2021 Tools Worth Trying

These are the tools and products we use and suggest. Some are tried and true. Some were created last week. We update this list with some frequency so we suggest that you bookmark it and come back periodically (a tool we mention below, ChangeDetect, automates that process.

Have we used every single product? Nope. But we do use a lot of them, and of those we don’t, most are used by our members at Rosen Institute. There are a few that we included without trying, because they fill a gap in the market–they solve a problem that some folks desperately need to have solved.

In some categories, we’ve got a strong preference. In others, we’ve found a variety of products and services which all meet our needs. Our goal is to give you some ideas that will advance your search for something which solves your particular problem. There are many categories in which we don’t make suggestions. These categories tend to be mature (i.e. bookkeeping software, hardware, etc.). The choices are all well established and the distinctions tend to be more of style than substance.

Many of the tools we mention are not specifically built for the legal market. We have often found that lawyer-targeted products are inferior and over-priced. The general market tends to have better offerings at better prices so long as you can adjust to issues like a management system that refers to “customers” instead of “clients.” A willingness to adapt to terminology changes can give you an instant advantage over your competition because you’ve got better tools.

Your feedback helps us refine our list (always a work in progress), so feel free to share your experiences with these products. We encourage you to connect with us and let us hear your suggestions, additions, and input for the list. Let’s dig in.

Good Stuff From Rosen Institute

  • Rosen’s Rules: Free 10-day online course setting forth the essential rules to follow in order to grow a successful practice.
  • Fix Your Email Address: Still using an AOL or Gmail address? 1990 is calling and they want their email address back. Our free course shows you how to jump thirty years forward in just thirty minutes. Let us show you how it’s done.
  • Rosen Institute Premium: Membership community of successful lawyers growing practices around the world. In 10 minutes per day, you’ll level up your marketing, outsourcing, networking, systems, and more. You’ll find a welcoming group of lawyers communicating via Slack 24/7/365 helping one another find more time, make more money, satisfy clients, and take a systematic approach to greater productivity and the rewards you deserve.

Most Recommended Tools

If you look at nothing else on this page, these are the five items that you should know about. We recommend these resources again and again. We use them because they work, and we’re confident you’ll agree too.

  • Belay: We outsource nearly everything. We nearly always start with a strong, smart, English speaker. Then, sometimes, we refine the system and outsource further to low-cost labor markets. We started with the company now called Belay. They’re good. They provide virtual assistants, bookkeepers, writers, webmasters, and more.
  • Rosen Advertising: Handles our pay-per-click advertising on Google Adwords, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Rosen Advertising is (obviously) run by a relative–my son, Toby. He has been handling our ads for a couple of years and we’re earning an incredible return on our investment. He’s one of those young guys who grew up with technology and just gets it. He’s doing sophisticated things for us with ads, remarketing, and video advertising on Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If you’re not getting revenues of 10-20x your ad spend then you need to talk to him.
  • Search Engine News: Essential reading–I haven’t skipped a month in more than a decade. You’re paying someone for SEO services and you likely don’t have a clue whether they know what they’re doing. Get educated. We’ve subscribed to Search Engine News forever, and their advice has helped us achieve astonishing website traffic from Google. What more can I say? There is nothing you can buy that delivers more value.
  • Ruby Receptionist: Our law firm outsourced all of our phone answering to Ruby. Calling our firm and pressing zero meant you were talking to Ruby. Oddly, we got more compliments about Ruby than we ever did about our in-house team. Initially, we experimented with using Ruby as a backup service, but we went all in when it worked so well. You’ll get $100 off your first invoice if you use my link. They don’t charge a set-up fee so you’ll be up and running in an instant.
  • TextExpander: if you aren’t using a text-replacement tool like TextExpander, you’re wasting hours of your own time each week. Set up abbreviations for simple items like email addresses and phone numbers, all the way to more complex snippets like email responses and PDF or website form fills. Use the advanced features to automatically adjust names, dates and much more in your snippets.

