The “Holistic” Shift in Legal Tech

When most people think of the term “Holistic” the image of stepping into a small shop, with Tibetan OM music playing in the background and the scent of incense strong in the air, as you peruse numerous apothecaries looking for remedies that will fix what ails you or aids in the performance of both spirit and mind. Holistic thinking is characterized by a comprehension of the parts of something and its intimate interconnection to the whole. In medicine this means when treating the whole person (or the system) many things into account including social and mental instead of just the physical symptoms of an issues.

A recent article by Robert Ambrogi touches on this subject in the May edition of Above the Law.  Bob explains that while moderating a panel recently on the topic of Holistic Approaches to Litigation technology, he realized that tech. companies AND lawyers many times fail to apply the holistic ideology when considering how certain products will fit into the work lawyers preform as a whole.  Bob goes on to present an example where different vendors showed how in a simulation involving filing a memorandum, their products could integrate and flow with each other during the process as they filled different tasks. Bob states lawyers as consumers “….are more likely to consider and evaluate software as a standalone product, based on the task for which it was designed. Lawyers are less likely to consider how that product fits into their broader workflow or with other technologies used in that workflow” with this thought process running rampant throughout the legal industry, Legal tech companies are taking it upon themselves to   create a shift in thinking and facilitate a more holistic view in their approach to technology and help Attorneys see the benefits of integration through better connect workflows and interfacings that shares commonalities.  This idea of a Holistic approach is not a new one as LawBase has been known for this approach for over 36 years.  A holistic approach means that rather than creating software for the “Body” and making the body figure out how to integrate it into its already working functions, we choosing to look at how the body is functioning and how the body desires to function, from there software is design to configure and work within the whole. With the improvement and prevalent shifts to cloud storage and computing, integration has become a simpler and more common task, as products with different functionally are able to seamless integrate.  More companies are creating software with this philosophy in mind, and as a client it is important to look at those that have a solid track record of practicing and executing these views, because when it comes to “Holistic” tech. comprehension of the whole is essential and introducing a part that learns to work with the body to improve function is more efficient than forcing the whole body to change for the sake of one part.

ALA 2017 (A Vendor’s Perspective)

Another ALA conference has come and gone. The ALA (American Legal Administrators) conference and Expo was held this year in the mile high city of Denver, Colorado. Being a Denver based company; it was a natural fit for LawBase to exhibit at an event in our company’s proverbial backyard.  The association of Legal Administrators boosts a membership of over 9,000 members, with 95 chapters in over 30 countries, the high membership and diversity translated into a well-attended venue, boosting a variety of keynote speakers, speaking on divergent topics ranging from common issues of cyber security and diversity training to the controversial issues of lie detection and marijuana in the workplace. As a vendor, ALA brought an atmosphere and structure that is unique to its brand.  With a full schedule of symposiums and presentations, busy moments of foot traffic on the convention floor were few and far in-between. But when the attendees had a chance to walk the floor during the designed breaks, it was a very pleasant experience. The flow of traffic was steady and rarely was the floor busy to the point of “crowded”. Rather, a productive “ebb and flow” was seen as attendees strolled the floor with specific vendors in mid to speak with, or simply to enjoy the experience and collect the swag offered by vendors or to enter in participatory drawings. The receptiveness of the attendees to was surprisingly positive as many attendees that approached were inquisitive and came to the Vendors with the goals of connecting after the event. At the end of the 3 day event it was the opinion of the vendors that attended that  ALA 2017  was a productive and worthwhile event for both attendees and the vendors alike.

LawBase and LegalShift Partner to Brings Legal Project Management (LPM) Module Based on BakerManage® Framework

LawBase and LegalShift Partner to Brings Legal Project Management (LPM) Module Based on BakerManage® Framework

Law firm attorneys and in-house counsel often struggle with being able to gather critical information, process it quickly and determine the best approaches while responding to new developments. Through this partnership, the BakerManage LPM framework can be added to LawBase making it the most robust case and matter management system on the market. Now attorneys can implement LPM processes, resulting in greater transparency, better communication and proactive management of the business side of legal matters on behalf of clients.

 

Being able to partner with LegalShift to bring Baker Donelson’s BakerManage® LPM to our users is the next step in offering the most robust case and matter management system on the market. Over the years, we have collaborated with leading organizations and have integrated popular legal software into LawBase to make sure our clients have the best possible return on their investment. This partnership is no different.

