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No More Ransomware: How One Website is Stopping the Crypto-Locking Crooks in Their Tracks

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Monday, July 31, 2017

 

No More Ransomware: How One Website is Stopping the Crypto-Locking Crooks in Their Tracks

It is about time the good guys caught up to the bad ones - or they are working on it. The site described in this article collects ransomware decryption tools and then allows the user to upload an encrypted file which it will then diagnose. Yes, that is correct, it offers the appropriate diagnosis as to which ransonware encrypted it and offers a tool to decrypt it, if one exists and/or is available.  This site could be extremely helpful to someone caught in in a ransomware attack or for someone who wants to become more savvy and educated about cybersecurity.

Really, that should be all of us because if it hasn't affected us yet, it likely will.

To read the full article, cut and paste the below link into your browser:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/no-more-ransomware-how-one-website-is-stopping-the-crypto-locking-crooks-in-their-tracks/

 

 

Tags:  cybersecurity 

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Security Awareness Tip: Multi-Factor and Two-Step Authentication

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Thursday, July 20, 2017

Security Awareness Tip: Multi-Factor and Two-Step Authentication

Want to better protect your information? Below are two types of authentication that can help safeguard your data and identity.

Multi-factor authentication is an approach to authentication which requires the presentation of two or more forms or “factors”: a knowledge factor (something you know), a possession factor (something you have), an inherence factor (something you are) and a geo-location factor (someplace you are).

Using your PIN (“something you know”) while making a purchase with your debit card (“something you “have”) is an example of multi-factor authentication.

Two-step verification, another useful authentication method, sends a verification code to a user’s phone after the user enters his or her username and password; this code must be entered to gain access to the account. Several websites, web applications and e-mail service providers offer this option. If offered as an optional feature, it is worth it to enable it for better security.

Tags:  cybersecurity 

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The Lawyer, The Addict?

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Tuesday, July 18, 2017

 

Did you see the feature in the New York Times this weekend, The Lawyer, the Addict? It's been the theme of many of my listservs since it popped into peoples' newsfeeds. The article is a compelling read, made so in large part by the writer's viewpoint from outside of the profession.

Those of us in the profession have repeatedly heard the statistics on lawyer depression, addiction and suicide. In every one of those areas our profession ranks worse than most all others. Some of us have lost a colleague to depression and suicide. Lawyers have offices where we ask people to bring in their stress, their problems, difficult situations, threats they are concerned about and other such matters. 

But I think this story of Peter, dying from the impact of his drug addiction while still maintaining appearances as a partner in a high-powered law firm, breaks some of our assumptions about what addicted lawyer behavior looks like. His last call from his death bed was to call in to a scheduled conference call.

I've never met Marty Solomon, but his 50 tweet "tweet storm" response to the article is worth a read, too.

I have no great wisdom to share on this critical topic today. But it bears repeating to say, if you are in trouble, reach out for help. Many bar associations provide crisis counseling to members now. In Kansas, the Kansas Lawyer Assistance Program (KALAP) provides assistance to attorneys in the state. To reach a confidential person through KALAP, call the hotline at 800-342-9080 or 785-368-8275 during office hours. To learn more about KALAP, visit the website kalap.com. There are other community resources for many situations. Ask for help if you need it.

 

Thank you to Jim Calloway, Practice Management Attorney at the Oklahoma Bar Association for publishing a portion of this post.

Tags:  Addiction  KALAP 

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How to Use Stress Before It Uses You

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Monday, July 17, 2017

mindfulness

How to Use Stress Before It Uses You

BY EVA SELHUB ON 

 

Stress is part of life. You can’t get around it. If you did manage to get around it, you would likely be dead.

You actually need stress to live.

Without stress, you would not get up in the morning, get to work on time, put food on the table, or shift positions when you are uncomfortable.

Stress is your body’s way of letting you know you are out of balance. Feeling hunger—that’s a stress. Feeling cold — another stress. Worried about paying your bills— stress again.

