receptionist can also return calls and process intakes.
- Smokeball. Court forms are easy to access and process with MS Word when you use Smokeball. Real estate practitioners will like being able to make adjustments to closing docs with a few clicks of the mouse. This company is fresh and new to the scene, but they have already compiled Cook and DuPage forms, with the rest of the collars in queue – got efficiency?