The Australia-based legal technology company InfoTrack, which also operates in the United States, has acquired a majority interest in LawToolBox, a Denver, Colo., company founded in 1998 that provides legal calendaring and deadline management software.

Although declining to disclose terms of the deal, the husband-and-wife owners of LawToolBox, CEO Jack Grow and VP of Marketing and Sales Carol Lynn Grow, told me during a call this morning that they retain a significant stake in the company and will continue to run it as an autonomous unit within InfoTrack.

Offering deadline and calendaring rule sets for courts throughout the United States, LawToolBox integrates with a number of practice management platforms and is known for its robust integration with Microsoft Office 365.

LawToolBox principals Carol Lynn Grow and Jack Grow

InfoTrack, founded in Australia by Christian Beck in 2012, expanded into the U.S. in 2016, where it offers a variety of search services for searching title and property information, state company filings, UCC reports, and court dockets. It also offers electronic filing services in six states and an online business-formation service.

InfoTrack is owned by Beck’s company Australian Technology Innovators Pty Limited, which also owns the law practice management companies LEAP Legal Software and Smokeball, as well as a number of other affiliated companies in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.

This was InfoTrack’s second U.S. legal technology acquisition in recent months. On March 3, it announced its acquisition of One Legal, a California provider of online litigation support services such as court filing, service of process, and document retrieval.

In a prepared statement today, Stephen Wood, executive chairman of the InfoTrack group of companies, said:

“We are excited to partner with LawToolBox with their legal calendaring and deadline management offering, and award-winning apps for Microsoft 365. LawToolBox shares our vision of providing a single platform that allows law firms and practitioners to manage all their litigation matters from within their practice management system to seamlessly integrate data and augment InfoTrack’s end-to-end workflow integration solutions. LawToolBox’s nationwide offering will significantly enhance InfoTrack’s existing capabilities, which include the U.S. market’s most comprehensive range of court filing, court syncing and process serving services.”

LawToolBox CEO Grow told me that this investment will allow his company to broaden its library of rulesets, deepen its integration with Microsoft 365, and enhance the API through which it integrates with a number of legal technology partners.

“It makes us a stronger, better partner for any of our API and integration partners,” Grow said. “We’ll deliver better and deeper content and we’ll put more resources into our API to make it faster and more powerful.”

Platforms with which LawToolBox integrates include Actionstep, Centerbase, Clio, DocuSign, Ingram Micro, LexisNexis, Needles, Practice Panther, Rocket Matter, TrialWorks and ZolaSuite.

InfoTrack also integrates with a number of partner companies, including Actionstep, Aderant, Clio, iManage, LEAP, NetDocuments, Smokeball, Thomson Reuters Elite, and Worldox.

LawNext Episode 72: Managing Legal Matters with Microsoft Teams

As legal technology companies step up to the plate and offer free products and services to help the legal community get through this time of crisis, LawToolBox is extending an offer that can help get firms up and running on effectively managing all their matters through Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams.

LawToolBox is legal calendaring and deadline management software that integrates with a number of platforms. But through its integration with Office 365 Teams, it effectively becomes a full matter management suite for litigation groups, combining matter-level calendaring, document management, collaboration, contacts and more.

As legal teams struggle to adapt to new ways of working, LawToolBox today said it is aiming to help them do that through a three part offer that combines next-day onboarding, training through webinars and direct calls, and free access both to its software and Office 365.

Next-Day Onboarding

LawToolBox says it is offering a next-day service to onboard law firms to work from home using LawToolBox matter management for Microsoft Teams. This onboarding offer includes the training and free access discussed below.

Licenses to LawToolBox and Office 365 

For firms needing financial assistance during this time, LawToolBox is offering free access for three months to its Matter Management for Microsoft 365 Powered by Teams. It is also waiving onboarding fees.

In addition, for firms that do not already have Office 365 and need financial assistance, LawToolBox will help them obtain six months of free access to the Office 365 Enterprise 1 version. (After the free period expires, the cost would be $8 per user per month.)

The E1 version includes the full suite of Web-based Office apps and business services, but not the desktop apps. It includes email, file storage and sharing, meetings, and instant messaging.

