Friday, August 17, 2012

Can Technology Threaten Law Firm Productivity?

How To Ensure Practice Management Software Helps Rather Than Hinders Your Law Firm’s Productivity


The verb to clutter is defined as "covering with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness."

Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute have proven that when our environment is cluttered and chaotic, it restricts our ability to focus. Our brains aren't able to process information as well and we become distracted — disabling us from working as well as we would in an organized environment.
As a lawyer who deals with a multitude of tasks, desk space could easily become a breeding ground for clutter. For some, random piles of paper, file folders and post-it notes cover every square inch, leaving little space to work — much less work effectively.
A cluttered environment encourages distraction, ineffective multitasking, procrastination and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

But the danger zone isn't limited to the physical work space …

The Invasion of Techno-Clutter …

These days there's an app for absolutely everything. Legal professionals certainly know this better than most. With an endless menu of legal apps available on the market, our computer's desktop can very quickly become a victim of Techno-Clutter.

In a law practice, specialized software is certainly a necessity. Among many other things, you need an efficient way of storing client information, scheduling appointments, tracking billable hours and billing for time worked.

The challenge arises when you require multiple applications to accomplish these tasks. Your desktop will soon become a chaotic hodgepodge of icons and open windows, making it very difficult to stay focused and organized.

Having to use multiple applications brings other inconveniences as well:

1. You need the proper technology (hardware) to run these different applications.
2. You need the money to purchase all the different applications and technology.
3. You need the time to learn how to use these applications and get the real benefit from them.

What if there is an application that doesn't require any new hardware?

What if that application incorporates the most useful practice management tools into one place?

What if this application could seamlessly integrate into Microsoft Outlook — a tool as familiar to you as the back of your hand?

And what if you could easily download the application in minutes, for FREE?

Credenza is this unique tool that combines matter management, document management, calendaring, contact management, e-mail, time tracking, billing, tasks and much much more into a single interface that runs in Outlook!

Credenza is a peerless practice management tool that enables you and your firm to share information in a familiar interface. And it does it all without a server. A revolutionary "hybrid cloud" technology allows multiple users to connect to the same team, no matter where they are in the world. By using information you already have in Outlook and hyper secure Microsoft Azure technology, Credenza lets you log an e-mail onto a client file from your desk while your partner books an appointment from theirs. No extra hardware, no extra software, Outlook and an Internet connection is all you need.

Download Credenza for Free Today!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Who You Going to Call?

The quality and timeliness of client communications has a big impact on the success of your firm. While today’s advanced technology lets us shoot off replies via text, email, tweets and more, we can’t ignore the importance of the phone call. It is an effective tool for client communications, especially when you aren’t able to set up a face-to-face meeting.

One key component of a phone call is the follow-up. In particular, staying on top of callbacks by tracking details such as when a message was left, whether there were any action items and most importantly, have you returned the call. To ensure that I stay current with my callbacks, I set aside an hour or two each day to deal with them, but with so much going on in a day, how do I know the status of each callback?

Well, with Credenza, it is effortless! You can simply filter your phone call list to just show callbacks. These include callbacks that you have created or messages taken by other team members and assigned to you.

 Simply select “Phone Calls” on the left-hand menu. Then, on the screen that appears, go to the ‘Show’ menu and select “All Callbacks” from the drop-down list. You can also specify what user/group you want to see the callbacks for, however callbacks will only appear if they have been assigned to a matter that you share with the selected Team Member/group.

Voila! A list of phone calls you need to return. It’s never been easier to stay on top of client communications than with your Credenza.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Basic Search

A while back I talked about the Team Search feature (which provides the ability to instantly search in full-text across your team database). But did you know that there is also a feature in Credenza that helps you search for items when you already know what module they are located in. Read on to find out more!
Usually my memory is pretty sharp- I can remember details about projects I’ve worked on, articles I’ve read and the name of the singer who was kicked off American Idol in the third week of the 8th season. But sometimes the steel trap that is my mind needs a little help in recalling minute details… and that’s where Credenza comes in.

Credenza includes module specific searches for Files, Phone Calls, Time/Expenses and Billing. Within each module, your search parameters change according to what you are looking in. So let’s say that you would like to search in your Files module: you can choose to search on Name, Summary, Referral Source, Other Text & Memo Fields, and All Common Fields.

So how do you get to this basic search? Easy! If you are in your Outlook inbox, simply click the “Search Credenza” button in the top toolbar to begin.  From there, you will be able to select the module you would like to search from the pop-up menu that appears (that is, if you’re not already in that module). Once the search menu has appeared, simply fill in the information you are looking for and select what item you would like to “Search In.”

If you don’t want the search option showing up again for the rest of your session in Credenza, you can just turn it off by clicking the “Search Credenza” button again, or clicking the ‘X’ in the far right corner.

Your mind is one of your best tools, but it may drop the ball from time to time. Let Credenza pick it up with the Basic Search – find exactly what you are looking for, when you need it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Everything in Order

It is always important to know where you stand with regards to your practice. Are deadlines being met? Have time entries been created and the corresponding invoices sent out? Are you up to date on your communications with every client?

