But is it a timesaver? A lawyer relates his experience using Contact Capture with Outlook

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

Contact capture address

Like court dates and filing deadlines, contact information plays an important role in a busy law practice. Having accurate, up-to-date addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for clients and fellow lawyers is essential for a smoothly running law firm.

For Tim McCurdy, a St. Louis-based family and consumer law attorney, adding new contacts to his address book often involved copying contact information in a Word document or pleading and then pasting it into Outlook, field by field. He found the process tedious and time consuming. When he discovered Contact Capture, he hoped that his days of cutting and pasting were over.

A product of Wisconsin-based Broadlook Technologies, Contact Capture is a way to quickly extract contact information from e-mails, websites and electronic documents, including Word and PDF files, and export it to a variety of database applications, including Outlook, Excel, vCard, CSV, text files, and ACT. The user first highlights the address or multiple addresses and then, by holding down the control key and pressing the C key twice, exports the data.

A one-year free trial of Contact Capture, giving subscribers e-mail access to the support team, is available.

McCurdy decided to give Contact Capture a test drive under the free trial — but he abandoned the program within five months. Why?

When it worked, he says, it worked great, but McCurdy estimates that 50 percent of the time he used Contact Capture, some of the information he was trying to import didn’t make it into his Outlook address book.

Missing Information After Export

McCurdy used Contact Capture with Outlook 2007 and 2010. When he received a pleading, he highlighted the signature block contained in the pleading to add new contacts —simple and straightforward.

At a Glance: Using Contact Capture to Import Address Information into a Database

  • Contact Capture imports contact information contained in e-mails, on websites and in electronic documents into a variety of database applications, including Outlook and ACT.
  • The process is straightforward and requires few steps.
  • When the process works, it works well.
  • The lawyer interviewed for this article had problems with missing data and could not get his problem resolved even after turning to customer service.

Next a form from Contact Capture appeared, showing the items to be exported and indicating where they would appear. At this point in the process, all of the information he wanted to export showed up on the form.

When he imported the information into his database, though, he found that the process hadn’t always worked. Sometimes all the information wound up in his address book, and sometimes pieces were missing.

Initially McCurdy feared that he was making a mistake, even though he was following the same sequence of steps for successful and unsuccessful imports.

“I contacted customer service to find out if I was doing something wrong or if there was a technical flaw,” McCurdy says, but he wasn’t able to resolve the problem. Eventually he found himself back to cutting and pasting from his Word documents into Outlook — the very step he’d hoped to avoid — about half the time.

McCurdy ended up canceling the free subscription but says, “I think it’s a great idea, and down the road I wouldn’t rule out using it again if the problem is fixed.”

Contact Capture Responds

The free version of Contact Capture comes with online tutorials, a sample practice page and email support. Online phone support, which may have been helpful to solve the issue, is only available with the paid version which is a one-time license fee of $295.

When we contacted Broadlook Technologies about to discuss Contact Capture, they offered to create a special program for Lawyer Tech Review readers who would like to give the free version of Contact Capture a try. Follow this link to sign up for the free download. If you run into technical issues and email the support team, they will know you are an LTR reader.

Have you used Contact Capture? How was your experience? We’d like to know. And if you give the free version a try after reading this article, keep us posted and let us know how it goes.

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