With the Clio Cloud Conference coming up next week, several of the companies that will be exhibiting there are preparing announcements of new features and product enhancements. I’ll cover a few of those in advance of the conference and more once it kicks off.

One company making several announcements is Tali, the voice-driven time-tracking application that I have written about several times before. Earlier this week, I spoke with Tali cofounder and CEO Matthew Volm about his company’s latest news.

New bar partners. Last March, I reported that Tali had entered into its first affinity partnership with a bar association, giving members of the Ohio State Bar Association a discount on the purchase of Tali. Now, Tali has added two more bar partners, The Florida Bar and The Bar Association of San Francisco, and Volm says several others are in the works.

New investments. Last year, Tali received its first investment, an undisclosed amount from Mucker Capital, an early stage venture capital firm based in Santa Monica, Calif. Now, Volm said, Tali has received additional investments from Cascade Angels, a company that focuses on investing in Oregon businesses, and the Geekdom Fund. Volm declined to disclose the amounts of the investments.

Spanish-language support. By the end of the year, Tali plans to support voice commands in Spanish on Amazon Alexa devices. The company is working with Amazon as it prepares to launch a Spanish version of Alexa, which is planned for before the end of the year. Clio already has customers in a number of Spanish-speaking countries, so this will enable those customers to enter time using Tali in their native language.

Tali for Cortana. Tali is now available in a beta version to users of the Microsoft Office business suite, enabling users to interact with Tali via the Cortana voice application. Going beyond voice, Tali is also allowing Microsoft users to enter commands using email in Outlook or chat in Skype for Business.

Tali is looking for legal professionals who are interested in serving as beta testers for the Microsoft Office interface. Anyone interested should contact Tali through its website or directly email Volm.

Zapier integration. Tali is also beta testing an integration with Zapier, a tool for connecting different web applications to automate actions between them. The integration allows users to connect Tali to various other billing and project-management applications. It is also looking for beta testers for this integration, so anyone interested should contact the company through the links mentioned above.

Users can now better manage time and projects from Tali’s enhanced dashboard.

Enhanced dashboard functionality. Although many Tali customers use it to enter time into third-party applications such as Clio, it also has its own dashboard where users can view and manage their time entries. At Clio, Tali will be releasing a new dashboard that will provide additional features for managing time, a calendar view of time entered, and the ability to add and manage clients and matters directly from the dashboard (as opposed to having to add these within Clio or some other application).

The dashboard provides a calendar view of time entered.

Improved voice matching. Like any voice application, Tali sometimes has trouble understanding the name of a client or matter. To improve recognition, Tali is introducing fuzzy matching, in which it will take what it heard and make its best guess based on your existing matters and contacts. This will include a machine-learning element, so that Tali’s fuzzy matching will improve with use. In addition, Tali is being programmed with built-in legal-activity descriptions to train it to better understand what lawyers are likely to say.

In addition to Clio, Tali integrates with Rocket Matter and PracticePanther.

When last I checked in with the practice management platform PracticePanther last March, it had just taken a “large” private equity investment. At the time, CEO David Bitton told me that the company had seen exponential growth over the prior year, doubling its customers. Since March, the company has rolled out a number of new features and integrations. I recently spoke with Bitton to catch up on the latest news.

He started by telling me that the company continues to grow. It has tripled its staff this year, to 50 employees. The PracticePanther software is now being used in 172 countries, thanks in part to the software being offered in multiple languages. It also has an API (application programming interface) that makes it fairly easy to set up integrations with other applications for lawyers.

Here is a recap of the major new features and integrations that PracticePanther has introduced in recent months.

Integration with Lawmatics

A product I’ve been meaning to review but haven’t yet is Lawmatics, launched earlier this year by Matt Spiegel, the lawyer who founded the practice management company MyCase and was its CEO until its acquisition by AppFolio in 2012 and then its general manager until 2015. Lawmatics is an innovative platform for law firms that automates client relationship management (CRM), client intake and marketing.

