Category Archives: Apple

ABA TechShow 2009 – Short and SaaSy

Were the ABA Damnit!

We're the ABA Damnit! We own you!

This was my 10th year at ABA Technology Show in Chicago. This year was particularly cool.  Here’s why:

Meeting The Heavies: To me, seeing people like Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighelle, Bob Ambrogi, Jim Calloway, Kevin O’Keefe, Brett Burney, Andy Atkins, Jay Foonberg (!) and the rest of my pretend blog friends … I mean pretend LinkedIn friends … is like reconnecting with long lost relatives. Exciting and a little intimidating. But all of them were really great and down to earth. Except that Kennedy. Such a prima donna. I kid, I kid.

Meeting Canadians: Who can forget meeting the Great Librarian of Upper Canada! Beat that. Then there was Phil of the Future (my name for him), Steve Matthews (nice guy), Brett Burney (I think he’s Canadian), Dominic Jaar (vive la Quebec libre!), the boys from Clio (or as I called them, the Booth Babes), and a host of other talent from the Great White North. It was great to meet you all: now go back where the ice doesn’t melt until July.

Technology Becoming Accepted: This year for the first time in memory I noticed a preponderance of grey hairs and the careful gait of partners scoping out potential buys for their offices.  This was not the brash, flash-in-the-pan TechShow of the late-90’s in which the Internet was decried as a fad.

SaaS, Saas, and more Saas: Software as a service was all over the place, and by next year it will be pervasive. This year I was knocked out by the number and variety of kick-ass SaaS providers at the show including Clio, RocketMatter, and VLO Tech. Clio was my hands-down favorite for a number of reasons – I intend to use it in my own practice. Whatever your cup of tea, the idea of throwing away the IT department in favor of the Cloud is gaining traction fast.

Less is … Less: One lamentable fact about this  year’s show – there was less of it than I’ve seen in a long time. Another casualty of the economy I’d say, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that many legal technology vendors have been slaves to profit instead of boosters for innovation and the slow economy is making it painfully apparent what a royal screw job they’ve been giving lawyers all these years. Many players couldn’t make it ? Good riddance to bad company.

Other than that however, it was a great experience as always and one that I heartily recommend to one and all. If you haven’t been to TechShow, go there. If you have, come back. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

For more coverage see my SmallLaw Column in TechnoLawyer.

Check out Twitter coverage of TechShow.

As always, I’d love your thoughts. E-mail me at mhedayat[at]mha-law.com or tweet me @practichacker.

ttyl 🙂

Clio Client Connect – collaboration gets serious

Clio ClientConnect

This weekend at LegalTech the makers of practice management suite Clio launched ClientConnect, a secure portal that will enable attorneys to share documents, collaborate, bill, and take payments in a secure evnironment on the web. And oh yes – it’s free to every Clio subscriber.

ClientConnect very nearly solves the universal problems that plague asynchronous multi-party communication. In other words, with ClientConnect there are no more e-mail roadblocks, mixed signals, or convoluted conversation-threads in the way of attorney-client communication. As a result lawyers can now make files of any kind, as well as time-sheets, notes, and case details available in seconds just by  recording them in Clio or uploading them to Clio’s super-fast collaboration-servers.

The highlights of ClientConnect include

  • document exchange and collaboration
  • clients can audit case activity anytime
  • case notes are now instantly available
  • clients can pay bills in seconds by PayPal

All told both clients and lawyers will benefit from the ability to collaborate in an open, secure, round-the-clock system that requires no software and has a virtual 0 learning curve. For those lawyers still on the fence, the advent of ClientConnect makes it hard to justify not trying Clio’s 30-day free trial.

Blackberry Storm – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

blackberry_storm_1006

The Blackberry iPhone .. I mean ‘Storm’

Love is a many splendored thing. How else could you explain the way cell-phone companies can say “I envy and desire you” with their eyes while throwing darts at pictures of the iPhone?

As proof, take the latest “iPhone killer” to emerge from RIM. Hot on the heels of the Googlephone,  the Blackberry Storm is Research in Motion‘s  strike at Cupertino, California-based Apple and a sleek little number at that. Of course Crackberry fans have been ablaze with desire and this feature in Time Magazine did nothing to quench their gadget-lust.

Not that it’s a bad looking phone: on the contrary, it is sleek and boasts some innovative features (the ‘clickable screen’ is very cool for openers, and there are others). Then there is RIM’s ability to deliver the goods, which is legendary. Whether you use ‘push’ e-mail of the Microsoft Exchange variety or pop3 such as Hotmail, Gmail, etc., Blackberry will most likely get it to you faster than any other device, and sends replies without missing a beat thanks to RIM’s proprietary network. Even as a hard-core iPhone fan I must admit that the AT&T network is no substitute for Blackberry’s flawless delivery system.

So shine on you crazy diamond. Although we suspect that rumors of the iPhone’s demise are greatly exaggerated, the Storm is still a damn cool phone.

Share this post :

Clio is here and it rocks!

Practice Management Simplified

Practice Management Simplified

October 1 marks the launch of Clio, the ambitious web-based law practice management suite featuring

  • calendars
  • task-lists
  • trust accounting
  • agendas
  • online documents
  • and more

I’ve seen this system first hand and, yes, it kicks ass. Here are some of the innovative highlights (and if this isn’t a sign that law practice is moving to the web, I don’t know what is).

