some new legal tech: TitanFile and Velawsity

I’ve recently come across two interesting SaaS products for the legal profession, and both offering a typical cloud product with a twist (or two).

#1 TITANFILE

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The first is TitanFile - it’s a secure online file-sharing and transfer tool, but organized a bit differently than those we’re used to (e.g. Dropbox, Box.com). It organizes channels around people and relationships, rather than ‘a maze of folders.’ The interface features drag-and-drop upload (yay!) and you can communicate with folks via in-app messaging within channels.

You can add any number of people to a channel, and you can share multiple channels with a single person. You’re notified in-app and by email whenever there’s activity in a channel, and you can also view a channel’s timeline via the app.

TitanFile’s privacy statement sets out the following regarding customer data and security:

10. Customer data

TitanFile Customers may electronically submit data or information to the Services for hosting and processing purposes (“Customer Data”). TitanFile will not review, share, distribute, or reference any such Customer Data except as provided in the TitanFile Terms of Service, or as may be required by law.

In accordance with the TitanFile Terms of Service, TitanFile may access Customer Data only for the purpose of providing the Services, preventing or addressing service or technical problems, at a Customer’s request in connection with customer support matters, or as may be required by law.

11. Security

TitanFile uses robust security measures to protect Customer Data from unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and help ensure the appropriate use of Customer Data. When the Services are accessed using Internet Explorer version 8.0 or later, Firefox version 2.0 or later, or Safari version 3.0 or later, Secure Socket Layer (.SSL.) technology protects Customer Data using both server authentication and data encryption. These technologies help ensure that Customer Data is safe, secure, and only available to the Customer to whom the information belongs and those to whom the Customer has granted access. TitanFile also implements an advanced security method based on dynamic data and encoded session identifications, and the Company hosts its Web sites in a secure server environment that uses firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other advanced technology to prevent interference or access from outside intruders. TitanFile also offers enhanced security features within the Services that permit Customers to configure security settings to the level they deem necessary. Customers are responsible for maintaining the security and confidentiality of their TitanFile access credentials such as passwords.

Because the Company uses the Services to maintain Data About TitanFile Customers and Data About TitanFile Attendees, this information, which is stored in the Services, is secured in the same manner as described above for Customer Data.

The customer data language seems a bit lax to me. And the security language doesn’t spell out the encryption process in any great detail. Both of these issues require expansion, I think, before lawyers embrace the platform. Since TitanFile was present at LegalTechNY, hopefully the company is thinking about these issues.

Assuming the privacy and security issues can be addressed satisfactorily, I like those things that make this platform different from the typical file folder organization. The social nature and grouping around channels (which could be a practice group or client matter, for example) make sense.

And pricing is attractive, with a free account and a reasonable (14.95/month) professional account with more features:

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I’ve created a free account and test-driven it briefly. A few initial notes:

  • Creating an account is fast and doesn’t require a credit card.
  • Creating a channel, adding a message and uploading a document is fast and easy.
  • Adding a contact is easy but the system doesn’t appear to notify the contact he or she has been added. I’ve messaged TitanFile for clarity on how to bring others into a channel. Waiting to hear back …
  • Email notifications re: channel activity are great - EXCEPT that the notification contains the entire text of the message. Which renders the secure in-app messaging useless. If I want the message to appear in an email, I’ll just send an email. In my opinion, lawyers need messages in a secure platform to exist only in the platform, for the express purpose of avoiding the pitfalls of email communication.

In a nutshell, I like the UX and organization by channels, as well as the ability to message in-app. But TitanFile, like other platforms I’ve tried, misses the mark for legal professionals by failing to offer secure in-app only messaging, and not fully disclosing privacy and security details.

UPDATE (a few hours later): I discovered where the notifications were going to the contact that I added to my channel in TitanFile - the spam folder. However, the contact never did receive any initial notification that she was now part of a TitanFile channel. And I haven’t heard a peep from TitanFile’s support channel …

SECOND UPDATE (early next day): I did get a response via the TitanFile Support Channel (that automatically appears when you create your TitanFile account), as well as a direct response to a customer feedback message that I sent via the dashboard. The feedback response I received was very detailed, and both responses were helpful. Perhaps this information can be added to an easy-to-find spot somewhere in the dashboard? Or perhaps it’s there and I simply missed it. I appreciated the prompt response.

#2 VELAWSITY

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Velawsity is a cloud-based practice management tool. No doubt it will deserve its own post, but since it has yet to be released and thus I know very little about it, I’m simple mentioning. Taunting you with the possibilities, perhaps?

The website doesn’t dive deep, but offers some hint of what the ‘user friendly practice management solution’ will offer:

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Note the CLIENT MESSAGING! Hopefully Velawsity’s tool will keep the messaging in the secure platform and not share message content via email. Fingers crossed on that one.

LETTER GENERATION also catches my eye. Automating repetitive tasks is central to creating a more efficient practice. I look forward to seeing how this tool functions.

While the website doesn’t divulge much, this platform appears to have the potential to look and perhaps operate differently than other popular PM platforms such as Clio, RocketMatter and MyCase.

Velawsity is launching at the ReInvent Law Silicon Valley 2013, which happens on March 8. I plan to be there. And I’ll share more about Velawsity after the launch.

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