On October 15, LexisNexis announced and launched Juris 3.0. Juris 3.0 is the latest generation of LexisNexis’ billing, accounting, and financial management software for law firms.

 

Juris’s three major updates are:

  • An integration with ClientPay for online payment acceptance to streamline credit card and e payment processing better.
  • An improved reporting module that provides firm leaders real-time view of billing and payment information.
  • Upgrades to the email template to improve email billing workflows.

 

Usually, I don’t get too excited about back-office software and platforms for law firms since I focus more on the practice of law. But I thought the announcement was particularly interesting given the results of the Clio 2020 Legal Trends Report released last week. (Clio provides cloud practice management programs mainly to small and mid-size law firms). Every year, Clio surveys the legal marketplace and prepares its Legal Trends Report.

 

The 2020 Report identifies three common characteristics of firms that have done better financially during the pandemic:

 

  • The firms adopted online billing and payment mechanisms.
  • The firms utilized client portals for communicating with and providing information.
  • The firms used client intake and CRM to communicate better and inform potential clients before they signed on.

 

The Juris 3.0 platform provides the opportunity for the enhancement of  at least one characteristic—online payment—directly and probably indirectly advances  the other two.

 

I talked this week to Scott Wallingford, Vice President and General Manager of LexisNexis Software, and Scott Winter, Director of Product Management at LexisNexis about Juris 3.0 and the advantages of online and credit card payments for legal services. We all agreed that it makes sense why  the acceptance by law firms of online and credit card payment is such a win-win for clients and law firms.

 

The client gets ease of payment. Let’s face it, most of us don’t like paying bills. For me, the bills that get paid first are the ones from the businesses that allow me to easily pay online with a credit card. The ones I put off paying are generally the ones that demand a mailed check. Gotta find the checkbook. Gotta find and address an envelope. Gotta find a stamp. And while some of these functions are automated in some businesses, ease of payment is essential.

 

For law firms, getting paid sooner is always better. So using processes that allow clients to pay with the least amount of friction means revenue in the door and lower accounts receivable. For cash-based businesses like most law firms,  AR can be an albatross around the firm’s neck. And let’s face, the time value of money is a real and calculatable value.

 

Juris 3.0 also automates the billing and collection process. Bill prepared, bill automatically send to client. Client pays with a couple of clicks.

 

The new software also lets law firms easily keep track of and view AR by matter and billing lawyer, so it’s easy to see who is behind and by how much. Another significant feature: it allows for the creation of rules that would apply a client’s billing guidelines to the bill before it’s send. I saw too many lawyers ignore Guidelines and send invoices out. The result was write-offs and friction with the client. But it’s easy to see how this happens since different client  can have vastly different billing rules that are hard to keep track of manually. But automating this function leads to improved collections and relations with a minimum investment of time.

 

One feature Juris 3.0 lends itself to is a determination of which clients are good ones and the type a firm wants. And which ones are not. By keeping track of AR and assigning a time value to the unpaid bills, a firm could better see what a client’s true worth to the firm is. Combining this with things like write-offs, hourly rates, discounts, etc. would enable a firm to score a client and compare it to others. Some clients may produce what appears to be significant revenues but, in reality, are of comparatively low value to the firm. This comparative score could then be used to make resource and marketing decisions. It could also be used to deal with recalcitrant originating partners. The one who adamantly defends working for clients that do little more than produce low value revenue.

 

To their credit, Scott and Scott agreed and thought that Juris 3.0 might provide just this sort of analysis with some tweaking. It’s always great when legal tech guys and their companies not only talk but also listen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Like most of you, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the virtual, Zoom world these days. We have hearings, do depositions, have meetings, and mediations all online. It saves time and money and, of course, is the only real option these days.

 

I’m continually amazed at how little attention people pay to their sound and appearance in online venues.

 

But for all the time we all spend online, I’m continually amazed at how little attention people pay to their sound and appearance in online venues. Most litigators wouldn’t think of going to court without a coat and tie yet forget the importance of considering their appearance in a Zoom hearing or meeting. I get the feeling that a lot of us don’t even bother checking how they look and sound in advance.

 

One of the easiest ways to improve your appearance is to pay attention to lighting. Far too often, the lighting people rely on is simply atrocious—I see too many people still with lights or a window directly behind them, so all you see is their silhouette. Or the room is too dark or too light. Before you go online, turn your camera on yourself and see how you look.

 

It doesn’t cost much to improve the lighting. Jeff Richardson who publishes the blog iphoneJD recently recommended the Lampat LED desk lamp that is relatively inexpensive to provide adequate lighting. I have two of them.

 

People often sit either too close or too far away from whatever camera or microphone they are relying on. If you sit too close to the camera, for example, your audience will get a great shot of your nose. Too far away, and you look fuzzy. Test your sound. You want people to hear you: most people will accept a less than perfect video, but bad audio will turn them off quickly, .and a far away muffled echo.

 

Just because you are online instead of physically present doesn’t mean the quality of your look and sound isn’t important.

 

Again, check your appearance and sound before you start. Just because you are online instead of physically present doesn’t mean the quality of your look and sound isn’t important.

 

And don’t forget about bandwidth. Make sure you or others aren’t running devices while you are online that sucks away bandwidth and makes it hard to hear and see you. Problems with video and audio distract from your message.

 

If you are going to be online a lot and especially if you are a litigator and going to virtual court, invest in some equipment.  Don’t rely on the camera and microphone that comes with your laptop or tablet. They are that good. Get a good web camera-it will make you look so much better. I use a Logitech C922 HD Pro Webcam camera, and it costs around $100.