What is Clio?

  • A state of the art web-based practice suite engineered from the ground-up for sole practitioners, small firms, and often-overlooked Mac-users.
  • The first true software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering for lawyers that isn’t just a watered down, feature-poor substitute for a desktop.
  • So intuitive you’ll know how to use its familiar tools to communicate, draft, research, and bill in just a few minutes.
  • Very possibly a lawyer’s best friend.

The best part is you don’t have to hire a teenager to learn how to use Clio, take a course, or learn how to do things Clio’s way.  Instead Clio learns from you as you use it; what you like, where you like it, etc. Isn’t that refreshing?

Security, Security, Security
Security features drive the development of Clio; the team behind the product knows security is the #1 concern of their customers and its members take a proactive approach including

  • Lock It In The Vault: Clio uses bank-grade 256-bit encryption, backs up all of your data to secure, offsite locations every day, and uses random, non-invasive 3rd party audits to ensure data integrity without compromising client confidentiality.
  • The Driver’s Seat: Once your precious information is in the system you are in full control at all times of who sees it, and can work with it. Restrict access to files, contacts, notes, documents, even billing entries, at the click of a mouse using rights-managed security protocols built right into the system.
  • Take It With You: Lawyers live through their documents and information. Clio makes it ridiculously easy to get information into the system and just as easy to take it out.

According to Jack Newton, President of Themis Solutions, makers of Clio

Lawyers considering web-based solutions are rightly concerned about security, so we built a system with security is second to none. The real question for us though, is why so many clients think that they have to compromise their work experience in the name of that security. Clio is so fast and easy to use that users forget they are on a web-based system and focus on practicing law. That was our goal all along.

Features

  • Matter/Case Management: Organize and manage case, matter, and client information
  • Time and Expense Tracking:  Track time and expenses by client, matter, or task
  • Billing and Reporting: Generate custom invoices and send billing reminders
  • Document Management: Securely store and access documents (built-in versioning and check-out)
  • Trust Accounting: up to the minute transaction records
  • Client and Contact Management: a full contact management/CRM system
  • Scheduling: calendaring and reminder system – appointments be exported to other applications
  • Real Time Metrics: Track current, expected, and target billing figures by week/month/year

Pricing
At $49/month for lawyers and $25/month for staff, including unlimited technical support, maintenance, and upgrades, Clio is price competitive vis-a-vis other online office suites

My overall feeling about Clio  🙂

iPhone v. Android v. The World


In the 1999 geek classic, “Pirates of Silicon Valley”, an Apple employee watching the famous “1984” commercial with Steve Jobs points to the Big Brother character — intended to represent IBM — and then points to Bill Gates of Microsoft, whom Jobs has just introduced as part of Apple’s family. The silent message is that the real threat to Apple is Microsoft, not IBM, and indeed the following scene depicts Jobs confronting Gates after Jobs sees Windows 1.0 running on an NEC PC.

That scene, set in 1983, could be easily recreated 25 years later, substituting the iPhone for the Macintosh, Microsoft for IBM as the iPhone’s perceived threat, and Google for Microsoft as the iPhone’s more serious threat. Like Microsoft in 1983, Google is a key Apple partner in 2008. The iPhone features Google Maps, GMail and Google as its default Web search engine, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt even sits on Apple’s board of directors. And also like Microsoft in 1983, Google is working fervently to create a wide range of competitors to Apple’s iPhone. None of these may ever match the integrated experience of Apple’s iPhone, but it’s clear that the first Android phone has come closer to the iPhone experience than Windows 1.0 did to the original Macintosh operating system. Nevertheless, Google’s task is a lot more daunting than Microsoft’s was for several reasons. [read the rest of the story]

Related: See coverage of iPhone v. Android on Read/Write/Web

the inevitable post about Google’s new browser

Chrome .. because Google owns you

.. because we own you ..

You may have heard last week that the military-industrial-googleplex took its first step towards domination of the Internet browser market. Its answer to Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and the rest of the field? Chrome. Watch the fateful announcement below or download the product here to try it.

A sample of last week’s commentary (ironically, taken from Google itself) demonstrates that the response from the Interneterati was lukewarm, but having tried the product I’d say Chrome lives up to some of its promises. It’s fast loading, has a number of conveniences built in, and it incorporates Google’s search functionality. That said, there is much it doesn’t do. It lacks the extensions and themes of Firefox, the security features of IE, or cutting-edge cool of Apple’s Safari. Finally, as you might expect Chrome suffers from ‘newbie syndrome’ — most of the third-party goodies I use aren’t ready for Chrome.

Still .. it’s nice to have another choice in browsers, and more competition is never a bad thing. So I’ll be using Chrome as often as I can to collaborate, do research, and run online office applications, all the while hoping that it becomes a viable alternative to what’s already available.

Your thoughts on Chrome? E-mail me at mhedayat[at]mha-law.com and let me know.

from pc to iphone in 1 weekend

By Alex Iskold / July 14, 2008 for read/write/web

When Apple first announced the launch of its iPhone platform, we wrote here that it is a game changer. Even the core of iPhone is a major advance in mobile computing, but with the platform iPhone becomes the new personal computer. The desktop from now on will be for professional and business work. Laptops aren’t going away, but will get increasingly less personal use. The reason is that iPhone with its application platform is a better personal computer and it’s widely accessible.  [link to read/write/web for the rest of the story].