Software support in the long run means ongoing maintenance and continuous development. That is why we constantly try to further develop our timeSensor LEGAL software. Our updates contain error fixes, adjustments to modified technical and legal frameworks, as well as new or better functionalities.
New 4D database version
This build delivers a maintenance update of the 4D database from version 16.3 to 16.4. The database update includes several bug fixes and improves stability and speed.
The timeSensor calendar also allows you to display deadlines. Previously, completed deadlines were also displayed. As of this build, for clarity's sake, only open deadlines are displayed.
When creating invoices, timeSensor LEGAL now automatically checks whether the charged hourly rates correspond to the mandate price list. If deviations occur, an appropriate warning is displayed. This avoids customer complaints resulting from incorrectly recorded or charged hourly rates.
A new button in the "Open invoices" list allows you to immediately book one or more invoices that are paid on the same day. Simply select the corresponding invoices and click on the "Quick settlement" button.
timeSensor LEGAL will display the sum of the selected invoices. Now you can enter the corresponding payment and settle all these invoices immediately.
And as always...
Various minor improvements and bug fixes.
Improvements in regard to data protection
The classic login window of timeSensor LEGAL is not optimal in terms of data protection, since it displays all users, groups and entities. This may not be a problem for a small law practice in the protected environment of a local network, but it can be an issue if you move the database to the cloud or if your database is accessible via Wi-Fi.
Accordingly, from this version onwards, you can choose between more convenience and more security in the "Special" menu item of the "Admin" menu, in the "Security" tab of the "System" section. We recommend that you further improve your login dialogue protection by using Level 3 or Level 4.
Improvements in Word templates with macros
In the past, older Word versions sometimes crashed when more than 250 fields were exported to a mail merge. For this reason, timeSensor LEGAL only exports a limited number of relationships by default.
Newer versions of Word are more robust and can handle more than 250 fields. Accordingly, there is now an option to remove this limitation and use all the relationships that you have created in timeSensor LEGAL for your templates. You will find the new setting in the "Special" menu item of the "Admin" menu, in the "General" tab of the "System" section.
Dossier colour options
The dossier background colours (pink for women, blue for men and grey for companies) has not been well received by all users. If you prefer to use a neutral colour for your address dossiers, you can choose to display all dossiers in a discreet standard grey with the new "Dossier background" setting.
Linking templates and additional content
When using templates, it may be useful to have easy access to information relating to the current template. From this build onwards, you can store a URL for a template, which will be opened automatically when the template is used. This allows templates to be linked with internal or external content.
And as always...
Some minor improvements and bug fixes.
Improvements made to accommodate the provisions of the GDPR:
The General Terms and Conditions (GTC) have been updated to include data protection information: Before you use the new update, you will have to accept the new GTC. Please review Section 11, which contains new information on data protection. You can also download the new GTC here.
In the past, passwords were archived in the database in an encrypted format. To meet the improved data protection regulations, only encrypted hash codes will be stored henceforth (in lieu of the actual passwords). Hence, if the user forgets a password, it cannot be reinstated in the future. Instead, the administrator will have to assign a new password.
Subsequently, the initial password generated by the administrator must be changed by the user. This is mandatory and ensures that the administrator does not know our users’ passwords.
Updated conflict check:
Our new conflict check is definitely the highlight of this update.
It now occurs in two phases:
- Upstream conflict check (new!)
- Downstream conflict check (existing solution)
Thanks to the new upstream conflict check, you will now be able to see conflicts even prior to or during the data entry process.
Accessing the upstream conflict check:
You can access the dialog for the upstream conflict check at any time by having the system display the client list to you and by choosing “Advance check” in menu “Tools” and “Search for” “Conflicts of interest.”
This process is even simpler if you perform it while you are entering a new file. If you are entering a new client or a new counter party, timeSensor LEGAL will suggest the performance of a conflict check at the bottom of the screen after you have entered the name.
Click on the “Conflict check” button and the respective dialog will open. The name is entered directly. Use the “Tolerance” slider to expand your search, which will result in the display of additional names that sound similar to the original name.
Improvements in the files
As you already know, it is possible to set the timesheet services that appear in the file to "non-billable" or to "bill otherwise." As a result, they are hidden by default and not billed. To do this, “delete” the respective services in the file context (i.e. click the small minus button). Next, you will see the following query:
In the past, to reverse such an entry, you had to go to the respective timesheet to reset the service to “billable.” The new version of timeSensor LEGAL offers a more convenient approach:
- Display the “non-billable” or “bill otherwise” services by clicking the header in the last column ("x").
