Well, this is enterprising of them.

Following my report earlier this week that LexisNexis Firm Manager will go dark on Oct. 31, another practice management company announced that it will offer free subscriptions to Firm Manager’s customers.

Case.one says it will provide a free subscription for a period equivalent to the remainder of the Firm Manager customer’s contract term, up to a maximum of one year. During this introductory period, clients will not be charged anything, including no costs for data storage, onboarding, data migration, customization or training. Case.one offers 24/7 customer support to assist with the transition.

“Firm Manager’s departure from the market is unsettling news for its customers,” said Bahar Ansari, cofounder of Case.one. “We strongly believe that a law firm’s operation cannot pause due to a vendor’s decision to focus on other products. Our goal is to help those firms transition smoothly to a cloud solution with as little disruption as possible, while keeping their client data securely protected.”

Case.one is a fairly new practice management platform that debuted in January. As I wrote at the time, it offers a twist on the typical pricing model. Rather than charge a monthly subscription fee, it charges by the case — 99 cents per active case per month for the standard plan, which includes 1GB per case file storage. It also offers a free plan that is limited to 20 active matters and 5GB total file storage.

As noted in my post about Firm Manager shutting down, LexisNexis is also offering its customers one-year free licenses to either of its other practice management platforms, Time Matters and PCLaw.

LexisNexis will turn off its Firm Manager practice management platform on Oct. 31, 2017. This follows news reported here in January that LexisNexis was discontinuing sales and suspending development of Firm Manager.

A LexisNexis spokesperson said that the company will continue to support and operate the platform until Oct. 31, but that customers would be advised to export their data from the system in advance of that date.

Firm Manager customers should receive letters notifying them of the closure and providing a customer-service phone number for them to call with any questions or for any assistance.

LexisNexis is offering Firm Manager month-to-month subscribers a free one-year license and maintenance plan on either of its other practice management platforms, Time Matters and PCLaw. The free license runs from April 25, 2017.

Annual subscribers are also eligible for the free license and maintenance plan. In addition, refunds will be given to any annual subscribers who paid during the current 12-month subscription year.

In January, the company said it was discontinuing Firm Manager in order to focus on other products. An email sent in January said:

Wanted to share a recent choice we’ve made to increase investment in a number of key BLSS and LexisNexis® solutions. As we enter 2017, we’re excited about our growth trajectories and various opportunities in our portfolio. As a result of our desire to move even faster, we’ve decided to suspend development of, and are no longer selling, LexisNexis Firm Manager®.

With our existing practice management solutions (PCLaw®, Time Matters® & Juris®) going strong, and the market potential of our Enterprise solutions it’s the smart move to focus our efforts, and I’m excited about what more we’ll do for customers with this increased investment across the portfolio.

The email said that LexisNexis has no plans to sell or sunset its other practice management products, Time Matters, PCLaw and Juris.

LexisNexis first released Firm Manager in 2011.

LexisNexis is discontinuing sales and suspending development of its Firm Manager practice management platform.

The company sent an email yesterday to consultants and others in its partner network notifying them of the news. The email said:

Wanted to share a recent choice we’ve made to increase investment in a number of key BLSS and LexisNexis® solutions. As we enter 2017, we’re excited about our growth trajectories and various opportunities in our portfolio. As a result of our desire to move even faster, we’ve decided to suspend development of, and are no longer selling, LexisNexis Firm Manager®.

With our existing practice management solutions (PCLaw®, Time Matters® & Juris®) going strong, and the market potential of our Enterprise solutions it’s the smart move to focus our efforts, and I’m excited about what more we’ll do for customers with this increased investment across the portfolio.

The email said that the company will continue to support its current customers, but did not elaborate on for how long that would continue.

The email said that LexisNexis has no plans to sell or sunset its other practice management products, Time Matters, PCLaw and Juris.