Advertising

  • Google Adwords: If you want to begin advertising on Google, you can select keywords and locations, and pay each time someone clicks on your advertisement.
  • Rosen Advertising: Online advertising is tricky. Toby Rosen knows his way around Google Ads, Facebook and LinkedIn. He’ll save you time and make you more money.
  • Call Rail: Call tracking to unique phone numbers.
  • PixelMe: PixelMe is a URL shortener that embeds retargeting pixels from Facebook, Adwords, and LinkedIn into shortened links. Brand, track & share your own short URLs and retarget anyone who clicked on your links.

Books

Book Publishing

Calendar Scheduling

  • Calendly: Quick and easy system for having clients select open meeting times.
  • Doodle: Great scheduling tool for small groups.

X.ai: Artificial Intelligence applied to arrange meetings via email.

Call Tracking

Chatbots

Client Reviews

  • BirdEye: Collect reviews, convert leads, run surveys, text
    customers, and get referrals all in one place.
  • Boast: Collect testimonials for your website and social media.
  • Broadly: Automatically request reviews and manage all from one dashboard.
  • GatherUP: Customer experience and online review engine.
  • Google Review Policies: Google guidelines for reviews.
  • Google Review Link Tool: Generates a review link to send to a client.
  • Review Shake: One tool to generate, manage, market, and analyze online reviews.

Cloud Desktops

Competitive Research

  • Change Detect: Monitor changes on websites.
  • Inoreader: A very useful RSS feed reader that also includes web page monitoring to keep up with competitors.

Customer and Contact Relationship Management

  • Contactually: Connect your email accounts and Contactually will automatically sync your contacts and communication history. They focus on real estate agents but we know many lawyers using their service.
  • Salesforce: We used Salesforce for more than a decade. It’ll do almost anything, but you’ll pay a steep price in monthly fees plus developer costs.
  • Zoho CRM: We’ve had very positive experiences with Zoho. It’s a bit like using Salesforce’s younger, dumber sibling. It has all the features but it’s always a year or two behind. The price is very reasonable.

Discovery

  • Evichat: Cloud-based discovery tool for unearthing chat and SMS conversations.

Document Assembly

  • TheFormTool: Entry-level document assembly tool. Sharefile File storage with document management capabilities.
  • FormStack Documents: Formerly WebMerge. A simple, powerful, cloud-based document assembly engine. This is a great place to start when it comes to automating documents for quick fill-in-the-blanks using an existing repository of client information, like a spreadsheet or practice management system.
  • XpressDox: Desktop and/or Cloud-based, document assembly tool with a much more comprehensive (and complex) templating language. Includes an API that allows you to trigger document generation from external data and software.
  • Docassemble: Relatively new player in the document assembly space. Free, open-source, and built by a lawyer who is also a developer. Very flexible, very customizable, and built on popular technologies that mean finding developers to customize it should be fairly easy. If you’re not game to build your own solution, Documate and Afterpattern are commercial offerings built on top of Docassemble.

Email

  • Lingviny: Email translations.
  • Sanebox: Stop the email insanity! Sanebox does an amazing job of sorting and preparing your email for review. Instead of being overwhelmed by email, you get it under control. It’s the only way I’ve ever achieved “inbox zero.” It works with almost any email system and it has all kinds of features that get you organized and save you time. They offer a free trial.
  • Signature Satori: Centrally-managed Gmail signatures across your entire organization.
  • CodeTwo Email Signatures: Centrally managed Office 365 signatures across your entire organization.
  • Batched Inbox: Get your email on your schedule.
  • AnonAddy: Create disposable email addresses and set up anonymous email forwarding.