- Select the “non-billable” or “bill otherwise” services
- Again, click on the small minus button and confirm the dialog that appears as a result
Hence, you can now switch the status of services at your convenience without having to go into the file.
Improved client management:
Search for clients and co-clients: A new option is available in the "Find client folders” menu. You can now search for “Client and co-client.” This search simultaneously captures both, clients and the data batches affiliated with the former as co-clients. As a result, you will be able to find the client folders you need more expeditiously.
Moving multiple clients from one file to another file: In the current version, you already had the option to move individual clients from one file to another by using the drag & drop tool. The new version now allows you to move an entire selection of clients from one file to another file in a single transaction.
To enable users to do this, the command “Move clients” has been inserted under “Update” in the “Tools” menu. Choose the desired target file in this window (to do this, access the selector window and drag the client into the “Target assignment” field using the drag & drop tool.
In this window, you also have two additional options:
- The "Sort by docket numbers" option tries to allocate assignments to the existing assignments of the target assignment based on their docket numbers. If you do not check anything in this checkbox, the assignments are inserted on the top of the client list.
- Once the operation is complete, checkbox “Show log” will display a summary and, if applicable will let you know about any problems that arose.
Handling of services on internal mandates
It is now possible to offer services on internal mandates
- to transfer to other mandates
- export and delete
To do this, the services must be selected in the dossier and the corresponding command must be selected in the action menu at the bottom right. The new functions can be used to correct incorrect postings, but also to prevent too many services from reaching the internal mandates and the response times of the system becoming too long. It is recommended that services on internal mandates be regularly exported and deleted.
As is well known, you can directly append the quantity (e.g. number of minutes) to a service code during service entry in the timesheet. It is now also possible to add a time period, whereby timeSensor LEGAL then directly calculates the corresponding time. The various options that you can add to the service code are listed below.
Example with the service code "h" for "fee-based service":
- h45 -> generates an entry of 45 minutes duration
- h1:20 -> generates an entry of one hour and twenty minutes duration
- h10:30-12:20 -> generates an entry of one hour and fifty minutes duration (new!)
New data backup options
The previous data backup settings have been updated. To ensure compatibility with Windows server systems, it is no longer possible to display and output drives in this screen. Please use a separate program to back up your data.
It is now possible to automatically terminate or restart the server once the data backup is complete. For security reasons, this option will only be executed between the hours of 11.30 pm and 5.00 am:
4D Write Template improvements
As you know, timeSensor LEGAL enables users to generate a report of the VAT postings in a reporting period. To date, the system provided the ACC_INSERT ("vat_report") and ACC_INSERT ("input_vat_report") print-out options. However, both of these print-outs contained every single transaction posted, which resulted in the generation of long lists in some cases.
Hence, as new print-outs, users can now generate the ACC_INSERT ("vat_report_by_account") and ACC_INSERT ("input_vat_report_by_account") print-outs. These reports consolidate the posted transactions based on accounts, which makes the summary shorter.
And as always...
Small details were improved and we implemented bug fixes.
Improvements in mandate folders
In larger law firms, mandates are often handled by entire teams. With timeSensor LEGAL, you can now determine who is responsible for the mandate whenever you like, in the mandate folder. The new "Team" tab displays a clear overview of the employees with key responsibilities (mandate team leader, executor and acquirer) and all employees associated with the mandate. Various features in the mandate folder allow you to start a chat with a team member, call someone or write an e-mail.
Using the Calculator feature (Germany)
If you have a mandate folder open and want a quick way to calculate costs or interest, simply go to the "Calculator" sub-menu of the Tools menu and then select "RVG Calculator" or "Interest Calculator." (RVG = German legal fee regulations)
Improvements in mandate management
Search for related mandates
The "Search for related mandates" feature could not previously be used for client addresses, as the mandates included in the dossier were not included in the search. Client mandates are now also included and the search results are therefore more complete.
Automatic revenue distribution (module)
We have extended the "Automatic revenue distribution" module. Automatic revenue distribution ensures that revenue is distributed among partners and other staff according to certain rules, so that everyone receives the share to which they are entitled. To make this possible, the various payments are booked to the corresponding revenue accounts. The following improvements have been made:
- The "In Favour" menu now also contains the other staff groups. This allows a benefit to be dependent on whether a person is a member of a specific group (e.g. Partners).
