one of the three legal-specific techshows
held each year across the country. Not only
is the mix of presenters and attendees
diverse and dynamic, as the presentations
are, you will want to spend an entire day in
the exhibit hall where you can see demos
of software and talk to the vendors directly.
There are small firm tracks, corporate legal
department tracks, and court tracks, to
name a few.
At minimum, visit the websites for these
techshows. They typically provide a list of
vendors with descriptive information about
their software and services.
• ABA Techshow, Chicago,
Resources for Legal-Specific Software and Services
I highly recommend that, at least once in
the lifetime of your practice, you attend
The Well-Oiled Law Office Machine
As a busy practicing lawyer, what do you spend the most
time doing each day? You spend time reading, writing, in
court, in meetings, on the phone, checking your calendar,
and phone messages.
Imagine a day’s work in a law practice without email.
Yet when lawyers ask me about practice management software (PMS), they almost always neglect to ask, “How does
this PMS software help me handle my emails? Does it have an
email feature?” I can only guess that since they were already
using email software—like Outlook or Gmail—they assume
they already have an email software solution. They are
unaware that many PMS products can work together with
their email software to provide one of the best time- and cost-efficient features of PMS. Time Money, Email Features
Imagine opening an email and, as you read it, a timer tracks
the time you spend reading it. Then, when you close the
email, a prompt appears: “Do you wish to bill time for this
email?” You select Yes. Another prompt asks, “To which file
do you want to save this email?” You select the appropriate
client’s file and—voila!—you have saved the email with the
client’s file and simultaneously created a time entry record for
billing. This is just one benefit of a PMS working together
with your email.
How Does It Do That?
The email feature of one PMS
solution can be drastically differ-
ent from the email feature of
another. Many of the competi-
tive PMS products rely on Outlook to act as a “conduit” for
their email. That is, you have to have Outlook on your com-
puter. Whether your email account is MarthaLawyer@law-
firm.com or MarthaLawyer@Gmail.com, or any other email
service, so long as that email account is set up on Outlook,
the PMS can “view into” your Inbox, conceptually pulling
your email into the PMS, allowing you to save it, track time
on it, and save it with the client’s digital file.
Alternatively, some PMS work rather seamlessly from
your Outlook (allowing you to save emails back to your PMS
as you work in Outlook). At least one PMS product replaces
your need for Outlook or Google altogether, providing you
with your own email software built into the PMS. Other
PMS products do not provide an email feature at all.
Just remember: Next time you are shopping for a PMS
solution, ask if it has an email feature and, if so, how does it
work? Request a demo. You may be surprised to see what
you have been missing or, at minimum, what you may be
missing if the PMS solution you choose does not have the
email feature you thought you were getting.
An Overlooked Practice Management Software Feature
Practice Management Software with this feature Saves and
—Susan L. Traylor
Shopping for Legal-Specific Software & Services