TechnoLawyer Top 25 Products of 2019 Awards
February 14, 2019
Today we announce the TechnoLawyer Top 25 Products Awards of 2019 brought to you by you — your votes (clicks). Learn about the 25 hottest products in legal technology and use this list of award winners as a buyer's guide for your law firm in 2019. This year's winners span 12 categories. Congratulations to all! As with all TechnoLawyer newsletters, please forward this issue of TechnoLawyer far and wide.
TechnoLawyer Top 25 Products of 2019 Awards
It's time for the TechnoLawyer Top 25 Products of 2019 Awards! The most meaningful awards in legal technology.
The TechnoLawyer Top 25 Products Awards capture the zeitgeist of the legal technology industry because they're crowdsourced by you and your fellow 10,000+ TechnoLawyer subscribers.
In each issue of TechnoLawyer, we report on a hot new product. When you and your fellow TechnoLawyer subscribers click for more details about a product after reading the article, you passively cast a vote. Therefore, the winners below genuinely attracted the most interest from TechnoLawyer subscribers. These are grassroots awards.
What can we learn from this year's TechnoLawyer Top 25 Products Awards? Perhaps most notably, the golden age of document automation may have arrived with three products overall, including the top two spots.
For the second consecutive year, a Microsoft Word add-in claimed the top spot and by the same company. A second Microsoft Word add-in rounded out the top 10.
Not surprisingly, six practice management and six accounting/billing products earned wins, collectively comprising nearly half of the winners. Three of these products offer all-in-one accounting, billing, and practice management — a trend I covered in our 2018 recap (we categorized two of these products as accounting/billing in the chart below because that's what they added in 2018 and what we covered).
Beyond these two categories, the TechnoLawyer Top 25 Products of 2019 Awards underscores the diversity of the legal technology ecosystem with 33% of winners as the only product of its type — A.I.-driven legal research, automated OCR software, backup software with instant restore, document comparison, enterprise chat, legal writing style checking, marketing automation, and a freelance lawyer marketplace.
A diverse array of product categories among the winners (click to enlarge).
Congratulations to All the Winners!
Below you'll find a summary of each award winner, including links to each product's home page and the TechnoLawyer article that resulted in the victory.
After you read this newsletter, listen to the accompanying New Solo podcast for more insights as as host Adriana Linares and TechnoLawyer publisher Neil J. Squillante count down and discuss the winners. Listen to This Special New Solo Episode — TechnoLawyer Top 25 Products of 2019 Awards
1. Word DA
In a TechnoLawyer Awards first, Infoware has won the top spot for two consecutive years (last year with Word LX). Word DA is a Microsoft Word add-in that stores templates and clauses in Word, enabling you to automate document creation in a familiar environment. When paired with Word LX, Word DA gains additional functionality such as one-click global changes. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
2. HotDocs Advance
HotDocs has a well-deserved reputation for its ability to automate even the most complex documents. Traditionally, this power came with a trade off — a scripting language beyond the skill set of most law firm personnel, thus requiring outside consultants. HotDocs Advance runs inside Microsoft Word and hides all the code behind Placeholders, which anyone in a law firm can use to build templates. Just as importantly, a new web-based interactive interview makes document drafting more foolproof for end users. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
3. Kurent
From billing pioneer Tabs3 Software, Kurent burst on the scene at the end of 2017 and added new features at such a rapid pace that we covered it twice in 2018 (here and here). Geared at solo and small firms, Kurent focuses on the needs of the many such as credit card payments rather than on arcane bells and whistles. Most recently, Kurent added trust accounting and automated reminders for unpaid invoices.
