Lexis Readies New Practice Management Tool

Sometime in the first quarter of 2011, LexisNexis will introduce the beta version of a Web-based practice-management application designed for smaller-firm lawyers called LexisNexis Firm Manager. The application has been in development and private beta for a number of months and Lexis is now preparing to open it to an invitation-only public beta.

I’ll provide more about how you can participate in the public beta later in this post, but first let me tell you a bit more about the product.

Last June, Lexis invited me to be part of a 15-person advisory board to provide feedback on the product’s development. The other members of the board were mostly lawyers from solo and small firms and legal clinics. (We received no compensation for our participation, although I did receive reimbursement for air and hotel to travel to one board meeting.)

For several months now, the advisory board has had access to a private beta site. We offered feedback on the site through periodic web conferences and surveys. More recently, other lawyers were also invited to participate in the private beta.

I am going to hold off on providing a full review of the product until I am able to devote more time to using it. Let me mention a few key features.

A ‘Dashboard View’ of Your Practice

The Firm Manager web site provides an overview of the product. It is a browser-based practice-management tool, from which you can manage all of your cases, contacts, appointments, meetings, tasks and messages.

A nice feature is the application’s “dashboard view.” The product is designed to let you see a quick overview of key information right from the home page and then easily navigate to sections that provide greater detail.

Because Firm Manager is Web-based, you can access it from any computer at any location. Lexis is promising 99.9% uptime for Firm Manager, as well as world-class security for your data. Firm Manager can synchronize with Microsoft Outlook and will be optimized for use on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and iPad.

Another nice feature is that lawyers will be able to sign up for Firm Manager on a month-to-month basis will no long-term commitment. Monthly pricing will be flat-fee, all-you-can eat. You can cancel at any time and then have up to six months to retrieve any data you’ve stored.

Final pricing has not been set. During the public beta period, there will be no charge to use Firm Manager.

Participate in Public Beta

As a member of the advisory board, I am able to invite interested lawyers to participate in the public beta. As I said earlier, the public beta will start sometime in the first quarter of 2011.

To register, visit http://www.myfirmmanager.com/sign-up-101KS-962DL.html and add my name to the comments field. As I understand it, this will give you priority access to the public beta version.

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  • Interesting development.The cloud practice management solutions are becoming the standard for small law and it looks like the big boys have conceded and are joining the party.

    It will be interesting to see how AdvologixPM, Clio, RocketMatter etc. react…

  • Rob

    Will it be as user friendly as InterAction? 😛

  • A problem with giants like Westlaw and Lexis crossing their primary models (research) to encompass broader services — affects firm negotiating position with multi-million dollar legal research (and other) contracts since these services often include citations of cases and other materials linked directly (with some, unique) to that vendor. This was a problem with the old KM offerings from Lexis and Westlaw and even current terrific products like the Monitor Suites from West.

    But it seems like a trend – be everything to everyone, and in the process, concentrate power in and reliance on one provider, lessening client’s negotiating position and choices.

  • Danny,

    This announcement comes as no surprise. West has been investigating the SaaS market for over a year now as well. The market over the next two years will become over saturated with products like these. They are supper easy to develop. A database, calendar widget and a few web forms form the core of these products. I don’t any of us that provide Legal Practice Management products are worried.

    Practice management is so much more than a calendar and a collection of matter centric linked files. Information storage isn’t Practice Management.

    RealPractice, OnIt and HighRise offer pretty much the same thing. RealPractice and OnIt are free and HighRise is just $5 dollars a month. I see no value add here other than web accessibility to your data. That is if you are comfortable with having your data stored in a data center.

    I guess if you use 2-3 different applications now then adding one more wouldn’t be to much bother. If you have the time that is.

    The differentiators in this space are the products that provide a streamlined workflow, data collection, document management, document assembly, contact management, email management, billing, invoicing, group calendaring and scheduling, research, tight office tool integration, communication and collaboration all in one product.

    In my opinion, anything less isn’t practical.

    Frank Rivera CEO
    HoudiniESQ.com

  • Frank made a very good point – there are dozens of project management tools out there and it’s not clear from the article how Firm Manager would be different.

    Do you know if the project management workflow will be tightly integrated to law practice workflow? Such feature would make the product more appealing to lawyers.

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