Practice management has become an increasingly crowded field of legal technology. Firm Manager launched in beta in 2011 but had a rocky start. It was later significantly retooled to make it faster and add new features.

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Firm Manager, the cloud-based practice management platform from LexisNexis, today introduced a new two-tiered subscription model and new features to go along with the new pricing.

Starting today, Firm Manager is offering two subscription prices:

  • The Starter plan, at $29 per user per month, which includes case management, calendar syncing with Google Calendar and Microsoft Office 365, billing, simple trust accounting and document management.
  • The Essentials plan, at $44 per user per month, which includes all of the above, plus role-based permissions, QuickBooks integration, a variety of reports, and customizable templates for intake and workflow checklists.

Previously, Firm Manager had one subscription level for which it charged $44.99 per month for the first user and $29.99 per month for each additional user.

In addition to these new pricing plans, Firm Manager unveiled the new features available under the Essentials plan. They are:

Role-based permissions. This feature allows a firm to control access to different features and functionality within Firm Manager based on a user’s role within the firm. There are three levels of permissions: Admin, in which the user has full access to everything; attorney, in which the user is limited in access to some billing, accounting and reporting features; and staff. in which the user is limited to only the user’s own matters, time keeping and expense tracking.

QuickBooks integration. Firm Manager now integrates with both QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop. The integration allows synchronization of your financial information between the two applications. Anything that happens with regard to an invoice in Firm Manager — payments, discounts, taxes, credits, etc. — is mapped to the firm’s QuickBooks account.

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Checklist templates enable users to track progress on a matter.
Customizable templates. Firm Manager now offers two types of templates: matter-intake templates, to help ensure you collect all necessary information when starting a new matter, and checklist templates, for creating task lists for different types of matters to help ensure you do not miss critical steps.

Firms can create their own templates for whatever practice areas they handle using a variety of generic and practice-specific fields that can be dragged and dropped onto the template creator. Firms can also add their own custom fields.

While some other vendors’ intake templates can be sent to a new client to allow the client to fill them out, Firm Manager does not yet allow this. I was told last week that this functionality is on the product roadmap to be added in the future.

The checklist templates can be used to track progress through the various stages of a matter as well as to track the time spent on a matter against the budget for that matter. When creating a checklist template, the user can assign time and budget estimates for each task. Firm Manager then tracks the actual time spent against the estimates.

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The billing dashboard provides a visual overview of invoices and their status.
Reporting and visualization tools. Firm Manager now includes a set of tools for generating billing and financial reports and visualizations. The platform now also includes the ability to track aged accounts receivable by matter or client.

Other new features recently added to Firm Manager include:

  • The ability to apply a credit or write-off to an invoice.
  • The ability to set up multiple trust accounts.

LexisNexis is calling this new release Firm Manager 2.0 and it is available as of today. For more details on all the features, see the Firm Manager website.

I reported here yesterday that the MyCase practice management platform had added foldering to its document management capabilities. As it turns out, another practice management platform, LexisNexis Firm Manager, also rolled out foldering yesterday.

Firm Manager now allows users to create folders and subfolders and to move folders from one folder to another. Once created, folders can be attached to specific matters or contacts within Firm Manager. Once a folder is attached to a matter or contact, documents added to that folder will automatically be associated with that matter or contact. A folder can later be detached from a matter or contact.

Uploaded documents can be edited directly within Firm Manager through Microsoft Office.

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Firm Manager, the LexisNexis online practice-management platform for solo and small-firm attorneys, rolled out several enhancements yesterday, the most notable of which is in-app document editing. This new feature allows a user to open, edit and save documents from within the Firm Manager application.  The feature works with the Microsoft Office 2013 productivity suite – including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Visio programs.

A second new feature introduced yesterday is an invoice status display alongside the matter view. With this feature, as a user views a matter, the status of the top three paid and unpaid accounts is presented on the screen. The intent is to provide a simple way to stay abreast of client payments and collectibles.

