Will-O-Matic featured in CBA PracticeLink
Many thanks go out to Omar Ha-Redeye for mentioning – and to James Careless for writing about – our Will-O-Matic in James’ article entitled “Smart software/hardware buys for the start-up lawyer“.
Here’s the article and highlighted below is the part that discuss the Will-O-Matic:
Smart software/hardware buys for the start-up lawyer
By James Careless
The earliest days of any legal practice are always the most cash-poor. This is why lawyers in new practices need to know which software and hardware they really need to buy first, to get their businesses launched and billable hours logged.
Law offices are specialized businesses that follow specific operating and accounting rules. The key to meeting these regulatory conditions, while keeping manpower costs to a minimum, is to buy the right software.
“If you want an all-in-one legal accounting software that covers all the bases, then choose PCLaw,” says Garry J. Wise. He is founder of Toronto’s Wise Law Office, and writes the Wise Law Blog (wiselaw.blogspot.ca). “PCLaw is clearly the industry standard with everything needed to handle matter, billing and account management,” he says.
Although expensive, the software does come with a free 30-day trial. “As well, if you use PCLaw, you can be sure that the Law Society will be absolutely satisfied with the way you’re keeping records,” says Wise.
For those who prefer to do their law firm management “in the cloud,” there’s Clio (www.goclio.com). Clio is a cloud-based practice management, time and billing and client collaboration platform. It is accessible on web-connected computers, tablets and smartphones.
“With PCLaw, you have to purchase a licence for each lawyer,” says Sara R. Cohen. Specializing in fertility law, Cohen is a partner at D2Law LLP, a Toronto law firm she runs with husband/legal partner Anatoly Dvorkin. “The problem is that you have to download the program to the lawyer’s computer, and can’t access it from anywhere,” Cohen explains. “With Clio, you just access your files on whatever device you happen to be using without paying extra licence fees.”
The next thing a start-up law office needs is a legal reference library. Thankfully, the days of buying actual books has passed, thanks to online references such as the Canadian Law Information Institute (CanLII; www.canlii.org).
“CanLII is an excellent site for legal searches, and spares you the huge cost of investing in actual books,” says Wise. “Besides, you can access CanLII while you’re on the road or in court. It’s so useful that my firm has developed and published a free iPhone app called WiseLII that lets you search CanLII on your iPhone.”
Omar Ha-Redeye knows all about launching a legal practice. He opened his family law office in June 2011. Today, Ha-Redeye has both a head office in downtown Toronto, and satellite offices around the GTA.
Ha-Redeye singles out automation as “the most effective tool for start-ups, for producing commonly-needed documents cost-effectively,” he says. This is why Ha-Redeye recommends using software such as DivorceMate (for working out separation/custody arrangements) and a site he himself runs, MySupportCalculator.ca.
MySupportCalculator allows users to calculate legally-accurate child/spousal support arrangements calculations online.
Ha-Redeye also recommends Michael Carabash’s Will-O-Matic, which is “a very affordable product for the average consumers to keep expenses down,” he says.
As for word processing software? “You can use Microsoft Office, but Apache OpenOffice is really comparable, and it’s free,” says Wise. Meanwhile, to make and host a free website, Cohen recommends you try www.Weebly.com.
The right devices
Any start-up law office can expect to invest in some form of desktop/laptop computers, printers, and a fax machine. But there’s one other essential that all the lawyers interviewed for this article recommend: a portable scanner, specifically the Fujitsu ScanSnap.
The smallest ScanSnap available, the S1100, is about the size of a few 12″ rulers stacked. But when connected to a laptop computer, the ScanSnap can scan full-sized legal documents into the computer’s hard drive.
“The ScanSnap is essential to our business,” Cohen says. “We don’t have to have assistants and clerks to handle paper documents for us. We just scan everything and keep it in our computers.”
A second must-have is a web-connected (Wi-Fi capable) tablet computer, be it an iPad, Android tablet, or BlackBerry PlayBook. “Tablets allow you to lookup references on CanLII while you’re in court,” says Garry Wise. “As well, judges don’t get offended by lawyers looking at tablets, and often welcome the information that can be found through these quick searches.”
Finally, Anatoly Dvorkin cites the Livescribe “smartpen” as another must-have. Small wonder: The Livescribe records both the pen strokes of the writer and the audio taking place during writing, which is done on special Anoto digital paper.
“Afterwards, the writer can tap on a specific word in the written text, and link automatically to the audio of what was said,” Dvorkin says. “I find this to be really helpful, since I am not that good at taking notes.”
Smart start-up cheat sheet
Fujitsu ScanSnap portable scanner
Tablet (iPad, Android or BlackBerry PlayBook)
About the Will-O-Matic
The Will-O-Matic is the most advanced, comprehensive, flexible and affordable online software on the market to help you make your own simple Will. It has been featured in countless media spots (including the Globe and Mail, CTV News, National Post, and more). The first version of the Will-O-Matic was well-beyond anything else out there. And I noticed that some competitors were trying to copy us. That’s a great compliment. But they don’t have what we have. It took countless time, money and effort to make the Will-O-Matic what it is today. And here’s where we stand:
- The Will-O-Matic is based on provincial Wills laws. I haven’t seen anyone else go to that length. They tell you their product is good for “Canada”, but it’s not. They don’t use the right language. So why risk using their product.
- The Will-O-Matic is more comprehensive than anything else out there.
- I (a Canadian lawyer) created the Will-O-Matic. Were other products
- The Will-O-Matic allows you to edit for free for the first year; other products give you a one-shot type of deal (but you can always pay more to edit).
- The Will-O-Matic comes with comprehensive signing instructions to help you make sure you don’t enter the Will incorrectly and thereby render it invalid.
- The Will-O-Matic comes with a comprehensive and regularly updated eBook (for Ontario, it’s over 70 pages long!) about Wills in your Province. This just goes to show the level we go to when it comes to putting a high quality product on the market.
- The Will-O-Matic includes a personal information, assets and liabilities checklist to help you get organized.
- The Will-O-Matic is regularly updated (particularly when laws change).
So there you have it. A fantastic product that’s only getting better. So if you’re shopping around for online Will products – just remember about the above. We truly are the leader in online Wills in Canada.