4. Perfect Practice
Perfect Practice has 30 years of history behind it but our coverage marked the first time many TechnoLawyer members learned about it, which explains the intense interest. Perfect Practice includes accounting, billing, and practice management as well as automated workflows with checklists, practice area-specific templates, and Smart Fields that can auto-populate based on triggers. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
5. Smart Time 5
Long a mainstay of the Am Law 200, Smart Time offers tools that automate contemporaneous, reconstructive, and collaborative timekeeping. Version 5 brings these tools to small and midsize firms thanks to its new cloud option. Billing Guidelines ensure that timekeepers at your firm create time entries that comply with client and firm requirements. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
6. Symphony OCR
Symphony OCR is like the Uber of legal software. It's a gargantuan achievement to recruit all those drivers and find the one closest to you but you probably never think about it. Similarly, Symphony OCR quietly works sight unseen to ensure that all document images such as scans (typically 30% of all documents in a law firm) become searchable within minutes of being stored in your document management system. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
7. ndMail
If your client sends an important email message but forgets to include you, can you simply reply with the "shrug" emoji when your client follows up? Not a good look so you'd better be able to find it even though you didn't receive it. ndMail uses artificial intelligence to automate the process of saving email messages to the correct matter in NetDocuments, ensuring that you can find all relevant messages — even those you didn't receive directly. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
LAWCLERK, an online marketplace in which lawyers subcontract work to freelance lawyers, isn't just useful but also a net good for humanity. Busy solos can assemble a virtual team of colleagues rather than pin all their hopes on one full-time hire. On the flip side, lawyers seeking an alternative career path or in between jobs can keep their skills sharp and pay their bills. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
9. Centerbase
Centerbase added accounting to its growing stack of features about a year ago, joining the ranks of all-in-one cloud practice management systems. Not only can Centerbase replace QuickBooks, but it'll print QuickBooks checks. Many Centerbase customers have complex back office procedures such as the need to apply payments across multiple bills. In these areas, Centerbase exceeds QuickBooks. A back-to-back winner, Centerbase won this award last year on the strength of its then new document management features. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
10. BriefCatch
Begun the legal writing checkers war has. As I noted in the TechnoLawyer 2018 recap, even lawyers with genuine writing talent will soon feel the need to run their work through legal writing checkers like BriefCatch lest they get owned by an adversary who without such assistance writes like Yoda. Unlike competing products, BriefCatch gamifies the experience by giving your document a score, actually five scores — Reading Happiness, Sentence Length, Flow, Punchiness, and Plain English. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
11. matters.Cloud
matters.Cloud founder Fraser Mayfield has a history of thinking beyond the traditional boundaries of practice management systems. Accordingly, matters.Cloud includes customer relationship management so that you can track the all-important contacts and activities that occur prior to engagement. A visual sales pipeline enables you to estimate your revenue. matters.Cloud also has unique integrations such as monitoring Twitter accounts and searching Google Scholar. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
12. Needles 5.0
Several years ago, executives at practice management stalwart Needles told me to expect Version 5. The years passed but Version 5 failed to materialize. As we recounted in our recent Learnpaper, Needles changed hands in 2017 and is now led by lawyer Ryan Pakter. In less than a year, Pakter and his team shipped Needles 5 with features that had not even been on the original roadmap such as text messaging support and an app store for third-party integrations. With its new development process in place, the company now ships new features on a regular basis for both Needles and sibling product TrialWorks. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
13. Tabs3 Version 19
Tabs3 Software is one of three companies to win more than one TechnoLawyer Top Product Award this year. The new version of the company's namesake accounting and billing software features a top-to-bottom redesign with a new dashboard and Quick Launch icons for fast access to features. Users can pin their active matters to the navigation panel and keep different screens open in tabs (fitting for a product named Tabs3). Read the TechnoLawyer article.