Firm-Manager-invoice-status-display

Firm Manager first came on the market more than three years ago. Earlier this year, LexisNexis essentially scrapped the original version and introduced an all-new version that was much faster and sleeker. After seeing it at Legal Tech New York in February, I described the platform’s improvements as “dramatic.”

In the months since, Firm Manager has also added a “Money Finder” feature (which I described here), a new synchronization feature with Google Calendar, and custom billing and invoicing.

Firm Manager is $44.99 a month for the first user and then $29.99 a month for additional users.

ANOTHER UPDATE: According to a representative of LexisNexis, the free offer described below has NOT been rescinded, as stated in my last update. Rather, it has been expanded to all solo and small-firm attorneys — not just those who belong to the GP Solo section. The offer is still limited to the first 600 firms that sign up, and the size limits described in my post below still apply (no more than three attorneys and no more than five total subscriptions per firm, including support staff).

IMPORTANT UPDATE on 10/4/13 at 1:36 p.m.: I’ve just returned to my office to find a flurry of emails and phone messages about this post. There was confusion about this because some readers thought it suggested that the ABA has somehow officially endorsed the LexisNexis offer, which it had not. Sarah Mui explains it this was at the ABA Journal:

The LexisNexis offer of six free months of their Firm Manager platform has been rescinded at the request of the ABA and its GP Solo section. The LexisNexis offer, described at Robert Ambrogi’s Lawsites, was not authorized by the ABA or any of its sections, and LexisNexis agreed to remove details of the offer from its website. In an email to the ABA general counsel’s office, a LexisNexis representative described the situation as a “misunderstanding,” and that the company had proceeded with the offer with the belief that it had been authorized by the section.

Meanwhile, I received a “take down notice” from the ABA general counsel’s office stating:

LexisNexis has agreed to take down the promotion.

The ABA asks you to remove the above referenced link and any other site where this promotion is referenced.  The promotion’s reference to the ABA GP Solo Conference and the registration URL’s inclusion of “gpsolo” creates the false and misleading impression that this is an ABA sponsored promotion.  It is not.  Please remove the posting above and any other references to this promotion immediately and send me a confirmation of the removal.

Ironically, I never assumed the ABA had endorsed this in any official way. I simply took the news to mean that Lexis was extending this offer to GPSolo members in conjunction with the GPSolo conference.

I am confused about this because the promotion page is still up on the LexisNexis site. I have calls in to Lexis staff for clarification. In the meanwhile,  you can now ignore what I originally wrote below about the free offer.

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LexisNexis is announcing a special promotion today to give away an estimated $250,000 worth of free access to its Firm Manager practice management platform to members of the American Bar Association’s Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division (GPSolo). The giveaway is being announced in conjunction with the National Solo & Small Firm Conference today and tomorrow in Lexington, Ky.

Starting today, the first 600 GPSolo members who sign up for the offer will get six months of free access to Firm Manager for themselves and their firms, starting Jan. 1. Only lawyers who are not currently Firm Manager subscribers are eligible. Also, the offer is good only for firms of 1-3 lawyers, although two staff members can also be included, for a total of five users from a firm. LexisNexis says that the value of this is $270-$990, depending on the size of the firm, and that the total value will be roughly $250,000.

LexisNexis recently unveiled a major overhaul of the Firm Manager platform and is currently offering the new version, still in beta, for free through Dec. 31, 2013. Starting Jan. 1, the subscription price will be $44.99 per month for the first user and $29.99 for each additional user. For GPSolo members who accept this offer before Jan. 1, the current free-trial period will not subtract from the six-month offer, meaning the total period of free usage could be nine months if they start today.

GPSolo members can find out more about this offer at the sign-up page.

Also today, LexisNexis announced other news pertaining to Firm Manager:

  • Starting soon, Firm Manager subscribers will be able to obtain other technology products at discounted prices, including Microsoft Office 365 and WatchDox. It expects to announce other deals soon.
  • Invoicing will be added to Firm Manager by mid-October.
  • Trust accounting and Outlook integration are slated to be added to Firm Manager in January.