Email Marketing

  • ActiveCampaign: This is our current email marketing, automation, and CRM tool. It’s comprehensive, effective, and powerful. It’s more than most small firms require and that’s especially true if you’re using a practice management system. But if you can justify the expense, it’s an awesome system.
  • Gmass: Email marketing is powerful and this tool makes it especially easy to blast out emails straight from your Google email account. New features keep rolling out, but Gmass has one benefit that really stands out–very high deliverability.
  • ConvertKit: We’ve tried them all (Aweber, Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, Getresponse, Pardot, etc.) and ConvertKit stands out for offering amazing features at a great price.
  • Email Deliverability Tester: Test your emails before you send them.
  • Email Drips: Examples of drip marketing sequences.
  • Email Octopus: Great prices and deliverability. Not as easy to use as ConvertKit but the deliverability and price more than makeup for a bit more complexity.
  • KickBox: Email verification service with multiple integrations.
  • MailFloss: Automatically filter out junk email addresses from your list.
  • Postmaster Tools: Google tool for monitoring and improving your success with sending email.
  • Zipwhip: Broadcast text messaging tool.

File Storage/Migration/Document Management

  • CloudHQ: Backup/Sync/Migrate. They do all sorts of things. We’ve used them repeatedly.
  • Dropbox: File storage.
  • Mover: Migrate files from one host to another. Move from Dropbox to Google Drive and back again. They have lots of integrations.
  • Cloud Convert: Convert anything to anything.
  • Sharefile: Dropbox on steroids–file storage, workflows, permissions and more.

Finance

Hardware

Legal Outsourcing

  • Law Clerk: A number of members have used this service and reported back that things went very well. They offer a resource page including a link to “Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing.” Use the rebate code “LEEROSEN” on your first project and they’ll send you a $200 rebate.

Mail/Postage

  • Casemail: Send mail.
  • Handwrytten: Automated notes, handwritten and sent via postal mail.
  • Simple Certified Mail: Certified mail is a hassle. This vendor makes it easier, plus it’s cheaper than paying at the post office. No-brainer.
  • Stamps.com: Print postage on your computer. No trips to the post office, better than a postage meter.
  • Thankster: Thank-you cards, etc. mailed for you.

Newsletters

  • Ghost: Paid newsletters are all the rage but you can use these tools for a free newsletter as well. Of course, you can use some of the tools mentioned above in “Email Marketing” but Ghost is built specifically for paid newsletters.
  • Substack: This product deserves most of the credit for the revival of the paid newsletter category. The product is simple, easy to use, and supports both paid and free newsletters.

Nomad Life and Remote Work

  • 1 Dollar Scan: These folks scanned all of our books.
  • Airbnb: Online marketplace for vacation rentals–get up to $50 off when you use our link.
  • CDC Travel Advice: Travel health advice from the US government.
  • CDC Yellow Book: A resource for health professionals who advise on international travel–covers diseases, vaccines, etc.
  • Fit for Travel: Vaccine advice from the U.K.
  • IATA Travel Centre: Do you need a visa or other travel documents to visit a particular country? Find out here.
  • Nomad List: Sortable index of best places to visit.
  • Google Fi: Wireless device service for international travel.
  • Pill in Trip: Prescription drugs around the world have different names in different countries. This site helps you figure out the name of the medication you need anywhere in the world.
  • Ripcord Travel Rescue Insurance: Flexible travel/evacuation insurance.
  • Tripit: Track and monitor travel plans.
  • ScanCafe: Photo scanning service for photos, slides, and digitizing video.
  • SIM Card Wiki Directory: By country, for prepaid cellular SIM card providers.
  • Smugmug: Photo storage without compression.
  • St. Brendan’s Isle Mail: Scanning and forwarding service in Florida.
  • Thai Vaccine Clinic: Vaccines at bargain prices in Bangkok.

Office Systems

  • DocuSign: Works great for obtaining digital signatures. We use it for client agreements and whenever else possible. We’ve incorporated it into our practice management system so certain documents are prepared and sent for signature with one click.
  • Google Workspace: Email, Calendar, text, spreadsheets, etc. all safely managed in the cloud by Google. We trust them. Easily manage your entire team’s online collaboration and communication tools.
  • LastPass: If you already have a password manager, stick with it. They all have similar features. But if you don’t, you need one and LastPass is great. No more having to track down passwords for associates. Share passwords with your team safely and securely. No one but you will know the actual password and you can change it as often as you like.

