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Tomorrow, April 27th is Administrative Professional’s Day!  Remember when it used to be called Secretary’s Day?  National Professional Secretaries Week and National Secretary’s Day was created  in 1952 through the work of Harry F. Klemfuss of Young and Rubicam.  Klemfuss recognized the importance and value of the position to a company or business, but his real reason was to get more women to become secretaries.  He did promote the value and importance of the job the secretary did and using his influence he created the “holiday” in recognition of secretaries.

In today’s world we rarely hear the term secretary, we now hear “Executive Administrator” or “Administrative Professionals.”  The two names mean added responsibilities and changes to the “secretary” position and can mean different things with different companies.  We no longer find just women in these positions either, there are more and more men entering these positions.

While it is great to recognize these wonderful women and men, and to have this special day for our professionals who do so much in keeping the offices running, we should remember to appreciate them every day and not just thank them once a year!

To all my Paralegal pals, don’t forget our special day is June 25, 2011, which coincides with the California Alliance of Paralegal Associations Conference being held in beautiful San Francisco at Fisherman’s Wharf!  For more information, you can check it out here.

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In this article with the help of my friend and colleague, Eric G. Young, (author of Cyber Esq.) we will tell you about a great time tracking program we found and began using over a year ago.  With all the many gadgets and software on the market today, it is often hard to find one that you truly “love,” but I have found such a program with Chrometa, a new time-keeping program produced by a California software startup company with the same name.

Chrometa has one unique feature that sets it apart from its competition.  Unlike most other time management programs, a Chrometa user does not have to point and click on an icon to start a timer and then point and click again to stop.  Chrometa works in the background on your system, keeping track of your daily activities for you, and then allows you to export the time to an Excel spreadsheet for billing purposes.  What could be simpler in a busy law office?  Chrometa is also quite affordable at $99.00.

Eric and I researched other time management programs to see if there were any others that truly compared to Chrometa.  We conducted this research over a period of several months, while we also tested Chrometa in our offices.  To conduct our research, our offices were each given a free license by Chrometa.  I have also been participating as a beta tester for Chrometa’s new online product (see below).  Otherwise, we have received nothing else of value from Chrometa and no one at Chrometa has influenced our review in any way.

As a result of our research, we discovered that there are many time management programs to choose from, but only two had similar enough features to Chrometa to justify a fair comparison:  Worktime by Nestersoft and TimeSprite by Black Hill Software.

I then compared Chrometa to these two programs, but found them lacking in important ways. For example, Worktime is affordable at only $49.95, but that only gives a user a 1 year license with upgrades.  TimeSprite has a feature using a USB drive to capture your time when away from your usual computer by plugging into any computer you are using, but no mention of how to export your time for billing purposes.  TimeSprite has a cost of $34.95, with no mentions of updates.  Neither program is clear on how to export one’s time for billing purposes.  While these programs may capture your time, if you have to spend time recreating your billable time to enter into a billing program, it completely defeats the purpose of the time capturing program.

Among the other features of Chrometa:

  1. They offer a 100% full refund if not happy with the product.
  2. You can change your away time logging for up to 10 minutes, so if you are away from your computer for 10 minutes or more, the away time log will pop up and ask you to enter what you were doing if you need to bill for that time.
  3. You can also password protect your program so that no one can alter your time-tracking.  This is a great feature if you want to monitor a computer without anyone changing the tracking system.
  4. You can also block certain programs from being monitored, such as if you are reading the newspaper online or playing games on your lunch time and not wanting this time captured.  (Or looking at fashion like someone I know, lol)
  5. You can also tag applications to be timed for a certain category, such as if you were designing a website for a client using Wix, you could assign it to that client’s category and all time spent on Wix would be automatically be captured in the client’s category.  You can untag when you have completed this assignment so future work can be captured for the next client.
  6. Chrometa also captures work done simultaneously, such as if you have a Word document open for one client and you open an email from another client, it will capture the active time for both, great feature for those of us in the legal field, especially paralegals who tend to bounce from task to task while in the middle of another task.

Here is a screen shot of my active time using Chrometa:

Exporting time is done using an Excel spreadsheet, automatically built into the program.  You can then add comments to the spreadsheet for billing purposes.  This is great for attorneys who hand their time on to someone else to put into billing programs.  I would like to see this feature being automatically added to the billing program which would save some considerable time in billing.

I believe that with the new beta version that adding all of your computers to the online Chrometa dashboard will capture all of your billing no matter what computer you are working at.  For me, this is an awesome feature as I not only work in my own business but often work at other law offices on the attorney’s computer.  Here is a screen shot of the spreadsheet for billing purposes:

Recently I was thrilled to begin participating in Chrometa’s beta testing for their new online tracking version of Chrometa.  I have been using the online version for the month of October and find that it takes a little getting used to, but I love it.  Here is what the new Chrometa looks like:

I am extremely happy with Chrometa and have recommended it to several people.  It is easy to work with and if I could just add it to every computer I work on, all my time would be captured and I would never miss a minute of billing my time.  To find out more about Chrometa, be sure and check out their website.

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The Ohio attorney general’s office filed the lawsuit against Andrea L. West and George W. West, accusing them of misrepresenting themselves as paralegals, or as I like to call them, Paralegal Posers.  About a half-dozen people have filed complaints about the Wests or their business, but the number of victims and money collected by the couple is not known, said Kim Kowalski, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office.

Operating as Estate Planning Paralegal Services, the couple collected as much as $5,000 from some people without performing any services, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit asks the court to order restitution, impose civil penalties and enjoin the Wests from continuing to operate the program.  The Wests now live in Truth or Consequences, N.M.  Does anyone else get the irony of where they reside now or is it just me?

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