Services Provided by 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
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
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brand-spanking-new computer than it is outdated.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
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
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).
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 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!
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.
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.
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
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.