Improve Your Firm, Update Your Old Version of Amicus Attorney
Learn the benefits of moving from an unsupported version of Amicus Attorney to the most technologically advanced, compliant ready and fully managed case management platform, on-premise or hosted in the Abacus Private Cloud.
Welcome. If you are attending this webinar, you’ve probably received a letter or email informing you that your 2013 version of Amicus Attorney will be retired. In this webinar, we’ll look at your options, upgrade to Amicus Attorney 2016 or migrate to AbacusLaw and Abacus Accounting. Then we’ll talk about taking your firm to the next level and migrating your IT infrastructure to Private Cloud. Private Cloud is a fully managed hosted environment that provides your firm with the latest in technology security and portability. At the end of the webinar, we’ll talk about where you go from here and how do you migrate. Now, let’s get your options.
Option #1: Upgrade to the Latest Version of Amicus Attorney
Option one is to stay with the product you’re familiar with and upgrade to Amicus Attorney 2016. Why should you consider upgrading? Well, first of all, let’s take a look at some of the great features of Amicus Attorney 2016. Amicus Attorney 2016 ships with the same interface you’re already familiar with but now you have the option to choose a sleeker more modern interface. This is the interface that you’re familiar with and this is the new optional modern interface. It has a cleaner look and more room for information but all of the modules and navigation are the same, just a cleaner look.
New is the home view, that’s what we’re looking at right now. When you open Amicus in the morning, you can see your day at a glance. Do you have any appointments? Do you have any tasks or phone messages, unposted time? You select any one of the boxes on the screen and it jumps you there. I can see that I have two appointments today so I would just click on the box and jump right into my calendar. There’s a quick tip to help you maximize use of the program and this home view is updated every 15 minutes. If someone adds an appointment to your calendar, where you get a phone message, you’re going to see it. You can update it at any time to get the most current information.
Now, you can look at your statistics in the time sheets module and get a helpful graphical view. You can filter to see your actual time, your budgeted time, your projected time, or last year’s time and then overlay them for easy comparison. In many places in Amicus Attorney 2016, you can simply right click and add an entry to a file, add an event, a phone call, a phone message or email directly to a file very quickly and very easily.
With previous versions of Amicus Attorney, in the communications module, we had a today view. We’ve really expanded that so now you can see all of your communications beyond one day. Now, you can filter to see your calls and messages and emails for any date or date range you want. This makes it much easier to find communications, just use the filters.
Anyone who’s ever been in practice for any amount of time will certainly have a lot of contacts but not all of your contacts are active. You finish a case but you don’t want to delete the client’s contact card. Now, you can simply mark the contact as inactive. They stay in your database but they don’t show up in your list of active contacts. You can make an inactive contact active again at any time. Now, you can manage that long list of contacts much easier than you ever could before.
We’ve always had chronological lists on files but now when you look at the chronological lists on files, you can sort by subject, change the display, open the detail of any entry, you can even export this chronological list to Excel or Word or PDF. It’s a much more interactive and useful chronology. Previous versions of Amicus Attorney, firm members on a file, had only one available role and that was firm member. Now you can assign a firm member a role on a file just as you can assign roles to contacts.
On one file Jack McCoy may be a senior litigator, on another he may be a junior litigator and you can define those roles. You can assign default roles to your firm members. What this does, is it adds power to precedents. In the past, we could assign events to files based on a name, for example, a certain task in a precedent is always assigned to Perry Mason. What if you create a new file, use the precedent, but Perry is not assigned to the file? Now, you can assign events by role. Now, a task in a precedent can be assigned to a firm member with a role on the file. For example, a task in a precedent is assigned to the paralegal. When you create a new file and use the precedent, it will fall to the calendar of the firm member who has role of paralegal on the file, not to a specific name.