Webinars and Training

To help firms get running and help with onboarding, it is offering a series of three daily training webinars:

WEBINAR 1: Get Your Entire Law Firm Working Effectively from Home on LawToolBox & Microsoft Teams by Tomorrow – RSVP.
11-11.30 a.m. CT, daily, preview video
Step-by-step “how to” webinar/demo – setting up Teams and working from home on your first day.

After this webinar, there will be a follow-up 10 minute call with an onboarding specialist to help get your firm set up.  You can use this link to schedule a call.

WEBINAR 2: Onboarding Workshop – Adding Matter Management inside Teams and Outlook – RSVP
12-12.30 p.m. CT, daily.
Designed for IT, office admins and/or work-from-home coordinators, this session will provide a walk-through of how to configure matter management in Teams, Outlook and mobile and will assist firms in completing activation.

WEBINAR 3: Matter Management and Collaboration in Teams and Outlook RSVP
1-1.30 p.m. CT, daily
Calendaring, pinning tabs for legal practice management and other apps, document collaboration in Teams for SharePoint or with other document management systems, calls, chat, meetings via Teams, external calls and meetings via Zoom, attaching Outlook contacts to matters, advanced Teams for pros, guest speakers.

For firms that need additional or extended tech support in getting set up to work from home, the company said it would make its best efforts to connect them with one of its Microsoft partners that is also offering discounted services.

“Our mission in confronting this pandemic is to help our partners, existing customers and prospects with a ‘next day’ program to get law firms up and running and working remotely using a combination of LawToolBox and Microsoft Teams,” Carol-Lynn Grow, the company’s co-owner and VP of marketing, said in an email.

 

Legal professionals can now calculate and manage court deadlines from within Microsoft Teams, Microsoft’s workplace collaboration software, with the release this week by court deadline calculator LawToolBox of its Deadline App for Microsoft Teams.

This new app for Teams builds on the functionality of the company’s app LawToolBox365 Office for Legal, which is an Outlook add-in that integrates with Office 365 to enable legal professionals to manage court deadlines entirely from within Outlook. With the teams app, users can jump back and forth between Teams and Outlook to manage the same matters.

Jack Grow, president of LawToolBox, told me last week that Teams is becoming a popular collaboration tool at larger law firms. Adoption is likely to increase even more following Microsoft’s announcement last week that it now offers a free version of Teams for organizations of up to 300 people.

The Teams app is identical to the Outlook app in its functionality. Members of a team can work in either Outlook or Teams, based on their own preferred workflows. Among the tasks that users can perform within Teams:

  • Calculate litigation and administrative deadlines based on applicable rules.
  • Add, update and remove case-specific deadlines. Update team member Outlook calendars as deadlines and users change.
  • View, email and share deadlines for a matter, user, team or firm-wide.
  • Filter by recent matters, user matters, firm matters, or matter name.
  • View analytics showing average length of matters and motions.
  • Use Microsoft Power BI to analyze relationships with co-workers.
  • Search files in Microsoft SharePoint using key words and phrases.

The app includes the ability to display analytics on both matters and motions. For matters, you can retrieve statistics on the average length of a matter in the venue or ruleset for that matter.

You can see the statistics at three levels: across all of LawToolBox on an anonymized basis, across all matters in your firm, and for any matters that has been shared to you. Motion analytics give you the average length of a motion, from date of filing until the date of the order, in the venue or ruleset for that matter.

For either of these sets of analytics, you can see the statistics at three levels: across all of LawToolBox on an anonymized basis, across all matters in your firm, and for any matters that has been shared to you.

“This integration with Microsoft Teams is a powerful and crucial step in our mission to help good attorneys become great attorneys, and to deliver next-generation deadline management tools for law firms and corporate legal departments,” Grow said in a statement announcing the app.

Read more about it at the LawToolBox website. Information on subscription pricing for the Office 365 edition of LawToolBox can be found here.

The deadline calculator application LawToolBox is in the running for a 2017 Office App People’s Choice Award — notable because, of the nine apps in contention, it is the only one designed for legal professionals.

