If you are a NAELA member see our Article on Video Conferencing for Estates and Elder Law Attorneys in NAELA NEWS. Summer 2016 and NAELA Webinar Spring 2017

  • How firms are using the latest video conferencing to ‘totally change’ their practice
  • What specific video technology is being utilized
  • Who has already implemented video to gain a competitive advantage
    including such well known attorneys as ElderCounsel founder Michael Amoruso, technology champion Stephen Spano, CELA, CAP  and the very effective intra office set-up of Marshall, Parker and Weber.



The following IMO is a good example of the power and flexibility of Time Matters applied to a common law firm task

I just received a call from our client Hannah who stated,  ‘I have another Excel file for our Mailing List. I need to import and print labels).  So how long would you say that would take, using your system what ever that is ????

We combined ‘concatenated’ first and last in Excel to create a full name, saved to CSV, next in Time Matters created an import template from scratch, imported 726 new Contact records coded as Professionals with a profession of Financial Planner – searched tagged and printed labels.  I noticed on my telephone display the total time was  9 minutes and 15 seconds  Can you do that with your  practice management software?

If you know how to actually use these basic features, I believe you can save boat loads of time and manage your practice far more efficiently.



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Earlier this week we had a quick but violent storm front that knocked out our power. A client server went unaffected due to the attached UPS, however, our own server  took a hit.

Let’s just say that our server had difficulties reviving itself.  Fortunately, we have our disaster recovery ‘Shadow Protect’ configured and this allowed us to quickly restore a very recent server image.  If we needed, we could have restored a virtual image of our server to ‘dis-similar hardware’and run on the virtualized system.  This may even be on a cloud based  system. You can not do that with a basic back-up even if you have a Windows Server  image (that requires similar hardware).

The lesson to be learned is this, backups are not the same as true disaster recovery style virtualized server images.  If, in the event of a fire, theft, flood, storm, plague, or some other act of God, your firm would suffer if it required significant length of time for your server environment to be re-created and then have programs re-installed and then files restored then you should investigate true Disaster Recovery.

Your firm is leaving money on the table if … it doesn’t have an effective follow-up system for a few specific situations.  A potential client who invested their time (and yours) to attend a seminar, workshop or initial meeting but has not yet retained you, is worth additional effort in cultivating a relationship. What are you doing to make it so?

Time Matters is what you make it. The following illustrates how Time Matters (or any software with similar features) may become an effective follow-up system that generates extra revenue for your firm. This revenue is mostly net profit since you already have the people and software you need to make it so.

For example,  Initial Consult Follow-up System

After a consultation simply update the ‘Result_mtg’ field (Select:  Retained, Closed, one of several Follow-up options)

Resulting Workflow:
Trigger an immediate letter
Triggers if NYR Not Yet Retained –  2 week, six week and six month follow-up letters

Document Drafting Quicktab
Documents are quickly assembled using calendar Todo records at 2 and 6 weeks and 6 months.  (Note: In the contact record, the follow-up sequence may be stopped by simply selecting “Follow-up Ended” or changing the code from prospect to client.)

Yes, you have to invest some time to get this set-up, however, if you hire someone on a DFY – done for you basis, you can quickly transition to DIY for variations on this set-up for future follow-up sequences.

Either way you will receive a nice return on your investment in Time Matters.

Image 1 Change to Result of Meeting field – NYR – Fee Quoted
triggers multipe future follow-up letters

NYR Not Yet Retained- Fee Quoted


Image 2 Doc Drafting List – Generate documents in a few seconds with a few clicks


Doc Drafting Quick Tab for Follow-up letters

LPM wordleI recommend lawyers, who are looking at estate practice management systems, look for the following functionality and offer several resources to maximize your time and effectiveness.

A good law practice management (LPM) program for any practice, including estate planning, will enable you to capture and organize all the data you deem relevant. It will use that data in support of merging to document templates, and for generating records automatically under certain conditions and further it will incorporate the data in a set of useful reports that help you manage your calendar, contacts and matters. Your reports should include a quick matter management summary view as well as a more detailed view of all outstanding todo/tasks for each active matter.

Starting with data capture -beyond the basic fields you would benefit by having fields for contact records (prospect/client, advisors, organizations) for mail list management, referral source analysis, prospect tracking and seminar/workshops etc.  Also relevant data fields for Matters (estate planning, probate, estate administration, business, guardianships, real estate, charitable trust or organization, life care planning, VA benefits, tax, Medicaid, Special Needs Planning etc.).

Next your LPM should organize all of the related records both by Contact and by Matter. These records include Calendar Events and Todo/Tasks, plus Notes, Email, Phone, Documents and Billing.  Some systems can even include other records such as Assets, especially if you intend to do funding.

