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Time Matters 9.0 — Legal Series

By Kim Plonsky

May/June 2008 Table of Contents


The latest version of LexisNexis’ award-winning Time Matters, Front Office powered by Time Matters 9.0, recently was released, further complicating the already tough decision confronting many law firms in choosing among the abundant law office practice management software solutions available today. Simultaneously, LexisNexis Back Office powered by Billing Matters 9.0 also was released, designed to integrate seamlessly with Time Matters 9.0.

Clearly, the improvements in Time Matters 9.0, available in Professional and Enterprise Editions, focus on making the program easier to use and increasing productivity by speeding up and automating processes, both attractive elements in any practice management program.

From an ease-of-use standpoint, most exciting is the handy new Task Panel that optionally appears to the left of the screen when lists of database records of any type are displayed, replacing the old Navigation Bar. Task Panels appear for each type of record in the main database (Events, To Dos, Contacts, Matters, Notes, Phone Calls, Documents, Email and Billing) and are intuitively pre-designed to feature the most common options, and fully customizable to a user’s specific needs and preferences.

The Power Views (preview panes used to see the details of a record without opening it) that appear in certain Task Panels have been updated and enhanced. Advanced users now can design and build additional, custom Power Views by creating either simple templates in Word, Notepad or WordPad, or more complex templates using an HTML editor.

Similar objects in the Task Panel
are grouped together logically and display
in a collapsible/expandable schema. The dynamic, one-click access to commonly performed features and functions of the Task Panel makes sense; it can significantly increase productivity, while reducing the user boredom and fatigue that result from performing repetitive, vacuous tasks.

While the ability to create multiple toolbars is not new, the ability to display them all at once in Time Matters 9.0 is. Users can create custom toolbars to perform common tasks and then display them when appropriate. Annoyingly, though, each time I exited the customization of any of my toolbars, every existing toolbar suddenly displayed. This added the unnecessary steps required to adjust the toolbar view to display only the desired toolbar. The more custom toolbars you have, the greater the annoyance.

Additionally, users now can choose between small and large toolbar icons, and whether to display all text icon descriptions or “selective text,” which smartly only displays text for less easily recognizable icons. Combined with the addition of the new Task Panel, the new toolbar customization options allow users the flexibility to create simple or complex desktop environments.

Time Matters 9.0 offers worthy substantive changes as well. Enhancing its overall flexibility, Time Matters now includes the ability to add up to five new user-defined record types, which Lexis­Nexis suggests can be used to track such things as firm assets and judgments for damages awarded and collected. New users and busy professionals with more to do than learn software programs will appreciate the seven new wizards to help get them up and running. With these new wizards, users easily can set up Staff, Users, Security Profiles, Class Codes, Email, Contacts, Matters and Quick Tabs, as well as Archive Related Records and a Records Review process. Of particular value to larger law firms, Time Matters now allows up to 100 users, increased from the prior limitation of only six.

To further automate processes, Time Matters 9.0 offers enhanced “Triggers” for invoking actions based on other actions or occurrences. For example, marking a record as “done” can instantly create a billing entry for the task performed, or adding a hearing date can automatically schedule reminders for yourself or others leading up to that court date. What is more, Triggers can be customized to either run automatically or prompt the user for prior approval.

Perhaps my favorite new feature, as a LexisNexis CaseMap user, is the improved CaseMap link, which allows a user to select and send multiple records to CaseMap simultaneously (even all documents in a case). This powerful, new feature alone has the potential to save innumerable hours otherwise spent entering data, and in my view extends the utility of both applications.

While keeping its overall familiar look and feel, this latest incarnation of Time Matters further improves and refines a stellar and award-winning law office practice management software application, with enough improvements, enhancements and new features to definitely warrant an upgrade by current Time Matters users. Those considering Time Matters as a practice management solution will appreciate the increased usability features, which make it easier to learn and run. While the sheer number of options and choices are still daunting, Time Matters seems to have struck the perfect balance by providing helpful wizards for the neophyte, and plenty of powerful and advanced customization options for the power user.

With reasonable pricing (and non-­subscription pricing at that), powerful features and abundant help resources, Time Matters 9.0 is one of my favorite law office practice management programs and has my solid recommendation.       



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