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In the past, case management tools focused on the three “C”s: calendaring, case information tracking and conflict searching. But today, the boundaries are blurred, and case management software options are evolving into true knowledge management-like tools. Today, smaller firms have more potent case management choices than ever before. Typically, they offer document management and assembly; remote access for branch office and mobile/home user support; cross-data searching; billing and accounting systems; and even e-mail. They track a broad range of information in litigation and transactional matters, as well as administrative, practice development and marketing data. Here’s just a sampling of products. � Amicus Attorney 5, Gavel & Gown Software, www.amicusattorney.com. Amicus exploits its familiar graphical interface, leveraging common law office management metaphors such as the daybook, the red rope file and the shelf of law books. With innovations such as AAI calendaring � anytime anywhere intelligence � case status data and other information can be accessed from e-mail enabled devices. The “ComCenter” consolidates inbound and outbound communications � including e-mail, phone messages and faxes � and Amicus Assembly leverages the Ghostfill document assembly system. � PracticeMaster 10, Software Technology Inc., www.stilegal.com. PracticeMaster 10, combined with STI’s TABS III billing/accounting tools, works as a single law office management system with tight, real-time integration of billing and accounting data to all the other data tracked by the law practice. News note: STI and CompuLaw recently inked a deal to incorporate CompuLaw’s docketing rule sets into Practice-Master. This single-source approach, also championed by ProLaw, has been an STI virtue for nearly two years. � ProLaw Ready, ProLaw Software/Thomson West, www.prolaw.com. The latest effort from the company that coined the “Front Office, Back Office, One Office” concept, ProLaw Ready incorporates Web-based training and support, and offers many features common to its larger-firm focused big brother application. It includes record management functions � a relatively new concept in small firm case management technology. And Legalex docketing rules are included. � Time Matters 4, Data.TXT Inc., www.timematters.com. Time Matters continues to push the case management envelope with document and e-mail management capability. A Web interface with its “World Edition” can also be added to an existing TimeMatters software via the addition of a preloaded Toshiba Magnia SG20 server. It also offers new 3G high-speed cell phone remote Web accessibility. An “Enterprise Edition,” targeted to smaller firms, leverages the power of the free MSDE edition of Microsoft SQL Server (for up to 25 users). But the biggest news is the recent introduction of Billing Matters, a fully integrated legal billing application. OTHER APPLICATIONS Numerous options exist for small firms, and space prohibits a thorough discussion of each. But here are some others to consider. � AbacusLaw, Abacus Software www.abacusdata.com. It continues to improve and bulk up, adding e-mail capabilities and court rules for its docketing functions for all 50 states. � PerfectLaw, PerfectLaw Software, www.perfectlaw.com. Another all-in-one practice management approach, it integrates billing, accounting and comprehensive case management functions in one SQL database-driven application. � LegalFiles, LegalFiles Inc., www.legalfiles.com. It integrates with a number of popular legal billing systems. Its new Web accessibility and “MyLegalFiles” secures Internet access to individual cases or files, opening outside access to clients. Other notable participants in the market that clearly merit consideration include: � LegalEdge, www.legaledge.com; � Needles, www.needleslaw.com; � Client Profiles, www.clientprofiles.com; � RealLegal PracticeManager www.reallegal.com; and � LawBase, www.lawbase.com. THE BOTTOM LINE Today, case management systems have evolved into knowledge tracking, knowledge searching and knowledge management powerhouses. Lawyers in small, midsize and large law firms are seriously remiss if they don’t install these systems to drive their practices forward. The author is president of MicroLaw Inc., a Milwaukee-based legal technology consulting firm.

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