Thank you for visiting the Family Law Lawyer Tech & Practice blog. My name is John Harding. I am a family law lawyer practicing in northern California. Long ago I realized that I could practice law more effectively and more efficiently (i.e., better and easier) by availing myself of the technological tools that are out there. I also learned that a successful law practice requires successful marketing. Hardware and software working together make me a better lawyer, and make my life easier. Marketing helps to bring in the business necessary for professional survival. By this blog I hope to share the tips, tricks, and technology that I have learned about so that others may benefit!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Thank You for the Therapy

Thank you to the two readers of this blog who called me in response to yesterday's post, and referring me to their merchant services providers.  I appreciate the contact and the therapy.

Here's what's funny, one of those friends told me I should open a merchant account with Intuit.  That's funny because, as I mentioned briefly in yesterday's post, I have an Intuit merchant account.  It works great! For some mad reason I made the decision to move away from it!

Thank you also to the kinds folks who emailed me privately offering their sympathies.  Clearly folks are interested, and lots of family law lawyers are still mystified by the idea of receiving credit card payments, so here is my daily update.

I also want to thank Larry Port, the CEO of Rocket Matter.  He reached out, apologized profusely for all the problems, and promised they would be fixed. How many of you have ever received a personal reach out from the Big Boss at a software company?  Not too many, I am sure.  Now I am thinking Bill Gates is going to get in touch about my Windows issues.  Anyway, I appreciate Larry's reassurances, and I believe him.  In fact, if you make it to the end of this post, you will see that things may be improving.  In the meantime our travails do give me a divine comedy of content here!

The current lifts, the music rises from the orchestra pit. The players are in place. Act 2 begins:

When I arrived at the office today I found some emails from Forte. Yesterday I explained that I had never heard of Forte, but they apparently have something to do with TouchSuite? The emails requested that I log into my virtual terminal and complete its setup.  I did not know what a virtual terminal was?  I did not know I had a virtual terminal? I did not know that I have a Forte account? Why did I not know? Because no one from TouchSuite has ever educated me to any of these facts.

Anyway, I followed the links to setup my Forte something or other.  Of course, the links did not work. So I called Forte customer service.  After being on hold for 20 minutes I finally got a human being. In the spirit of full disclosure she was very, very nice, and very, very helpful. We solved the log in problem by clearing the cache on my browser, and got the accounts set up.

I then asked her what Forte was (probably should have asked that question first)? She explained to me that Forte was my merchant service provider.  That's interesting. I thought TouchSuite was my merchant service provider? No, she explained, TouchSuite is just a sales company; they sold our service to you.  Hmmnn. How do you like them apples....

Anyway, she also explained that we had just set up a virtual terminal so that I could process client payments via Forte's website.  Cool I thought, then I look at the details on the screen and saw that it was for echecks, but not credit cards.

I asked her "How do I process credit cards?
She politely told me "You can't. Your account is not set up for credit cards."
"How can I add credit cards" I asked?
"You have to call TouchSuite."

Aargh. Not the answer I wanted.  Anyway, back to our conversation:

"While I have you on the line, I am curious how much in dollar amounts can I run each transaction for?"
"$7000" she answered.
"$7,000?  When I had my initial conversation with TouchSuite weeks ago I told them my ordinary minimum transaction would be $10,000 and that some transactions could run as high as $30,0000 to $50,000!"

Be reminded the women I am talking is an absolute saint. Very patient and very helpful (thank God).

"I am sorry Mr. Harding, if you want to run more than $7,000 we are going to have to send you an application to see if we can get your limit increased, or you might want to call TouchSuite.  Here is the name of your sales rep at TouchSuite that we have listed for your account . . . ."

"Thank you" I said, "I will give TouchSuite a call."

Next I called TouchSuite, ran through the phone tree and as usual got a voicemail box. I left her a message.  In all the times that I have called TouchSuite no human being has ever answered the phone.

