Affinity Consulting Blog

There is a reason law firms continue to use Microsoft Word in the face of less expensive (sometimes free) alternatives like OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and WPS Office. Those alternatives work well enough for general document drafting. WPS Office can be configured to look and work remarkably like MS Word. However,many great add-in programs work only with MS Word. A great add-in program designed especially for lawyers is WordRake.

What if you could do more with less? What if you could be more productive, more efficient in less time with less resources? The goal of the newly announced partnership between BigHand and Affinity Consulting Group allows Legal Professionals to use their voice to delegate, manage, instruct and capture time and billing from your mobile device in real time.

The two document formats lawyers most often encounter are Word (.docx) and Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). In Word 2013, you can not only open, create, and edit Word files, you can do the same with PDF documents.

In today's world, most clients expect to receive communication and billing by e-mail, and more and more firms are adopting e-mailing invoices to save money and, more importantly, shorten the time it takes deliver invoices to clients, which hopefully translates into getting paid more quickly.

For the last few years, PCLaw could accomplish e-mailing invoices, but it always missed the mark when law firms wanted to e-mail more than one at a time. If most clients wanted their invoice e-mailed and the firm had several hundred invoices a month, e-mailing one at a time crippled an efficient billing process. As a workaround, firms would mass bill, save their invoices to PDF, and then e-mail them after-the-fact. In fact, this is what we did here at Affinity.

Well no longer…meet PCLaw v14 !

In v14, Lexis has introduced the Invoice E-mail Queue. You will be able to set matters for an e-mailed invoice or printed invoice, and set an e-mail template message; (e-mail templates were introduced in v13.) Invoices that are to be e-mailed will now appear in your queue where you will be able to review the e-mail message, change it, fix or add an e-mail address, and even update

Matter Manager with an e-mail address change. You are also notified if an e-mail has failed.

For Firm Administrators, this new feature incorporates an efficient workflow process and may even allow you to redirect the efforts of the billing and administrative staff to more productive tasks, thereby adding even more value to the firm. For Attorneys keeping tabs on the billing progress, they can filter by various options and review Sent or Current/Unsent invoices.

The Invoice E-mail Queue is reason enough to upgrade to v14! Just ask our Director of Business Operations, ">Del Depew!

Additional features you can find in PCLaw v14 include:

• Sorting by Firm Name in the Contact Manager.

• More robust security to restrict a user's access to a timekeeper. This limits time, billing and collection information a user can see for timekeepers.

• My Clients Dashboard - The Collection Memo field is now available for viewing and editing data, and the New Call button has been added.

• Filtering the Work-in-Progress Report - Billable entries can now be more precisely defined, based on the hold status of the entry. The user can now choose to include or exclude items that are on hold, not on hold, or have been assigned a status of Never Bill. Similar options are available for disbursement entries as well.

• New Billing Tokens include Business Phone, Cell Phone, Home Phone, Other Phone, Bus Fax, Email 1, and Email 2.

• The Destroy Date in the Close Matter function is now available in the Case Label template.

• Third party integrations are supported for Amicus Premium 2014, Amicus Small Firm 2014, Microsoft Office Click-to-Run 2010 and 2013

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today if you have any questions, or if you want us to prepare you a flat fee upgrade proposal.

Microsoft released its Office for iPad apps earlier this year, including Word for iPad. One key feature missing from the initial release was the abiliyt to print a Word documents from your iPad. That omission has now been c corrected.

With the free version of the Office for iPad apps (including Word for iPad), you can read Word documents, view Excel data, present with PowerPoint, and print your documents. With an eligible Office 365 subscription (a bargain for most law office users), you can also edit and create documents on the iPad, use Office for your PC and Mac®, and get many other benefits.

With printing now built-into Word for iPad (and the other Office for iPad apps such as Excel for iPad and PowerPoint for iPad), all you need is an AirPrint compatibile printer on your network. PC Magazine has a nice list of the ten best AirPrint compatible printers at a wide range of prices. If you like the printer you already own and don't want to buy an AirPrint compatible printer, instead buy an AirPrint server such as the xPrintServer from Lantronix for $100 to $200 depending on how many printers you want to enable to work with your iOS devices like your iPad.

If you are creating bills in PCLaw, hopefully you know by now that you can create a PDF version of that bill during the billing process. There are many benefits to creating a PDF from within PCLaw, a few of which are: you keep a copy of original bill for historical purposes; you don’t waste time and resources printing and scanning the bill (this means the original PDF can be text searchable with some PDF applications); and if you aren't using the e-mailing features, you at least have your bills in a location and format where you can insert it into an email, etc.

Your firm may have clients that require uploading electronic bills, typically called Ledes, Tymetrix, etc., where the format is EDI.

Let's talk about where PCLaw stores these PDF or EDI files and the options you have to change that.

PCLaw's default location is the Data\Dyndata folder on your server, or workstation if PCLaw is installed as a standalone system. This folder contains live data files for PCLaw (i.e. banking transaction data, client and matter data, billing data, etc.). You can imagine the potential for accidently deleting data files when users browse to this folder so as a best practice, we change the location to a different folder. Here are the steps to accomplish this. This must be set at each workstation for users who create or recreate bills in PCLaw. You log into PCLaw at that workstation with a PCLaw login that has sufficient security to access System Settings, hence why you should consider this a workstation setting.

1. Create a folder on your server (or workstation a standalone install) called PCLaw Bill Images, in a location backed up and accessible by other users.

2. Go to the Options pull-down menu | System Settings.

3. Go to the Billing tab and locate the Output Options for Invoice Images section. Here is what the default location and settings could look like, depending on how your computer is connected to the server.

4. Click the Browse button and browse to the folder you just created

- Change the number from 20 to a higher number (we would recommend a few months of invoices depending on the number of invoices you create each month). Note: the size of these PDF and EDI files is small so on a server, space should not be an issue, but if you are a standalone installation, keep in mind the number and the capacity of the hard drive.

- Select the Automatically Generate PDF Output. Note: EDI formats are created when you are on the Create Bill screen and select the Editor output option.

- Click ok to save.

Here is an example of the changed location and settings:

One more thing to know…If you upgrade PCLaw, or perform a new workstation installation, this path in System Settings REVERTS BACK to the default DYNDATA folder, so review this at every workstation after the upgrade or new installation.

As always, you can call or email our Client Services Team for assistance, at 877-676-5492 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Your law firm is Your Business.

As a business, a law firm is really no different than most other closely held companies. You sell your prospective services, you perform your service and your firm is paid. Your business takes in revenue, meets its expenses and hopefully has something left over for the owners of the business to enjoy.

Over the years, your firm’s financial health has probably improved, but do you know why? The better question is will that trend continue? Or, are you finding that your firm’s financial health is in jeopardy? Are the people you’ve charged with expense management, billing, accounting and financial management doing an efficient and productive job to ensure that your law firm, your business, will maintain its financial health?

Collaboration is one of the great benefits of using Microsoft Word in your law practice. Whether you are working on documents with attorneys or staff within your firm, co-counsel outside your firm, or opposing counsel, the too-little-used feature of replying to comments within Word can streamline the editing process.

1. Click the Reply button.

2. Type your reply.

Or click the comment and click Review > New Comment.

If you see a comment balloon instead of the comment, here’s how to reply:

1. Click the comment balloon.

2. In the comment, click the Reply button.

3. Type your reply.

In less than a year, Tabs3/PracticeMaster versions 15.1 and 15.2 will no longer be supported. Support for those versions ends on June 1, 2015. Support for version 15.3 will continue until June 1, 2016.

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