If the weather outside gets colder, the blood vessels in your body will constrict to help your body’s temperature accommodate. If this isn’t enough to maintain your body’s temperature, you will feel cold. All stress. That cold feeling will then motivate you to put on something warm. Presto, you have now adapted to the change in weather.

That’s pretty much how it works. You feel stress. A stress response is activated in your body that triggers physiological changes that motivate you to seek relief.

The problem isn’t so much stress, but the inability to get relief from stress, like being hungry and never getting any food, or being cold and not having something warm to wear. Not only is the stress an issue, but so is the stress response, which becomes over-activated, leading to a whole host of pathological problems like increased blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, inflammation, depression, and so forth.

Why is this a problem for you?  You, like most people, ignore your stress. For example, when you feel tired, do you sleep or drink coffee? When you are anxious, do you take care of your feelings, or do you numb them with food, alcohol, or work?

The key to resilience is being able to recognize stress warning signals to motivate you to take care of yourself, not let the stress take the care out of you. You have the power to transform your mind and improve the functioning of your body, if you choose to pay attention, or you can let the functioning of your body deteriorate over time. Here are some tips to get started:

Listen to your body’s whispers before they become screams.

You want to learn to quiet your mind and your stress response long enough to become fully aware of why your body is in stress to begin with. This involves being mindful while witnessing and observing, nonjudgmentally, the sensations you experience in your body and how it may be speaking to you. Witnessing has its roots in the Buddhist meditation practice called mindfulness, which involves being in a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, sensations and feelings, as well as of the surrounding environment, and has the added benefit of turning down the stress response, which then improves your mood, ability to cope more effectively.

To do: Pause. Take a deep breath in, counting to four, and let the breath out, counting from four down to zero for five cycles of breath. Allow your thoughts and tension to be released with your breath. As you quiet down, ask your body what it needs. Ask your heart what it wants. Observe any sensations that arise, listen to thoughts, do not judge.

Move your body.

The term “survival of the fittest” means your ancestors had to be fit to survive. Not only did the strongest and fastest person get to the food first, but research also tells us that regular exercise helps your cardiovascular functioning and reduction of stress response activity. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, as long as you do it. I personally recommend alternating days of vigorous exercise (can’t hold a conversation), with days of moderate exercise (holding a conversation), with active rest days (strolling with the dog).

To do: You feel anxious? See if going for a walk or a light jog helps. Feeling achy? Try stretching. Low energy? Perhaps this is from lack of activity. Begin by moving your body for 10 minutes—taking the stairs, parking your car farther away from the store, or dancing to your favorite tune.

Food is your fuel.

Food is not your enemy, nor is it your savior when you are anxious. Rather, food is fuel, your source of energy, not your source of inflammation. If you were to slow down and eat mindfully, or take the time to listen to how your body reacts to different foods, you might discover that certain foods leave you feeling more achy, tired or irritable, even though in the short-term, they enable you to feel better as your cravings are tempered. Indeed, studies show that sugar intake, particularly in the form of glucose, is likely more of a risk factor for developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease that high salt intake.

To do: Eat mindfully. Enjoy the aromas, the colors and the textures of the food on your plate. Chew. Notice the tastes. Choose food that is grown naturally in your environment. Choose grass-fed foods. If it doesn’t grow in the earth, don’t eat it regularly. How do you feel, not only immediately after eating your food, but the next day? Ask yourself, “If I loved myself and really wanted to be able to function as my best, would this food serve the purpose?” Aim for an 80/20 healthy eating plan (20% of the not-so-good stuff, if you can tolerate it and you still really want it).

Make time for rest and recovery.

We live in a society that encourages us to push ourselves, go faster, work harder, sleep less. Even high-level athletes know that their best performance happens when they take the time to allow their body to rest and recover. Even modest sleep deprivation of one or two hours negatively affects your physiology, especially stress physiology.

