As a follow up post to her recent article on Time Matters 13 and Watchdox, ELS partner Dana Riel interviewed Steve Fetters, the Senior Product Manager for the Business of Law Software Division at LexisNexis. Steve reached out to Dana after reading her earlier article to address some of the issues and concerns she raised in her post.
Dana Riel: Steve, it’s always a pleasure to know that our articles are read not only by our clients, but by our technology partners. The new Client Portal feature in Time Matters, powered by WatchDox, is a valuable addition. But one of the concerns I received as feedback from users is that shared documents are tied to the email address of the sender, and therefore only the sender can manage what happens to that document. We can easily see that if a document is shared with an appreciable time frame by a certain user, and then that user leaves a firm, the only way to modify or end sharing is to keep that email address and continue to use it for this purpose.
Steve Fetters: Thanks Dana, we appreciate your review and value our ongoing partnership. When someone leaves a firm, there are several ways to modify or end the sharing of the files they’ve shared:
- From WatchDox, an admin can delete the user and have the option of re-assigning the files to another user or deleting all the files.
- From Time Matters, when you delete the user, their shared files are also deleted.
- Once you delete the user, clicking their link in a prior WatchDox email takes gives the message that you have clicked on an invalid link.
Since you have exposed some lack of clarity, we will add a better description for this in the online help in a future release.
DR: In Time Matters, LexisNexis turned off the ability to use passwords when sharing documents. If a firm subscribes directly to WatchDox, they can enable this feature through that service; however, not through Time Matters.
SF: This option is disabled by default but, as you mentioned, can be changed within WatchDox by an administrator We are currently discussing whether we should change the default and/or make that option accessible to the admin user from within Time Matters. We certainly take your observations as valuable input on how we should best handle this option.
DR: Is there a reason why sharing a Document via the Client Portal can only be done from the Documents tab within a Matter? Would LexisNexis consider also allowing this from the Documents tab within a Contact record?
SF: Of course, we are always looking for ways to better match our solution’s functionality to the needs of the customers! Can you give an example that illustrates the relative importance of that ability?
DR: Some examples would be documents to be shared with an external consultant, outside counsel or with prospective clients that are not yet part of a matter.
SF: The reason why sharing can currently only be done from the Documents tab within a Matter is to make the sharing process as easy as possible for the user in the most common scenarios. Most Documents a user will want to share, and most recipients who will receive those Documents, will already be associated with the Matter. Because of that association, we can pre-fill the recipients list on the <sharing screen> with every Contact related to the Matter (such as an external consultant and outside counsel) so that users don’t have to share Documents from each Contact.
However, as you noted, prospective clients may not be associated with a Matter so a current solution would be to create a “master” or “basic info” matter for contacts that would hold all the documents and other relationships prior to actually creating a matter. We will certainly re-evaluate ways to streamline that workflow for a future release.
DR: Do you envision this as a “teaser technology” initiative, leveraging an already-popular service (Watchdox) to introduce document sharing to your Time Matters users, or is this part of a larger effort on Lexis’ part to create a more expansive “Client Portal” within Time Matters, perhaps to include calendaring, project status information, and other items users may want to selectively share with clients?
SF: That’s a great question – the short answer is “both!” Access to Time Matters data away from a workstation is definitely of interest to a growing number of customers. It is essential however to make certain that we maintain strong security for that data. By first introducing document sharing to our users through WatchDox, a recognized leader in secure document sharing, we are able to gauge interest in and receptiveness to a more expansive “Client Portal” within Time Matters. What that portal may look like will be driven by customer and market feedback.
DR: Has Lexis done any research with its client base to determine interest in/acceptance of “opening the gates” to allow clients greater access to data stored within a firm’s Time Matters database?
SF: Yes, and the new WatchDox Client Portal feature is a result of that research. We know that being able to share Time Matters data with users who are out of the office is important to many customers. The feedback we receive on the WatchDox powered document portal will help determine the importance our customers place on making more of their Time Matters data available to their clients.
DR: Are there any development efforts under way – that you can tell us about – to create more of a “self service” environment within Time Matters, for instance to allow for a feed from a “contact us” form on a website to populate a TM contact record, or to link a LinkedIn contact record to a TM contact record?
SF: Well, Dana, as you can guess, there are a number of development efforts underway in our LexisNexis BLSS (Business of Law Software Solutions) portfolio – some I can discuss and some I can’t yet! We are definitely making investments that will help us expand on the market leading functionality of Time Matters and other products in our portfolio. Whether from within the products themselves or by partnering with other solution providers to help our customers build the complete solution that best fits their firm’s needs.
Have questions of your own about the new client portal in Time Matters 13? Need to install your upgrade and set up your WatchDox account? Give us a call at 877-357-0555, or email us at [email protected] to start a conversation.
Dana Riel is President and Founder of Business Solutions, Inc., serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1985. Her firm is the authorized training center for the region for Time Matters and PCLaw by PCLaw|Time Matters, PLLC; Timeslips and Sage 50 Accounting by Sage Software; and QuickBooks by Intuit Corporation. She also serves as a consultant for Caret Legal (formerly known as Zola Suite), CosmoLex, Soluno & TimeSolv. As a trainer, Dana has provided training services to organizations such as the DOD Defense Logistics Agency, Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAG)/Department of the Navy, University of the District of Columbia School of Law, U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as with small‐ to mid‐size law firms in the Baltimore‐Washington D.C. area. In 2009, she participated in the series of day‐long seminars sponsored by the District of Columbia Bar Association Practice Management Section, titled “Basic Training: Learn About Running a Law Office”. Ms. Riel also served as an Adjunct Professor in Georgetown University’s Paralegal Studies Program, having taught the course, “Legal Ethics/Legal Technology” in 2009; and “Legal Technology” for the Spring and Summer Semesters of 2010. She presently serves on the Advisory Board for PCLaw|Time Matters, PLLC.