The product manager for Firm Manager, Christopher T. Anderson, is himself a former small-firm lawyer. He said that LexisNexis is giving away these subscriptions “as an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to, and our investment in, solving the problems of solos and small law firms.”

Of course, it’s not a bad business move, either, but you can’t blame them for that.

LexisNexis last week rolled out two significant enhancements to LexisNexis Firm Manager, its Web-based practice management application.  (See my earlier posts about Practice Manager here, here and here.)

The first is a new Client Center feature. It allows lawyers to share information from within Firm Manager directly with their clients or others outside the firm. The feature can be used to share documents, case calendars and other information. Nothing is shared automatically — the attorney decides what to share and who to share it with. The person you share with is given a personal, confidential password and logs in through a secure, encrypted connection.

For now, the sharing is one way, from lawyer to client. Within a month, an enhancement will be deployed that will allow clients to share documents and information with the lawyer.

The second set of enhancements are to the “contacts” feature within Firm Manager. Now, users can create relationships between contacts; add appointments, tasks or memos directly from contacts; and view these items from a new “Attached Records” section in the contacts tab. That should make it easier for a user to retrieve all the pieces of a matter, no matter where they start.

As I have noted before, I was and remain part of a 15-member advisory board that provided LexisNexis with feedback on the development of Firm Manager. I received no compensation for my participation but was reimbursed for travel to two meetings.

By the way, for a recent detailed review of Firm Manager, see Firm Offer(ing): LexisNexis Cloud-Based Practice Management Suite Arrives, by Jared Correia at the Mass. Law Office Management Assistance Program.

wrote here in December about the impending release by LexisNexis of a Web-based practice-management application designed for smaller-firm lawyers called LexisNexis Firm Manager. At the time, it was still in private beta with plans to release it to an invitation-only public beta starting in 2011.

That day arrived at Legal Tech New York last week, when Lexis released Firm Manager to public beta. During this beta period, there is no charge to use the application. However, in order to use it, you have to register and request an invitation.

As I explained in my earlier post, I was a member of a 15-member advisory board that provided feedback on the product’s development. Because of this, I am able to invite interested lawyers to participate in the public beta.

If you would like to register, visit http://www.myfirmmanager.com/sign-up-101KS-962DL.html and add my name to the comments field. According to Lexis, this will give you priority access to the public beta version.

And now the most important news: If you sign up for the beta, you will be entered in a drawing for an Apple iPad.

Minneapolis-based publisher Dolan Media Company today cut between eight and 10 staff positions at its Boston-based Lawyers Weekly publications. It also announced that one print publication — the consumer-oriented Exhibit A — would now be published only on the Web and another — the national legal newspaper LawyersUSA — would reduce its print frequency in favor of enhanced Web content.

The employees who were let go included members of the editorial, sales and art departments. Several worked for LawyersUSA. All were given the news today along with their final paychecks. They were then asked to collect their belongings and leave the building.

[Full disclosure: I was the original editor of LawyersUSA when it was founded in 1992 as Lawyers Weekly USA and I was the editor-in-chief of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly before that. I also worked for Dolan in 1998 and 1999 as acting publisher of its Idaho Business Review.]

An announcement published today on the Lawyers Weekly Web site made brief mention of the layoffs and put the number at eight. Sources told me that 10 employees were let go.

The announcement said that LawyersUSA would be “expanding its Web offerings and reducing its traditional reliance on print delivery to its readers.” The LawyersUSA Web site will continue as a subscription-based service while the print edition will go from every other week to monthly.

Exhibit A, which made its debut just last year as a free circulation newspaper with legal stories targeted to consumers, will shift entirely to the Web after its final print issue is put out next month.

Dolan purchased Lawyers Weekly in 2004.