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Hummingbird Ltd. stunned the corporate legal market earlier this year with the announcement that it was discontinuing LawPack, its case management software. Hummingbird’s departure removes a major player from a significant market segment — about 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Hummingbird products to manage and search their corporate data. Now, corporate law departments are reviewing their options. Today’s corporate law departments are looking for a “knowledge management” environment. They want a centralized management system that includes the “big six:” financial, document, matter, legal research, litigation and contact/client relationship. If forced to change a major management system, it makes sense to choose a company that either has those types of systems or integrates with other management systems. How can you choose the product best for you? Three tips: Keep reading legal technology publications; attend trade shows; and network with your peers. Get hands-on demos by attending a LegalTech conference, the ABA Techshow, the Association of Legal Administrators’ annual convention, or your local or state bar association’s next technology meeting. Don’t be afraid to look outside your company for help. You may want to hire an independent legal technology consultant. There are many “neutrals” who do not sell software and have no affiliations with vendors. Finally, take your time. It may be the most important technology decision you face in the next decade. Numerous vendors are positioning themselves as the “next step” for law departments. We turned to Law Technology News‘ cadre of legal technologists to help create this roundup of some of the available choices. – Tom O’Connor & Andrew Adkins III THE REPLACEMENT TEAMS Bridgeway Software Inc. Bellaire, Texas www.bridge-way.com Bridgeway Software Inc.’s eCounsel offers a wide array of matter data tracking features, and a high degree of interoperability. Bridgeway reports that it has 51 current clients (28 with more than 30 attorneys). The eCounsel software works as both a client/server application and a native Web application. The client/server application is geared toward more advanced or “power” users, with tools for generating detailed matter reports, modifying existing reports, manipulating interface screens and managing user roles and privileges. The Web interface is designed for the everyday user, with extensive reporting features and data entry screens. The power of eCounsel stems from its data manipulation abilities. Bridgeway’s application lets users view their legal commitments, past and present, from every angle imaginable: by business units, matter types, billing attorney, attorney specialty, matter budget and more. ECounsel also helps users choose the “right” (most efficient, most successful, most experienced) outside attorney or firm for each matter. Similarly, the software helps managers evaluate situations where relationships aren’t working out before case budgets are spent. The software includes 35 pre-built data reports. With the report building tools, which simulate Microsoft Access, counsel can create custom data views. – Per Casey, president of Tenrec Inc. Computer Law Systems Inc. Eden Prairie, Minn. www.clssummit.com CLS has been providing software and services for more than 40 years. CLS/Summit leverages the Microsoft-centric technology, offering an integrated “front office/back office” legal software suite that openly integrates with other leading software applications, including iManage, CompuLaw, and Microsoft OutLook/Exchange. The CLS/Summit Suite combines four major management tools of an integrated legal enterprise: case/matter, financial, time and contacts. CLS/Summit also integrates with a variety of productivity tools and third-party applications. Providing “anytime, anywhere” access to your “professional legal desktop” via PDAs, Web browsers, and PCs, the software is designed to improve productivity, control costs, and increase efficiencies. Computer Law Systems reports more than 600 installations (including many law departments). A number of installations include software and services for both the law department and outside counsel, an interesting fact because CLS serves both markets. – Andrew Adkins III, director of the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law and a member of the Law Technology News Editorial Advisory Board. Corporate Legal Solutions Inc. Lewisville, Texas www.caseandpoint.com Designed specifically for corporate legal departments, the Case & Point software handles all types of legal matters, not just litigation. Corporate Legal Solutions has been in business since 1988. Case & Point tracks, manages and analyzes matters, outside counsel, invoices/billings, budgets, docket/calendar items, legal documents, status reports and more. The software is designed to help in-house legal department staff gain control over managing matters and expenses, saving time and money, increasing productivity and gaining efficiency. In addition, reports can be generated in minutes, it advises. – Andrew Adkins III Corprasoft Inc. Dallas www.corprasoft.com In 1998 Corprasoft introduced Corprasoft Legal Desktop system for large law departments. It is a Web-based/browser-based system, (as opposed to Web-enabled client-server systems). Now in version 5.5, it is running in about 25 law departments, with users ranging from about 25 to 875 per site.) Corprasoft Legal Desktop runs on both Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. It includes a powerful report writer, and its own integrated document management, document assembly, and records management functions. It integrates with major document management products, and major e-billing service providers. The Corprasoft Legal Desktop system’s best features are its ease of use (clean interface, logical navigation, general good design) and its depth and power in the financial area (flexibility in account structures, budgeting, invoice management, cost accounting and tracking, cost allocation and charge