 

With the LPM module added to LawBase, users will have access to:

  • A proven LPM workflow
  • Project planning and statement of work development
  • Team roles and responsibilities definition
  • Legal spend and matter estimating tools
  • Budge monitoring and change order tracking
  • Status report templates
  • Enhanced data capture to support alternative pricing
  • Workflows to promote collaborative client and team communications
  • A process for capturing improvements or opportunities for future innovation

 

Now clients have access to an LPM methodology that has been implemented across thousands of legal matters and is proven to achieve significant cost savings and efficiencies for legal teams and their clients. The LPM software is available as an integrated module of LawBase or as a stand-alone product.

 

This partnership was discussed in a recent podcast by Ari Kaplan where he spoke with LawBase President, Phil Homburger and David Rueff, shareholder and the legal project management officer at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, who oversees the development of the firm’s legal project management solution, BakerManage®, and is on the board of directors of the firm’s subsidiary. In the interview, they discuss BakerManage® and the genesis of its development, the collaboration between Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC and LawBase, why project management has become so important for legal professionals, and what an initiative like this one symbolizes about the evolution of the legal industry, among other topics. Check it out at http://www.reinventingprofessionals.com/collaborating-to-reinvent-legal-project-management/.

 

Law firm attorneys and in-house counsel often struggle with being able to gather critical information, process it quickly and determine the best approaches while responding to new developments. Through this partnership, the BakerManage LPM framework can be added to LawBase making it the most robust case and matter management system on the market. Now attorneys can implement LPM processes, resulting in greater transparency, better communication and proactive management of the business side of legal matters on behalf of clients.

 

Being able to partner with LegalShift to bring Baker Donelson’s BakerManage® LPM to our users is the next step in offering the most robust case and matter management system on the market. Over the years, we have collaborated with leading organizations and have integrated popular legal software into LawBase to make sure our clients have the best possible return on their investment. This partnership is no different.

 

With the LPM module added to LawBase, users will have access to:

  • A proven LPM workflow
  • Project planning and statement of work development
  • Team roles and responsibilities definition
  • Legal spend and matter estimating tools
  • Budge monitoring and change order tracking
  • Status report templates
  • Enhanced data capture to support alternative pricing
  • Workflows to promote collaborative client and team communications
  • A process for capturing improvements or opportunities for future innovation

 

Now clients have access to an LPM methodology that has been implemented across thousands of legal matters and is proven to achieve significant cost savings and efficiencies for legal teams and their clients. The LPM software is available as an integrated module of LawBase or as a stand-alone product.

 

This partnership was discussed in a recent podcast by Ari Kaplan where he spoke with LawBase President, Phil Homburger and David Rueff, shareholder and the legal project management officer at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, who oversees the development of the firm’s legal project management solution, BakerManage®, and is on the board of directors of the firm’s subsidiary. In the interview, they discuss BakerManage® and the genesis of its development, the collaboration between Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC and LawBase, why project management has become so important for legal professionals, and what an initiative like this one symbolizes about the evolution of the legal industry, among other topics. Check it out at http://www.reinventingprofessionals.com/collaborating-to-reinvent-legal-project-management/.

 

Law firm attorneys and in-house counsel often struggle with being able to gather critical information, process it quickly and determine the best approaches while responding to new developments. Through this partnership, the BakerManage LPM framework can be added to LawBase making it the most robust case and matter management system on the market. Now attorneys can implement LPM processes, resulting in greater transparency, better communication and proactive management of the business side of legal matters on behalf of clients.

 

Being able to partner with LegalShift to bring Baker Donelson’s BakerManage® LPM to our users is the next step in offering the most robust case and matter management system on the market. Over the years, we have collaborated with leading organizations and have integrated popular legal software into LawBase to make sure our clients have the best possible return on their investment. This partnership is no different.

 

With the LPM module added to LawBase, users will have access to:

  • A proven LPM workflow
  • Project planning and statement of work development
  • Team roles and responsibilities definition
  • Legal spend and matter estimating tools
  • Budge monitoring and change order tracking
  • Status report templates
  • Enhanced data capture to support alternative pricing
  • Workflows to promote collaborative client and team communications
  • A process for capturing improvements or opportunities for future innovation

 

Now clients have access to an LPM methodology that has been implemented across thousands of legal matters and is proven to achieve significant cost savings and efficiencies for legal teams and their clients. The LPM software is available as an integrated module of LawBase or as a stand-alone product.