Next I called RocketMatter to talk the to service rep who has been assigned to me to try and solve this disaster. Got his voicemail and left a message.

So, where are we? (1) I can now apparently process echecks by logging into my Forte account. (2) I cannot process echecks through my Rocket Matter time and billing.  (2) I cannot accept credit payments period. (3) Whether it would be an echeck or a credit card, it can only be for $7,000 when my ordinary minimum transaction is $10,000.  (4) As usual no one is answering the phone at TouchSuite. (5) Waiting for a call back from Rocket Matter. (6) Bills are supposed to go out tomorrow, but there is no way for the clients to pay them.

Rocket Matter to the rescue!  There is a guy at Rocket Matter support by the name of Michael. Love the guy. Drinks the same happy/helpful juice that is poured into the cups of all the support folks at RM. He knows his stuff, and when he doesn't know something he goes to working figuring it out.  I whined and moaned. Michael listened. Then he came up with solutions.

We think Forte is only responsible for processing echecks. Michael and I did a test. I billed myself a dollar, and then paid for it with an echeck. We have to wait a couple days for the check to post. If it does, we are as good as gold on the echeck side.

We think TouchSuite actually does run the credit card side of things, and is not in fact just a sales force for Forte. I met with a client today who is a sales director for one of the world's biggest credit card pressing companies.  She agrees with Michael on this point, and that TouchSuite is actually, and Forte is not actually, processing the credit cards. Michael is going to reach out to TouchSuite to confirm. Assuming this is all accurate, we will then be good as gold on the credit card side!

So, things are looking up!  I can tell you this, once we do get the system working as designed it will be BRILLIANT!  It will be a huge, huge, huge step up from Abacus Accounting. I really am quite excited!

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#RocketMatter #TouchSuite #merchantaccount #creditcards #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Rocket Matter Winning Streak Has Run Out

I had previously written about how thrilled I was with the time and billing features of Rocket Matter. That excitement was based on the one invoice that I had sent to one client, and that appeared to have been processed effortlessly. Ooops. It seems that I was a bit premature with my enthusiasm.

When I received the sales pitch from Rocket Matter ("RM"), great emphasis was placed on the Rocket Pay component of the system. Rocket Pay is what we might otherwise call a merchant account. You use it so that the clients/customers can pay you with credit cards. As described to me by the RM sales folks, my clients would get an email invoice. In that invoice there would be a link the clients could click on so that they could pay their invoices with a credit card or an echeck (echecks is a newish for me and my clients, and very exciting feature). Awesome. It would all be done under one roof, and I could then close my current merchant account with Intuit/QuickBooks.

In concept the process is great. In actual implementation and operation, Not So Greattttt.....

Turns out that RM has a partner company that handles the merchant services side of Rocket Pay. Partnering is quite common. I partner in my practice all the time. I use contract attorneys. I use a subpoena service to obtain records. RM is a technology partner. Unfortunately for Rocket Pay that technology partner, a company called TouchSuite, is where the problem starts and continues. I had not actually surveyed that first client that I wrote about before I posted my earlier review. Turns out she first tried to pay her bill with a credit card. The card was repeatedly rejected by Rocket Pay. So, she (we thought) then paid by echeck. I saw the payment posted in RM, and started doing my happy dance.

After a couple of weeks my client got back to me. The money she had "Paid" for her bill had not been withdrawn from her checking account. She was finding the delay distracting. Did I mention she is a lawyer? And she was questioning the efficiency of the new software system that I had been touting to all my clients. Something along the lines of my clients would never put up with such a horrible system... Can you say Unhappy Client?

I got on the phone with RM technical support. As always the tech support folks at RM were fantastic. They started working with me immediately to find out what was going wrong. With similar immediacy, we learned the problem sourced back to TouchSuite. Turns out the ability to actually pay by echeck Does Not Exist!  All the buttons are in place, the link works, but the actual system to make it happen has not been implemented by TouchSuite! The payment was credited to the client in RM, but the money will never appear in my bank account! How do you like that for partner communications. RM is selling a product that its merchant services partner does not even provide! And I am working for clients for free!