14. Clio
Clio has grown beyond its roots with its own conference, an influential research report on the legal profession, a client intake subsidiary (Lexicata), and its own recently-launched intake product called Clio Grow. But the core product, now called Clio Manage, remains front and center with new features such as integration with Outlook and dozens of other products, batch billing, and the Add Time tool for capturing unbilled activities. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
15. Firm Central
Firm Central recently joined the all-in-one practice management club with the addition of financial accounting. Auto-Posting transforms client payments from tedious to automated task, especially when clients pay by credit card. A glance at the new dashboard enables you to see Revenue by Practice Area, Top Clients by Revenue, Aging AR, Unpaid Invoices, Unbilled Expenses, and Fees Collected. You can even switch back and forth between accrual and cash accounting methods. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
16. Lawmatics
You could spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing automation products like HubSpot that don't cater to law firms or you could use Lawmatics, which costs far less and caters exclusively to law firms. The only product of its kind, Lawmatics automates your marketing processes so that you can convert more prospects into clients. Features include email drip campaigns, automated client intake, client newsletters, and analytics. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
17. SimplyAgree
Deal closings once comprised a cottage industry for FedEx with paralegals rushing to send overnight packets to signatories. Email eventually replaced FedEx but the process remained chaotic. SimplyAgree centralizes closings so that you can see who signed and who needs prodding. An integration with DocuSign further streamlines the process. When everyone has signed, SimplyAgree generates a PDF closing binder. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
18. NOVO Compare
If you regularly exchange complex documents with opposing counsel, you may grow frustrated using Microsoft Word's built-in Track Changes. To level up, you can choose from four document comparison products that cater to law firms. NOVO Compare is the least expensive option at $99 per year with features like QuickCompare for minimizing the number of clicks to start a comparison, the ability to exclude meaningless changes, and magnification for middle age eyes. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
19. Casetext
Casetext takes the guesswork out of legal research by eliminating the need to construct search queries. Upload opposing counsel's brief into the CARA AI system, and Casetext lists relevant cases with markers indicating those not cited in the brief. Casetext also pinpoints each case's holding while the Copy with Cite features adds the correct Bluebook citation to any text you copy and paste into your own brief. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
20. ndThread
The second TechnoLawyer Top Product Award for NetDocuments, ndThread provides law firms with a persistent enterprise chat. ndThread one-ups standalone products like Microsoft Teams and Slack by automatically saving conversations to the corresponding matter in NetDocuments, eliminating information silos. ndThread also supports direct messages for more private discussions. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
21. AbacusLaw
AbacusNext stands alone as the only company to scoop up three TechnoLawyer Top Product Awards. AbacusLaw is renowned for its Practice Area Legal Solutions (PALS), which guide your team through all the requisite processes and documents for each matter in a specific practice area. If you have a litigation practice, AbacusLaw includes calendar rules for ensuring you don't miss any court deadlines. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
22. Nordic Backup
Nordic Backup distinguishes itself in a crowded marketplace on two fronts. It can backup open databases like Outlook and QuickBooks as well as cloud storage services like Dropbox. When disaster strikes, Nordic Backup can restore your data faster than competing products thanks to an integration with ShadowProtect. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
23. DocMoto 4.0
Many of DocMoto's customers are new law firms whose owners want to avoid Windows PCs at all costs but soon realize they need a document management system. DocMoto 4.0 offers a Finder-like interface with tabs, the ability to save searches with live updates, and automated email capture to the corresponding matter. DocMoto also includes document automation and secure document sharing. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
24. TimeSolv
TimeSolv focuses exclusively on billing with the ability to track everything from simple flat fees to complicated origination rules and blended rates. You can designate a billing arrangement for each matter, including UTBMS task codes. Deliver bills via TimeSolv's client portal or even better — let TimeSolv's Outsourced Legal Billing take care of mailing your bills or submitting them to ebilling systems. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
25. Amicus Attorney
Amicus Attorney significantly enhanced its mobile functionality with the launch of a native app for Android and iOS. When you initiate a call or send an email message from the app, it tracks the time spent and prompts you to record a time entry. Also, Amicus Attorney now includes Abacus Payment Exchange for client payments and Abacus Court Rules for calculating court deadlines. Read the TechnoLawyer article.
Meet Neil J. Squillante
Neil J. Squillante is the founder and publisher of TechnoLawyer, an award-winning network of free email newsletters for lawyers and law office administrators. Many consider TechnoLawyer the only email subscription they need. Previously, Neil practiced commercial litigation at Am Law 100 firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law and his B.A. from Duke University.
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