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A couple of weeks ago we got a note from the folks at elite.com, reminding us that our free ride for the Web-based TimeSolv time and billing software was over. We signed up for the service when it began, going on the “pay as you earn” basis of a dollar or two for every statement that was created through the service, with no charge at all for storing time and expensive information. We use other means to collect time and get out statements so, other than a couple of test invoices, we hadn’t paid much for the service, but signed on, every once in a while, to see what elite.com was doing. (For those who aren’t familiar with it, elite.com is a Web-based time and billing system created by the Elite Information Group that sells the well-known large firm Elite time and billing software.) Elite.com did it properly, of course, first telling us a year ago that they were no longer accepting new requests for our type of service, and would be eliminating the “pay as you earn” billing option as of September 1, 2001. Henceforth, users of the company’s TimeSolv would pay $10 per timekeeper per month, or $100 per timekeeper on an annual basis. (Elite.com also sells a Web-based project management package at $20/$200 and a combined, and coordinated, TimeSolv/WorkSolv package at $25/$250. We haven’t spent a lot of time looking at WorkSolv, but it doesn’t seem to be a program that is designed for lawyers.) WIRELESS TIMESOLV It had been a while since we worked with TimeSolv, so we decided to go back and take another look. The RIM Blackberry application that had been offered has been withdrawn, but the Palm Web Clipping Application is still available and usable. We installed the Palm application on our Palm VIIx using the Palm desktop install procedure. Wireless TimeSolv was ready to go. We entered our TimeSolv user name and password, and hit the Login button. The program automatically signed on to the elite.com Web site and downloaded the client/matter pairs marked as active on the elite.com Web site. We could then select a client/matter pair and view time or expense previously recorded today or within the last seven or 30 days for a particular client/matter pair, whether entered through the Palm or the standard elite.com interface. More important, we could add time or expense, including description of work done, to a client/matter. Shortly thereafter, the uploaded information was available from the Web site using the standard elite.com interface. The TimeSlov Palm interface does exactly what it purports to do, at no cost other than payments to your wireless ISP (Internet Service Provider) for data transmission fees. This doesn’t mean, however, that we’re particularly pleased with the result. The user has no way to restrict the client/matters that will be downloaded, other than to restrict what he can see through the standard elite.com interface. The user can’t narrow the client/matter pairs that will be available for Palm input but can see all of his client/matter pairs through the standard interface. Further, it is always irritating to be required to re-enter user name and password each time we open the Web Clipping Application. (After a couple of sessions with the WCA, we returned to the elite.com Web site and shortened both name and password.) We understand and applaud the security reasons for this, but we’d opt for less security and greater ease of use. Also, we’d like to be able to see all of the time entered today, to whichever client/matter, and would forgo seeing the last 30 days of entries with respect to any one pair. Although the idea of a Palm WCA is nice, we almost think that it might be easier for a TimeSolv user, or a user of any time collection application, Web enabled or not, to send himself (or his secretary) an e-mail listing the time or expense entry details, and enter the information into the system once returned to the office. It is low-tech, comparatively, but is the high-tech stuff really needed in this particular application? (Of course, an attorney might also record the time-entry information with ink and pen in a paper-based pocket diary, but that would take readable handwriting.) If you have a wireless Palm you should certainly try the WCA. But we wouldn’t recommend buying one, just for TimeSlov connectivity. We’re told that the elite.com site and TimeSolv will be upgraded in the near future; we consider TimeSolv to be a work in progress, and will report on the upgrades when they are available. HAPPY BIRTHDAY IBM PC We celebrate, this month, the 20th anniversary of the IBM PC, not the first personal computer — companies like Commodore, Tandy, Apple, Atari and, depending on the meaning of “personal”, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC), each produced their first versions years earlier — but IBM was the maker of big business computers that legitimized the concept of a standard, unconnected desktop machine for serious business use. The legal profession was, of course, slow to adopt these machines although individual lawyers saw early the value of using such a machine for such functions as word processing, timekeeping and, with the late ’70s introduction of the VisiCalc electronic spreadsheet, numeric analysis for practitioners involved in areas such as estate planning, real estate, taxes, corporate planning and transactions. (Large law offices had long used more traditional back office computers for accounting functions and Wang and IBM word processing systems were not uncommon.) By the mid ’90s, if not earlier, the Intel-based PC running some version of Microsoft Windows, used or not, was on almost every lawyer’s desk and, in all but the smallest firm, likely networked with other computers in the office. But connecting to the Internet, or the quickly developing World Wide Web overlay to the Internet, was still a new experience for most lawyers. Today, it appears that almost every lawyer has some sort of Internet connection and, we suspect, that connection is being used regularly. We use the Internet and Internet e-mail a lot, and find it difficult to think of practicing law without it. The typical day begins skimming three national and two local newspapers; we mark articles of particular interest to be e-mailed, so we can read when we have more time. A variety of Web sites send daily reports of legal and political news, appellate opinions issued, and even the latest triumphs and disasters of our favorite baseball team. (If we have need of news on some particular company or problem, a Lexis, Westlaw or LoisLaw “clipping” service can provide custom e-mail.) Law firms need no longer maintain extensive libraries of government forms, as most of them are available for download; often, the forms are available in a format that may be filled out online, ready to be printed. (We do have form files for forms that are not available through the Web, but we keep the scan of such forms the first time we need them, and keep the form archive on the computer.) We won’t even mention attorney/client and attorney/attorney e-mail, more traditional Computer Assisted Legal Research, Continuing Legal Education and similar activities. We’re interested in how our readers are using the World Wide Web. If you have some particular favorite Web site or Web-based application that you depend on, drop a note to [email protected]. SUCH A DEAL! One of the things we receive in our daily Internet e-mail are lots of offers of exciting opportunities to acquire goods and services at fantastic discounts; we trash approximately 99 percent of such messages without thinking about them. Occasionally there are law related “opportunities” which may be of interest to our readers, and we’ve decided to begin passing these things along. We’ll begin with an offer of a free week of Shepard Citation service, for lawyers who are don’t currently subscribed to Lexis. The last day for applying is August 31, 2001. Fill out the application form at www.lexisnexis.com/shepards/sampler. We note that the application page speaks of only a three-day free period. If you try it, please let us know what you get. SUMMARY The TimeSolv Web Clipping Application works well to provide time and expense entry capability to users of the wireless Palms, but a lower tech solution might work almost as well. DETAILS TimeSolv.Palm Web Clipping Application. No cost. Requires Palm with wireless capability. TimeSolv Price: from $9.95 per month ($99.95 per year) per user, with quantity discounts over 20 years. Requires connection to World Wide Web. Elite.com, 5100 West Goldleaf Circle, Los Angeles, CA 90056 Phone: (800) 354- 8337 or (323) 642-5200. Fax: (323) 642-5400. Web: www.elite.com.

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