 

This partnership was discussed in a recent podcast by Ari Kaplan where he spoke with LawBase President, Phil Homburger and David Rueff, shareholder and the legal project management officer at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, who oversees the development of the firm’s legal project management solution, BakerManage®, and is on the board of directors of the firm’s subsidiary. In the interview, they discuss BakerManage® and the genesis of its development, the collaboration between Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC and LawBase, why project management has become so important for legal professionals, and what an initiative like this one symbolizes about the evolution of the legal industry, among other topics. Check it out at

http://www.reinventingprofessionals.com/collaborating-to-reinvent-legal-project-management/.

 

Congratulations to McNeely Stephenson

Congratulations to McNeely Stephenson

We would like to congratulate McNeely Stephenson, a client for over 10 years, for the verdict they recently received totaling $48.5 million. The case was about a 30-year-old man who was killed while driving to work in New Mexico when a commercial truck crossed the center line and struck his vehicle head on. He died at the scene. McNeely Stephenson was on the case and fought for documents in court, took over 60 depositions in 5 different states and hired experts from across the country. As a result, they settled for $48.5 million before the trial started. You can read the full case summary here – http://www.indianapilaw.com/example-cases/.

LawBase Receives TechnoLawyer Award

LawBase Receives TechnoLawyer Award

Top 10 Product of the Year

We are so excited to share the news that LawBase has ranked #9 in TechnoLawyer’s TL NewsWire Top 10 Products of 2016 Award.

Recipients of this award were voted on by the nearly 12,000 subscribers of the TL NewsWire. Winners were determined by the number of clicks to the company’s web site from the NewsWire articles TechnoLawyer posted on its site.

This award is very meaningful to the LawBase team because the TechnoLawyer subscribers voted simply by showing interest in the LawBase product review by clicking on it for more information. This type of
“voting” is a way of showing exactly what the readers are interested in and ranks them based on that feedback.

You can find more information on this award at https://www.technolawyer.com/tlnewswire.asp.

LawBase Nominated for 2017 Best of the National Law Journal

LawBase Nominated for 2017 Best of the National Law Journal

The Sixth Annual 2017 Best of the National Law Journal voting is now open! We are very excited to say that we have been nominated in three categories and we would love your vote!

– The Nation’s Best Matter Management Software (Question No. 28)
– The Nation’s Best Case Management Software to Law Firms (Question No. 29)
– The Nation’s Best Docketing and Calendaring Software (Question No.30)

The National Law Journal Readers Rankings survey gives the legal community the opportunity to acknowledge those they believe to be the best providers of legal products and services. You don’t have to answer every question to vote – just vote for those products or services you feel strongly about! The survey only takes a few minutes and having your support would mean a lot!
Voting is open until February 2, 2017, at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NLJBestof2017.

The Partner Conundrum

The Partner Conundrum

In a recent article written for the New York Times, it was stated that there has been a shift in major law firms around the country. The story reports than many firms are demoting and letting go of partners at alarming rates because of concerns over profitability. The article explains that firms are expediting the exit of partners who aren’t shepherding enough business to the firms or billing the desired amount of hours. This mass exodus is being brought on by pressure from clients who want to bring down costs. Within a highly competitive industry, the pressure to compete and offer lower costs to clients has greatly increased, so firms have looked for ways to cut costs in the most expedient way, through demotions and layoffs. But there is another side of the coin: the rise of a new type of management in Law Project Management.

 

Whereas law firms want to cut costs by firing partners who are not billing enough hours, clients are concerned with law firms billing too many hours. There has been a worry that attorneys are billing and calculating time “liberally” and charging for hours that haven’t been worked. With a firm’s desire to stay competitive, it must provide lower cost offerings in the market. This is coupled with the goal of revenue generation, which is naturally achieved by billing hours. These factors can result in the practice of overbilling, which is a combination of internal pressure, poor business ethics and lack of monitoring in project structure. In an effort to monitor projects and increase the flow of information and awareness between attorneys and their clients, a management style has be created utilizing the ideals of traditional project management to oversee and regulate the procedures of legal matters and/or cases. Companies applying Law Project Management are seeing a detailed and in-depth account of scheduling, cost and

risk on projects that have hired attorneys working on them. One of the biggest focuses of Law Project

Management is monitoring the allocation of funds and making sure that the hours being billed are proportionate to the hours worked by attorneys. The emergence of Law Project Management and the recent trend of demoting partners have created a unique environment that may be correlated in effect. This change in industry management methods is not trending in a positive direction for attorneys, as employment numbers and promotions lower. Meanwhile, layoffs and expectations to produce increase. The application of Law Project Management strategies has steadily become more of a mainstream method of production activity as clients look to honest business practices and a better understanding of how their money is being spent.

