Neil J. Squillante is the founder and publisher of TechnoLawyer, an award-winning network of free email newsletters for lawyers...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of Florida’s largest...
In this bonus episode, host Adriana Linares and her guest Neil J. Squillante share insights and industry trends featured in this year’s TechnoLawyer Top 10 Product Awards. Selected based on reader interest, honorees this year include an impressive mix of products for lawyers to better manage and market practices, track cases, conduct research, increase efficiencies, and feel like you’re practicing in 2030.
Follow this link to read TechnoLawyer’s announcement of this year’s list, which includes links to full product reviews.
Neil J. Squillante is the founder of TechnoLawyer, an award-winning email newsletter network.
TechnoLawyer’s 2020 Top Tech Products Revealed
Intro: So, you’re an attorney and you’ve decided to go out on your own. Now what? You need a plan and you’re not alone. Join expert host, Adriana Linares and her distinguished guests on New Solo. Tune in to the lively conversation as they share insights and information about how to successfully run your law firm. Here, on Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hi, everyone and welcome to another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I’m Adriana Linares, a legal technology trainer and consultant. I like to help lawyers and law firms use technology better. Before we get started with today’s episode, I want to make sure and thank our sponsors. Thanks to ROSS Intelligence, the legal research platform that leverages AI to get to the heart of legal issues fast. Go to rossintelligence.com for a 14-day free trial. I want to make sure and thank Alert Communications for sponsoring this episode. If any law firm is looking for call, intake or retainer services that are available 24/7/365, just call (866) 827-5568. Thanks to our sponsor, Clio. Check out Clio’s Daily Matters podcast featuring valuable perspectives on legal and the COVID-19 era. Listen to [email protected]/daily and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Lawclerk is where attorneys go to hire freelance lawyers. Visit lawclerk.legal to learn how to increase your productivity and your profits by working with talented freelance lawyers. All right everyone. Let’s get started with today’s episode. This is a special episode. I’m releasing two in one month typically we do one a month, but when I got an email from Neil Squillante of TechnoLawyer asking me if I wanted to be part of this year’s big reveal of the TechnoLawyer top product awards, I said, “Oh, yes I do.” And in case you are either a new listener or happened to have missed about a year and a couple months ago, Neil came on and we went through what was at that point 25 top products and that was a great episode revealing this list of award winners and talking about these products and it was a lot of fun so it’s pretty excited to have Neil asked me to do that again with TechnoLawyer one of my favorite companies and publications out there. So, Neil are you there?
Neil Squillante: Hi, Adriana. How are you?
Adriana Linares: Hey! I’m doing great. Tell us a little bit about — I can’t imagine that I have listeners who haven’t heard about TechnoLawyer, but tell us a little bit about TechnoLawyer, how the newsletters work and sort of your goal as a publication platform for getting information out to lawyers and you, tell us a little bit about you, too.
Neil Squillante: Sure. I’m a former big law litigator then I started TechnoLawyer, that’s the end of my story for now. TechnoLawyer are the only email newsletters you need if you’re interested in legal technology, law firm management, law firm marketing or litigation and that’s because we aggregate everything out there. So, whatever other people are publishing, if it’s high quality, we aggregate it and therefore you only need our newsletters. So, go to technolawyer.com and subscribe to the ones that interest you.
Adriana Linares: I love that and you have a lot of contributors that are lawyers or other legal professionals that are constantly doing reviews and writing articles about products and services and features and I think that’s a really valuable part about TechnoLawyer. So, do you want to tell us just a little bit about where you find particularly those reviews and that kind of information?
Neil Squillante: Yeah. Well, the name of our parent company is Peer Views and we really believe in the grassroots nature of the internet and we also believe in primary source material, which is unusual for a publisher to say and what I mean by primary source in this context are the actual lawyers using products. Many of them will contribute reviews about a product they’ve been using for five years that’s extremely valuable information.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. For sure.
Neil Squillante: And that’s what I mean by primary source. So, we have a newsletter called Learn Paper and that’s where we publish all of these ad hoc reviews written by our subscribers and finally, today, we’re talking about our flagship newsletter, TechnoLawyer. Now, that’s where we ourselves report on new products and these awards stem from that newsletter.
