The following is a list of the productivity software I use in my law practice:
Word 2010 by Microsoft
I make my living writing and producing words on paper. Microsoft Word 2010 is my bread and butter program. Word can do it all for those who invest the time to learn Word. I bought WordPerfect 2 in 1983. My license number was 50 something thousand. I became an expert and used WP through DOS version 5.2 until 1998 when the large law firm in which I was a partner switched from DOS to Word and from WP to Word. I spent the first month after we converted to Word in 1998 learning Word 97 and became a Word expert. After investing the time to learn Word I have never had a problem with Word. I know how to use it and how to avoid Word doing things that confound many novice users, including novice users who have been using Word daily for years. If your primary job involves writing and you use Word, you owe it to yourself to become a true Word expert rather than one who dabbles in Word and cannot understand why things happen or why you cannot get Word to do what you want it to do.
Timeslips 2012 by Sage Software
Timeslips is the best lawyer billing program I have ever owned. Timeslips is a critical program in my practice that enhances my productivity and ability to bill for my services. I bought my first law office billing program in 1984, Client Management System by Compulaw. It was a great DOS billing program. Over the years I owned and used Omega, TABS III, and Forob. The latter was a great DOS integrated billing, accounts payable, accounts receivable and general ledger program for which I paid $10,000 in the early 1990s. When I had my eight lawyer firm, we paid a billing clerk $40,000 a year with benefits to do the bills. Today, I use Timeslips alone without a billing clerk and save the money I used to spend for billing assistance. I run Timeslips constantly in the background and enter my time as I work each day. It takes me approximately three to four hours a month to review and edit hundreds of bills and print them in final. I use Timeslips to generate over 600 invoices. Because Timeslips makes a copy of every invoice, I do not retain hard copies of any invoice. If a client calls about an invoice, I can access the invoice in question and email a copy of the invoice in pdf format in a few seconds.
I have used Quickbooks for my law firm accounting and bookkeeping since 2001. It is the market leader in small firm bookkeeping software. My wife does all of the data entry. We have a bookkeeper make review her data entry and corrections if necessary once a month. After year end we just give our CPA the accountant’s file and it contains everything she needs to do our company’s federal and state income tax returns. It produces great reports. We pay a little extra for Quickbooks to do an automatic backup every day to Intuit’s cloud storage system. The automatic online back up saved us in early 2012 when my wife’s hard drive crashed and was unrecoverable. We lost 11 years worth of data on that machine, but all we did was install Quickbooks on a new computer and then restore the online backup and all eleven years of data reappeared as advertised.
Time Matters Version 2011 by LexisNexis
The perennial number one selling and top ranked law office contact management program. This program truly does it all, which is why some of its features have a high learning curve. I have used Time Matters since version 2.0 in 1998. Time Matters is a superior contact manager, calendar, to do list, tickler system, internet email manager, document management system and many other things. My Time Matters contains contact information for over 3,700 clients, referral sources, contacts, vendors and government agencies. I can find a name, phone number, mailing address and email address in a few seconds. Time Matters’ document management system is one reason I am a 100% paperless office. See my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Office” for a detailed explanation of how we became a paperless office. Time Matters allows me to save everything related to a client, matter or contact in one place. For example, if I access World Wide Widgets matter called “Newco vs. WWW,” I will find every document, internet email (incoming and outgoing), phone call (in and out), calendar event, to do list item and relevant website for the matter, including all such items created by other people. Time Matters gives me total client, matter and contact information in one central location. Can you instantly access a record of a phone call you had relating to a client a year ago or a contract signed by a client two years ago? I can because I use Time Matters.
We have Outlook installed on our server. It is the primary program everybody in my law firm uses to send and receive email. Some people also use it for their digital calendar. Our server based Outlook syncs with Time Matters. If we send or receive an email message in Outlook, we can click on an icon and add the email message to the appropriate contact or matter in Time Matters. Any calendar events added to Outlook or to the Time Matters calendar sync automatically with the other program. All email and calendar events also sync automatically with our iPhones and iPads. If I am out of the office I can check my calendar on my iPhone or iPad and make an appointment that will automatically sync with my Time Matters calendar.
Infusionsoft Customer Relations Management
Infusionsoft helps small businesses grow fast by automating their marketing, sales, and customer management. Infusionsoft centralizes, organizes and automates small business’ marketing, sales, and customer management, which results in better lead conversion, lower labor costs and greater lifetime customer value. I have been using Infusionsoft since the middle of October 2007, and can say that it is fabulous and its marketing potential is unlimited. The CRM lets me do automatic marketing to my propsects and clients.
