Lexicata, the cloud-based client-intake and CRM (client relationship management) system for lawyers, is today releasing a major update, with new features, enhanced usability on mobile devices, and a refined user interface that enhances speed and user experience.

I first reviewed Lexicata in 2015, when it was still in beta. Since then, it has continued to add features and integrations, and it has long integrated with practice management platform Clio.

Earlier this week, Michael Chasin, Lexicata’s founder and CEO, walked me through the update, which the company is calling Lexicata 3.0. Here are some of the key changes.

New Page Layout

The placement and design of navigation menus have been changed to provide more screen real estate. Previously, Lexicata’s pages had collapsible navigation menus on the left of the screen, with sub-navigation links nested within those menus. Now, the left navigation menu is simplified to link only to each section of Lexicata (Dashboard, Agenda, Contacts, Matters, Forms and Documents), and then subnavigation is provided using tabs across the top of each section.

The new design is also more responsive to provide a better viewing experience on mobile devices.

New Matter Page

The Matters page has been redesigned with a cleaner layout and easier navigation aimed at showing all details related to a matter on one page. (See the old and new pages above.) One notable addition is that contacts related to the matter are now shown directly on the matter page. Users can edit contacts from the Matter page and also add tags to contacts.

What were formerly checklists in Lexicata are now called Workflows. Users can create workflows for a matter by simply selecting to-do items and adding them. The new interface provides more information about each item than was available in the prior version.

Improved Timeline

Also improved on the Matter page is the timeline. The timeline provides a history of everything that has happened on a matter or that is scheduled to happen, in reverse chronological order. With this update, the timeline is now broken down into upcoming items and past items.

User Signer Feature

In the prior version of Lexicata, only contacts could e-sign documents, which made it difficult for a system user to countersign after the contact (typically the client) had signed. It also prevented assigning an e-signature task to another user at the firm.

Lexicata 3.0 addresses this by allowing “user signers” in addition to client signers and by automatically notifying user signers by email when it is their turn to sign a document. This is useful for users who do not want to sign retainer agreements until after the client signs.

Now, for example, when you send out a document for signature, it will first go to the client to sign. Once the client signs the document, the user gets an email notice that the document is ready for the user to sign.

New Agenda Page

New Agenda page

The Agenda page has been rebuilt from the ground up to provide users with an enhanced ability to see and filter their agendas. The agenda page starts with the current day’s agenda, showing any scheduled tasks, appointments, emails and documents. From there, users can also view their upcoming agenda, any past due agenda items, and any items with no due date.

The agenda can now by filtered by item type and user, so that a user can see, for example, only appointments for a particular user within the firm.

Quick Intake

Quick Intake

The Quick Intake feature has been improved to enable it to be used with clients already in the Lexicata system. It was originally designed to be used as a quck way of intaking new clients, but users wanted the ability to use it for quick intake of a new matter for an existing client. Now it allows you do that.

In addition, it now includes duplicate-contact search. When a user begins to add a new client using Quick Intake, it automatically alerts you if you already have someone in the system with the same name. It shows you the duplicate’s name, phone number and email address so you can verify it is the same person. If so, click Select and it will take you to the existing contact’s page.

One other enhancement to Quick Intake is that it now includes the ability to add tags to intake items.

Quick Form and Quick Appointment

Quick Form

Previously in Lexicata, it was a two-step process to either create an intake form or schedule an appointment and also create a new matter for the intake. Now, a Quick Form feature allows the user to simply enter a name and choose a form, and then either go directly to the form (to complete it immediately) or have the form emailed to the client.

Similarly, the Quick Appointment feature lets the user create an appointment and a matter for the same contact from the same screen.

Easier Notes

Notes related to a matter can now be created simply by clicking on the Notes tab. The user is taken directly to the note entry screen. Also new in notes is the ability to add formatting, bullets and numbered lists.

More to Come

Additional updates are scheduled for throughout this year, Chasin told me. Next up, in March, will be a referral tracking feature to allow firms to better track referral sources and generate reports on those sources.

Leads from Unbundled Attorney appear in the Lexicata inbox.

Lexicata, the client-intake and CRM platform, has announced that it now integrates with Unbundled Attorney, a lead-generation service for lawyers who practice in the areas of family law, estate planning and immigration law.