Adriana Linares: So, let’s talk about the top product awards because last year, we had 25 and this year you’re down to 10. How’d it changed?
Neil Squillante: Well, it’s less work for one thing.
Adriana Linares: For sure and who needs more work right now.
Neil Squillante: More importantly, 25 was just overwhelming. The companies that were 15 to 25 weren’t always that thrilled even though they should have been and we never really saw it as a ranking. You do have to just list the products in some sort of order and we did traditionally list them as far as the number of “votes” that each got, but it was overwhelming and people were always interested in the top 10 for the most part and so we’ve whittled it down this year to 10 products.
The way the awards work — and last year, I joke that we get together in a smoke-filled room but that’s not allowed this year because of COVID-19, but we’ve actually never done the awards that way. These are not editorial awards which means there’s no risk of corruption of any sort. These awards are the result of passive voting. So, what I mean by that is in our TecnoLawyer newsletter, we’ll report on a product and obviously in the article, we’ll link to that product’s website. We track the clicks on those links and simply put the 10 products with the most clicks are the winners. It’s really that simple. People don’t even know they’re voting. So, the votes represent true interest in the product.
Adriana Linares: I like that. So, they’re really an interest-based award on whatever the description is or the tagline or the lead that just draws people in.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. I think they reflect the zeitgeist of what’s happening in law firms as opposed to the pundit class and often those two things are not aligned.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. I like that. Well, great let’s get started. Let’s talk about number 10, PCLaw Go.
Neil Squillante: Sure. There’s a lot of history as you know behind PC Law. So, a little background because I think it’s fascinating as to what’s going on and I’m very bullish on their future actually. So, originally, PCLaw was a Canadian company and they were kind of known as the best for the financial software for a law firm like billing, but also accounting and then there’s another product out there called Time Matters, which many people consider the best practice management system of that era. LexisNexis acquired both companies and in the intervening years, legal research actually became more important than it ever was. As you know, there’s a whole revolution going on in legal research. And so, LexisNexis teamed up with a company called, LEAP which is a giant Australian practice management company, but they have a pretty large footprint in the United States as well and they formed a joint venture called simply enough PCLaw Time Matters and those two products are now being managed in that joint venture.
So, it’s almost like the best of both worlds. It’s sort of a startup environment with people from both companies who left their jobs to join that joint venture, but they’re well financed obviously because both parent companies have ample resources. And so, that’s kind of the background of what’s going on there and you know kind of took a year to get their branding right. By the way, I love their new branding, puts a team together and I met last fall with the CEO, Chris Stock and I think you’re going to see some pretty cool things from them in the near future, but anyway, getting back to PCLaw Go, there’s another similar product called Time Matters Go and they’re both kind of the same thing depending on which one you use and they’re basically mobile apps that respond to a long-standing request from the users because previously, there was a web app that people use to enter their time on the go and so forth, but the way the world works is people don’t seem to mind using web apps on the desktop, but we all want native mobile apps on our iPhone and Android phones. And so, essentially PCLaw Go and also Time Matters Go enable you to very quickly enter time on the go and also look up information.
Adriana Linares: That’s great. And do you know just off the top of your head or just in your research with them, what are they sending the time to, “So great I’ve got this mobile app, it’s easy for me to enter my time” and then ultimately does it go into one of their own products or is it universal?
Neil Squillante: Yeah. Exactly. Well, PCLaw Go goes into PCLaw whether that’s hosted in the Cloud or at your office in the same way Time Matters.
Adriana Linares: Okay, yeah. Well, great. Awesome. Tell me then about Actionstep Express.
Neil Squillante: Yes. Number nine, Actionstep Express. I have a bit of trivia for you, Adriana and I wonder if you know the answer to this question.
Adriana Linares: I was told there would be no quizzes.
Neil Squillante: Just this one.
Adriana Linares: Tell me.
Neil Squillante: What was the first Cloud practice management software?
Adriana Linares: I think it was Clio.
Neil Squillante: That’s what 99 out of 100 people would say and I and Ted Jordan the CEO of Actionstep, we know the real answer to that, which is the answer –
Adriana Linares: I love big reveals on my podcast.