One of the great features of Amicus Attorney is the ability to attach documents to a file and now you can preview the documents without having to actually open them. This is really fast and very convenient. More features, you can connect your firm’s Dropbox account to Amicus and view your Dropbox documents on the Amicus file. This works in Amicus Anywhere, too, and we’re going to talking about Amicus Anywhere in just a few minutes.
In the past you could link Amicus to Outlook for your contacts, calendar, email and that link was a desktop link. Now, you can link Amicus to your exchange account. Email, contacts, and calendar information is exchanged automatically in real time, behind the scenes. So, enter a new contact in Amicus, it’s on your phone. Enter a new appointment on your phone, it’s in Amicus, even if Amicus and Outlook are not running on your desktop. Enter the information on your iPad and in real time, it’s in Amicus. You don’t need Amicus or Outlook running to do this.
Email signatures are now enhanced with the ability to display graphics. You can search documents and then dig down, search those results until you find the document you’re looking for. Soon, you will be able to run state calendar rules with the new Abacus calendar rules that integrate directly with your Amicus calendar.
Some more features for those of you who use Amicus Premium Billing, you can mass bill, then send those bills to your clients by email. You can now send bills to multiple contacts on a file. You can do split bills. Have you ever had the occasion where clients show up with a payment in hand? Now, you can print a payment receipt immediately and you can now print trust and retainer checks directly from Premium Billing. What we’re seeing here is financials on time entries. With Premium Billing, you have the option to show the financial information on time entries. Timekeepers can see the WIP and the AR on the file and it lets you make decisions immediately.
On files now with Premium Billing 2016, we have enhanced alerts to let you know if the file has funds available in trust or retainer. Get an alert if the retainer’s below a predetermined threshold and this allows you to be proactive when you’re managing your practice. Those are terrific features.
Now, let’s talk about one of the biggest changes and one of the biggest challenges to the way that we do business and that is mobility. Now, first a few questions, does anyone in your firm use a smartphone, an iPad, or Android tablet or a Surface tablet? And the answer is probably yes. If the answer’s yes, would you like to use Amicus on it? Yes, you can. You can Amicus Attorney 2016 on your device. Here’s another question, this happens to just about everyone, has it ever happened that you were at home or away from the office and you needed information about a file or you needed to review a document that you had not brought home with you? Of course, it happens to all of us. Then you can’t get the work done or you have to hop in the car and drive back to the office.
If you have Amicus Attorney 2016, you simply open Amicus on your home PC, Mac, or tablet, and you get the work done. Or do you need the calendar contacts on your phone to be in sync with your Amicus back at the office, all the time in real time, even when the PC is turned off at your office? We’ve talked about that with Exchange sync instead of Outlook sync. This mobility is very easy in Amicus Attorney 2016.
Mobility with Amicus Anywhere, Amicus Time Tracker, and Client Portal
As we know, Amicus Attorney is a desktop product. The server for Amicus is located on your premises, that you control the environment, the server, the database, and everything else. If you subscribe to Amicus Attorney 2016, you’ll be able to access your Amicus Attorney on your desktop and on any device, by using a web browser like cloud based management services. You can manage your practice, anywhere, any time, on any computer or tablet but the data still resides on-site, managed by you.
Amicus uses a cloud server as a relayer and the service that does this is called Amicus Anywhere. Now, all of your data is secure. There is never any data in the cloud or on any device, it resides on your server. That gives you the best of both worlds. You have the mobility of a cloud solution and the security and power of the world’s leading desktop solution. What that means is that all of your documents, every document in Amicus is available on your iPad, or Android tablet, Surface tablet, secure, ready to view at the touch of a finger.
This is Amicus Anywhere. This is Amicus Attorney in a browser. It has a very similar home screen to the desktop application that we just saw. Here’s a file index, all of your files available any time, anywhere. Open a file, view the people on the file, the notes, the custom pages, the appointments, the time, and to view all of the documents on that file. Just like Amicus on the desktop, you have access to all of the documents on the file. Just one touch to view any of these documents.