Not questioning why, but simply committing to fixing it (as any great customer service company would, and as I have promised my disgruntled client) the folks at RM started working on a fix. Still don't have an answer on how we undo the client payment that will never be received, but the folks at RM will figure that out. Unfortunately any complete fix will require the involvement of TouchSuite, and here is where I am at with them.

When I starting installing RM I went through the merchant services application process with TouchSuite. Mind you I have been through this twice before with other merchant accounts. The last time was with Intuit, and it took ten minutes. The application process with TouchSuite was overwhelming. It spread out over days. I thought I was applying for access to Fort Knox, the White House, and the Vatican all in one. Eventually, or so I thought, the application process was completed and approved. I was wrong!

From what I understand now TouchSuite failed to timely process the application at its end. Apparently there is some other company called Forte that receives the application and processes it further? So, I got to repeat the application process. TouchSuite did fill in most of the information on the application for me so that all I had to do was sign it.  Guess what? They filled in the application wrong, and it was again rejected by Forte!

It looks like we are now on Round 3 of submitting stuff TouchSuite and then to Forte. I got to spend the better part of yesterday trying to re-apply only to have processing links fail, emails sending me to non-existent destinations, one person at TouchSuite having me do one thing while another person at TouchSuite was having me do something else... What the heck, it doesn't matter. The alternative would be me working on client matters that I will never get paid for....

Where are we right now?  Who knows? We have been testing RM for two, three months now. We closed out all of our Abacus Accounting matters yesterday, and were intending to go 100% live with RM this week. The plan was to send out our first full set of RM bills to all of our clients on July 1. Does not look like that is going to happen. I wonder if my mortgage company will give me extra time to pay my bill when I tell them my TouchSuite dilemna?

By the way, I still have plenty of love for the tech support folks at RM. Absolutely extraordinary! If I did not know that they were working over the top to make things right I would have jettisoned the whole system yesterday. I will say this, I have never been more impressed by a technology company's tech support than I am with RM.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#RocketMatter #RocketPay #TouchSuite #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rocket Matter Switch Over

Happy Invoicing Days Are Here Thanks To Rocket Matter!!!
If you have been following along you know that we are transitioning to Rocket Matter as our law practice management software (LPMS). This is our first time going to the cloud with our LPMS. Our previous installations of Amicus Attorney and AbacusLaw were on our own server. For the past few weeks a legal assistant has been furiously migrating our 20 years of data over from Abacuslaw. All of the contacts have been merged, and now it is time to work on matter data. The migration will require two months of full-time work so it is a huge consumption of time and resources. If Rocket Matter (RM) turns out to be planning to sell itself like so many other legal technology companies I am going to be very, very, very frustrated!!!

A couple of new cases have come in since we went live with RM, and I have been managing those in both Abacus and RM, as sort of a soft opening. So far I am impressed. The RM interface if visually pleasing, and I am loving the access anywhere I can get on the Internet. There are some some shortcomings. AbacusLaw is a much more sophisticated and evolved product. AbacusLaw has pre-installed templates for specific practices (such as family law, personal injury, criminal defense). It has rules based calendaring. It handles email integration better, with seamless attachment of emails to cases. It has very efficient document merging and mail merge. In Rocket Matter several extra steps are required to associates emails with cases. There are no practice templates. Document merging seems to be in its infancy. However, RM is always growing, and the development teams is receptive to new ideas so I would expect that it is only going to get better and better.

Rocket Matter is not without its superior qualities, and I am discovering new ones every day.  One
area where RM is clearly Superior is in billing. RM allows brilliant customization of invoices. Along with its partner Touch Suite it provides great merchant service accounting so that your clients can pay their invoices with a credit card or echeck as soon as they receive the invoice via their email. RM then posts the payments and manages evergreen retainer replenishment. The technology is stunning, and way better than anything else that I have ever encountered -- Way, Way, Way Better!