Now, Lawmatics is directly integrated with PracticePanther. With the integration, a firm can use Lawmatics’ to market to potential clients, follow-up with leads, and finalize the retention. Then, once the client retains the firm, all of the information that had been entered into Lawmatics on the new client can be sent to PracticePanther to automatically create an associated contact and matter.

Dedicated Outlook Plugin

As of this writing, this plugin was awaiting final approval from Microsoft and was expected to become available within a week or two. It will let users log-in to PracticePanther from within Outlook, where they will be able to see details about contacts and matters, add contacts to PracticePanther, log emails to PracticePanther, and track time for matters.

Dedicated Gmail Add-On

Add a time entry from within Gmail.

A Gmail add-on allows a variety of interactions between Gmail and PracticePanther. Once it is installed, then whenever you open an email, a PracticePanther panel opens to the right of the email. If the sender or anyone else included in the email is already in your PracticePanther contacts, you will be able to see that in this panel and also see the person’s full information from within PracticePanther. If they are not, you can click the add icon and a form appears with all the PracticePanther fields to add the contact’s information.

The add-in also lets users save emails directly from Gmail into PracticePanther or save them to a specific matter on PracticePanther. The add-in also lets users create new tasks and time entries from within Gmail.

Integration with Tali

I’ve written a number of times about Tali, the voice assistant that lets you log billable time via Amazon Alexa or Google Home. With this integration, users can now use Tali to either record time or log time through voice commands.

To log time with Alexa, for example, a lawyer would say, “Hey Alexa” to activate the device, then continue, “Tell Tali to log an activity for the Smith matter.” The device then asks the lawyer to describe the matter, to which the lawyer might answer, “Prepare for deposition.”

The information is stored in Tali, where it can be associated with matters in PracticePanther. From there, specific entries can be exported to PracticePanther or the “Sync All” button can be selected to push all unsynchronized entries to PracticePanther.

Custom Invoice Templates

PracticePanther users now have the ability to create multiple customized invoice templates. In addition to a default invoice template — which firms can use as is or customize to their liking — firms can now create as many additional invoice templates as they want. In particular, firms can construct the layout and fields in an invoice to adapt it to a particular practice area or case type. Thus, a firm could opt to have a different invoice format for each of its different practice areas.

Invoice customization also provides options for setting different defaults for payments, such as to always use trust balances to pay a particular type of invoice, for taxes, and for specific fields to include on the invoice.

Flat Fee Billing

In addition to adding billable time entries and expenses, users can now also add billable flat fees. Users can log flat fees upon completion of the services, rather than have to wait until the billing stage. Users can also log a discount and have it appear on the subsequent invoice. Flat fees can be logged to specific attorneys for reporting purposes.

A second option allows users to log multiple flat fees in a single operation.  This is done through a new “Multiple Flat Fees” page within PracticePanther, where the flat fees can be logged for different clients and matters and attributed to different attorneys.

Payment Plans

Panther Payment Plans is a feature offered in cooperation with the payment processing platform LawPay. It lets firms securely save a client’s credit card on file, and then automatically charge them a fixed amount against bills or retainer payments on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Restricted Login

With this feature, law firm administrators can restrict the ability of employees to log in to PracticePanther to specific IP addresses. This could be used, for example, to prevent certain employees from logging in outside the office or from a home computer. Only those with administrator credentials can set these restrictions.

Auto Suggest for Tasks and Events

Now, when a task or event is created within a matter, PracticePanther will auto-suggest names of attorneys or paralegals to whom the task should be assigned, based on those names having been previously associated with the matter.

I’ve written a number of times about Tali, the voice-driven time-tracking application, most recently in January, when it announced its integration with the Rocket Matter practice management platform. Today, I have three more updates to report about Tali: a partnership with the Ohio State Bar Association, integration with Google Assistant, and a soon-to-be-released integration with the team-messaging application Slack.

