SEO and CMS for Lawyers

In this article, Seth Rowland looks at an approach to website design and search engine optimization, that separates the “technology” and “design” from the “information” and enables (or rather requires) you the lawyer to take an active and continuing role in your firm’s website. Through use of a properly configured web-based Content Management System (or “CMS”), your firm can achieve the goals of (1) effective communication with your existing clients, (2) establishing your firm’s expertise in particular areas of the law, (3) winning at “Google” by establishing your firm as a trusted resource for key search terms.

Document Assembly Primer

With Document Assembly software, processes that took hours now take minutes. Document Assembly is the future of legal document production – the modern attorney should not ask “why” but “how” – and he should ask it soon – before he becomes as antiquated as Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s pen.

Automating Deal and Royalty Management (LES)

This slideshow will demonstrate how to use document assembly to automate Deal and Royalty Management Agreements.

Template Design – Commercial Loan System

Commercial mortgage loan document assembly systems promise to reduce significantly the time spent adapting basic commercial lending forms to facts and circumstances presented by a specific transaction. Technophobes take comfort though – no commercial loan document automation system will produce perfect documents. At best, they will produce very good working drafts quickly.

Real Questions for Future of Law Practice

In this article, Seth Rowland lists the most common questions about document assembly that he has fielded in over fifteen years in the field.

The Cure for Global Warming

Global warming is a myth! Why else would we be sitting here in the tundra just a few miles outside New York City? Why else would we be facing yet another “snow day” away from the office? All kidding aside, whether you believe that “global warming” is the cause of the unseasonable snowy weather or that the snow disproves the warming trend, the reality is that we have had to spend more days “out of the office” this winter than in previous years. These “business interruptions” would have been less severe if you had moved some or all of your business to “The Cloud”.

Brainstorming with MindManager & allCLEAR

Most  lawyers  are  familiar  with  Text-processing  tools  (like  Word  and Wordperfect),  search  engines  (like  LexisNexis,  Westlaw  and  Loislaw)  and  litigation support databases.  However, few have worked with true brainstorming tools that assist a lawyer  in  reaching  conclusions  and  identifying  connections  between  information.

Two tools  that  should  be  part  of  the  “thinking  lawyer’s  arsenal”  are  MindManager®  from Mindjet  (www.mindjet.com)  and  allCLEAR®  from  Proquis  (www.proquis.com). MindManager creates idea maps that let you link issues, facts, documents, and solutions in  a  multi-branching  tree.    allCLEAR’s  FlowCharter  and  Analyzer  builds  process diagrams and lets you evaluate multiple paths in the process to determine which path is optimal. On a scale of one to five, I would give MindManager a 5 and allCLEAR a 4.5.

Affording Document Assembly – The Group Approach

As a document assembly consultant, I am often contacted  by  solo  or  small  attorney  firms  who are overloaded with work, champing at the bit to get  a  Document  Assembly  system,  realize  the value but are understandably nervous at the cost. And,  they  should  be.  Creation  of  a  good document assembly system is expensive in both time  and  money.  So here are some ideas on how to underwrite a good system.

Hogwarts Document Assembly

With the Harry Potter craze continuing, we felt it appropriate to re-instate this oldie!

The Four Options for Mobile PM

Working on vacation may sound like a terrible idea, but like anything it’s all relative. It beats canceling a vacation. Here’s the problem. You can’t manage your practice by calendar and email alone. You need access to your entire
practice management system. In this issue of TechnoFeature, lawyer and practice management expert Seth Rowland runs through the four current options for accessing your practice management system on the go. For each option, he discusses several products, including their pros and cons.

Buyers Guide to Brainstorming and MindMapping Tools

They say that lawyers are not visual people.  Hogwash. We’re all visual. No one’s brain, legal or otherwise, works only in the linear, verbal realm. Thus, it’s likely you could benefit from mindmapping (aka brainstorming) software. And who better to write a buyer’s guide for you than lawyer and document assembly expert Seth Rowland who reviewed allCLEAR and MindManager respectively in two issues of  this newsletter back in 2007. In today’s TechnoFeature article, Seth moves beyond the product review to deliver for you at no charge a full-blown buyer’s guide. Seth discusses nine features to consider when shopping. As a bonus, the appendix to this article lists 14 desktop software and six cloud (Web) products. Did Seth use mindmapping software to create this comprehensive buyer’s guide. Need you ask?

Threat of Legal Process Outsourcing

How would you like a Tim Ferriss-style four hour work week? Impossible you say? Not with legal process outsourcing. Just send that multi-state research memo to India and your eDiscovery review to the Philippines.  Why hire overpriced American associates when you can outsource to cheap, English-speaking lawyers overseas?  Although tempting, legal process outsourcing has a dark side that threatens the American legal industry. In this  TechnoFeature, document and workflow automation expert and technology consultant Seth Rowland identifies the major LPO players, explains what they offer, and then lays out an alternative strategy that American law firms can employ to reduce costs and compete globally while avoiding the fate of American manufacturing companies that outsourced themselves into extinction.

Should You Cut the Cord and Move To The Cloud

A file server can cost upwards of $22,000 plus another $7,000 per year to maintain.  Should you instead keep that money in your bank account?  But can your law firm conduct  business without a server? In this TechnoFeature, legal technology consultant Seth Rowland explains how you can cut the cord by using “the cloud” — online applications for backups, practice management, and document management. But everything has a downside, which Seth also explores. What’s his verdict on moving the cloud? Read the article to find out.

XpressDox Document Assembly

Document assembly conjures up thoughts of expensive software that often becomes shelfware once lawyers realize that they cannot figure it out without professional help. Document assembly consultant Seth Rowland has helped many firms that decided to invest in professional help. But in this TechnoFeature article, Seth reviews XpressDox, a new document assembly program that sells for $150 and promises ease of use regardless of your skill level.  Who better to test this claim than Seth? Read his review to see what this expert thinks of this new expert system.

White Paper – The Death of Travel

Writen in 2008 — In “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century,” Thomas L. Friedman, argues that advances in technology and telecommunications have created a level playing field between competitors that has transformed the way business (and law) is conducted. In this article, Mr. Rowland looks at how “affordable” communications and web-based collaboration tools can now enable solopractitioners and small law practices to service clients on a global basis. In the “Death of Travel,” Mr. Rowland explains how “physical presence” is optional. Through technology, ad hoc teams of lawyers and specialists can be brought together on a moment’s notice with zero marginal cost to work together in virtual workspaces.

Amicus Attorney and HotDocs

Document Assembly Systems work best when they are paired with a Practice Management Systems which can feed data in to the Document Assembly system and eliminate duplicate entry.  Please view this slideshow which demonstrates how Amicus Attorney and HotDocs can work together seamlessly to make lawyers efficiency experts.

Review – HoudiniESQ

And now for something “completely different” in law firm practice management — HoudiniESQ, a new practice management system  developed from LOGICBit. You can host HoudiniESQ on a Windows, Mac, or Linux server, and use it in any Web browser. Sounds good, but
how well does it work? In this TechnoFeature, practice management and document assembly specialist Seth Rowland, Esq. takes  HoudiniESQ for a spin and presents his findings.