- A keyword can be stored for each credit item that is displayed when it is booked (e.g. "Partner share"). This makes it easier to identify bookings in accounting.
- The calculation can be based on either the total fees charged or just individual personal fees.
- You can now restrict the validity of a rule. For example, acquisition shares could only be owed for two years.
- The distribution of income is not applied to retainer invoices. Now, however, retainer invoices are allocated as follows:
- The amount in the general revenue account is reversed.
- The reversed amount is re-distributed according to the rules for revenue distribution.
Comparison of RVG and hourly fee (Germany)
Occasionally, you might like to make a quick comparison between time-based fees and RVG fees. The new version of timeSensor LEGAL allows you to do this with ease and little effort. Here’s how it works:
- - Enter the time-based fee as usual in the timesheet; these services are shown with a blue background in the dossier.
- Enter the RVG services below; these are shown with a white background.
To perform the desired comparison, create a template in the "Mandates" list of the "Finances" section. You can use the appropriate INV_INSERT expressions to output both the hourly fees and the RVG fees, either separately or in total.
To make things easier for you, we have created a sample template. Please proceed as follows to add the sample template to your templates (you will need appropriate access rights):
- Click here to download the sample template.
- Unzip the file (if it was not already unzipped automatically during the download process).
- In the "Finance" section, open the "Mandates" list and click on the printer icon to display the template window.
- Drag the file "Hourly fee vs RVG.tst" and drop it in the templates window.
- The sample template can now be used.
Hourly statistics and flat-rate fees
Hourly services that have accumulated in a dossier cannot always be billed. There are two possible scenarios:
- Services cannot be invoiced and must be written off, for example because a staff member has not worked efficiently enough and the service cannot be charged to the client.
- Hourly fees are compensated in another manner, e.g. as part of a lump sum fee or by invoicing via RVG.
The two cases differ in that in the first case real "non-billable" hours arise that should also appear in the employee's statistics, whereas in the second case, the hours cannot really be regarded as "non-billable", since they have been billed elsewhere.
Previously, it was not possible to distinguish between these two scenarios in timeSensor LEGAL, but that is no longer the case. When services are deleted in a dossier, the following query now appears:
If you choose the option "Services billed elsewhere" for the second scenario described above, the services in the timesheet remain as normal, billable hours, whereas the amount of the services is set to zero, thus ensuring that the employee's hourly statistics are correct. In the employee's timesheet, "Services billed elsewhere" are marked with a special red check mark.
Adjustments in the RVG tariff (Germany)
The "limit" for RVG items 5101, 5103, 5107 and 5109 has been raised from EUR 40.00 to EUR 60.00 (see http://www.burhoff.de/veroeff/aufsatz/VRR_2015_8.htm)
And as always...
Some minor improvements and bug fixes.
Over the last few months, we have been working mainly on the conversion of the database from v15 to v16, in order to ensure compatibility with macOS High Sierra, and so that the Windows 64-bit Server could be delivered. These developments have now been largely completed, so that we were once again able to compile a package of interesting improvements for you in this build.
Different-coloured check marks in timesheets
Services recorded in a timesheet that had already been transferred to a dossier were previously shown with a red check mark. It was previously not possible to determine whether the services in question had already been invoiced, or whether they were only available for invoicing in the dossier. Several different colours of check marks are now displayed:
- A grey check mark means that the service has been transferred to the dossier but has not yet been invoiced.
- A red check mark means that the service has been transferred to the dossier and has already been invoiced.
The advantage is that you can now see at a glance in a timesheet whether services have been invoiced or not.
Different-coloured check marks in dossiers
In dossiers, it was previously not possible to determine whether invoices had been printed or not, or whether they had already been paid. An appropriate icon now appears to the right of the invoice:
- No icon means that the invoice has not yet been printed (RG 73-00)
- A grey check mark means that the invoice is still open (RG 39-00)
- If a reminder needs to be issued for an invoice, the usual reminder status icons are shown.
- A red check mark means that the invoice has been paid in full (RG 12-00)
The advantage is that you can now see at a glance in a dossier whether the invoice has been printed, and whether it has been paid.
Improvements in the Document Archive
New context menu for attachments
New options are now available when right-clicking on an attachment to a document:
- Send selected attachments by e-mail: ¥ the e-mail client is started and the selected attachment is added to the e-mail.
N.B.: If there are several recipients, pressing the Alt (Option) keywill ensure that a separate e-mail is created for each recipient.Otherwise, a single e-mail will be created for all the selected recipients.
