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ChiTownBob
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Docketing systems
« on: May 18th, 2005, 4:21pm »
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Does anyone have a recommendation for a LOW-cost docketing system, for a solo practitioner just getting started?
Flextrac is $1695, which seems a bit much.
 
"Don't bother" would be one answer, but since malpractice insurers tend to want you to have one, that may not be the ideal answer.
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JimIvey
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  jamesdivey  
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Re: Docketing systems
« Reply #1 on: May 23rd, 2005, 7:08pm »
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Well, I think FlexTrac is a LOW-cost docketing system.  When I started on my own (1995), the next cheapest system was in the neighborhood of $20-50k.  
 
The next cheaper thing would be to use any computer-implemented calendar such as evolution from Novell or Mozilla's soon-to-be available calendaring system.   Or, if you have to use MS Windows, you can use Outlook.  That's very limited and doesn't prompt you for the upcoming due dates according to type of paper/event entered.  
 
In the big picture of starting a patent practice, you can't do everything for free and there is enough revenue generation to justify some big expenses.  In particular, there are a few things for which you'll have to spend a thousand dollars or more and they're worth it.  I think docketing software is one of them.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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JimIvey
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Re: Docketing systems
« Reply #2 on: May 23rd, 2005, 7:17pm »
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oh ... and while we're discussing patent practice infrastructure and avoiding being penny-wise at the expense of being dollar-foolish, I'll just go ahead and offer my latest greatest find for the office.  
 
A Fastora NAS-T2 raid network-attached storage.  After a handful of disk failures and the accompanying down-time, I decided to cough up the $700 for one of these (already had two drives to put in it) and my next hard drive failure went down like this:
 
1. E-mail flood from the NAS-T2 telling me that bad block after bad block had been found.  Last e-mail, operating in degraded mode (not mirrored, but functional).
 
2.  Continued working as normal for a full day.
 
3.  Went to store and bought another harddrive.
 
4.  Plopped it in.
 
5.  Received e-mail that a new drive was discovered and the volume was being rebuilt.
 
6.  Next morning, the system was back at full RAID 1 (mirroring).
 
The billable hours saved in that one day more than made up for the entire purchase price of the NAS-T2.  I wish I had bought the thing when I first saw them at least 2 years earlier.
 
That's another one of those things that's a sound investment for professional infrastructure in the office.
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James D. Ivey
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JSonnabend
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Re: Docketing systems
« Reply #3 on: May 24th, 2005, 2:54pm »
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Since we're completely off-topic here Wink, I'll chime in.  I have a linux box -- an old PII, actually -- running a three drive RAID 5 array via native Linux software raid.  It's not a replacement for backing up, which I do religiously, but it can be helpful in saving down-time in case of a drive failure.  Money well spent.
 
As for docketing, I've written some custom enhancements to good old Ecco Pro, which, rumor has it, will be released to open source in the near future.  It's more powerful than Outlook by a wide margin, but less powerful than dedicated docketing software.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
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JimIvey
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Re: Docketing systems
« Reply #4 on: May 24th, 2005, 3:10pm »
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Yes, way off-topic -- unless the topic is small patent practice infrastructure.
 
What you describe is what I had prior to the NAS-T2 -- except I had RAID 1.  I wanted quick-swappability (not quite hot-swappability, but close).  When I lost a drive on that, I ran for quite a while in degraded mode and couldn't find much documentation on how to reconstruct my md0 partition.  I didn't lose any data, but I didn't recover easily and quickly either.
 
The NAS-T2 is among a handleful of the best investments I've made in my practice.  But you can take that for whatever it's worth.  I only mention it because I resisted for so long due to the $700 pricetag.  I wish I had known "then" what I know now and thought I'd share.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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