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Technophile: NEXL

Technophile: NEXL

By Peter Moran

Practice Management Technology 

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Lawyers needing to manage their networks and refer and promote their work to other lawyers could benefit from this system.

Snapshot
  • What is NEXL?

NEXL is a contact management software system as well as an international lawyer network and referral database and a social media community platform.

  • What type of technology?

Cloud software

  • Vendor

NEXL Pty Ltd

  • Country of origin

Australia

  • Similar tech products
Professional networking platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Customer relationship management software like Hubspot and Salesforce.

Email contact functions such as in Outlook and Gmail.

  • Non-tech alternatives
Physical address book or Rolodex
Spreadsheets, emails, business cards

Networking events

  • More information

nexl.io

Which practitioners would find this technology useful?

Any lawyers needing to manage their networks and refer and promote their work to other lawyers.

How does it work?

On creating an account in NEXL, the contact management software imports contacts from existing contact lists like Outlook or Gmail and other data sources (including LinkedIn via csv files). Contacts can be uploaded selectively or in one hit. Information about each contact is inserted automatically into a NEXL address book that also captures a range of other information such as position, qualifications etc. Individuals can then be categorised according to particular areas of expertise or groups and other searchable tags can be added.

With many of the data sources, syncing can occur on a continuous basis so that as information is updated or added in one source, (ie, a user’s Outlook contacts) it automatically updates in NEXL.

Contact pages contain activity timelines which capture interactions with the contact (emails, meetings, NEXL network interactions including engagement on posts, details of referrals) enabling an easy snapshot of recent interactions before making any follow up. While it does not capture the content of the emails themselves, hyperlinks allow the user to click through to the emails provided they are still contained within the original source, such as Outlook.

Users are able to keep notes and other information about the contact in their contact page. When it is time to follow up, they can refer to notes regarding the previous interaction.

Users are able to set stay-in-touch reminders for monthly, quarterly, half yearly follow ups with address book contacts.

Each contact also has a referral section where the user can track referrals sent and received to the contact.

Another functionality is the map view, where users can view their network distribution globally, to see where relevant contacts in relevant areas and according to different types of expertise are situated.

Benefits

Although the core function of NEXL is for contact management, it contains two further highly beneficial elements. The first is the directory of users. Even if a practitioner is not part of a user’s contacts, the details of NEXL registered lawyers according to their location and expertise can be searched via a directory. This can also allow the practitioner to target particular locations or areas of expertise that are missing from their network map in reaching out and establishing a new contact within the NEXL directory.

The second is the NEXL community platform. While similar in appearance to a social media platform like LinkedIn, the critical difference with the NEXL platform is the way the threads of posts can be organised and filtered by the user. Users get much more control over which posts they want to see and, likewise, can aim to be more targeted in who is likely to be seeing their posts. Additional functions, such as notifications when certain contacts or groups post, are particularly nifty. The NEXL community platform is therefore much more targeted and potentially beneficial than other social media platforms that rely on advertising payments and popularity algorithms for circulation.

For example, a big difference between, say, LinkedIn and NEXL is the ability to target post content based on areas of expertise. Posting content on NEXL is more likely to reach its target audience, compared to LinkedIn, where its complex algorithm means posts are more likely to reach audiences if they gather strong engagement early on. This is due to two main factors; NEXL has a no advertising model, and has a tagging tool which enables users to target audience more easily.

Costs

Professional package $9 monthly. Pro + Contact manager is $19 monthly.

Downsides

NEXL is a lawyer to lawyer network built primarily for lawyers in private practice (there may be expansion towards non legal practitioners in future). The public directory only includes private practice members (ie excludes in-house counsel), however there is no limitation to the types of contacts that can be held in the digital address book.

Risks

Cyberisk, as with any cloud offering, is present. NEXL’s data is currently stored in the USA on AWS encrypted servers but is being moved to European based servers. ■


Peter Moran is a principal at Peer Legal and founder of the Steward Guide, an online technology guide for lawyers (www.stewardguide.com.au).


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