Neil Squillante: The answer is Actionstep, which actually launched two years before Clio.
Adriana Linares: Oh, no kidding.
Neil Squillante: And no one knows it because the company is in New Zealand company and they were not quite established in the United States or Canada at the time. And so, the legal technology industry is very U.S. acentric. Anyway, a little trivia there.
Adriana Linares: I like it.
Neil Squillante: So, they’ve been around a long time and they’re known for their workflows. So, workflow is essentially project management as you know a lot of legal work is routine, it’s not that it’s easy but it’s routine since that you’re creating the same documents over and over again with sometimes minor tweaks, sometimes significant ones, but still there’s a process you can put together and in their more advanced product called Actionstep Practice Pro, you can create very elaborate workflows with triggers that automatically assign things to certain people et cetera, et cetera. The downside of this and you know this as a consultant is it requires a lot of setup.
Adriana Linares: Yes. That’s what I always say about Actionstep. It requires a good relationship likely long-term with either Actionstep and/or a consultant that’s been certified by Actionstep.
Neil Squillante: Exactly. And that’s probably one of the reasons there are many and it’s a conversation for another day about why Clio became this juggernaut because I think one reason it was very simple to get started in it. You didn’t necessarily need a consultant.
Adriana Linares: Right. You don’t. You’re right.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. I mean, you can if to do more advanced things and of course the platform has grown since then, but anyway, long story short is a year ago, Actionstep recognizing this launched Express. Express you can get up and running in a few hours and with regard to the workflows, it contains built-in workflows for common things that virtually every law firm does and so you don’t need to set them up and you can tweak them as well. Now, once you’re established in the software and you have greater needs then there’s an upgrade path to the company’s more advanced products.
Adriana Linares: Awesome and I’m looking at their pricing page and so Actionstep Express is right in line with all the other Cloud-based practice management systems and pricing looks like it’s about $50 a month per user and just goes up a few dollars from there so that’s great. Let me back up and ask you a question about this and about PCLaw Express if you know both Cloud-enabled are they browser and device agnostic or do either one of them favor PC or Mac?
Neil Squillante: With regard to Actionstep, it’s a pure web-based software so you can use any browser including your iPhone and Android. PCLaw Go, that’s a native app that you download from the App Store.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Neil Squillante: As far as its parent app, PCLaw and in the case of Time Matters Go Time Matters, those are traditional legacy apps, but I think most law firms nowadays would Cloud host them instead of maintaining their own servers.
Adriana Linares: Okay. So, those are very PC heavy Mac users and anyone running on a Mac today wouldn’t have likely picked PCLaw or Time Matters when they were starting anyway so that’s a great product for people who are already PCLaw or Time Matters users to know about. And then Actionset for anyone looking for something new?
Neil Squillante: One more thing about Actionstep that’s kind of interesting, it’s almost like the company was clairvoyant because as everyone knows unless you’ve been living under a particularly large rock, COVID-19 caused a lot of law firms to seek Cloud solutions and I have to say there were a lot — back in March and April, it was kind of annoying at the number of companies that were sending empty marketing messages about COVID-19. Actionstep actually did something meaningful. First of all, they had Actionstep Express which you can get up and running very quickly and secondly they offered it for free for about six months to law firms that needed to quickly get up and running on something so kudos to them for actually having a marketing message that was meaningful.
Adriana Linares: March and April and May were really crazy for me and my peers. I mean, if I could pile up the servers, I ended up removing — not physically obviously but replacing with Cloud-based practice management programs I’d have, it would look like that truck that was carrying off post office boxes. So, yes, it was definitely an interesting time and also good for them for doing that. What about number eight, Panoramic.
Neil Squillante: Yeah, this is a product that makes you feel like you’re living in 2030 in my opinion. And right now, there’s enormous interest in what this product does, but currently because of its requirements, it is something that is typically only used in large law firms, but hopefully that will be expanded out because every law firm needs something like this and in a sense it’s similar to Actionstep but yet it’s also different. So, a few years ago, the pundit class in the legal tech community started talking about something called legal project management and like most of these things I thought they were kind of either a few years ahead of their time not that it’s not important to talk about these things, but it wasn’t very practical at the time.
