One Question to Add to Your RFP: Are You the Future?

I'm lucky. I get to live in the future. I see self-driving cars every single day. 

We all live in the future in our personal lives. We can click a button to summon a car for a lift to a vacation home then click another button to get food delivered right to our door.

For companies, RFPs are all about the future. If your procurement department is going to the trouble of creating an RFP, you're probably buying a product (and a relationship) that you expect to use for the next 5-10 years.

And yet, every RFP I've ever seen only asks questions about what vendors can do today. It's time to ask your vendors to live in the future. I've helped write more than a few RFPs and I love the opportunity to help companies define their future.

If you're buying a product and a relationship that you expect to use for the next 5 to 10 years, it's important to know that a vendor will grow and evolve with your business.

Companies should add this one question to every RFP they issue: Are you The Future?

Are you The Future?

If you want more concrete questions (or you just don't want as many skeptical looks), try these instead:

  • What are your product's capabilities today that it did not have a year? Five years ago?
  • What are you doing today that you weren't doing five years ago?
  • What are you no longer doing today that you were doing five years ago? 

Too many vendors are doing basically the same things today that they were doing five years ago. They'll probably be doing the same things five years from now, too. Certainly, there will be new logos, new version numbers, and fresh proclamations about dynamic synergies in the cloud and on mobile. But not much will have actually changed and they certainly won't bring the future to your company.

In a world where "No one gets fired for buying X" it might feel safer to buy the past. But technology moves far too fast for that to be true for much longer. (Or maybe buying legacy is already no longer the safe choice.)

Companies that learn, innovate, and grow are shaping the future.

When you are evaluating vendors and their RFP responses and ask yourself: 

  • In 5 years, will their competitors be scrambling to catch up to them?
  • In 5 years, are my slower competitors going to scrambling to catch up to me and all the greatness that I'm buying today?
  • Are they the future?


Predictive Software for General Counsels

The $390M acquisition of RelateIQ has provoked some interesting commentary about making data useful.

The legal industry has historically been a late adopter of technology. A large part of a lawyer's job is to protect clients from risk. But, the legal world is rapidly catching up. Today, law firms risk being left behind by their peers and clients if they aren't able to take advantage of the data available to them.

In the legal world, "predictive coding" has in-house attorneys excited at the prospect of quantifying risk earlier in the lifecycle of a case. But the opportunities to capitalize on predictive analytics don't stop there.

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Exciting Times in Legal-Tech

It's an exciting time in legal technology.

New companies are creating modern, easy-to-use software for in-house legal teams. General Counsels have more choice and more control at lower prices than ever before.

At SimpleLegal, we've built a modern eBilling and Matter Management platform without all the overhead.

It's currently a field dominated by giants including Serengeti offered by Thomson Reuters, CounselLink offered by LexisNexis, and TeamConnect offered by Mitratech.

We have all the standard functionality: Accruals, Budgets, eBilling, Matter Management, Law Firm Ratings. But, we made it all easy to use, easy to scale, easy to implement, and easy to fit into shrinking budgets.

And we're winning!

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SimpleLegal Starter Edition

Until today, companies without an in-house legal team, were stuck dealing with PDF invoices. Company founders with access to World Cup stats on their wrist and fitness and diet data on their phones, have no data on the money they spend to protect their business, products, and employees.

Similarly, General Counsels at startups, having come from larger companies where they had access to data, suddenly find themselves re-typing invoices into Excel so they can have some basic information about cost.

The SimpleLegal Starter Edition helps these companies get data. SimpleLegal tracks invoices and provides intuitive, simple reports. Check out this 2-minute demo video to see how easy it is to get started.

Free for Most Companies

If you want to try it out, you can register for a 30-day free trial. After that, accounts are Free for the first user and first $250,000 in legal expense. Setup is incredibly easy. All you have to do is send a 3-sentence email to your law firm.


How a Law Firm Submits an Invoice Through SimpleLegal

Some of our customers and potential customers have asked how law firms submit invoices through SimpleLegal. They don't want a pile of PDFs dumped on them, but they want something easy for their law firm, too.

We created SimpleLegal to be Simple for clients and Simple for firms. Check out this 44 second demo video showing what happens when a law firm wants to submit an invoice.


Predictive Invoice Coding with Machine Learning

Predictive Coding

Predictive coding in the legal world usually means predicting the total cost of a matter or litigation. The idea is to use software to predict the likely end result ahead of time so that you can make better decisions.

Predictive Invoice Coding

Today, SimpleLegal is launching predictive coding for legal invoices. Early customers are seeing accuracy from our software of between 90%-97%. They are now review the results of our software and spend up to 90% less time coding invoices.