The partnership with the OSBA makes Ohio the first bar to have an affinity relationship with Tali. OSBA members who purchase Tali will receive a 10 percent lifetime discount off the price. The partnership will also open the door to other forms of collaboration between Tali and the OSBA, according to Matthew Volm, Tali’s cofounder and CEO.

Also new is Tali’s integration with Google Assistant. Until now, it worked only with Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled devices. Now, it can be accessed through any Google Assistant-enabled device. This includes both iOS and Android devices, as Google Assistant has apps for both. Here is a brief video showing the Google Assistant integration.

The Google Assistant app also includes chat capabilities, meaning you can chat with Tali using your thumbs through the app. Here is a video showing time entry using chat.

Volm said that Tali will also soon be available on Slack, Once available, users will be able to interact with Tali and log their time directly through the Slack workspace, just as they would through am Amazon Echo or Google Home device. It will work with any Slack application for Macs, PCs, tablets and mobile devices. Here is a video showing the Slack integration:

“We’re really excited about this, as this allows us to expand beyond voice but still apply conversational UI to solve the problem around time tracking,” Volm said. “It’s a great solution for firms of all sizes that are already leveraging Slack as a productivity tool (or considering using it).”

Volm said that Tali is looking for law firms and organizations that want to beta test this functionality. Anyone interested should e-mail him at volm@threematts.com or chat with the company through its website at www.telltali.com.

Tali – the voice-driven time-entry application – now integrates with the Rocket Matter practice management platform, the two companies announced.

Tali enables lawyers to record their time using voice commands via the Amazon Echo or any Alexa-enabled device. With this integration, Rocket Matter subscribers will be able to use Tali to record their time by voice.

They will then be able to use Rocket Matter’s billing features to automatically generate invoices and payment links.

Using Tali, a lawyer can simply say, “Alexa, tell Tali I spend 12 minutes on a client phone call for Jones,” and the time will be recorded to the appropriate client matter.

Tali already integrates with Clio’s practice management platform.

Tali currently works via Amazon Alexa, but soon will also work with Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant.

Tali Selected for SXSW

Tali also announced this week that it has been selected as an alternate in the Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies category for the 10th annual SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event.

The event is considered the marquee event of the Startup & Tech Sectors Track of the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, which takes place March 9-18, 2018, in Austin.

Tali is one of 80 finalists and alternates slected from among more than 500 companies that applied to present at the SXSW Accelerator.

The two-day event is held the first weekend of SXSW, March 10 and 11. Winning startups from each category will be honored during a Sunday night awards ceremony.

Read more:

The ability to use voice commands to track time is about to take a big step forward with the imminent launch of Tali, a productivity assistant that allows lawyers and other professionals to track time using voice commands through the Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled device.

I wrote here about Tali in June, when it was still in pre-beta development. That post came just a month after I wrote about another Alexa-based time tracker, Workspace Assistant, a tool from Thomson Reuters Elite that similarly allows lawyers to perform time-management functions using voice commands. Whereas Workspace Assistant can be used only with Workspace, an enterprise-level product for large law firms, Tali is a freestanding application that can be used by anyone.

Matthew Volm, CEO of the Portland, Ore., startup ThreeMatts that is developing Tali, told me this week that the product will be formally unveiled at the Clio Cloud Conference Sept. 25 and 26 and then will become generally available on Oct. 1.

Tali will integrate with the Clio practice management platform so that time entered in Tali can be synchronized with Clio, matching activities, matters and clients. Volm said that his company is working on building integrations with other practice management platforms as well.

Tali will ship with both a free version and paid “Tali for Law” version for a subscription of $30 a month. The company is currently accepting pre-orders of Tali for Law for firms that want to help test it out. Firms that sign up for the 90-day trial period (at $90) receive a free Amazon Echo Dot.

The two differences in the paid version are that it includes the Clio integration and professional support (plus the free Echo Dot). For that reason, it is best suited for firms that use Clio.