I can upload any document from Anywhere to Amicus, so drag and drop documents to upload, just like your desktop. I can do all of my time entries, edit my time entries, and enter new time, so no matter where in the world you are, you can create time entries if you have Amicus Attorney 2016.
Speaking of time, you also get Time Tracker. Time Tracker allows you to enter time and review your time entries anywhere, any time, and it’s optimized for phones. You’re on the road, you take a call, and then enter the time immediately. That time is then available back at the office. Looking at my unposted time for the month and I can see the total time for any given day. I can see each time entry for that day listed. I can enter a new time entry and I can open any time entry. From the open time entry, I can view the details, the file, the date of the entry, the duration, any activity codes and description, I can even use my smartphone dictation to enter that description if I want. There are thumb-wheels for setting the duration so it’s a thumb driven interface for your smartphone. Now, it’s very quick and easy to capture time when you’re out of the office.
Here’s another big reason for giving serious consideration to upgrading to Amicus Attorney 2016, client service is obviously one of the fundamentals of building a successful law practice. What clients expect from law firms has changed. They want you to be able to work with them electronically. They want you to be able to share documents with them electronically and they want all of their data to remain secure. They also want you to be reachable and responsible, any time of the day. Attorneys work long hours so the last thing you want is a call at night from your client, asking you for an update on their case.
It would be great if you could do that. Well, with the Amicus Client Portal, you can do that. What is the Client Portal? The Client Portal is a means of doing everything I’ve just described. If you use online banking, you’re already using a client portal. First you go to the bank’s homepage, which tells you what a great bank they are. When you need to access your accounts, your balances and transactions, you enter a secure ID and password to login to a space with your information, that’s a client portal.
The same thing is available today for your law practice and we have built that capability into Amicus Attorney. Now, on your website, that lets people know what a great law firm you have. You can have a link for clients their matter information. You decide what to share with your clients, it’s your decision, but clients have a secure entry point where they can view documents, upload documents, view appointment details, communicate with you, in an environment that’s more secure than email.
Here’s what your client sees, on the home screen it displays your client’s name and then your law firm’s message, which you can set. You can have your firm’s logo on this home screen, or your picture. You can put a link to the login page on your website, so when your clients login, it’s your firm’s portal. From here, your client can see the files you have shared. Your clients can view their files, their documents, their notes, their tasks, custom field information, and work from there. They can upload new notes and documents to their file and you get notified. Again, it’s you that makes the decision on what you’re going to share to your client.
The Client Portal is easy to set up. You have total control over what your client can access through the portal. It’s encrypted, just like the information in your banking portal and it’s far more secure than email or Dropbox. It’s one of the many benefits of Amicus Attorney 2016, another great reason to upgrade.
In a nutshell, when you upgrade to Amicus Attorney 2016, your firm will be noticeably more efficient, better organized, and more mobile. You’re going to be able to deliver much better client service and importantly, your firm is going to be more profitable. That’s option number one.
Option #2: Migrate from Amicus Attorney to AbacusLaw
AbacusLaw is used by thousands of law firms. It’s a full featured practice management program. It’s fully customizable to work the way you work. You can purchase PALS, these are practice area legal solutions. You install PALS for the type of law that you practice to automatically customize AbacusLaw, it’s very fast and very easy. AbacusLaw is fully integrated with AbacusLaw Accounting, a full featured billing and accounting program.
AbacusLaw delivers a very friendly, Microsoft Outlook-like experience that puts powerful organizational tools at your fingertips, that enables you to easily and efficiently collaborate with your entire staff to schedule appointments and track deadlines and mitigate the risk of deadlines falling through the cracks. The included AbacusLaw rules engine automatically calculates and schedules all of your critical deadlines for a matter based on the appropriate Federal, state, and local court rules. If you subscribe to rules from Abacus, Abacus will keep them up to date for you and work with the professional services team to build your own set of rules.