Panoramic is essentially legal project management plus knowledge management and regarding the knowledge management aspect both internal knowledge and external knowledge. I know that sounds like a lot of gobbledygook. So, here’s an actual example. Panoramic connects to your billing system and that’s key and right now it only connects to Elite 3E which is a Thomson Reuters billing system typically in only large firms.
Adriana Linares: Right. It’s enterprise level.
Neil Squillante: Yes. Many technology subscribers emailed me saying I really want this and I use this billing system, will they make it for this billing system and time will tell if that happens, but the reason that’s important is because Panoramic accesses all that billing data to estimate what it will cost to do a certain project you know like a pleading or a contract or something like that. In addition, and this is where it’s similar to Actionstep is you set up workflows with all the templates, someone will need to do something tips for doing something and then because Thomson Reuters also owns Practical Law which is this sort of like a next generation treatise in which it contains checklists, templates and so forth for many different types of projects that a lawyer would do in corporate and litigation. It also anything related that you do would link out to Practical Law as well. So, if your own internal knowledge is a little bit short on something, you can actually get that information from Practical Law.
So, a senior associate could assign like a pleading to a junior associate. Junior associate would go into Panoramic and follow all the steps maybe use Practical Law to get some additional information, log their time. The senior associate would measure that time against what Panoramic says this should cost so that the senior associate or the partner could tell the client we estimate that it’s going to cost this much and essentially make sure that project stays on track with that cost in mind.
Adriana Linares: That’s cool. I like that. That’s a lot of transparency and upfront information for the client which they’re all after.
Neil Squillante: It’s because clients understand the game. It’s particularly general counsel because many of them worked in law firms and they know that a lot of legal work is routine and therefore it should be more efficient and this is all about making legal work more efficient so that the resulting price is a little lower than it used to be.
Adriana Linares: Awesome. I like it. Before we get on to our next segment where we cover numbers seven, six and five, I’m going to take a quick break and listen to a couple messages from some sponsors. We’ll be right back.
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Adriana Linares: Okay. We’re back and I’ve got Neil Squillante from TechnoLawyer. We’re doing a countdown of the TechnoLawyer top products of 2020. So far, we’ve talked about PCLaw Go, Actionstep Express and Panoramic. Now, let’s cover number seven, which is Zola CRM.
Neil Squillante: Yes. If you think about practice management software, all those products assume that you have clients and in thinking about this, it reminded me of my big law days and from time to time, I would wonder, “Where are all these clients coming from?” Obviously, that involves marketing. And so, in recent years, we’ve seen a few legal software entrepreneurs create marketing apps and Zola CRM is one of them. I’m sure you’re familiar with Lexicata as well as Clio Grow, which is another example.
Adriana Linares: Certainly, yeah. And Zola CRM I’m familiar with them, too. It’s a nice product.
Neil Squillante: Okay, great.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Neil Squillante: So, essentially CRM consists of two really important features. One is contact management and the other is the sales pipeline and with Zola CRM, it sorts of adds a legal twist to the traditional CRM with regard to both of those. For example, in the contact management part of it you can track referrals which I assume are still the number one way that most law firms get new business.
In the pipeline, one of the steps — a pipeline has sort of looked if you’ve never used one sort of looks like a Kanban board, you keep moving a deal closer and closer to the finish line or to the lost column and in Zola CRM, you can track things like retainers and so forth that are legal specific. Now, as you know, Zola media also in fact their main product is Zola Suite which is a practice management system and if you happen to use that then you don’t have to re-enter any data. So, when a lead in Zola CRM becomes a client you just essentially click a button and become a client in Zola Suite, which is a nice integration.
Adriana Linares: For sure. As a teaser for my listeners, we had Conrad Sam come on for the past two episodes and talk about marketing and websites and good marketing practices. So, for next month, I decided to do sort of a three-part series on marketing and I’ve got another marketing expert named Jason Marsh from Marsh8 coming on specifically breaking down the funnel and how it relates to internet marketing. So, appreciate you giving me a way to sort of put a little teaser out there, Neil for next month’s episode as well.