To do: As yourself why you might be tired. Are you rested when you wake up in the morning? Examine your food intake. Examine the stimulants you may be taking (caffeine, sugar, etc.). Examine the quality of your sleep—how comfortable is your bed? Do you have physical pain disturbing your sleep? When does your energy lower during the day? When do you lose your focus? Perhaps this is a time to take regular naps or practice a 10 to 20 minute mediation.

About the Author

Elva Selhub is a physician and an internationally recognized resiliency expert. She is the author of several books, including Your Health Destiny. Follow her on Twitter @DrEvaSelhub.

Article Source: Law Practice Today

Tags:  Law Practice Management  Mindfulness  Wellness 

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Could Checklists Help My Practice?

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Many of us use checklists – for home projects, honey-do lists, and lots of other places. Yet, when you start talking about and suggesting using checklists in the daily practice of law folks look at you like you’re a bit crazy.

One of the problems for the disconnect could be the definition of checklist. “As lawyers, we love definitions, even definitions of something as simple as a checklist. [W]e refer to checklists, but what we are really talking about are systems or making sure that (1) tasks get done (2) correctly (3) every time. It is that simple and that complicated.” [i]

When you really think about it, we rely heavily on checklists in our daily lives. We make Christmas lists, shopping lists, lists for planning a wedding or other event, and lists for almost everything else we do. [ii] Sometimes we put them on a sticky note, or neatly write them down, and other times we keep them in our heads – but too often when we keep them in our heads, we forget something. [iii]

The value of checklists is clearly apparent to some, while others need some convincing. Many authors, researchers, and practitioners have contributed to assert that checklists will add value to your work by making your office more efficient and your practice more effective. Checklists can help lawyers mitigate malpractice risks and comply with ethical implications. Why? Because they assure that you will be doing what you say you will do and what you are required to do. Additionally, checklists can reduce training costs and help orient new hires on your firm’s practices. Once you have these checklists developed and streamlined you will not need to re-establish them each time a new employee is hired.

All of this is contained in the book: “Checklist for Lawyers” by Daniel Siegel. This book is the newest addition to the LOMAP Lending Library. Two of the most exciting contributions provided by this book are the recommended lists of checklists and the sample checklists. This book is available to check out from the Lending Library for 30 days by contacting Sara Rust-Martin at srustmartin@ksbar.org

Finally, if you’ve not read the “Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” by Dr. Atul Gawande then please consider purchasing this game-changing book about the critical need for checklists. While the context for the need for checklists in this book centers around the medical field, the larger issues are still ever-relevant for attorneys (eliminating mistakes). In the book, Gawande discusses how the modern-day accumulation of knowledge has become so unwieldy that it cannot be delivered reliably even by highly-trained and highly-skilled professionals. Instead, “[a]voidable failures are common and persistent.” [iv] Gawande argues that this is why checklists are essential as they “improve outcomes with no increase in skill.” [v]

Lawyers are facing complex problems every day. Checklists are systems designed to break down these complex problems into manageable, measurable tasks. All in all, checklists can simplify your complicated practice. They can assist you in meeting deadlines allowing you to provide the best representation to your clients so those clients not only remain your clients but sing your praises!



[i]  Daniel Siegel, Checklist for Lawyers (ABA Law Practice Division, 2014).

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (Metropolitan Books, 2009).

[v] Id.

Tags:  Checklists  Practice Management 

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Meet this year's finalists for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (podcast)

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Friday, July 7, 2017

 

Meet this year's finalists for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction (podcast)

Harper Lee Prize logo
 
 

In this special mega-episode of the Modern Law Library, the ABA Journal's Lee Rawles speaks with all three finalists for this year's Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction about their novels, careers—and the first time they remember reading To Kill a Mockingbird

Jodi Picoult, author of Small Great Things, shares how research for this novel changed her views on race and racism.

Graham Moore, author of The Last Days of Night, discusses how he approaches writing historical fiction about real people like Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla.

And James Grippando, author of Gone Again, talks about how he’s been able to balance his work as a mystery writer with actively practicing law.