 

And for goodness sake, get a good microphone. It will eliminate the distracting echo and make you sound like you are in the room with your audience. Again, people can forgive poor video much sooner than poor audio. I use a Yeti USB microphone. It costs about $130. At the very least, get a pair of headphones with a microphone. If you are an Apple person, use AirPods or EarBuds. You will sound so much better.

 

Sound and appearance matter. Look and sound like the professional you are.

 

 

BlackBoiler, an automated contract markup technology provider, today announced it has secured $3.2 million in funding from strategic investors, including agreement cloud company DocuSign. BlackBoiler plans to use the funds to further develop its patented software capabilities and accelerate team growth.   

 

Dan Broderick, BlackBoiler’s CEO and founder, and his team must be congratulated for this significant new funding. But after recently talking to Dan and Varun Mehta, CEO of Factor (see my recent post), I’m beginning to wonder whether this lasting legal disruption brought about by Covid that everyone keeps talking about is really happening.

 

Blackboiler is an innovative high volume contract review tool that uses artificial intelligence and human interfaces to create, edit, and negotiate similar contracts more efficiently and better. With offices in Washington D.C. and New York City, BlackBoiler is a National Science Foundation-backed software company focused on contract review automation. Continue Reading BlackBoiler Eyes Expansion

This morning, Factor, (formerly Axiom Managed Solutions) one of the most prominent alternative legal service providers, announced the appointment of Carol Lindstrom, former Vice-Chair of Deloitte, to its Board of Directors. Lindstrom’s appointment comes as Factor closed on a new investment from Carrick Capital Partners – one of the largest recent investments in the global legal solutions market – which will allow Factor to quickly capitalize on the opportunities and momentum it has built since the beginning of the year.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading Factor Continues to Diversify Its Leadership

Are you still using a screen and projector in the courtroom and in your live presentations? If so, this is one you might want to change.

 

As lawyers and all in the legal business, we are constantly called on to persuade, teach and communicate with others. Like us, most of the people we interact with consume content in ways many lawyers have been slow to adopt. This can put us at a disadvantage.

Continue Reading Still Using a Screen and Projector: Think Again

 

“Some people see things as they are never and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not.”

 

 

For months, ILTA (the International Legal Technology Association) remained committed to its annual in-person conference in Nashville on August 23 through 27.  As most of you know, the ILTA Conference is on the largest in the legal tech space.

 

 

As 2020 drug on and the pandemic got worse, we all saw most events either canceling or going virtual. ILTA stubbornly and almost single-handedly hung on to the idea that we would be back to normal by August. As March turned into April and April turned into May and June, most of us thought ILTA would cancel the whole thing at the last minute. That it couldn’t shift fast enough to virtual to have a worthwhile conference.

Continue Reading ILTA>On Virtual Conference: Be Bold. Reimagine the Space

One of the more fascinating keynotes at this week’s ILTA virtual conference was a panel discussion among three representatives of the big four accounting firms: Peter Krakaur, Managing Director of EY Law, Mark Ross, Principal, Deloitte, and Juan Crosby, PWC NewLaw Services Leader. The title of the talk was Legal’s Next Disruptor? Demystifying the Big 4. Or as I put it before, is the Big 4 the proverbial big bad wolf?

If you may be wondering, the answer whether will the Big 4 be the next legal disruptor is not only yes. Its hell yes. (It’s no coincidence that the titles of two of the panelists feature the word law front and center).

Continue Reading Big 4 As The Next Legal Disruptor: Is It Game Over?

As most of you know, this year’s ILTA conference is totally virtual. I don’t know whether it’s the outstanding content, the innovative approaches ILTA has rolled out or whether I’m just used to living virtually, but I’ve been impressed (more on this later).
 
Yesterday’s keynote (there is a keynote every morning) was a nuts and bolts discussion about law firms’ future. The presenter was Richard Punt, former CEO of Peerpoint. He  has a long history in legal and is now the Chief Legal Strategist and Market Development for Thomson Reuters. He has a ringside seat to what is going on in the legal industry both for in house counsel and law firms. His predictions for the future due to the ongoing changes in the industry and COVID should cause many law firms to think long and hard about where they are and where they are going. (As I have discussed before, the leaders of many law firms don’t lower themselves to attend conferences like this, so how information like this filters up may in and of itself separate the sheep from the goats).

Continue Reading Punt’s Prediction: A Scary Future for Some Law Firms

As most of you know, in the United Kingdom, you are frequently reminded to “mind the gap” when stepping on and off trains. It’s a precaution to watch out for the gap between the train and the platform, so you don’t trip and fall flat on your face.

 

I was reminded of this this admonition recently. LexisNexis has rolled out a premium research service called Lexis+. I had a chance to talk to Jeff Pfeifer, LexisNexis’ Chief Product Officer and David Ganote, LexisNexis’ Senior Director of Product planning, about the product and the design process.

Continue Reading Legal Tech: Mind The Gap

I have talked before about legal tech products that either try to do too much or are so nonintuitive that lawyers who bill by the hour won’t use them. One problem often begets the other: in attempting to do too much, a product often becomes too cumbersome to learn and use. I have found examples though of legal tech developers that get it right. Casepoint, for example, which I have written about before. More recently, LexisNexis’ Product Liability Navigator has found the sweet spot as well. Continue Reading Trellis: The Google of State Court Analytics?