You can set milestones that can be assigned to different staff members that track for enhanced productivity and control. You can get real time access to AbacusLaw through any web browser. With Abacus Mobile, simply login, go to your calendar, client, or matter, and see all the linked information, including documents, notes, and emails, just like you would if you were in the office formatted for your phone. You can centrally organize your entire case, including all of your events, contacts, documents, emails, and notes, so the information you need is always at your fingertips.
Don’t put your firm at risk by relying on someone else’s memory for conflict of interest checks. Unlike other software, AbacusLaw lets you search how you want, by name, partial name, social security number, or even sounds like. Intake screens help you quickly and easily sign up new clients and start your cases. Once you enter information, AbacusLaw automatically creates the links, the matter and contact records and sets rules based, calendar events based on the designated rules and/or workflows.
AbacusLaw comes with over 100 standard reports. Easily create your own custom reports or work with professional services to develop a personalized library of reports relevant to your firm. AbacusLaw puts all your contact information in one central location for quick and easy retrieval and you can store an unlimited number of documents of any type to your case files, for quick and easy retrieval. AbacusLaw gives you error free signature ready documents and forms in minutes by automatically filling your templates with information from your existing database. You can subscribe to PDF court forms for your jurisdiction from Abacus. They’ll work with the professional service team to create your own library of personalized forms and document templates.
AbacusLaw syncs with Outlook to increase your productivity and keep you organized. The call manager tracks all phone messages to help ensure clients receive a prompt response, which is so important. AbacusLaw has its own built in employee only messaging, to help improve the productivity of your firm. Of course, AbacusLaw can be configured to run on virtually any modern computer system.
A companion program to AbacusLaw is AbacusLaw Accounting and it’s a full featured legal billing and accounting program and it integrates seamlessly. You can automatically capture all of your time and bill your clients with just one click. AbacusLaw Accounting generates very professional polished invoices for any fee arrangement and billing schedule.
Option #3: Abacus Private Cloud
We’ve talked about mobility but mobility also goes hand in hand with security. We want our data to be accessible but it also has to be secure. Every day, we hear about a new virus or a new hacker attack, so how secure is your data? If you have an in-house IT infrastructure, your own server and workstations, then you have to maintain that infrastructure. Your server has to be up to date. You need to have backups. You need a disaster recovery plan. You need to ensure the security of your server and your PCs. You have to make sure all service packs are applied and Windows updates are current. That’s a lot of management for you to do.
Well, now you can never worry about backups, power failures, software updates, or viruses. Private Cloud is fully managed and secure. You can run all of the applications you use right now in Private Cloud, it is application agnostic.
What is a Private Cloud?
- Private Cloud is a complete hosted IT infrastructure, and your server and virtual workstations exist in a hosted server farm
- Private Cloud means that your data is never intermingled with another firm’s data
- Private Cloud is a virtual workspace you can access on any device, anywhere, any time
- Private Cloud is managed for you 24/7
- Private Cloud eliminates the IT management and burden that have traditionally been your responsibility with in-house infrastructure
Private Cloud maximizes your firm’s performance. You can concentrate on the practice of law, not managing your IT resources.
Why Private Cloud?
- Private Cloud reduces your admin burden
- Private Cloud increases your efficiency. Be a legal professional, not an IT professional
- Private Cloud allows you to budget your IT cost more effectively
- Private Cloud enhances the security of your data
- Private Cloud is fully encrypted, private and lowers your costs
- Private Cloud gives you enterprise security and service without the high cost
- Private Cloud is fully mobile, anywhere, any time, all you need is an Internet connection
- Private Cloud is fully customizable for your firm.
So, how do you migrate? In this webinar, we’ve seen some great options for your firm. One, upgrade to Amicus Attorney 2016. Two, migrate to AbacusLaw and AbacusLaw Accounting. Three, whatever your decision, Amicus or Abacus, move your firm to Private Cloud for the latest in accessibility, security, and peace of mind.