by Greg Regan
One common question I get from clients is "I can save emails I send to PCLaw but how do I save received emails to PcLaw?
The question comes about because if your PcLaw is set up correctly, you are prompted to save emails when you send them. However, there is no such prompt when you receive emails (logically, how can you know if you want to save emails to PcLaw before you have read them?). The answer is "yes", you can save received emails to PCLaw. When you integrate PCLaw with MS Outlook it will add a PCLaw toolbar into Outlook. Without actually opening it, simply select the email you want to save and then click the "Save to PCLaw" icon. This is available for any folder in Outlook that is both the Inbox and Sent Mail folders as well as sub-folders of these.
The same functionality applies to any document or file on your workstation. Once set up correctly, if you right click on any file in Windows Explorer, you will see an "Add document to PcLaw" menu item. Click this and you can add the file to PCLaw in exactly the same way as you add emails. Once added to PcLaw, the only distinction really between emails and other files is that emails can be found under the "Emails" tab in the Matter Manager while all other files are found under the "Documents" tab. For this reason, I never save emails as an "emails" document type. I prefer to use a document type that better describes what the email is about. Document types can be customized if you don't currently have the document types you need.
by Greg Regan
I'm not really a big fan of cloud computing (or SaaS: Software as a Service) for legal firms given the recent security breaches against Sony and Nintendo. Having a legal firm's data out there, somewhere, who knows where (yet occasionally hackers seem to find where) seems fraught with danger. Just one breach could be enough to sink your law firm's hard earned reputation.
PCLaw's new Mobility service takes a different approach. It allow you to remotely enter timesheets and access other PCLaw data from web-enabled devices or from a browser. The data is still stored on your own server (no change). Of course, allowing access to your data from the web raises some security concerns.
- I'd advise avoiding using PCLaw Mobility from an internet cafe. It's preferable to access it from a browser on your own PC, Mac, laptop or from a web-enabled device e.g. smartphones.
- If you use a browser, I prefer Mozilla Firefox. Use Firefox's Private Browsing mode while using PCLaw Mobility then switch it off when you are finished. This is especially important if you do happen to access Mobility from an internet cafe. There is a portable version of Mozilla Firefox which works right off your USB which you can connect to any computer. This way you don't leave your surfing history behind.
- PCLaw version 11 now introduces strong password functionality (minimum 8 characters, must include both alpha and numeric characters, cannot be the same as the user name) and PcLaw Mobility will require use of a strong password.
- Make sure you have daily backups using PCLaw's internal back up feature.
by Greg Regan
The newly released PCLaw version 11 now includes integration with Fujitsu ScanSnap. ScanSnap is one of the most popular scanners amonght legal firms because of its simplicity of use, speed (duplex) and value especially when you consider that some versions come with a full copy of Adobe Acrobat. Don't take my word for it. Do your own research on Google. The price of Adobe Acrobat is about the same as the ScanSnap so it's as though you get Acrobat virtually for free. (Or ScanSnap for free. Anyway. Whatever. You know what I mean.)
Other great new features that I mentioned in an earlier blog are
- the new Quickbooks link which is enhanced compared to previous versions.
And the crème-de-la-crème,
- the new "PCLaw Mobility" which allows you to timewrite and access contacts and matter information from browser enabled devices. I'll talk more about security issues that go with this in a future blog.
by Greg Regan
On the Billing tab, if you select both "Apply Discount to Fees" and a Quoted Type of Fixed Fee, the invoice seems to issue incorrectly. That is, the resulting invoice seems to overbill. I found this issue for one of my clients, I've tested it on my own dataset and I contacted PCLaw Support and it seems to be a bug (not an anomaly in one set of books).
Until it's fixed, here is the workaround:
Raise the invoice and you will be prompted (a) if you want to adjust the fees to match the fixed fee and (b) if you want to accept the discount. Click "Yes" on both of these, then finalize the invoice. When this done, PCLaw will have automatically raised a fee entry to adust the time/fees worked back to the agreed fixed fee.
Now undo the bill. Then go to the Billing tab again and change the Quoted Type to "No Quote". Now raise the invoice again.
The invoice will be for the correct amount.
If you think it necessary, go back to the Billing tab and change the Quoted Type back to "Fixed Fee" and re-enter the fixed fee amount.
Not fun I realise but until the bug is fixed, this is the best way I can find to handle such matters and PCLaw agreed this is an acceptable solution.
by Greg Regan
PCLaw 11 is due to be released sometime in Q2 of 2011. A couple of new features are worth discussing
- Web-facing mobility service: basically, this will be a replacement for the old travel edition. It is designed to be used with any mobile device that has web browser capability and will give access to core data such as matters and contacts but also the ability to capture time and expenses. How good will it be? Only time will tell but from what I understand, it will be included in the Annual Maintenance Plan (AMP) anyway so there's no extra outlay to try it.
- A new Quickbooks link: while PCLaw 10 allows interaction with Quickbooks, the new v11 link will be transaction oriented rather than balance oriented. The intent is to allow Quickbooks to function as the accounting back end while PCLaw acts as the legal front end for billing, trust, document management etc. I personally believe that running two systems in parallel in this way is not optimal (because keeping them in parallel can be challenging) and legal firms should be opting to do away with Quickbooks and use PCLaw exclusively as their legal accounting system. However, I guess the new link is meant to cater for the many firms who started out with Quickbooks and can't find the time/resources to transfer over to PCLaw as their fully integrated legal accounting package. So a nice gesture from LexisNexis.
Can't wait to see what other improvements v11 will bring us.