Outsourcing

  • OnlineJobs.ph: Advertise for assistance in the Philippines.
  • Shepherd: Headhunters for international talent.
  • Upwork: Take our Outsourcing course before you hire your first Upwork contractor and you’ll get much better results.
  • Virtual Assistant Israel: We used this company for years with impressive results.

Podcasting

  • Auphonic: Automated post-production services for podcasting.
  • Call In Studio: Do a call-in “talk radio” show.
  • Descript: Edit audio in text form. Incredibly useful for podcasts, video, and screencast editing.
  • Evo Terra: Podcast consultant.
  • Headliner: Use video to promote your podcast.
  • Libsyn: The hosting provider for our audio. You don’t want to store the video on your website server. Libsyn is inexpensive and optimized for audio.
  • Microphones: We get asked which microphone we use for our podcasts. Lee Rosen uses a Zoom H1N which is small, portable handheld recorder that’s easy for him to use on the road.
  • Music Radio Creative: A voice talent marketplace for intros, outros, and more.
  • Resoundly: Let the software handle the speaking part of the podcast. Text to speech automation.
  • Riverside.fm: Easy end-to-end podcast recording. It’s a competitor to Ringr and Zencastr.
  • Ringr: Record interviews easily online with local, high-quality recording happening on both ends of the conversation.
  • We Edit Podcasts: These folks edit all of our audio. Quick and reasonably priced.
  • Welder: Audio and video double-ender software as a service.
  • Zencastr: An alternative to Ringr for recording interviews.

Podcasts

Printing

  • VistaPrint: Shockingly well-priced printing with very good (not great) quality. We’re using them for business cards, letterhead, and postcards.

Selling Law Firm

  • The Law Practice Exchange: Ready to sell the practice? These experts know the ins and outs. Mention my name–Lee Rosen–when you connect and you’ll get the deluxe treatment. There is a market for your business, and you’ll be glad you got help finding your buyer for the best price.

Social Media and Repurposing

  • Cross Post App: New product offering cross-posting to multiple social media platforms.
  • Headliner: Turn podcasts into video marketing pieces.
  • Repurpose.io: Republish content from one platform to another with sophisticated automations.

Software

  • ExpressVPN: Working from coffee shops and other remote locations presents risk to the data you transmit over the public wifi network. A virtual private network (VPN) helps to keep your private information private. This is the service I use because it’s cheap and easy to use. I’ve tried a dozen of these services. This one is the best.
  • Pocket: our favorite “read-it-later” application.
  • TickTick: Task management system we use daily. It’s solid, reliable, and simple.
  • Zapier: Connect all your favorite cloud software with customizable workflows. Automate tedious tasks and remove human error.
  • Zoho: A complete small business software suite. Everything from Mail and Calendar and Documents to Finance to CRM to Recruiting and HR.

Subscription – Memberships – Courses

  • Podia – Comprehensive, feature-rich site making it easy to offer memberships, courses, webinars, and more.

Systems Automation and Documentation

  • FileThis: Automate document collection in certain contexts.
  • Process Street: We use this to document our systems and procedures. Our entire team has access so they know how to do whatever needs doing. Your systems are your business. Most of us lack an easy, accessible, comprehensive approach to documenting systems. ProcessStreet pulls together your system documentation and checklist, and integrates with many products via Zapier.
  • Tettra: Internal knowledge management system with workflow builder.

Time & Billing

  • Minute 7: Syncs with QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online and enables employees to enter time and expenses from their PCs, Macs, iPhone and Android devices.
  • PayDirt: Time tracking, online invoicing, team productivity management, and business reports on one dashboard.

Transcription

  • Rev: Pay by the minute.
  • GoTranscript: This service is working as well as Rev now and they’re charging about 70% of the price.
  • SpeakWrite: Pay by the word.
  • Trint: Cheap transcription using artificial intelligence.

Video

  • Camo: Turn your iPhone or iPad into a webcam.
  • Epidemic Sound: Royalty-free music for your show.
  • Unscreen: Remove video background.
  • SmartShoot: These folks shot many videos for us. They’re an Upwork for video.
  • Wistia: This is where we host our videos.
  • VieEdit: Crowdsourced video-editing platform.
  • vidIQ: YouTube optimization Chrome extension.