back, financial analysis and reporting). Features that make it suitable for large departments with complex needs include: handling of both multicompany and multisubsidiary accounting (important for international departments and for organizations which frequently acquire businesses or reorganize themselves); thorough handling of matter allocation across corporate departments; and, being a pure Web product, it is easy to access the system from anywhere. – Eric Steele, principal with Steele Scharbach Associates, and Joe Bookman, president of Ozmosys Inc. Data.txt Corp./Lexis Nexis Cary, N.C. www.timematters.com A more recent addition to this field is the LexisNexis version of Time Matters. In addition to fully integrated legal research, it features SQL database technology, synchronization with Microsoft Outlook (including mapping of fields between the matter management fields and Outlook fields) and a multiplatform capability that make it easy to integrate into a corporate legal department. When dealing with outside counsel, customization down to the field level allows the corporate attorneys to restrict access to certain fields within a data form, protecting sensitive or confidential information. In addition, the integration and security features of Time Matters can be used to provide outside counsel remote access to individual matters. For law departments that use Lexis Nexis services, this edition integrates with those research services. Users can perform legal research through Time Matters, saving a record of all research, the company explains. Users can search for related previous research, and collaborate with other staff. A LEXLink tools helps users scan documents for “legitimate citations” and create hyperlinks to the full text with the Lexis.com system, says the company. Cites also can display a “Shepardized” hyperlink, it says. – Tom O’Connor, director of education and training at Pacific Litigation Services, Inc., and contributing editor to Law Technology News. Economic Analysis Group Ltd. Washington, D.C. www.case-track.com CaseTrack is a matter management system designed specifically for corporate legal departments. It offers fee tracking functions; easy searches; intelligently designed reports; and provides direct, immediate access to the information needed to manage their matters on a day to day basis, the company advises. Users can review basic information about each matter, track legal fees by matter and law firm, monitor costs against budget, and keep a running chronology of case status and progress. CaseTrack includes a core group of organized screen displays, with “drill down” capabilities, allowing for easy and intuitive navigation between modules. The data structure is highly “normalized” and makes extensive use of triggers and stored procedures. The rigorous design, combined with CaseTrack’s searching and reporting features, makes it easy for users to find, review and print information in the database, the company says. – Andrew Adkins III Elite Information Systems Inc. Los Angeles www.lawmanager.com Law Manager has been acquired by — and now is a subsidiary of — Elite Information Systems Inc., the L.A.-based time-and-billing vendor. Elite is a rare example of a technology company maintaining its stock price in a terrible market. For companies worried about the financial stability of their vendor, Elite’s record of financial success should ease those concerns. Law Manager has been providing software for large legal departments for more than 12 years. Two current releases offer powerful and flexible matter management: LawManager.Pro (for Windows) and LawManager.Net (for browsers). Elite has extensive experience implementing large-scale law department software and the 50 clients using the most recent product releases all have more than 30 attorneys. The software comes with an extensive tool kit to help system administrators customize screens and build their own small applications within Law Manager. About half of the clients are using the tool kit, even a year after initial implementation. The tool kit can be used to format screens for a new practice area or add new fields to reflect business changes. Eleven Law Manager clients currently bill electronically, Elite reports. Law firms can use the services of a legal e-billing provider — such as DataCert Inc. or Tripoint Systems Development Corp. — or they can use Law Manager’s “Submission Wizard.” Other features that make this product suitable for large departments with complex needs include its “n-tier” architecture for flexibility and integration with the major document management and assembly products, as well as records management software, e-mail and calendaring. – Joe Bookman LawTrac Development Corp. Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. www.lawtrac.com Lawtrac Development Corp. specializes in technology for in-house legal departments and their outside counsel. Lawtrac offers several different packages: 1. Productivity Package: Lawtrac for Windows for each member of the department; integrated file management for administrators; and matter management for attorneys. 2. Expense Management Package: Lawtrac for Windows. For administrators, tools to track outside counsel expenses. For attorneys, expense management through budgeting of outside counsel. For general counsel, Expense management and decision support. 3. Management Reporting Package: Customizable and standard reports and graphs from Lawtrac’s extensive library. 4. Electronic Commerce Package: Lawtrac link for law department invoice processing; link for law firm budget and matter management. 5. Implementation Package: Design of your information database; initial and advanced user training; and return on investment review. – Andrew Adkins III LegalEdge Software Wayne, Pa. www.legaledge.com The Legal Edge Corporate Suite, from LegalEdge Software, offers platform flexibility, either as a full 32-bit client-server application, or Web-based system designed around Microsoft’s .NET platform. It is scalable, suitable for legal departments of all sizes and configurations. The software can be customized to fit the unique requirements of any corporate legal division. It offers rich features, complete with what are quickly becoming the ‘gotta have’ case management tools and ‘tie-ins.’ It is intuitively easy-to-use, requiring a minimal investment in training and support overhead. Behind the LegalEdge client (software or Web interface), is a server that is compatible with Microsoft Access and SQL Server, as well as Oracle and Sybase. If you opt for the new .NET (Web) version, then you will need IIS Server as the Web server, SQL Server or Oracle as the database server, and Microsoft Web Services as the application server. LegalEdge Corporate Suite comes with a handsome set of standard features that include: case and contact management, document automation and tracking, docket and calendaring, message integration, time tracking and more than 100 reports and queries. And the assortment and quality of the reports is first rate. – Wayne E. Smith, manager of information systems at Chester, Willcox & Saxbe. Legal Files Software, Inc. Springfield, Ill. www.legalfiles.com Legal Files case management groupware combines advanced groupware and case management features into a practice management system, the company reports. It stores an unlimited amount of information for an unlimited number of matters and walks users through case development in all practice areas. The software is customizable, with users determining the look and language that is meaningful to their office. Users decide how to organize workflow through every stage of case management and office administration. It offers integrated groupware with a link to Internet e-mail, the company reports. Legal Files’ case and office management software includes timekeeping, litigation support and document management and document assembly features. It also offers integrated calendars, ticklers, contact management and reporting. – Andrew Adkins III Mitratech Inc. Los Angeles www.mitratech.com TeamConnect Mitratech’s TeamConnect is its case/matter management system. It is platform and hardware independent, and therefore compatible with current architecture, thus reducing the cost of investment. It includes centralized matter management, integrated document management, centralized contact management, a graphical calendar, invoice processing, budgeting, and report writing. A financial manger generates a proposed budget for each matter and task, by analyzing what previous undertakings have run. The document management feature creates an online library of all work product, and the software automatically links documents to events, contacts, parties, staff, matter, offices, etc. The task manager determines who is available and can automatically assign staff (including outside counsel and vendors) to tasks, according to business and jurisdictional rules established by the company. Because it is Web-based it can be accessed from any Intranet/Internet connection without additional software. This greatly reduces the cost and time of installation. – Catherine Pennington Paunov, a legal technology consultant. ProLaw Software (West Group) Albuquerque, N.M. www.prolaw.com ProLaw Software offers an integrated “front office/back office” concept. The front office component includes an excellent contact and matter management system, with an adequate document management system. The document management component will not compete with iManage or Docs Open, but it is better than no document management at all. (The components integrate with both.) The front office sports a very good docketing system that is tightly integrated with the matter management feature, allowing jurisdiction-specific court rules to be applied to your matters. This lays the foundation for some sophisticated workflow possibilities. The back office components — time accounting and billing — also are tightly integrated, so contact information entered in the front office pieces is usable directly for billing purposes. This eliminates any redundant data entry problem. The time accounting and billing side should meet the needs of most small to many mid-size companies, but larger organizations may find it lacking in its financial management capabilities and opt to go with one of the higher end billing systems, such as Elite or CMS. A ProLaw strength is the degree to which it can be customized. For instance, matters of a particular type can have additional “tabs” added within matter management. Clicking on the new tab can expose a complete collection of fields of information that the firm wishes to track on that particular type of matter. – Loren Jones, a member of the Law Technology News Editorial Advisory Board, is a legal technology consultant. He previously worked for West Group on the WestWorks and ProLaw projects. Synaptec Software Denver www.lawbase.com LawBase currently in version 10.5, LawBase has a customer base of more than 250 — about 20 percent corporate law departments. LawBase runs on most flavors of Microsoft database engines, but not Oracle. LawBase integrates with any MAPI e-mail system, IBM’s Lotus Notes, Novell Inc.’s Groupwise, Microsoft Outlook, with the major document management and automation systems. LawBase ships with Lexis Nexis’ HotDocs, which is bi-directionally integrated with LawBase. One of LawBase’s strengths is its high level of integration with other products. The software is open and flexible and the vendor is ready and willing to tackle custom unique integration issues. LawBase can be easily configured and customized. It ships with a database design tool that can be mastered in a day. The latest version of LawBase adds a “query by example” feature called “Query Wizard” that allows users to perform complex queries to pull useful data out of the database — without knowing how to write SQL code or how to analyze the “joins” and “one-to-many” relationships that make relational databases so inscrutable. Most SQL-compatible report writers can be used with LawBase to create and run ad hoc or standardized reports against the data. –Eric Steele

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