The People’s Choice Award is given to the Microsoft Office 365 add-in or app that receives the most votes. Deadline for voting is Sept. 22.

The award is part of the broader 2017 Office APP Awards, where Microsoft recognizes the best of add-ins and apps developed by its partners.

LawToolBox is in the running for its LawToolBox365 add-in for Office 365. A blog post announcing the awards describes it this way:

LawToolBox is an all-in-one court rules provider, custom deadline template provider, and deadline management system that offers solutions for law firms and legal departments to automatically calculate deadlines for matters or projects based on the rules of civil procedure for state and federal courts in all 50 states.

If you want to cast a vote for LawToolBox, you can do so here.

LawToolBox365

This week is the Microsoft Ignite conference for IT professionals in Atlanta, Ga., and one legal-specific app will be honored there from out of the over 1,700 apps and add-ins available through the Office Store.

The legal calendaring and docketing application LawToolBox365 has won a Microsoft 2016 Office App Award, which it will receive at the app awards session on Sept. 29. At that point, the company will also learn the category it won for.

In addition, LawToolBox365 has been selected as one of nine nominees for the Microsoft People’s Choice Award. Voting is taking place this week and the winnter will also be announced Sept. 29.

You can cast your vote by going to www.aka.ms/voteappawards.

LawToolBox365 is an Outlook add-in that is integrated with Office 365, enabling legal professionals to manage court deadlines entirely from within Outlook.

I wrote about it in more detail last June.

LawToolBox365
Calculate deadlines directly from information in emails.

LawToolBox, the online, rules-based deadline calculator that I reviewed in some depth in 2013, today is announcing that its LawToolBox365 — which brings rules-based calendaring and matter-based deadlines directly into Microsoft Outlook — is now available to the legal market as part of a bundle with Microsoft Office 365.

In partnership with Ingram Micro, the largest Microsoft Office 365 distributor in the U.S. and worldwide, LawToolBox365 is being offered as an add-on for legal, bundled into the Office 365 purchase process, as well as a la carte for firms that already have an Office 365 subscription.

The bundle is available to law firms and corporate legal departments through authorized resellers. Resellers can purchase it through the Ingram Cloud Marketplace. LawToolBox will be the first company that sells exclusively to the legal market to be listed in the Cloud Marketplace’s legal vertical.

Subscription packages are available for both law firms and legal departments, either as monthly or annual pre-paid subscriptions. The packages work with all versions of Office 365, except Office 365 Home editions. LawToolBox365 also works with Office 365 for iPad and Office 365 with Outlook on Mac (on premise and in the cloud).

An Outlook Add-In

Although LawToolBox has long integrated with Outlook through an Office 365 app, the integration was one way, requiring all calculations and changes to be made through the LawToolBox website, after which the app would add the dates to the Outlook calendar.

But recently, the company launched LawToolBox365, an add-in that creates a much more robust integration that resides entirely within Office 365. According to the company, 70 percent of law firms rely on Outlook to manage case deadlines. So enabling deadline calculations and calendaring directly within Outlook is significant.

As I reported here in April, LawToolBox365 enables users to calculate, view and share deadlines directly within Outlook. One cool feature is the ability to calculate and recalculate deadlines directly from emails, including from PACER emails. Deadlines you calculate using this add-in are also added to your case-management system if it has two-way sync to Outlook.

With the add-in, three new buttons are added to the Outlook ribbon bar that enable users to work with deadlines:

  • Calculate Deadlines. This button enables users to quickly calculate deadlines based on state and federal court rules for all 50 states. Select a state, a court rule set, and a trigger date and the deadlines are calculated and added to Outlook.
  • Share Deadlines. This button permits a user to share case deadlines internally to Outlook calendars and externally to Google, Outlook, iCal and Lotus Notes calendars.
  • View Deadlines. This button gives attorneys one-click access to deadline reports for their matters and gives law firms a centralized and matter-centric management system of deadlines, all within Outlook.

When drafting an email, the attorney is able to pull up a deadline chart for a matter and insert all or selected deadlines into the email. The add-in also enables users to insert boilerplate language about calendar events directly into an email message. This is useful to insert standard language in an email to a client about a deposition or to opposing counsel about a meet and confer, for example.