Video Streaming

  • Restream: Stream live to multiple platforms simultaneously.
  • Streamlabs: Another product for streaming to multiple platforms.
  • Streamyard: Yet another–this space is hot right now.

Voice and Video Communication

  • DialPad: We use Dialpad. It’s simple, inexpensive, flexible, and reliable. It’s a great system for any business and it’s perfect for providing phone-based systems for your remote team.
  • Tossable Digits: Phone numbers in a variety of locations.
  • UberConference: This conference call service is inexpensive and incredibly easy to use. They’re one of the few services providing an up-to-date interface and user experience. They bring all the bells and whistles you’d expect to an industry mired in the dark ages.

Webinars:

  • Demio: An alternative to Zoom for webinars built for marketers.
  • eWebinar: Webinar automation so you don’t have to give that speech one more time.
  • EverWebinar: Another pre-recorded webinar alternative.
  • Pitch: A beautiful and simple alternative to Keynote and PowerPoint loaded with templates.
  • Zoom–Video Conference/Webinars: Host webinars with up to 100 attendees via desktop, phone, or tablet. It also permits live video or screen share, an essential tool for webinars.

Websites

  • Carrd: Simple one-page website creator. This is where we suggest starting when you need something quick, easy, and inexpensive. You’ll have a website up in an hour.
  • WP Engine: This is the service that hosts our sites. We’ve tried them all and this one is simply the best. WP Engine provides powerful, robust servers with excellent stability and customer service. Because they try to lock things down and prevent issues, they don’t provide all of the flexibility of some other providers. We’re making tradeoffs in favor of reliability, and we’re very satisfied customers.
  • WordPress: The go-to web publishing platform. Free and easily customizable with wonderful support. All of my sites use WordPress as the content management system.
  • WooCommerce: This is the tool for selling products, services, memberships, etc. from your WordPress site. There are lots of options, but this product is so tightly integrated with WordPress that it’s the only logical choice. We’ve used it for some time and have had great success.
  • TypeForm: Webforms made quick and easy. Users fill out your forms and you integrate their data with your practice management system. It’s Zapier.com-friendly so it’ll integrate with lots of systems.
  • GoDaddy: They handle our domain registrations and they get the job done with very good customer support.
  • Social Warfare: Social Warfare: If you’re linking to your social media profiles from your site, this WordPress plugin will turbocharge your system. We use it. It’s the best we’ve found.
  • Yoast: They provide a number of excellent WordPress plugins for search engine optimization, sitemaps, etc.
  • Moz: Website performance metrics, crawl issue tracker, and centralized local business listing management.
  • Google Analytics: Google’s free website tracking and analytical tool. A must-have for anyone with any type of website.
  • Dribble: Find a great designer.
  • FeedPress: Manage your podcast hosting and keep watching your podcast and RSS feed stats in a single web application.
  • Sheet2Site: Turn a Google Sheet into an always-updated website with easy templates.
  • Figma: Collaborative design tool used for building prototypes of websites, apps, etc. Easy and convenient way for a team to work on these projects and share ideas.

Website Analysis/Testing

Writers

  • Mortified Cow: Mish is a writer at Mortified Cow. She’s pretty amazing. She’s not cheap, but she’s sharp, witty, edgy and will take you up a big notch.
  • Rule the Word: Great at writing bios. She’s a writer for hire but we’ve used her to write lawyer and staff bios that engage the reader and generate interest. She’s not going to write the boring traditional blurb about law school and law review. She’s very good.
  • Scribe on Demand: All kinds of legal writing, editing, etc. If you need blog posts, website content, or other writing, done by lawyers who know how to make it interesting, then this is the place to start.

Zoom Tools

  • Grain: Instantly record, transcribe, and highlight the best parts of your Zoom video calls.
  • Luma: Host Zoom events with custom events pages and tickets.
  • Perfect Recall: Zoom clips for sharing with your team.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links and, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that we have some level of interaction with all of these companies, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

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