- Send as a ticket: das Dokument wird per Ticket an einen Mitarbeiter versandt. Dies ist ideal, um einem Mitarbeiter direkt eine Aufgabe zu delegieren.
- New follow-up: a new follow-up is created for the document. The follow-up will then be shown in the "Deadlines / Follow-ups" window. This ensures that no tasks are forgotten.
- Save selection to desktop: the document and/or the attachment is/are exported to your desktop.
- Copy selection to drafts: the attachment is copied to Drafts and can be edited there.
Search by ID
The search menu now allows you to search using the unique ID of a document. You will find the ID in the title of the "Info" window of the document. The new search type is particularly useful when creating a ticket or follow-up for a document. The information on the document is stored in the ticket or in the follow-up. If the recipient of the ticket or the follow-up now clicks on the "Open data record" button, the mandate folder is opened and a search for the stored ID is carried out immediately. The advantage is that you always see the relevant document in the mandate folder.
Conversion to PDF when archiving e-mails by drag & drop (Test version)
Previously, if you used drag & drop to move e-mails to the document archive, they were saved in their original format: i.e. an .eml file was saved under macOS and an .msg file under Windows. However, it may be useful to you if timeSensor LEGAL converts the e-mails to PDFs and archives them in the new format. PDFs are preferable for long-term archiving, and can also be found with the full text search. In this version, we have implemented a check box in the archiving dialogue which triggers the conversion.
N.B.: due to the highly-complex process of converting different e-mail formats, this function was only implemented as a test version in order to gain experience. Depending on the results of the tests, we will either fully implement or remove the new feature at a later date. When converting documents to PDF format, please check whether the result is satisfactory. We welcome feedback on the new feature, and with regard to e-mails for which the conversion was unsuccessful.
Improvements in the Document Center
In the Document Center, documents can now be searched with no time restrictions. If you would like to do this, select "All" in the menu, as shown below:
Improvements in Deadlines / Follow-ups
New "Extend deadline" feature
The new "Extend deadline" function has been added to the functions "Duplicate deadline" and "Postpone deadline":
- Duplicate deadline: creates any number of repetitions of recurring deadlines (e.g. a deadline that recurs every month).
- Postpone deadline: the deadline is moved to a specific date or by a number of days/weeks/months/years.
- Extend deadline (new): the original deadline is shown with a "completed" check mark and remains unchanged. A new deadline is created as a duplicate in the future.
The advantage of using "Extend deadline" is that the original deadline and all extensions thereof are now fully documented.
Jumping to distant dates
In the Deadline window, it is now possible to jump directly to distant dates with the aid of additional keys. Click on the right arrow or left arrow while holding down the following additional keys:
Alt (Option) + click on right arrow = +1 year
Alt (Option) + click on left arrow = -1 year
Alt (Option) + click on right arrow = +10 years
Alt (Option) + click on left arrow = -10 years
And as always...
Some minor improvements and bug fixes.
64-bit Windows Server (multi-user systems)
timeSensor LEGAL 7.0 now uses the 64-bit 4D Server v16.3 under Windows. The main advantage of the 64-bit database is improved performance, due to the ability to address more RAM memory. By using appropriately scaled hardware, several hundred users can be served simultaneously. Although macOS continues to lead the way in terms of stability and economy for law firms with up to 20 workstations, we recommend that firms with more workstations run the 4D Server under Windows. Further information can be found in the white paper "Recommended server configurations" in the Download section.
Certification for macOS 10.13 High Sierra
The 16.3 database is now certified for macOS High Sierra, so timeSensor LEGAL 7.0 can be used without restrictions with High Sierra. The current certification matrix can be found here.
SHA512 support for Starface telephone systems
Starface changed the encryption of passwords from version 188.8.131.52 onwards. timeSensor LEGAL now supports hashing with SHA512 and the telephony interface is now compatible with the latest version of Starface. N.B.: If you are still using an older version of Starface, you should also update your Starface system when updating to this version of timeSensor LEGAL. The new version of timeSensor LEGAL version no longer supports Starface versions older than 184.108.40.206.
Check your data backup!
When updating the database to v16, you need to check whether your backup is being performed correctly (We recommend that you do this at least once a month in any case, but please check again as part of the update). Ensure that the database backup is performed as described in FAQ article B28.
Various bug fixes and minor improvements
The new version includes several minor bug fixes and improvements.