Neil Squillante: Happy to help market your podcast.
Adriana Linares: But I think the funnel and the whole idea of a sales funnel is very foreign to a lot of lawyers because it’s obviously not something they teach in law school is marketing and sales. So, a product like Zola CRM certainly seems like it would be very helpful. So, you’re saying you can either use it as a standalone but if you also use Zola Suite or if you’re looking for a practice management program and haven’t hopped on a bandwagon yet, you could look at both of these products together and they work well together.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. If you’re using Zola Suite, it seems like a no-brainer because it only adds $20 a month per user.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. Zola Suite’s a really nice product, too, And I’ll also say for our listeners Clio’s of course the sponsor of this podcast and everybody knows that I love Clio when they hop on, but Zola is a really nice product, it’s right in line competitively with pricing. It might be a little bit more but it includes accounting. So, typically when a firm calls me and they insist upon having accounting baked into the practice management program, Zola is a great option to look at and I love the folks said Zola I think Fred is just one of the nicest guys in the business so happy to put a nice plug in for them as well. Okay. Let’s talk about Lawyaw, you know Lawyaw is a great product as well, it’s a Clio partner so I tend to hear about it a lot and look into it a lot because I’ve got a lot of clients that are looking to integrate it with Clio, but it’s also a nice standalone product. Tell us about it, Neil. That’s your number six.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. I like the product, like Tucker is the CEO, I like him a lot. The only thing I don’t like is the name because I think it’s — if you tell it to people, they will 9 times out of 10 be unable to spell it. So, for everyone listening, it’s essentially — it’s not lawyer with a W at the end, it’s lawyaw.com. And I suppose it’s pronounced “Loya.”
Adriana Linares: Yeah. Right. Okay.
Neil Squillante: And other than that, it’s a very cool product that actually brings to mind something important to talk about. So, Lawyaw is a Cloud-based document assembly and they’re part of this no code revolution taking place. So, what do I mean by that? I really appreciate how powerful this revolution was until recently. So, no code software is essentially normal people who are not programmers doing things that previously required programming and one of the reasons why document assembly never really took off to the extent practice management or billing software did even though it’s just as important in my opinion is because in the early days, you had to hire a consultant to do some programming and then those products evolved to develop syntax systems which were sort of like programming light, but still just enough to be programming that it was still sort of suppressed the usage of these products. I think we’re on the verge of a major leap forward in document assembly because of products like Lawyaw, which is the way it works is you don’t need a programmer at all. You simply like let’s say you just wrote the best pleading ever it’s something you’re going to frame put on your office once you move back into your office, and you upload that pleading and then wherever you have information in the pleading that’s going to change each time like the name of the plaintiff, the name of the defendant, et cetera. You select that and then in a panel in Lawyaw, you just choose what type of field it should be. And if you’re not familiar with fields, it’s something that you can learn in five minutes. So, it might be a single line of text, multiple line of text or it might be clauses that are pre-written and you select from a drop-down menu that sort of thing.
And very rapidly, you can create a template and then anyone your law firm can then use that template to fill in information. You mentioned Clio, the integration with Clio means that anything that’s in Clio, you can bring into Lawyaw automatically without having to type it in.
Adriana Linares: Right. Even if you have custom fields for matters or for contacts in there. Explain to us a little bit they specialize in California court forms so a lot of times it’s easy for me considering how much work I do in California between San Diego and just spending a lot of time out there to point attorneys to Lawyaw with their California court forms. So, what’s the difference between the ones that they pre-make for you in their court forms pricing model versus the $99 intelligent document automation as they call it and by the way, I’ll also just say since I gave pricing for the intelligent document automation $99 a month per user. They’re California court forms for those of you who work in California which now I say that because you don’t necessarily need to live there to work there, $59 a month for that to design(ph) of their products.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. Essentially, I’m not as familiar with their California court forms product. My understanding perhaps you could speak to this is that these are a bunch of forms that Lawyaw has already created for you.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Neil Squillante: What I’ve been talking about is using your own documents and creating templates out of them.