(See my 2015 review: Lexicata: A Cloud-Based Client Intake and CRM System for Law Firms.)

Michael Chasin, Lexicata’s CEO, says that with this new integration, Unbundled Attorney can now deliver leads directly into a lawyer’s Lexicata inbox in real time, making it easy to track and convert them into clients.

Lexicata users who do not have an Unbundled Attorney account will first have to create one. Once they do, activating the integration is a simple matter of copying the Inbox Token from your Lexicata settings and pasting it into the Lexicata section of your Unbundled Attorney settings.

Thereafter, leads from Unbundled Attorney will appear in your Lexicata inbox, showing the client’s name, email address, phone number, source of lead, and a description of the case. From there, you can click “Quick Intake” and all the information about the lead will be auto-populated into an intake form, where you can then fill out other information, such as matter type and matter status.

Below is a video showing how the integration works. Also, the two companies will present a webinar demonstrating the integration on Thursday, June 29, at 1 p.m. Eastern time.

clio-connector-window
Clio now integrates with Vonage VoIP phone services.

Time to play catch-up on legal technology news and notes from the past few weeks:

Take credit cards in MyCase. The practice management platform MyCase already has the ability to accept online payments directly from a client’s checking account. At the recent ABA Techshow, MyCase announced that its payments feature will be expanded later this year to include a built-in credit card option. It will allow users to accept credit card payments through MyCase for a flat 3 percent transaction fee.

For a short video showing how MyCase Payments works, see here.

Clio gets new call services. Practice management platform Clio announced two integrations at Techshow that provide enhanced calling services for its users.

The first is an integration with the VoIP telephony company Vonage Business. The integration allows firms that use Vonage as their business phone system to have all incoming and outgoing calls automatically logged in Clio, showing each call’s date, time and duration. Once logged, the call can be associated with a contact or a matter and a time entry created. The integration also enables click to dial from within Clio.

The integration works with all phones — desk, softphones and mobile. It uses Vonage’s middleware product gUnify to connect Vonage and Clio. Because gUnify is cloud-based software, it works without any special hardware or software required of the law firm and can be quickly set up.

The second integration is with Ruby Receptionists, a company that offers live, remote reception services for the legal industry. With the integration, messages and voice mail notifications from Ruby are sent directly to a lawyer’s or firm’s Clio account.

And Lexicata now also integrates with Ruby. Lexicata, the cloud-based CRM and client-intake software for law firms, has also announced an integration with Ruby Receptionists.

Now, when a Ruby receptionist answers a call for your firm, he or she will be able to take down the caller’s name, email, phone number, and some basic call notes into a webform. The data will be captured into theLexicata Inbox and the firm will receive an email notification.

From there, the firm can “Quick Intake” the lead and set up a new matter in Lexicata with a couple of clicks. The call notes will be saved as a matter note, and their contact info will be pre-populated to really streamline the process.

Tackling legalese. No doubt many of you have heard of or even used WordRake, a legal-editing add-on for Microsoft Word and Outlook that can help tighten your writing. I’ve learned that the next release of WordRake, coming out later this year, will go even farther.

The next version will have two separate functions. One, called Clear and Concise, will do what WordRake now does. The new function, called Plain Writing, will tackle legalese, suggesting ways to eliminate obtuse and legalistic language.

If you’re not familiar with WordRake, see my reviews of version 1.0, in which I tested its ability improve the writing of Justices Scalia and Kagan, and version 2.0, in which I tested it against the plurality, concurring and dissenting opinions in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.

A job board for legal tech. Evolve Law, a for-profit organization launched last September to help drive technology innovation and adoption in the legal industry, has introduced a job board.

The job board features job openings at Evolve Law member companies. Among the current listings are jobs at Abacus Data Systems, Allegory Law, Avvo, Contactually, CosmoLex, Hire an Esquire and LegalZoom.

In conjunction with the job board, Evolve Law plans to stage a series of career fairs around the country.

And also from Evolve Law. A new podcast, looking at innovation in the legal industry through interviews with company executives involved in legal startups.