Ask any corporate lawyer and they'll tell you that they hate coding invoices. Legal invoices need all kinds of codes. UTBMS codes, task codes, project codes, customer codes, and cost codes.

Before SimpleLegal, invoices were printed out and so that codes could be handwritten line by line on the paper invoice. Then, the paper invoice was handed off to accounting to be re-typed into a spreadsheet and then entered into the payment system. It was a necessary but painful task.

Today, with SimpleLegal, invoice coding is primarily handled by software. The legal team no longer has to assign a code to each line. They only have to review the codes to verify that they are correct. We've reduced the time required to code an invoice by over 90%. More importantly, we've taken a task that no one likes, and we made software do it.

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OpenSSL Security Update for SimpleLegal

At SimpleLegal, we take data security very seriously. We're writing to let our customers and prospective customers know about our response to the very serious bug found in the widely used, OpenSSL encryption library.

There is no evidence that our servers were compromised and all usage fits existing patterns. However, the nature of this vulnerability is that it leaves no trace, so we are proceeding with caution.

First Step

When we were first notified of the bug, we took immediate steps to determine the extent of the problem and determine the necessary actions to safeguard our customers. Our application relies on the world-class security provided by Salesforce.com to protect our data. We contacted their security team to confirm the necessary actions on our side.

How did SimpleLegal respond to the vulnerability?

First, we changed our server passwords and confirmed that the vulnerability was patched on the servers. Next, we updated our security certificates and updated our passwords again. Then we updated the login credentials of our accounts used to access Salesforce.com. Last, we terminated all user sessions for all customers requiring all users to login again to access their SimpleLegal dashboard.

How should I protect my account?

There is no action required on your side However, we do recommend all users change their password on their SimpleLegal account. You can reset your password here: https://app.simplelegal.com/accounts/password/change/

If you have any questions, please let us know at help@SimpleLegal.com.

Top 4 Reasons Companies Should Buy From Startups

Companies should actively seek to buy from startup vendors.

Large companies in particular do themselves a disservice by avoiding startups. Procurement departments often have vendor requirements that make selling to large companies a nearly impossible task for a startup.

Instead of de facto prohibitions on purchasing from startups, companies should actively seek out startups with innovative products and all-star teams.

Here are my top 4 reasons why you should actively seek out startups as vendors (as if those two weren't enough).

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How To Convert QuickBooks Online Invoices to LEDES invoices

QuickBooks to LEDES

We recently announced our ability to convert invoices from QuickBooks to LEDES. We're adding this brief, how-to video to show the steps to easily convert invoices in your QuickBooks Online account to LEDES format. There's no software required, just login and go.

eBilling Template Management

SimpleLegal can also manage all your different billing templates required by various eBilling providers and their customers. We've seen firms with nearly 100 different billing templates to accommodate different requirements for coding, descriptions, and choice of LEDES format.

Pricing

For QB to LEDES conversion, your first 20 invoices each month are free with low pricing thereafter.

How-To Video

Watch our 1-minute how-to video and register for your free account to give it a try.



QuickBooks is a registered trademark of the Intuit corporation.

LEDES is a registered trademark of the LEDES Oversight Committee.

QuickBooks to LEDES

SimpleLegal helps law firms running QuickBooks compete to win business with larger clients. Larger clients require electronic billing and until today, QuickBooks was not able to produce LEDES format invoices without expensive add-on software.

SimpleLegal now integrates with Intuit QuickBooks to produce any LEDES format invoice from QuickBooks. It requires no changes to how attorneys track time or how the bills are created.

SimpleLegal's intuitive interface lets law firms select customers and invoices from their QuickBooks accounting software. Selected invoices are then converted from QuickBooks to any LEDES format based on their client's requirements. In just one-click, a LEDES invoice (or LEDES-like invoice) is created; ready to be submitted to the customer.

Basic accounts are free, we make sure we're an affordable option as well.

QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online

QuickBooks Desktop customers can upload a basic export from QuickBooks to SimpleLegal via our easy drag-and-drop interface. The LEDES format invoice will be generated and saved back to your computer.

QuickBooks Online customers can connect their QuickBooks account to SimpleLegal for easy legal bill conversion. In the SimpleLegal application, you are given a list of recently created invoices that you can filter by client and date. You simply click the Export to LEDES button to generate the LEDES format required by that client.

There's no software to install and no changes are required to your timekeeping or accounting software.

We manage the invoice templates based on your client needs. 

That's it! We work hard to keep it Simple.

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