I also like the iPad app that comes with RM (something AbacusLaw did not have). And I was able to easily set up an iCal link on my iPhone so that I now have RM's calendar linked to my phone. Unfortunately, as it appears, iCal does not support two-way integration. If that is true, then RM will need to up its game re smartphone linking.

Next I need to figure out how to link contacts between RM and my iPhone.  I suspect a call to the very patient folks at tech support will be forthcoming.

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#RocketMatter #practicemanagementsoftware #Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Huge Legal Software Merger

Big news from the law practice management software world.  Abacus Law has acquired Amicus Attorney.  That's right, the two biggest providers are now One.

Way back when Amicus Attorney was founded by Toronto lawyer Ron Collins, and Abacus Law was founded by San Diego lawyer Judd Kessler. They are now in the rear view mirror as Wall Street takes over law practice management.  Heck, "Law" does not even appear in the name of the new company!

Here is the email I received from the New, Combined Abacus Data Systems:

Dear John

It is our pleasure to share some exciting news with you!  

For over two decades AbacusLaw and Amicus Attorney have stood together in the legal space as the pinnacles of case management solutions. Today, we are delighted to announce that Amicus Attorney will become an integrated part of the Abacus family. 

With our combined technology and expertise we will continue to expand our Best in Class practice automation solutions powered by compliance-ready, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) workspaces designed to eliminate capital expenditure and the burdens associated with IT management.

Our Clients are at the center of everything we do! We will continue to offer and support all products and services. Our commitment to YOU is to consistently raise the bar and provide you with the most comprehensive, fully managed, legal technology solutions that cater to the success of your practice in today’s highly digitalized world.

As always, we thank you for your continued patronage and remain at your service.

Click here to read the full Press Release

Warm regards,

Alessandra Lezama

On to the Press Release:

Abacus Data Systems and Amicus Attorney Join Forces to Transform Practice Automation
Two of Legal Tech Industry’s Most Influential Players Together Deliver One-Stop-Shop Legal Technology Solutions
SAN DIEGO, CA, May 17, 2016 -- Abacus Data Systems, Inc. (Abacus), the premier provider of fully managed legal technology solutions, today announced that Amicus Attorney® (Amicus), one of the world’s leading practice management solution for lawyers, will become an integrated part of the Abacus family.  
Abacus and Amicus serve hundreds of thousands of attorneys in the US and around the world. By combining their collective technology and expertise, the newly integrated group will deliver the widest range of Best in Class practice management, time, billing and accounting applications powered by compliance-ready, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) workspaces designed to eliminate capital expenditure and the burdens associated with IT management. 
“We’re proud of Amicus’ strong innovation history and the extraordinary work of the Amicus team to provide award winning practice management software,” said Alessandra Lezama, CEO of Abacus. “This transaction is the culmination of those efforts and the logical next step for Abacus. In joining forces with Amicus, our customers, employees, and stockholders will benefit from being part of a more diversified industry leader with significantly greater market opportunities. Our combination creates a more influential industry player with a commitment to product innovation and integration, which is key to the success of legal professionals in today’s highly digitalized world that has redefined the practice of law.”
Amicus’ CEO Ron Collins stated, “For over two decades Amicus and Abacus have stood together in the legal space as the pinnacles of case management solutions and superior customer service, and now together, this group will create synergies that will bring even greater benefits to attorneys all over the world.”
Abacus recently announced a majority investment of Providence Growth Equity and the opening of its new Headquarters in La Jolla, California adding more than 50 new technology positions. The integration of Abacus and Amicus reflects their commitment to the fast-paced technological evolution of the legal market and to providing unparalleled resources in support of its customers’ ever-changing practice automation needs.
“Both companies will continue to offer all products and services with no changes made to either company’s staff or management team,” explained Lezama. “The joint strengths and values of both our companies equal a superior breed of service provider and will benefit our customers, partners, and employees across the board. We are proud to welcome Amicus’ talented team into the Abacus family,” Lezama concluded.
About Abacus Data Systems, Inc.
Abacus Data Systems is the provider of the first to market case management, time billing and accounting software designed to easily automate law practice operations, ensure best possible outcomes, and increase profitability. In 2014 Abacus launched Abacus Private Cloud, a compliance ready, Turn-Key Desktop-as-a-Service solution (DaaS) to help attorneys bridge the gap to private cloud environments that guarantee security and ultimate performance to help legal professionals and others alike quickly build and grow their practice successfully.
Founded in 1983, Abacus has over 250,000 clients worldwide, is headquartered in San Diego, California, and operates three fully redundant data center footprints in the United States specifically engineered to host and safeguard sensitive data for professionals. Robust security and compliance policies, including two-factor authentication, five tiers of physical, network and data security and information handling and data privacy protocols in accordance with NIST standards ensure a safe and compliant environment for even the most confidential data. Please call 1-800-726-3339 or visit http://www.abacuslaw.com/ to learn more.
About Amicus Attorney 
Amicus Attorney is practice management software that works the way lawyers do. It’s an easy, lawyer-friendly solution that serves as the hub of a law practice. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Toronto, Amicus is made by Gavel & Gown Software. Tens of thousands of law firms worldwide use Amicus Attorney. Gavel & Gown's numerous achievements are recognized through the success of its customers and through its alliances with key strategic partners. As a measure of this phenomenal success, Amicus Attorney has won more than 30 prominent industry awards, has been endorsed by major law societies and has been recognized by independent surveys as one of the most widely used practice management software in the USA. For more information, please call (800) 472-2289 or visit www.amicusattorney.com.
About Providence Equity 
Providence Equity Partners is the world’s leading global private equity firm focused on equity investments in media, communications, education, and information companies. The firm manages funds with over $40 billion in commitments and has invested in more than 140 companies globally since its inception in 1989. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, and New Delhi. Visit www.provequity.com for more information.
- See more at: http://www.abacuslaw.com/resources/blog/abacus-data-systems-and-amicus-attorney-join-forces-transform-practice-automation#sthash.gvkEIrZs.dpuf

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Monday, May 16, 2016

Let the Migration Begin

It has been a while since my last post. I have been very busy working for clients, moving kids home from college for the summer, unsuccessfully training Bear the chocolate lab, and so on. Also consuming a lot of my time is our firm's implementation of Rocket Matter as our new practice management software platform.

First let me say this. The people at Rocket Matter have been first rate. My colleagues and I have been burning up the phone lines to the tech support department, and in every instance the technicians at the other end of the line have been pleasant, knowledgeable, and able to solve our problems.  Absolutely top notch! Kudos RM!

Less pleasant has been the physical experience of migrating our data from AbacusLaw into Rocket Matter. That is not a criticism of RM, it is just a fact of moving twenty years of data from one software platform to another. In my experience, having transitioned from Amicus Attorney to AbacusLaw, and now to Rocket Matter, the process just is not seamless. Every product is different, and while there is some degree of fluidity to the exercise, there is no clean and easy way to migrate the data. Success is contingent on rolling up your sleeves and pounding away at the keyboard and mouse for days and days to move and reconcile all of the data from one product to another.

That is where we are at in our process. We have imported more that 2500 contacts into RM, but then each of those individual contacts has to be opened up and corrected manually. As an example, salutations do not move over from AbacusLaw to Rocket matter. That has to be fixed one contact at a time. While addresses and phone numbers do move from AL to RM they do not automatically reconcile as home or business addresses, and they don't categorize as home, business, or mobile phone numbers. We are having to go into each contact and manually make those corrections.