 

To check out the original article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/law-firms-demote-partners-as-pressure- mounts-over-profits-1476137818

ILTACON 2016: Another Successful Year!

The LawBase team recently attended ILTACON 2016 conference in our nation’s capital the beginning of this month. Located at the Gaylord Hotel and event center in beautiful National Harbor, attendees and vendors alike were treated to picturesque views of the National Harbor boardwalk and the historic Potomac River.  A four-day conference of education, ILTACON is an ever evolving event, reinventing itself numerous times since its humble beginnings in the 1980’s. In its latest form, ILTACON brings

together professionals desiring to employ change and advance the technology within law firms and legal

departments. This desire translated into a conference filled with educational content in the form of workshops, lectures, and panels for attendees and a sprawling convention space for vendors to present their products, connect with guests and hopefully create new business partnerships. LawBase has been attending ILTACON since its inception in the WANGVSLUG days, and for us, it was business as usual. Overlooking D.C.’s gorgeous Potomac River, guests can choose to either enjoy the view from the fully glass window atrium inside the hotel, which becomes even more impressive at night with its scheduled light shows in the evenings, or guests can choose to stroll the boardwalk partaking in shopping, fine dining locations and even a large Ferris wheel to help take in the scenery around you and get a chance to peer over the river into the city.

 

Within the convention, ILTACON’s strength shone through with its great guest speakers and panels. Speaking with many of the attendees, the consensus was overwhelmingly positive for the response to the many speakers that took the podium during the event. Sitting in on a panel geared to the vendors at the event, and presented by ILTACON mainstays JoAnna Forshee and Jobst Elster, “The ILTA/InsideLegal Technology Purchasing Survey Release -Purchasing Trends of ILTA Law Firms,” proved to be an opportunity to hear industry experts share their knowledge on industry purchasing trends and receive a copy of the yearly survey outlining trends in the industry. The bonus of this particular panel was the inclusion of a Q&A segment with a handful of talented prominent editors, including Bob Ambrogi – LawSites Blog/Above the Law contributor, and the newly promoted Adam Schlagman of ALM LJN Cybersecurity & Strategy Newsletter. They gave attendees candid insights into what each of them are looking for in an article and the most effective way to present an article/case study to their respective publications.  This panel was just a sample of the numerous productive symposiums presented at this years’ ILTACON.

 

Overall the show was an opportunity to learn from experts in workshops and panels and build relationships through networking events and booth presentations. LawBase looks to continue its success through attending these conferences by gaining new knowledge, and making new connections as well as friends. With that criteria, it’s safe to say this years’ ILTACON was a success.

Is it time to move on from your existing case management system?

There comes a time in life when you must move on from a relationship. It could be because you’ve outgrown the relationship or because your specific needs aren’t being met. Sometimes you simply just want something different, something new, something better. Chances are today or in the near future, you will be at this very point with your case management system (CMS). Change can be a scary thing, and you may be on the fence on whether it is time you and your firm made the decision to move on from your existing system. To aid you in your decision, we have listed a few reasons why it’s time to shake off that old system and embrace the new.

You’re not getting constant program updates or upgrades

Updates or patches are essential for the improvement of the system. It is important that you run on a maintained system that releases updates on a regular basis. Updates can do everything from improving the performance and stability of the software to adding new capabilities and features and can protect you against new viruses. When you do not have a system that releases frequent updates, you are in danger of falling behind technologically and opening up vulnerabilities in your system.

Your existing system makes it hard to get reports

Reports help you manage and understand your business, which is why you need a system in place that provides the reports specific to your requirements and is flexible in the types of reports you are able to generate. Whether it’s the user interface or a lack of detailed information, if your system cannot provide reports with the information you want to see, seamlessly and easily, then it is time to consider new software.

