Law Practice Magazine
Planning for ABA TECHSHOW® 2009 is already underway. But the interest aroused by the technology on display at this spring’s installment of ABA TECHSHOW is far from over. Here are a few of the noteworthy products that I think are worth checking out.
BlackBerry dictation. Lots of law firms would like to move to digital dictation. But an often-cited reason for not doing so is that for lawyers to use these systems, a firm needs to buy a large number of handheld digital recorders with wired microphones. BigHand is showing this is no longer true with the introduction of its BigHand Mobile–BlackBerry Edition. For the growing number of firms adopting BlackBerrys, this product helps overcome the problem of multiple devices by allowing lawyers to use their BlackBerrys for not only telephone and e-mail communications, but for digital dictation as well. The BigHand Mobile BlackBerry software is installed over the air onto the user’s BlackBerry and the user’s dictations are then sent to the office via the BlackBerry Internet Service or BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Those are then submitted to the BigHand3 server for distribution to the appropriate transcriptionist. We’re talking about a product that reduces hardware costs, enhances document flow, and increases road warrior productivity at the same time—a good idea.
Keyboard-scanner series. In the 1990s Visioneer and Compaq pioneered computer keyboards that incorporated black-and-white/gray-scale page scanners. Jump ahead to 2008 and we find the concept nicely updated by KeyScan of Israel. Its KS810 color keyboard scanner, with zero footprint and a built-in USB2 hub, offers the company’s No-Touch auto-scanning technology, which automatically begins scanning when it senses a paper placed into the scanner’s feeding tray. The scanner works with multiple page documents, allows numerous destinations and options for output, and lets user make choices in predefined functions. The KS811 KeyScan Secure incorporates a biometric fingerprint reader and Smart Card reader security logon for authentication purposes. The KS series keyboard scanners will work with a number of programs, including Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Office and other TWAIN-compatible applications. The software includes OCR capabilities to convert images of documents into text that can be used in word processors or PDF documents.
Web-based practice management suite. Among the number of companies now offering software as a service (SaaS) products to law firms, we now have Themis Solutions with its new online practice management solution, Clio: Practice Management 2.0 . Clio is designed to be similar to offerings such as NetDocs, QuickBooks Online and others, where end-users run -everything over the Internet using a Web browser instead of installing the software on their computers. As of press time, the product is in limited beta testing, with Themis reporting that it is rapidly approaching public release. Planned features include time, billing and accounting functions; document management; calendaring and task scheduling; and client file management.
Document production and calendaring tools. Offering a number of Microsoft Office add–in products , BEC Legal Systems is generating buzz for the simplicity and obviousness of its MetaSCRUB, Docket Administrator and LegalBar tools. The latter was named ABA TECHSHOW 2008’s “Best of Show” by Mazyar -Hedayat of TechnoLawyer. MetaSCRUB is designed to locate and display metadata in Microsoft Word and Excel, and it allows the user to remove that metadata to prevent inadvertent disclosure of information about the file. LegalBar is a suite of add-ons for use in the production of Microsoft Office documents. It includes templates, macros and timesaving document assembly tools designed with law firms in mind. In addition, it provides collaboration features and customizable Word styles for legal document formatting and numbering. The Docket Administrator add-in works with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Server to add client and matter integration into Outlook. It lets users review information regarding docket activity, case information and group calendars, helping ensure that individual calendars are in sync throughout the practice group.