Adriana Linares: Okay. And that’s probably exactly the difference if you’re in California and a New Solo or a new lawyer like a lot of my calls have been coming out of California since COVID started, this is a great place for you to start. They’ve got and according to their website it says 5,000 plus fillable court forms so if you need a place to start or you’re just looking for a set of forms that’s great and then if you want to create your own, it works right inside of Microsoft Word and I agree with you Neil for years of course Hot Docs was always the leader in document automation and it was the type of product and now they’ve gone Cloud-based, I think they’ve made it a little easier but typically you would have to have an in-house Hot Docs developer or hire a consultant or just be one of those ultra-nerdy attorneys who really understood the value of spending hours, learning how to code so to speak in Hot Docs and develop a set of forms and I think you’re right that these days between products like Lawyaw and WebMerge and bunch of other products that are coming out, it’s becoming easier, you don’t have to learn coding and not that it was super deep coding, but it was definitely even the type of stuff that I would go, “Oh, my God another Hot Docs form I’ve got to try and create a question and answer form for.” So, that’s a good product to know about.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. And you’re right about Hot Docs, a quick plug for them with their new platform essentially works similarly you don’t need to know syntax or anything.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. I love that. So, all you all get on that document automation bandwagon. I also want to remind listeners that oftentimes your practice management programs will have some level of document automation built into them. I jokingly call it dumb versus smart automation. So, some practice management programs will have pretty flat, but a great place to start with document automation meaning it will essentially merge all your basic information from your practice management program into your word documents or to PDF files but as soon as you start needing and if this then that or ask the question, “Is there a second child,” yes, name the child, “Is there a third question,” yes, name the child, “Is there another child,” no, then you need to get into something a little more sophisticated, but I always want to encourage everybody to figure out.
Neil Squillante: And by the way, all those if then statements, lawyers are good at that actually. Well, actually I’m a lawyer, too. So, we’re good at analysis and logic and that’s all that is. It just removes having to learn a programming language.
Adriana Linares: I love it. Tell us about number five, CourtLink.
Neil Squillante: Sure. This might be the most interesting one to talk about particularly told litigators out there for reasons that may not be apparent initially. Right now, in legal research litigation and that sort of genre, there’s a whole group of what I call web scraper companies that are popping up. So, not many people know this, but you can actually go out and buy a web scraper nowadays. Just as third-party software and I don’t want to make it seem like it’s this easy but you can then point that web scraper at some government website that’s horribly designed, suck out all the information then package that information up and sell it as a subscription service. CourtLink is sort of the granddaddy of this type of product except the people behind it and I’m sorry I don’t know their names but it was originally an independent company didn’t have the advantage of web scrapers, didn’t have really the advantage of the web because none of the governmental agencies or at least very few of them were online at the time. So, that’s a really interesting story that someone should tell someday about how they achieved this, but essentially a CourtLink contains I believe federal court dockets perhaps stayed as well and one of the primary uses for it is for marketing purposes.
So, for example, let’s say that your law firm often defends against patent trolls and so patent trolls tend — they like suing a lot of small businesses because small businesses panic and will just pay the licensing fee and small businesses typically don’t have their own legal team in-house, don’t have a law firm on retainer to handle lawsuits because they don’t get sued that often and so you may use CourtLink to you know monitor your jurisdiction for new patent lawsuits and you can immediately contact a defendant and say, “Hey, sorry you got sued but we’ve defended against this patent troll 10 times, we won eight of those, and so let’s talk about us representing you.” So, the important thing about CourtLink is because it was originally a separate company, it was kind of its own separate system at LexisNexis which acquired the company 20 years ago. Last year they integrated CourtLink onto their Lexis advanced platform so now it benefits from many of the same features as the other products in that platform. One of which is a more robust alert system so you can get notified right away.
Adriana Linares: I love it. Let’s see, is there pricing on here that we can talk about by any chance?
Neil Squillante: I don’t think so.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. Lexis doesn’t usually like to publish their pricing. All right. We’ll move on to number four, which is Tracers. Tell us about tracers.com.