The same goes for cases. We are moving almost 700 matters from AL to RM. The title of the case moves over just fine. The names of the parties do not move over cleanly. We are going to have to go through each matter one by one to designate who the client is, who the opposing party is, who the opposing attorney is, etc., etc. The process will take months to complete. No need to be frustrated by it. It is a necessary evil that we have to work through.

Of those 700 cases, roughly 50 are pending matters. Our migration is focusing on getting all of the contact cards cleaned up first. We need to get all names properly updated and indexed so that we can stay on top of conflicts, and to stay current with our lines of communications with people. For the matters we are focused on indexing the cases as open or closed. For the matters that are not pending we are associating the client name to the matter, and then closing them. That will leave us with just the pending matters on the opened matters screen. We will next perfect those pending matters by finalizing the associated contacts and related data.

After all of that work we will start thinking about the other invaluable features of RM such as time and billing and work flow. In all honesty, at this point I can say very little about those other features because we are not at a place where it makes any practical sense to try and utilize them.

I do have to bring some tough love to the table. So far I am very happy with Rocket Matter. My only frustration is the lack of support for the product beyond calling tech support.  The latest version of Rocket Matter is the Atlas version. There are significant layout and programming differences between Atlas and its predecessor. Unfortunately RM has yet to produce and put online any real library of video tutorials for Atlas, there is limited user manual documentation, and only an infantile FAQ space on the RM tech support page. Unlike AbacusLaw, a lot of the functionality, design and workflow processes are left to the customer.  RM relies on the old marketing hook and says they sell a product that is highly customizable.  I do not want customizaable. I want a product that is out of the box ready to go for my family law practice. RM does not offer that. Fine enough, I made that sacrifice when I made the choice to move to RM (none of the other programs I considered were any better). If I am going to have to do my own programming RM you at least have to give me a full slate of manuals, guides, and tutorials under the heading Rocket Matter for Dummies! Stay tuned for more venting from me on these issues. . . .

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#RocketMatter#Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Dropping AbacusLaw

Unfortunately my recent misgivings about AbacusLaw seemed to have been warranted. The sales department recently contacted me to advise that my annual service agreement would be expiring and that renewal would be at at roughly a 100% price increase!  Also quite frustratingly the tech support department has taken a rapid turn for the worse. Four of my last five calls to tech support have been answered by brand new techs who know nothing about the program. My calls have resulted in me sitting and watching the remote sessions as the techs clicked around my computer learning the program, and repeatedly putting me on hold so they could (presumably) receive training from a supervisor. Suffice it to say that in the last two months my customer satisfaction quotient has gone way, way down.

That got me looking for other options.  I called colleagues for recommendations. I skowered the internet. I came up with a list. It included MyCase, CosmoLex, HoudiniEsq, Rocket Matter, Clio, Practice Panther, Perfect Practice, and Firm Central.  All of these are cloud based products, as compared to the AbacusLaw that I am currently running from my own server. Given that maintenance on the AbacusLaw that I have installed on my server would soon cost more than any of the above listed cloud products the time finally seems right to move my practice management to the cloud.

Next I started signing up for trial versions and demos (or at least trying to sign up, as I shall explain).

Clio is a program I have been following for years. I love the interface, and it has rules based calendaring which is a HUGE plus. Unfortunately the on line reviews I found were not encouraging: repeated price increases and abysmal customer and technical support. My call to the sales department did nothing to contradict those reviews. I contacted the sales department to do a little brain picking, and to find out if they have hosted demos, or if I could have a conversation with someone about the product.  I was told they don't do either, and that I should just sign up for the free trial and play around with it for a while. Scratch Clio from the list.

Firm Central is the product Thomson Reuters has released. From what I could see on the website it looked awesome. The reviews I found were also very flattering. I called TR sales. I was told that no questions could be answered overe the phone and that my dedicated sales rep would have to call me. I then asked how I could make that call happen. The telephone sales rep asked for my account information and then put me on hold. I am not kidding here, 5 minutes later he got back on the line, told me he could not figure out who my sales rep was and then suggested I call back later when they were less busy.  Wow! Being determined, I did call back. The second time the telephone sales person took down my number and said my sales rep would give me a call. A week later, still no call. Scratch Firm Central from the list.