If a court’s deadline rules change for one of your matters, LawToolBox notifies you and can automatically recalculate all the deadlines.

Getting More Information

For resellers interested in learning more about the LawToolBox365 bundles, LawToolBox has added a resellers page to its website with information and links. To learn more about LawToolBox365 itself, visit this page.

Below is a video that provides more information on LawToolBox365 bundled with Office 365. A separate video for resellers is available on the resellers’ page mentioned above.

LawToolBox365

LawToolBox is an online, rule-based deadline calculator that I reviewed in some depth in 2013. Ever since 2013, it has integrated with Microsoft Outlook through an Office 365 app. But the integration was one way, meaning that all calculations and changes had to be made through the LawToolBox website, after which they would be automatically added to an Outlook calendar.

Now, LawToolBox is preparing to launch a new, more robust integration called LawToolBox365, which will be an add-in for Outlook 2013 and 2016 that will reside entirely within Office 365.  It will be available for purchase in late May.

This matter-based court deadline solution inside Outlook will be designed for law firms and legal departments and will work with all small business and enterprise versions of Office 365 that include Outlook online or on premise, ranging from Exchange Online all the way up to Microsoft’s Office 365 Enterprise 5 which includes voice with Cloud PBX.

Because LawToolBox deadlines can be added to Outlook or Google calendars, and because most case-management systems also have two-way sync to Outlook or Google calendars, LawToolBox deadlines in Office 365 will work with any case management system using Outlook or Google as a bridge.

This post was a LitigationWorld Pick of the Week.

At the recent ABA Techshow in Chicago, Carol Lynn Grow, VP sales and marketing at LawToolBox, gave me a preview of LawToolBox365. She told me that as law firms expand their adoption of Office365, LawToolBox is continuing to focus substantial internal resources into aligning its products with Microsoft products. For example, as new features and functions such as “buttons in the ribbon” and “compose mode” are being rolled out inside Outlook 2016, LawToolBox is leveraging these new features when contextually relevant to the calculation and management of deadlines.

The new add-in will enable users to calculate, view and share deadlines directly within Outlook. One very cool feature is the ability to calculate deadlines directly from emails, including from PACER emails. If, for example, you receive an email from the court notifying you that a trial date has been set, you can simply highlight the email text, select the appropriate court rule set, and calculate all relevant deadlines, directly from within Outlook. The deadlines can then be added to your Outlook calendar and shared with others via email.

In addition to selling LawToolBox365 directly, Grow said that it will also be offered through the Microsoft Partner Channel.

 

Nothing causes lawyers more sleepless nights than fear of missed deadlines. Just one ill-timed lapse can let a statute of limitations run out or a filing deadline pass. For that reason, tools that help you calculate and calendar deadlines are invaluable.

One such tool is LawToolBox.com. It claims to have been the first online, rule-based deadline calculator, and it backs up that claim with a patent it applied for in 1999. However, until relatively recently, the Denver-based company kept a low national profile, in part because it was gathering the various court rule sets that would allow it to offer its product nationally. Currently, its rule sets cover all state and federal trial courts and some appellate courts.

LTB5
LawToolBox integrates with Outlook (click for larger view).

A key feature of LawToolBox is that it combines the advantages of a cloud-based system with tight desktop integration via Microsoft Outlook. Because the service is cloud-based, you can access it anywhere, from any device, and it is always kept up to date with rules changes, without requiring local software updates. And because it integrates with Outlook, you get to track deadlines and receive notifications just as you already do. (The LawToolBox folks say that 70 percent of lawyers rely on Outlook as their exclusive calendaring system.)

LawToolBox also integrates with LexisNexis Time Matters and with Google Calendar. But the majority of the company’s customers — primarily litigators in firms ranging in size from solo to large — use the Outlook integration.

Outlook Integration

LawToolBox integrates with Outlook using add-in software called Integrated Deadlines. The initial set-up of a case is always done online through the company’s website. Set up requires someone — a lawyer or paralegal — to enter the basic case information, select the venue, and enter a trigger event, such as the date the complaint was served or the date the trial begins.