Your system increases support fees

System support is paramount for problem solving and maintenance. Usually there is a fee attached to this service, whether it be a onetime payment or a recurring annual charge. However, when this fee goes up and continues to increase over the life of product use, there should be a concern. When you purchase a product, you are doing so with the confidence that you’re getting the expected product at the agreed on price. If your support costs begin to rise continuously, then it may be time to find a new CMS that follows honest practices and will honor the support price established up front.

Your current vendor is acquired by a larger company

When a smaller firm is purchased by a larger firm, there can be benefits; usually those benefits include a larger pool of resources and the sharing of technology. Unfortunately, this can also mean that your firm can get lost in the shuffle and the personalized attention and care that was once given to your company could dissipate. Standardized practices tend to take the place of more personalized services for your software needs. When this happens, a switch to software with a more personalized and customizable system is recommended.

Large companies may acquire smaller vendors for the sole purpose of building up their own client base. When this happens, some, if not all, of the original company’s employees may be laid off and development of the product may cease. Be aware of this and, if your CMS is acquired by a larger company, make sure they still have your best interests in mind.

Change can be daunting. But change can also be a positive experience. If you are dealing with any of the situations above, then it is most likely time for you to start looking to upgrade to a new platform that will better fulfill the needs of your firm. This is your opportunity to do your research and find a solution you can not only trust, but rely on to understand the industry and your needs.

 

Best-of-Breed Vs. Jack-of-All-Trades

A reaction to the article “Best-of-breed trumps jack-of-all-trades” By Roy Russell

Roy Russell recently published a good article in Legal IT Today magazine titled “Best-of-breed trumps jack-of-all-trades” delving into comparing best-of-breed software to jack-of-all-trades applications. This article is very relevant since LawBase is a best-of-breed brand of software.

Russell begins by explaining the desire businesses have to transform and evolve and how these transformations usually begin with improving communication streams (i.e., email and documents) since these are the avenues utilized most frequently by attorneys and their staff. Russell says that by making improvements in communication first, businesses will reap quick rewards by way of both staff and customer satisfaction in both productivity and efficiencies.

Just as important as the communication applications is the choice of technology. Russell mentions that technology has always been abundant in the legal sector, and with the many functions that are required of a law firm, especially midsize to large firms, the number of systems utilized is kept to a minimum, which can be difficult when so many types of management are required to run a firm (case and matter, CRM, document, etc.).

The article addresses how best-of-breed solutions give firms the greatest opportunity to “transform and differentiate” their business over jack-of-all-trades products. If you are not familiar with the difference in the two types of software, it breaks down this way: In jack-of-all-trades software, a vendor will offer all the solutions in one package, whereas best-of-breed software chooses to integrate with other applications that are relevant to your business operations. To fill in the picture, think of the business as an empty retail space. With jack-of-all-trades software, your space would be occupied by a big-box store that may provide a lot of products as a one-stop shop. The benefit is that this store will provide many items so the likelihood of finding the products you may need are high. The problem is that the products maybe generic and not of the highest quality. This style of software traditionally champions an all-in-one package, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting substance as a consumer. Inversely, best-of-breed software would be a retail space mirroring a strip mall. Rather than attempting to do everything, best-of-breed attempts to do one or a few things extremely well, and then partners with companies that also do their specific brand of software well. By doing this, all the applications you need to run your business are integrated with your management software. You’ll get the optimal experience because the best software is being used for each job. Even some best-of-breed applications include other management software leaders in their software packages, like LawBase does with HotDocs, an industry leader in document management.

With best-of-breed software solutions, businesses experience growth, with steady and consistent footing to achieve objectives and goals. Usually best-of-breed is intuitive and user-friendly, where jack-of-all-trades possesses limitations because of the attempt to consolidate so many different types of software into one package. Russell states, “Document management best-of-breed solutions may be difficult to deploy on-premise for some firms, but they are immensely affordable. It’s worth noting that data migration doesn’t simply entail transferring files, but also moving the ‘contextual’ information around those documents (known as metadata), including associated emails, matters, contact details of various parties involved on the case, and financial information can be mined from the location of the documents, the naming conventions used, and the references that the existing systems make to those documents.”

Best-of-breed management software is more affordable than ever, so the time is now for midsize to large firms to capitalize on integrating this software, enhancing both client and employee satisfaction through tech solutions. Russell’s article echoes these sentiments, and with more and more firms adopting these solutions for their business, don’t you think it’s time for you to convert? Your business deserves the best (in-breed)!