Neil Squillante: Yeah, this is a public records research which we all use because we’re all nosy so you meet someone and you immediately Google that, right? We all do that and that’s fine for personal needs, but when it comes to conducting due diligence on a prospective client or after a client has engaged you if the case involves assets that you need to find or witnesses that you need to find, et cetera, you really need a bona fide public records service and Tracers is one of those and there’s two unique things about them. One is their pricing, if you use it often enough, you don’t have to worry about the number of searches you conduct because some of the services out there charge you for each search and so you’re kind of walking on eggshells every time you use it, but with Tracers, you can pay a flat fee and just use it as often as you want and the other thing is that once you find the person you’re looking for, Tracers essentially assigns a personal ID to that person so it’s sort of like a Social Security number and then you can use that ID number to find out everything else that Tracers has on that person.
Adriana Linares: Very cool. Well, we’re down to our last top three. So, before we do that, let’s take another quick break. Listen to some messages from some sponsors.
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Adriana Linares: All right. We’re back and we’ve got Neil Squillante going through the TechnoLawyer top product awards of 2020. So far, we have gone between from 10 down to 4 which I’ll repeat real quick. We talked about PCLaw Go, Actionstep Express, Panoramic, Zola CRM, Lawyaw, although I think Neil you were pronouncing it different than I am, but you probably know how to pronounce it correctly.
Neil Squillante: It might be my New York accent.
Adriana Linares: It might be your New York accent, but it’s spelled L-A-W-Y-A-W and then CourtLink and Tracers we just finished up with and number three is a repeat from last year, which I really like this product a lot, it’s Word LX. Tell us about that one.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. This is actually a three-peat so congrats to Infoware, they won this award in 2017, 2019 and now again in 2020. So, Word LX is — you have to wonder why there aren’t more products like this, right?
Adriana Linares: I definitely wonder because I spend a lot of time training on Word and I definitely wonder.
Neil Squillante: You have to wonder why a lot of other companies haven’t built a ton of products that reside inside the Word ribbon because that is where lawyers spend so much time.
As I just sort of hinted that Word LX is essentially a Microsoft Word add-on, it lives in the ribbon and traditionally what it did is it ensured consistent formatting throughout your law firm because you can’t count on everyone applying styles correctly and so on and so forth and it kind of enforces that consistency so that everything’s on brand which is actually quite important and in addition, it contained templates to save time like here’s your letter template, here’s your pleadings template, here’s your this type of agreement template. What they did a year ago and the reason we wrote about them is they added document assembly and so now it’s both a document formatting tool as well as a document assembly tool. So, you can save clauses so when you create that template then you can use the document assembly component to put together a document quite quickly and it’s also essentially no code like Lawyaw is in terms of creating those templates.
Adriana Linares: That’s great. I love this product and I’m looking at their website I’m just trying to get a little bit of information, Mac and PC or –
Neil Squillante: No, just Windows.
Adriana Linares: Okay. Just PC.
Neil Squillante: They do a lot of onboarding upfront. It kind of work that you often do, they do it as a company and so that’s the reason why you won’t find a price. They typically currently work with midsize and large law firms. I hope that someday they figure out how to make this more accessible to smaller firms.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, that’s my wish for almost everything. Well, good. What about number two, which is going to be a familiar name to listeners today because it’s Zola Suite which is a well-suited partner to Zola CRM number seven on the list.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. Double winner, congratulations to Fred and his team and as Zola Suite is also a repeat winner, they won the award back in 2017. That was our write-up on the year they launched. Obviously, the products come a long way as you mentioned before their chief differentiator is that they’re all in one and so currently in the market in practice management there really is a split. Do you want something like Clio that doesn’t do everything, but integrates with everything in other words you can find third-party product at this point to do anything you want and connect them or do you want something that’s all in one and the beauty of that of course is you’re paying one company, they’re responsible for any help you need and if you trust the company that’s kind of a win-win.