A matching site for A2J projects. A2J Author is a tool used by legal aid programs, courts and others to create automated guided interviews to help direct individuals in need of legal help. (I previously wrote about it here.) Last week, A2J Author’s developer, the Center for Computer -Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI), announced the new A2J Project Matching Portal.

The portal helps connect legal aid organizations and courts that are looking for help creating A2J projects with teachers of A2J Author courses who are looking for student projects. An organization posts a project request to the site and law faculty browse available projects and contact any they are interested in helping with.

Lexicata checklist
Creating a custom checklist in Lexicata.

Just last week, I posted here about Lexicata’s release of a new plugin that allows law firms to integrate its client-intake forms with their WordPress websites. Today there is more news from Lexicata, the introduction of custom intake checklists.

As some of you may recall from my original review, Lexicata is a cloud-based client intake and CRM system for lawyers. It provides a platform for managing client leads and intakes and for automating several of the steps associated with the intake process.

The original version included a static intake checklist that was the same for all matters. With this week’s announcement, users can now create custom intake checklists. They can either create checklist templates to be applied to certain types of matters — such as a divorce template or a business-formation template — or they can create checklists on the fly for new matters.

A checklist can include any combination of:

  • Consultations.
  • Tasks.
  • Emails.
  • Forms.
  • Documents.

Say, for example, you want to create a checklist template for divorce cases. You might want to have the following items in your checklist:

  • Consultation: Divorce consultation.
  • Email: Follow-up after consultation.
  • Form: Divorce intake form.
  • Task: Follow-up regarding intake.
  • Document: Divorce engagement letter.
  • Email: Thank you and next steps.

When you create a task, you can assign a due date and designate whether you want to be sent a reminder email. Emails can also be scheduled to be sent at specified times.

Once your template is created, you can add it to a matter simply by clicking the “Add Checklist” button that appears on the matter page. Here is where you can either add one of the checklist templates you have already created or make a new checklist specifically for this matter.

You can add multiple templates to the same matter, so you could, for example have different templates for different stages of the intake process.

Think of this as a workflow-management tool for your intake process. It lets you define the steps that need to be taken and helps ensure and track that they are actually taken.

There is news this week from Lexicata, the cloud-based client intake and CRM system for law firms that I reviewed here last May. This week the company announced a new plugin that allows the Lexicata platform to integrate with websites created using WordPress.

With the plugin installed, a law firm can capture leads from potential clients who visit its website and bring them directly into the Lexicata platform for tracking, follow-up and intake. A firm would use this plugin in place of the contact form on its website or blog.

When a visitor fills out the form, the information is sent to the firm’s Lexicata inbox and it also gets a notification sent to its regular email inbox. The message shows the  information provided on the contact form, as well as the URL of the page from which it was submitted, in case you have the form on multiple pages.

From there, you can simply click a button in the message to either add the person as a contact or to begin the intake process. Either way, the information the visitor provided is automatically populated in the appropriate Lexicata fields.

Because it is a plugin to your existing WordPress site, the contact form automatically matches your site’s theme and colors.

This Lexicata video shows how to install and use the plugin.

Lexicata1

A few weeks ago I wrote about the launch by Rocket Matter of client-intake forms for law firm websites. As I’ve looked further into this topic, I’ve realized there are very few options for lawyers who are looking for an online client-intake system. In fact, as far as I’ve been able to find, there are only two others: Intake123 and Lexicata.

I have not tried Intake123 but I did recently sit down with the founders of Lexicata, Aaron George and Michael Chasin, for a demonstration of their product, which they describe as “the only cloud-based CRM and client intake system designed exclusively for law firms.”

Lexicata is operating in a beta mode and anyone interested in trying it must request early access. Currently there is a wait list for new sign-ups but the company expects to soon quicken its pace of adding new users. My demonstration was of the platform’s current version, but the company is preparing a version 2.0 for launch fairly soon. The company expects to go to a full commercial release around the end of summer.

Lexicata2Even in this beta mode, Lexicata already integrates with the Clio practice management platform. That means that after someone who comes in through Lexicata signs up as a client, all of the client’s data can easily be exported to Clio, including contact information, matter information, notes and the engagement letter.

“Think of us as pre-Clio,” Chasin says. “We manage the process before you get the case. Clio helps you manage the case once you get it.”