LTB email reminder
Emails remind you of deadlines (click for larger view).

Once the trigger is set, LawToolBox calculates all the deadlines and generates a detailed deadline chart that shows each deadline as well as the authority on which it is based. This chart can be downloaded and saved to your desktop.

For users who opt for Outlook integration, the deadlines are automatically added to their Outlook calendars. Users can set options for how these are displayed. Deadlines can show as all-day events in your calendar, as tasks on your task list, or both. Specific scheduled events, such as depositions and court appearances, can be scheduled as appointments. Users can also customize when and how event reminders appear within Outlook.

In addition to calendaring deadlines, LawToolBox sends email reminders. Many of these reminders include brief practice tips about the particular deadline and links to the applicable rule. Here again, you can choose whether or not to receive these email reminders.

Note that the integration is one way only. Changes to deadlines cannot be made within Outlook, but must be entered through the website.

Other Features

Some of the other features of LawToolBox include:

  • Create your own deadline templates. If your firm has developed its own deadline template for specific types of cases, these can be important into and used within LawToolBox.
  • Share cases. You can designate which attorneys and support staff in your office have access to a case. Each user is able to individually customize preferences for integration and reminders. If a user is removed from a case, all synchronized events are removed from the user’s calendar.
  • Transfer cases. If an attorney leaves the firm, the case deadlines can be transferred to another attorney within the firm. Alternatively, the departing attorney can take the case to the new firm, without paying another set-up fee.
  • Deadline customization. Deadlines can be calculated and customized to match the specific requirements of a case. Thus, if a court enters an order modifying or setting deadlines, LawToolBox can make the necessary calculations and changes.
  • Reports of deadlines. Various custom reports are available, showing deadlines for the firm, a case, an attorney or a paralegal. Typically, LawToolBox generates and emails a deadline summary report every Friday, covering the following week or month.
  • History tracking. LawToolBox maintains a history of your activity, showing who created or modified a deadline and when it was done.

The company offers free support for the first 30 days, after which support calls are free for the first 10 minutes and then charged at $95 an hour. It provides a set of free video tutorials that cover most aspects of its use.

Pricing

Unlike many cloud-based services, which are priced on a subscription basis, LawToolBox charges by the case. LawToolBox gives new customers a price quote that may vary in its details. Typically, however, a firm will pay a discounted rate of $49.50 per case for the first three weeks, after which the per-case cost becomes $69. In addition, to use the add-on that enables synchronization with Outlook, there is a per-user monthly charge that ranges from $10 for a single user to $3 for 26 or more users.

If a firm uses its own custom rule set, then the price is reduced to $17.50 per case.

This per-case pricing offers two benefits. One is that it allows the firm to pass the cost through to the client, so that the firm actually pays nothing for the service. The other is that it makes the service portable; if you move to another firm, you do not pay a second time to set up the cases you take with you.

One other note on pricing: If you settle or close the case within 60 days of setting it up, the fee is refunded.

Bottom Line

For lawyers who are involved in litigation, a deadline calculator does more than help you sleep at night. It also helps you avoid malpractice and, in many cases, save on the cost of your malpractice premium. There are various calendaring  products out there; some I’ve covered include JuraLaw, DocketLaw, and Deadlines.com (formerly Deadlines on Demand). With its per-case pricing, cloud accessibility, and tight integration with Outlook, LawToolBox is worth investigating. The company offers a free trial or you can view some of its video tutorials to get a better sense of how it works.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced legal professionals to work remotely, many are scrambling to find the best tools and technology to help them manage their legal matters and continue to closely collaborate with their colleagues. While many law firms already use Microsoft Office 365, fewer are as familiar with its core collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams.

Our guests for this episode of LawNext believe that Teams is a powerful tool for lawyers working from home and one that can effectively serve as a full matter-management platform for law firms and legal departments, entirely within Office 365. They are:

Ammerlaan and Grow will explain why they see Teams as a powerful tool and discuss how lawyers can use Teams for collaboration, conferencing and case management.

As a supplement to this episode, Ammerlaan and Grow recorded a video demonstrating the features and capabilities of Teams for legal professionals.

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