For example, as part of my marketing plan to get more limited liability formation business I wrote an article called “10 Critical Facts Every LLC Owner Must Know.” I put a teaser link on my Arizona Limited Liability Law website. When people click on the link to obtain a copy of the article, they are asked to give their first and last name and email address. On entering that information, Infusionsoft automatically begins the following campaign:
A. Infusionsoft sends an email to the person and asks the person to click on a link to opt in to receive the 10 Critical Facts article.
B. When the person clicks on the link, Infusionsoft sends a second email to the person that contains a link to the 10 Critical Facts article that is on a password protected page on my LLC law website. The email is a sales message that gives the prospect reasons why he or she should hire me to form their LLC.
C. Over the next several months, Infusionsoft sends additional follow up email messages to the prospect that are intended to get the person to hire me to form their LLC.
This Infusionsoft assisted marketing system works for me because in 2011 I formed 522 limited liability companies.
Watch the Infusionsoft Demo Video
If you want to collect leads that come to your internet website and do automatic followup marketing and make more money, you owe it to yourself to watch the short Infusionsoft demo video. Important Concept: Getting traffic to your site is great, but if people visit and go away without your system getting the visitor’s email address at a minimum you are losing potential clients and revenue. Use Infusionsoft’s double opt in email marketing system to add more money to your bottom line.
See my review of this fabulous automatic marketing system called “Infusionsoft Review: The Cheapest & Best 24/7/365 Marketing Department.”
Acrobat by Adobe
Adobe Acrobat X Standard is must have program for all lawyers. I have a 100% paperless office because I scan all documents into Acrobat format (.pdf) using Acrobat. When you have Acrobat running on your computer, it adds a feature to Word that allows you to create .pdf files directly from Word documents, which is much faster and creates very small files. For example, by telling Word to print a 55 page Operating Agreement, Acrobat created the .pdf file in about 30 seconds and the file size was 253k.
I use Adobe Acrobat X Professional to create pdf fillable forms. I love this program. It is very easy to create pdf fillable forms once you take a little time to learn how it’s done. Acrobat Pro can convert a Word document into a pdf fillable form with fields automatically. It’s a piece of cake to then fine tune the fields and their properties to make the form exactly like you want it to be.
To learn more about how my law firm uses Acrobat read my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Law Office.”
Hot Docs is the best automatic document assembly software on the market. You or your Hot Docs programmer use HD to create templates with powerful programming features and logic to assemble finished documents in Word. All of the legal forms that I use frequently for my clients are assembled automatically using Hot Docs templates. I recommend that you hire an experienced professional HD programmer to create your templates and automate documents that you or your firm routinely create for internal use or for clients. Anybody who creates the same basic document over and over (for example, lawyers who prepare contracts, pleadings and other form type documents) should use Hot Docs to automate the process. Hot Docs is the reason my legal assistant and I were able to form almost 600 limited liability companies (and all related documents including an Operating Agreement) in 2012. I could not practice law and be as productive as I am without Hot Docs, my fabulous automated document assembly program. For Hot Docs template development, I recommend Bart Earle who programs my templates. Contact Bart at Capstone Practice Systems; phone 781-652-8419 or email Bart at email@example.com.
I was a beta tester and early adopter of Hot Docs Document Services. This is the cloud based version of Hot Docs. It is really really slick. See my quotes about this new service in an April 9, 2012, press release.
Wealthdocs by Wealthcounsel
Wealthdocs is the best estate planning software that money can buy. Wealthcounsel’s automatic document assembly software called Wealthdocs produces wills, trusts, LLCs, FLPs, and almost every ancillary document an estate planner could possibly want or use. Wealthdocs has a very high learning curve, which you would expect for an automated document assembly program that can produce anything from a simple will to extremely complex trusts and estate plans designed to save millions of dollars in federal and state estate taxes. It requires a lot of up front time to learn and use the software effectively. With its high learning curve and $10,000+ price tag, Wealthdocs is not for the technology challenged or technological faint of heart. I love Wealthdocs because it: (i) produces outstanding estate planning documents for my clients, and (ii) allows me to operate a very efficient and profitable estate planning practice.
Macro Express by Insight Software Solutions
I love this productivity program. I have used it for over ten years. Everybody in my law firm uses Macro Express because it saves all of us a tremendous amount of time. If you type the same things over and over you need this program because once you create a macro to insert that text at the point of your cursor you will never type the text again no matter what program (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, your browser, Gmail, etc.) you are using on your computer. To learn more about this fabulous software program more read my review of Macro Express. Click here to buy Macro Express for $39.95 per user.
A program that automatically backs up your important files to the cloud is a MUST HAVE PROGRAM! MozyPro is installed on your server or local computer and configured to automatically back up to the cloud your entire hard drive or files and folders that you select. You can encrypt backups for added security. These types of programs are very inexpensive when you consider the cost and nightmare you can have if your programs and/or data is destroyed on your server or local computer. It comes in handy if you accidentally delete a file or files and need to restore them.