At the same time, there is no need to be a Clio customer to use Lexicata. It is a fully independent platform that operates without requiring integration with a practice-management system.

From Intake to Engagement

What exactly does Lexicata do? Broadly speaking, it performs three functions:

  • Contact and lead management. Lexicata is a client-relationship management (CRM) tool that helps you manage, track and follow-up with new-business leads.
  • Online intake. Lexicata lets you create custom intake forms to easily collect client information and then set reminders for both the lawyer and client to follow-up on intakes.
  • Engagement letters. The platform lets you create engagement-letter templates, send them out for electronic signatures, and automatically remind both lawyer and client if a signature is overdue. (Lexicata uses HelloSign for e-signatures.)

All of this is managed through a simple dashboard where you can add contacts, create intake forms and manage your engagement letters or other intake documents. The dashboard shows you any tasks you’ve scheduled for the day and any that are past due. It also gives you a quick overview of the status of your leads, showing information such as your conversion rate, your total pipeline value, and your top lead sources.

Lexicata3

Version 2.0 will provide additional analytics on leads, such as showing conversion rates from specific lead sources.

Start by adding a contact. All you need to add here is a name an email address. You can leave the rest to be filled out by the lead via the intake form. In addition to providing standard contact information here, you can indicate the status of the lead (e.g. a “warm lead”) and the source of the lead (such as an event). You can also add any free-form notes.

The current version does not let you associate a contact with a matter but version 2.0 will allow you to do that. For Clio users, pending matters in Lexicata will export into Clio as actual matters.

Next you send the contact an intake form. Lexicata has a form builder function that lets you create as many custom intake forms as you want. The form builder lets you insert text boxes, check boxes, drop-down menus, and yes or no fields. It can be set up so that certain responses prompt certain follow-up questions — so that if, for example, the lead answers “no” to a question that prompts a follow-up question.

When you have the form you want to use, Lexicata sends it to the contact by email. The email contains a link to a unique URL where the lead goes to fill it out. When you send it, Lexicata prompts you to set an auto reminder, so that if the lead has not completed the form by a certain time, the system will automatically send the lead a reminder. It also gives you the option to request contact information, which prompts the lead to provide that information.

Version 2.0 will add an option for a lawyer, paralegal or other staff person to fill out the form. This could be used for telephone intake to avoid first taking down the notes and then later adding them to the system.

When you are ready to have the lead sign an engagement letter, you can send it to the client via Lexicata for an electronic signature. The client can sign via any device without having to print anything. Here again, you can set reminders so that if the client does not sign by a certain date, a reminder is sent automatically.

Lexicata also lets you schedule tasks and reminders for following-up with leads. You could, for example, set a reminder to email a lead in two weeks for follow-up. Alternatively, you can draft the follow-up email now and queue it go out on a specified date.

Further Development and Pricing

George and Chasin are also founders of the lawyer-finding site LawKick. They are financing Lexicata themselves.

They are actively working on launching version 2.0 of their platform. Among the features planned for the next version are:

  • Enhanced analytics for tracking and analyzing leads.
  • Integration with email clients such as Outlook and Gmail.
  • The ability to associate contacts with matters.
  • Scheduling to set up initial consultations.
  • The ability to export data in .CSV format to use with third-party document assembly programs such as Doxserá.

Lexicata is currently charging $499 a year for a solo attorney and $100 a year for each additional user. George and Chasin say they have not determined final pricing for when they product is released commercially later this year, but they expect it will be approximately $40 a month for the first user and then $30 a month for additional users.

Bottom Line

Lexicata is a distinctly different product than the Rocket Matter Intake product I recently reviewed. Rocket Matter’s product is designed to work only with its practice-management platform and is specifically for new-client intake, not lead management.

Lexicata is a more full-featured CRM platform that helps you manage, track and follow-up with potential clients. It automates the lead-tracking process and nudges you with due dates and auto-reminders to follow-up. The forthcoming version 2.0 will give you even more information on the sources and potential value of incoming leads.

In the final analysis, the value of Lexicata is twofold: It saves you the time of having to input intake information directly. And then it prods both you and the potential client to follow through, something busy lawyers are not always good at.