Heckman Consulting Newsletters
No.33 Winter 2007
Do You Really Want to Upgrade?
No.31 Spring 2006
Implementing Document Management
Blog from Heckman Computer Consulting
DMS Issues from Heckman Computer Consulting
Cheatsheets from Heckman Computer Consulting
Seminars from Heckman Computer Consulting
Law Office Computing Articles
Business Automation Checklist
Services Provided: Technology Consulting, Software Support, Planning Support
Supported Software Products: Amicus Attorney, CaseMap and TimeMap, ContactEase, WordPerfect, GroupWise, HotDocs, PC Law, Summation, Time Matters, Worldox
Email Policies
Backup Issues
Virus Issues & Alerts
Useful Links from Heckman Consulting
About Us - Heckmanco.com
Clients of Heckman Computer Consulting


Services Provided by Heckman Consulting
Heckman Consulting
Tel: 860 434-5877
e-mail: heckman at heckmanco dot com

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Based in Old Lyme, Connecticut, Heckman Consulting has clients both in the Northeast U.S. and across the country and Canada.

Frustrated by the Software Jungle?

Frustrated by the software jungle and programs that won’t work as advertised? As vendor-authorized consultants with years of experience across many different firms, we can assist you in finding a solution, negotiating with vendors, or providing acceptable workarounds. Our general approach to consulting and specific areas of expertise are set forth below. See more detailed pages for software we support and other information about legal technology problems

Business Automation

     It often seems almost impossible to keep up with the rapid pace of technological change. No sooner do you buy a brand-spanking-new computer than it is outdated. How does a firm decide what it really needs to keep it competitive and profitable and what is merely marketing hype? Heckman Consulting can assist you by examining the state of your firm's technology and your requirements.

    Heckman Consulting draws on over 20 years of experience advising law firms and other companies on how to use computers to automate business processes and improve productivity. Key to the success of business automation is customizing the software in use at a firm so that different programs integrate seamlessly with each other and so that users will actually use the technology available to them. Heckman Consulting will analyze your site and your needs and help you get the most out of what you already have or, where desirable, upgrade intelligently. Based on a needs analysis, we will suggest options and alternatives to enable your firm to move forward.

    In a legal market that is increasingly competitive, the selective adoption of key technologies can help a firm stay ahead of the pack. Firms that do not keep pace will, in the relatively near term, not be able to stay competitive in the services they offer clients.

Does One Size Fit All?

Vendors are increasingly attempting to provide "one size fits all" solutions: "Buy our program and you won't need anything else." However, as vendors move away from their core areas of expertise, the "add-on" modules are frequently not really up to par (or at the very least not ready for prime time). Is a "good enough" solution right for your firm or can "best of breed" be integrated for a better solution? Buying software is like many other purchases. Something that seems "good enough" why you buy it becomes frustratingly inadequate six months later. We can assist your firm in making these decisions.

Technology Transfer

     A basic ingredient of Heckman Consulting's approach is Technology Transfer. We firmly believe that an essential part of a system integrator's job is helping the client become independent by transferring the knowledge necessary to perform routine administrative tasks. If at the end of a project the client cannot administer the installed programs on a day to day basis, then we have not fully done our job.

E-Mail / Internet

     For many companies, e-mail has been a driving force for expanding the use of computers. The need for a single location to receive e-mail, faxes, voice mail, integrated with the Internet, is becoming increasingly urgent. Heckman Consulting can enable you to get Internet mail through your e-mail system without worrying about firewalls, security, viruses or employees wasting time "surfing the net." We can integrate your e-mail with faxing and voice mail, as well as your word processor by using a centralized electronic rolodex such as ContactEase (Metz Phones).

Backup/Data Storage

Maintaining appropriate backups is key to both protection of your data on a day-to-day basis and data recovery in the event of some disaster. For example, if a single user leaves their computer on with Amicus, Time Matters, PC Law or similar programs running, your "backup" may not function properly and can be useless if you need to recover data. Like many computer areas, this has been changing very rapidly, and a wide range of new options are available: backup to DVDs, removable hard disks, even USB flash drives. These can provide you with instant "off-site storage" by taking home a backup on something smaller in size than your cell phone. Let us review your present backup system and see whether options have become available that better fit your needs.

Word Processing

     Word processing is a core product for law firms -- or any company for which intensive document production is at the heart of business processes. But neither Word nor WordPerfect are optimized for legal use "out of the box." We will review and customize your installation so it best meets your needs. Our custom macros and templates act as "wizards" tailored to your specific site to walk you through common tasks, thus reducing the time necessary to perform routine, repetitive jobs. They can provide an essential element in making your system work the way your people actually work and communicate. Custom macros and templates can be the key to a truly integrated and effective system.

     If your firm is planning to convert from WordPerfect to Word, Heckman Consulting can assist you in identifying pitfalls, planning the conversion (including document conversion) and making sure your training is customized for legal needs. John Heckman's years of WordPerfect consulting experience mean he can address the felt concerns of your users and point out the "gotchas" in working with Word. Our class on "Surviving Word" has been very well received.

Document & Practice Management

     Document and Practice Management are two areas of automation that can bring substantial productivity increases but have been widely neglected by smaller and mid-size firms. Do you never want to "lose" a document again? Would you like to have all the elements of your paper file available to you electronically and never again have to put a client on hold for several minutes when someone asks you what your schedule is? These programs can help you provide better client service and faster turnaround times.

    Heckman Consulting has substantial experience with Worldox and other document management products, which automate the way you store documents and reduce the amount of time it takes to find any given document to mere seconds. Lost files or lost disks can be a thing of the past! Practice Management programs such as Amicus Attorney or Time Matters® can integrate your file structure, time keeping, contact lists and calendar and link your practice management to time and billing systems such as PC Law® to further increase productivity. Assiduous use of such a system can increase the capture of billable hours by 10 to 20% per year.

    The savings in time gained by implementing these programs can free up staff to focus on more productive tasks, and can help increase a firm's attorney-to-secretary ratio so that it more approximates the 3-1 ratio common today in larger firms. The combination of time savings and capturing additional hours for the same amount of work will easily translate to a Return on Investment of over $10,000 per year per attorney!

Time, Billing and Accounting

Many firms use Timeslips for Time and Billing, and Quickbooks for accounting. However, this is quite inefficient since it involves double entry. In addition, Quickbooks is hardly customized for legal practice, in particular handling Trust Accounts. In our view, the increased efficiency provided by a single program such as PC Law®, more than warrants consolidating on a single solution.

Litigation Support

     Even the smallest firms involved in litigation on a regular basis can benefit from Litigation Support software. Heckman Consulting can help you implement and customize leading litigation support products such as Summation Blaze or CaseMap. For more limited use, programs such as e-Binder from RealLegal can help organize and analyze court and deposition transcripts.

Electronic Letterhead

     Our design specialists can help you find ways to take your desktop publishing in-house, improve the appearance of your documents and save substantial sums on outside printers by reproducing your existing letterhead electronically for faxing and other cases where engraved letterhead is not necessary.


     Heckman Consulting offers training for all systems we install. In addition to end-user training and "train the trainer" classes, we will train your administrative and support personnel so that they can administer your network and gain more control over your computer system. Our "cheat sheets" make life easy for end-users.

Research & Development

     Heckman Consulting devotes substantial time to R&D. With software and hardware changing ever more rapidly, our goal is to be able to answer your questions concerning new products while the products are still in beta. We focus on legal-specific and Internet-oriented products. In many cases, we can point you to new or different programs that will meet your needs as a result of our investment in keeping abreast of the state of technology for law firms.

June 2006

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