I use Credenza for all of these reasons. But there are even more ways this program can provide further insight into your practice. A feature you may have overlooked is the chronology. With the Chronology tab in the Credenza File screen, you can see everything on that file in chronological order.

Sometimes I want to see the work I’ve done for a given time frame and sometimes I want to see just the work I’ve done on a single file. This helps me get a complete picture for any file that I am working on - so I can help provide even better service to my clients.

When I open a file and click on the Chronology tab, a list of everything that has taken place on that file along with all scheduled events or actions is displayed. This includes appointments, time entries, email messages, notes, phone calls…everything listed in the order it was done!

Seeing full details is as easy as clicking on the activity to open it! Plus, Credenza has the ability to filter your Chronology screen as you see fit. You can click on the Date header and have your entries sorted in chronological or reverse-chronological order.

With your Credenza, you will always know where you stand with your practice.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Show Me the Money/Show Them the Money

When I opened my Credenza the other day, I got a notification that a new Credenza update was available, would I like to install it now? Of course I would!
One feature of this update that caught my eye was the ability to customize the appearance of invoices. We’re still dealing with a tough economic climate so I thought it was a good to time to shed more light on the ways Credenza helps you make money!
While invoicing your clients may not be a fun task, it is a necessary one. Credenza makes it easy for you to create an invoice from bills on files, so that you can send them out in a timely manner. Invoices are often one of the final interactions you have with your client and so you obviously want them to look the best that they can.
Adding a logo to your invoices can make them look more professional, as well as provide you with more exposure. I know that not every lawyer has a logo… but that doesn’t mean your invoices can’t look polished.
With the new update, there are a few additional invoice preferences. You can still opt to use just a logo, but now you can input a logo and text (or just text in a fun font!)
Customizing the appearance of your invoices couldn’t be easier. From your main Credenza screen:
  1. Select Credenza Options and click on the Billing tab on the top of the Options box.
  2. Click on “Invoice Options”.
  3. On this screen, you are able to customize many things for invoices (Formatting, Invoice Header, Invoice Footer, and Saving Options).
With this update, you also have the ability to change the title of your invoices. I prefer to call my invoices ‘Bills’ and always wished I could send them out with that heading, and now I can! Bills, accounts, or whatever term you prefer… Credenza lets you change your titles as a new invoice preference.
There are more exciting additions that were included in this update. For complete details, check out the update page at

Thursday, February 9, 2012

See More, Sort More, Do More

Let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world where everything needs to be done yesterday. I know I’m always looking for ways to make my job (and therefore my life) easier. You may have been able to tell from previous posts that I am slightly obsessed with customization (especially in my Credenza). But that’s because it really helps me to streamline my work.
If you like customization as much as I do, you’ll be happy to know that you can add more fields to Credenza list views, so you can filter and group things such as Files. And you can re-order fields as you see fit.
The best part? It is so simple to do! I’ll show you how using Files as an example:
  1. First, click on the Credenza tab in your Outlook.
  2. Select the Files option in the lower left navigation.
  3. Once your Files list appears, right click anywhere on the screen and select Show Fields… on the menu that appears.
  4. A new window will open. On the left is a list of the available field types you can add and on the right is a list showing which fields are already selected to appear in your view. Select the Field(s) you would like to add and click on the > button. Similarly, to remove a field, select it and click on the < button.
  5. To change the order in which fields appear, simply select the field and drag it to the position you prefer or select the item and use the move up or move down commands. You will also be able to change the order in which fields appear right from the Files view. Just drag and drop it to the desired position.
  6. Once you are satisfied, click OK to return your Files view.
Simply follow these easy steps to customize your Credenza and further streamline your work! Fields are listed how you want, where you want. Plus, if the fields you have added no longer suit your needs at some time in the future, it is just as easy to take those fields out as it was to add them!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Reporting on Your Practice: Always Know Where You Stand

In my last post, I talked about how Credenza can help to streamline your practice by aiding with legal research… in my case, helping me actually stick to one of my New Year’s Resolutions. Lucky for me (and you), there are even more ways Credenza simplifies my job - so of course I want to share them with you!

Today we’re going to take a look at Credenza’s report-drafting capabilities. These make it unbelievably easy to see cross-sections and summaries of important practice information.

For example, instead of going from file to file to check if/how many cases I opened in a given month, I can just run one of Credenza’s many reports to give me a summary of what I am looking for. Once you have the data you are seeking, you can easily print it out, save it to Adobe PDF, or export it to Microsoft Excel.

Here is a quick how-to on creating reports through your Credenza:
  1. First, click on the Credenza tab in your Outlook.
  2. Click on the Reports option. This will launch a new window.
  3. In the new window, select from the Files, Time Sheets, Phone Calls, or Billing tabs. Each tab contains more filtering options to choose from, like date ranges, etc. With the Time Sheets tab, you will also be asked what team member you want the information pulled from. This is a great way to see what your group members are doing, or just how busy you’ve been.
  4. Click ‘Run Report.’ The report will then open in a new window within your Outlook
  5. Click on the report’s File tab to print the report, publish it to PDF or to save it in Excel format.
With Credenza’s vast reporting capabilities, you can easily access the data you want, when you want it, where you want it.