Next LPM should handle Document Management (automatic folder and file naming), full text indexing for full text searching of all of your files ( doc, pdf, xls, etc .) and Document Assembly – short routine letters and longer advanced merge type documents (check out WealthCounsel and Elder Counsel).  You should be able to go paperless with features for scanning to pdf and saving into your LPM programs document management system

Next LPM will support automatic workflow to auto generate one or more records automatically under certain conditions.  Generally when you add a record or change a field in a record you should be able to define what records pop-up automatically – think appointment confirmation letter or email, referral thank you letter or email, or a chain of all of the estate admin deadlines over the next year or so for certain an estate admin matters.

Next you should have reports to measure and manage by objective and to manage by exception. Reports that track actual activity against your objectives include  ‘calls to consults’ and ‘consults to new retainers’,  also a ‘cash flow’ report for future and past activity on events with the number $meetings total of fees; also track monthly new matters by type and compare this year to last year to identify trends. Management by exception might include something like a list of ‘Past due Todo’s’.

In addition to the core features listed above the LPM system should link, synch and integrate ‘seamlessly’ with other programs and devices such as your  word processing, email, pdf programs, scanners, smart phones and other devices.

Just because a particular system has added a feature doesn’t necessarily mean that they have implemented that feature well.  For example, a system may allow adding your own data fields, but if data fields for one matter type appear along with all the other fields from other matter types then it may be cumbersome and won’t be used.   Or if a system has document management, but requires too many steps to name, save and maybe upload the document or scanned file, than again it won’t be useful.

Take a long term view and know that your needs will change.  Be careful not to get locked in to a system that might be hard to get your documents and other records exported out of should need to change in the future.   The best and cheapest solution is to do it right the first time. Be sure to do your homework and get an external  advisor to guide you thru the process. Some systems may be easy to start but may be less than ideal as a long term solution.   Finally, be aware that many older yet proven LPM systems (traditionally existing in a Windows based onsite network) are now available in a hosted/cloud environment accessed easily from any MAC or Windows based device. Someof these systems have tools that allow features to be transferred so that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel.

Other Recommended Resources for an Estate Planning practice:

Organizations to investigate NAELA, Elderlaw Answers, Special Needs Alliance , in support of your firms estate planning services .

A great audio on managing your estate planning practice from the leader of one of the most successful firms

A dated but timeless article for annuitizing your estate planning services by Victor Medina

As a an external guide of a lawyer/law firm that is great example of a successful refugee from  Biglaw

(left a 2,800 lawyer firm) I offer Ben Neiberger’s firm http://www.generationlaw.com/

Finally -line up your experienced trail guide for your journey. (aka Premier Software)

All the best,

Tom Caffrey
Premier Software

If there are any trusts and estates practitioners out there who use <system name> with your practice, would be interested in learning how you use it.

I see the applicability to litigation, but am interested to see whether it can significantly help with workflow for drafting plans, trust administration, probate, etc.

Coming from BigLaw, we used no case management software or CRM software at all (I kid you not – DMS only), so I’m struggling a little bit with the “what would I actually use it for” question.

So, do you use it, and what do you use it for and how does that help?

Time Matters for Marketing and Mailing List Management
Premier Software’s Videomail list management and marketing using Time Matters
Use of Features: Working with Lists, Fields, Search (Filter), Select (Tag), Saved Tag List, Sort, Send to Excel, Print Labels, Saved Tag List, Process Send Email to Selected List

For Support Call or Email…Today!
Tel.      (856) 429-3010 or Email:  support@premiersoftware.com


Attorney Ben Neiberger, who operates a successful elder law practice in Chicago land,
on keys to marketing to other lawyers and, at the 2 minute mark, importance of using practice mangement software – Time Matters.  A few years back Ben became a solo after having worked in a 2,800 lawyer firm.  (Tip of the hat to James Campbell of Integrity Marketing for directing me to this Youtube video).

See the Youtube video here

Tablet/Smartphone Dictation Solution: How to Cut the Tape by Making Your Tablet or Smart Phone… Smarter

Re-Posted from Original on November 14, 2012 by tcaffrey

Tablet/Smartphone Dictation Solution:
Here’s an everyday problem that Premier’s John Papasadora (JP) recently helped to solve by taking an existing smartphone or tablet and adding some apps and add-ons. Now just about every lawyer in a 20 lawyer firm uses this new way, every day.

Using an inexpensive ($20.00) app for either an Apple iOS or Android device, using Dictamous or Dictadroid,  mobile smartphone users can employ their smartphone or iPad to capture a voice file and have it saved automatically to their drop box dictation folder, and automatically notify the appropriate support staff.  There are options including an app for the PC and usb connected foot pedal for the person transcribing the voice file.

Your dictation can now be completed by the time you return to the office.
Very convenient, very cost effective, our lawyer clients love it…

If you want to totally replace a proprietary digital dictation device and simply use your smartphone or tablet, contact Premier – we can show you how.
(856 429-3010 or support@premiersoftware.com )