How It Works

I have not used Tali but Volm gave me a brief demonstration. You can use it with any Alexa-enabled device and also through the Alexa app on a mobile phone.

I listened as Volm had the following exchange:

Volm: Alexa, open Tali.
Tali: Welcome to Tali, Matthew. Would you like to log an activity?
Volm: Log six hours for Jones.
Tali: Describe the activity.
Volm: Email to client regarding trial strategy and review six hours of discovery documentation.
Tali: I’ve recorded it. Yippee!

The entry immediately appears on Tali’s browser-based dashboard. Tali identified “Jones” as the client “Matt Jones” by pulling information from Clio. Time entries can be reviewed in the dashboard and, if need be, edited. They can then be synced to Clio, either individually or as a group. Once synced, the time entries are recorded in Clio.

Tali can also be used to start and stop a timer:

Volm: Alexa, tell Tali I’ve started Oregon state tax research for Thomson.
Tali: Got it. Let me know when you’re finished.
Volm: Alexa, tell Tali to stop.
Tali: Activity stopped and saved. Yippee!

So far, Tali does not allow you to run multiple timers. That is something Volm hopes to add. In the meantime, if you are, say, running a timer and a call comes in, you can simply tell her (Volm says Tali is a “her”) to record the time spent on the call. You cannot currently pause and resume a timer, but Volm says that capability will be added soon after commercial release.

I asked Volm how Tali handles identical or similar names. For example, what if you have two clients with the surname Collins? Volm said his company is building a business logic so that Tali will surface what she thinks is the most relevant match. If the match is wrong, you can edit it in the dashboard. Tali will learn from your activity and get better at making matches.

Although those who have the free version of Tali cannot sync to Clio, they still get access to all of their time records through the dashboard. The data can be viewed online or downloaded to a CSV file.

Volm has other enhancements in the works, including other methods to enter time and other integrations with third-party products.

Last month, I wrote about Workspace Assistant, a tool from Thomson Reuters Elite that allows lawyers to perform time-management functions using voice commands through the Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled device. Now, a second Alexa-based time tracking tool is coming to market, and it is making its debut Monday at Legaltech West Coast.

Tali, as it is called, is a productivity assistant powered by artificial intelligence that takes a hands-free, voice-first approach to time tracking and productivity management, say its developers. Unlike Workspace Assistant, which can be used only with Workspace, an enterprise-level product for large law firms, Tali is a freestanding application that can be used by anyone.

Tali is still in pre-beta development but its developers are currently accepting signups for an invite-only private beta and pre-orders from law firms that would like to participant. The company expects to launch its beta program this month and for it to last through the summer.

Matthew Volm, CEO of the Portland, Ore., startup ThreeMatts that is building Tali, tells me that when Tali officially launches, it will allow lawyers to:

  • Start and stop a timer with their voice.
  • Log historical time with their voice.
  • Use the Amazon Alexa mobile app to visually see what they’ve done throughout the day.
  • Ask at any point to have a timesheet delivered to their email inbox.

The company’s plans also call for Tali to integrate with time-and-billing and practice-management systems by the end of the year, although the company has not yet entered into any formal integration agreements with other companies.

“Once we build this integration layer, we’ll have eliminated the need for attorneys to manually log their time,” Volm said.

The idea for Tali, Volm said, came from his wife,  a civil litigator who, like so many lawyers, struggles with time entry.

“Our goal is to eliminate the pain and frustration for attorneys associated with logging time, which saves the firm money by decreasing administrative costs and increasing revenue by capturing billable time that was previously lost,” Volm said. “We estimate our solution can add $50k+ of margin per person per year through these measures.”

Tali will have an exhibit booth as part of the Start Up Pavilion at the Legalweek conference in San Francisco Monday and Tuesday. If you are attending, be sure to check them out.

If you are interested in participating in the beta, email Volm or sign up at www.TellTali.com.