CosmoLex, HoudiniEsq, and Perfect Practice all looked like great products, Each was a bit more complicated than I would like, and I just didn't comfortable as I was playing with them. Scratch them from the list.

That left me with live, sales department hosted demos of MyCase, Practice Panther, and Rocket Matter. Each of the demos was great. The sales reps working with me were all top notch. They knew their products, they wanted to help me, and they were each very enthusiastic.  I could have easily settled on any of the three products.

MyCase was my leading contender heading into the demos. I have many friends who swear by it. The company is a real moving and shaker in tech circles. I wanted it to be my winner. Two things eliminated MyCase. First it has also (like AbacusLaw) gone through the merger and acquisition cycle recently. The parent company has also gone public. That usually means dollars before customers while it finds and solidifies itself. I don't need that anxiety. Second the email integration components of the product were lacking. Given that probably 90% of my law firms communications are by email, that was the real deal breaker. Scratch MyCase from the list.

Practice Panther was the real surprise! It is an easy to use, graphically pleasing program that I really liked. I scratched it from the list because, unlike MyCase and Rocket Matter, it does not include document storage as part of its program.  Instead you have to integrate with box, and use it as your storage portal. Criticize me if you will, but I just don't like box. It does not play nice with me. I have repeatedly tried to make it work for me (including while testing Practice Panther) and it just has not worked. Plus I did not fancy the idea of paying for a box subscription in addition to the Practice Panther subscription. Scratch Practice Panther from the list. I will say this though, had it not been for the box issue Practice Panther likely would have been my winner.

That leaves us with Rocket Matter, and that is the company I signed up with.  How is it going? That is for future posts. Stayed tuned....

Please visit hardinglaw.com for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

#Harding&AssociatesFamilyLaw #californiafamilylaw #divorce #family law #superlawyers #americanacademyofmatrimoniallawyers #Pleasantondivorce #AlamedaCountyDivorce #ContraCostaCountyDivorce #lawyers

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My New iPad Pro

I was a HUGE early adopter and fintroduced iPad. It was a revolutionary product and I incorporated it into every facet of my practice. I even tried cases with nothing more than my iPad in hand. Then something inevitable happened: I turned 50 (or was it 49? 48?). Along with that maturation my 20/15 vision became something less than perfect. The age of the cheater reading glasses was upon me. The small screen and the small type of the iPad became a disability. My beloved iPad became an expensive paperweight, banished to the land of misfit tech gadgets, along with countless wired mice, old keyboards, bulky monitors, etc. The iWatch? Forget it! Never an option... My Mac Book Pro, with its 15" retina screen became my one and only mobile device. It never failed me. My Apple Love never waned. Still, I yearned for the days of the keyboard optional tablet with its light weight and thin profile. I needed a large format iPad, but it just didn't exist. I was encouraged when Sony introduced its Digital Paper viewer, but there never ever was a there there for the DP.

Then it happened. The folks at Apple gave the iPad a big dose of growth hormone. The iPad Pro was born! It was all me. Huge 13" retina screen. 128GB of memory. Lightweight. Thin. Holdable. Of course, given it was an Apple, very expensive. I waited a few months, but eventually did succumb to the seductive fruit. I put on my football pads and crashed head first into the frenzied mob at my local Apple store. After pressing more than a grand on to the AMEX I exited the madness with a shiny gray iPad Pro, keyboard, and pen. AWESOME!

The good old days are back. My IPP has re-relegated the yellow legal pads to the storage room. Case files are once again traveling with me in digital, rather than paper, form. Entire case files go to court with me, rather then a selection of most relevant docs in one or two binders. Was doing the same thing with my Mac Book Pro, but now in  less cumbersome, more efficient, faster and easier process that is the IPP.

I'm giving my IPP 5 Stars!

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