And so, Zola Suite includes general ledger accounting, you don’t need QuickBooks and they also talk a lot about their email integration, they integrate with G Suite and Microsoft 365 so that it really doesn’t matter where you send a message from it gets recorded in the proper place in Zola Suite in the proper client matter and this is unique, they integrate with rpoS for secure email and proof of delivery and I think that is something that’s not talked about enough because yes, you should probably use a client portal which by the way Zola Suite also offers but you know what? It’s really hard to get lawyers and they’re understandably hard to get them away from email because it’s hard for any of us to not use email and I love email; we publish email newsletters. So, I really like the idea of forget trying to get lawyers off of email instead just make the email more secure.
Adriana Linares: Well, if they could manage their email better, Neil they’d have more space in their heads and inboxes for your great newsletters.
Neil Squillante: Like I said they’re the only newsletters you need because you’ll find that you can get rid of all your other subscriptions because we link to everything that everyone else is publishing.
Adriana Linares: It’s true, I used to do your aggregation about 10 or 12 years ago, a health TechnoLawyer it was really fun aggregating some of the best legal specific and not necessarily legal specific technology articles and posts, so yes, you’re right. Okay. Here we are down to number one. Down to the wire and I have to tell you, I have not heard of this product until I saw your list. It’s called TrialLine.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. And obviously, there’s a lot of interest in it. Congratulations to the company. Interesting backstory, the founder is a guy named Travis Luther. His original company is called Law Father and they build websites for plaintiff’s law firms. So, his background is web design which is important for the story. His wife is a litigator and being a millennial, she wanted to create timelines, but the only products out there were Windows apps, right? And she wanted a web app being a millennial because everything else she was using — I’m sure she was probably using Google Docs, et cetera, et cetera. So, he built the product for her and initially not as a commercial product. Word got around her office, other people want to use it and obviously, the light bulb went off and that’s how we have TrialLine. It creates timelines which are important in litigation in particular and in my opinion, this product’s going to be even more useful now that we’re seeing online hearings and even online trials because typically in a lot of litigation at the timeline the sequence of events is really important particularly personal injury.
And traditionally, you’d use trial on to create a timeline and then either print out poster boards or project the timeline on some screen in the courtroom and that’s fine. Nowadays, if you have a Zoom trial, everyone’s looking at their own computer screen so you can see the timeline better and so I think they’ve got a bright future ahead of them.
Adriana Linares: I love it. This is one of the things that lawyers are always asking me for is how to create good timelines and their pricing is reasonable month to month, it’s $50 a month, right in line with all of today’s Cloud-based practice management services and in this case, litigation specific but if you want to pay annually which is only $350 a year that’s quite a nice savings, looks like a nice product, too.
Neil Squillante: Yeah. Of all the timeline applications out there, it’s the best looking one I’ve seen.
Adriana Linares: That’s awesome. Well, that’s great, Neil. Awesome we got through the whole list. Are there any other nuggets or pieces of information or any honorable mentions you want to give out?
Neil Squillante: Sure. If you go to the page where this podcast is listed, there should be a link to the awards announcement so you can read our write-up about each of these products and then from that announcement, we actually link to the original articles for a more in-depth report on these products that resulted in their awards.
Adriana Linares: Awesome. Well, great. Well, thanks, Neil. Thanks for letting me be part of the big reveal, again, remind our listeners where they can sign up for TechnoLawyer which should be pretty easy, technolawyer.com and any other relevant information about finding, friending, following the TechnoLawyer community?
Neil Squillante: We’re going to improve our social media game soon, but you can find us @technolawyer on Twitter and will be elsewhere soon but in the meantime, just go to technolawyer.com, subscribe to the newsletters that interest you and I’ll see you via email.
Adriana Linares: Everyone’s favorite communication medium. Well, thanks so much, Neil. Really appreciate you letting us be a part of this and I want to thank our listeners for taking some time to spend a second episode with us in August of New Solo. You like what you’ve heard today. We’d love for you to subscribe, rate and give us a review on iTunes. We’ll see you next time and remember, you’re not alone, you’re a New Solo.
Outro: Thanks for listening to New Solo with host, Adriana Linares. Tune in again to learn more about how to successfully run your new practice. Solo here on Legal Talk Network. The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, it’s officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders and subsidiaries, none of the content should be considered legal advice. As always consult a lawyer.
New Solo covers a diverse range of topics including transitioning from law firm to solo practice, law practice management, and more.
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