To listen to the full podcast, cut and past this link into your browser:

 

http://www.abajournal.com/books/article/podcast_episode_61/?utm_source=maestro&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=weekly_email

 

Tags:  ABA  Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction 

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CosmoLex Now Includes Credit Card Payments At No Extra Subscription Cost!

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Thursday, June 29, 2017

 

Hi friends,

Follow this link, or cut and paste it into your browser, to read the full article about this exciting new processing feature by CosmoLex!

http://www.lawsitesblog.com/2017/06/cosmolex-now-includes-credit-card-payments-no-extra-subscription-cost.html

And, remember, CosmoLex is an affinity partner of the KBA providing member benefits to you!

Enjoy the article and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Best,

Sara 

 

Tags:  Credit Card Payments  law practice management software 

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The Benefits of Mindfulness in Our Profession

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Monday, June 26, 2017

 

The Benefits of Mindfulness in Our Profession

 

BY  ON  ·in Law Practice Today

 

mindfulness

Do you have a pre-conceived notion that mindfulness involves a hippie way of life, like tuning out the world and living in a temple at the top of a mountain? Do you think it’s a fad with no supporting evidence of its benefits? Or, like many people, do you think mindfulness can only be found in shavasana?

Although I hope to inspire you to practice mindfulness (as the benefits far outweigh the investment), I know many of you may take a quick glance at this article and simply continue on with your busy, stressful and demanding day.

Before moving on though, I encourage you to take a moment to see if you can relate to any of the following statements: Do you find yourself wasting precious time thinking about the past or worrying about the future? Are you often multitasking, but unable to focus? Is stress or anxiety keeping you from performing at your optimal level? Are you constantly on overdrive? Do you feel depleted by the end of the day but unable to sleep?

That was me the first five years of my career as a lawyer, and in all honesty, I loved it. I lived for the adrenaline rush; I wanted to help as many clients as possible; I wanted to move up the corporate ladder to partnership as quickly as my mind and body would allow; I absolutely did not want to slow down—I was Wonder Woman. My mind was constantly going 180 miles per hour with no end in sight, but I thought this was the life of a lawyer and that I had to accept it. It was not until year six, when I realized that a career in law would not be sustainable at this pace, that I found a way to stay focused, calm, and controlled: I discovered “mindfulness.”

Yes, it may still be viewed by some as a bunch of people seeking spiritual growth, but the undeniable benefits of mindfulness have led to its adoption by businesses such as Google, Facebook, Target and many others. Today’s professionals are busier than ever. With increased client demands and workloads, technology at our fingertips, industry pressures, and distractions abounding, lawyers must be capable of focusing on the task at hand to better serve their clients and themselves.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness. This buzz word is found everywhere but what does it actually mean? Well, it can have many different meanings and can be practiced in many different ways. This is probably why, as lawyers, we find it so difficult to grasp, practice and implement. When I tell friends and colleagues about it, they often ask questions like: Show me how. Where do I start? It sounds complicated. I can’t. And, my favourite: I have no time.

Mindfulness, simply stated, is a full awareness of precisely what is happening in the present moment. It involves stilling the internal chatter of the mind and concentrating on what’s happening in the moment, without dwelling, judging or trying to change anything. In other words, no over-thinking (which can be extremely difficult for lawyers but a nice change)—or the opposite, banishing all thoughts.

Mindfulness to me means “self-awareness.” Being aware of your thought patterns, your breath, your body, your surroundings, etc.—what is happening at this very moment in time. Self-awareness can truly be as simple as focusing on your breathing (slow down your breath) while you are standing in line to file a motion versus worrying about the motion you must argue, panicking that you may not have enough time, followed by the negative self-talk. Which of these scenarios would actually be beneficial to you?

The Benefits to the Body, Mind, and Work Performance

Research has shown that when we stay focused on the past or the future it can cause unnecessary stress, which activates our sympathetic nervous system, the driving force behind the body’s fight-or-flight response (aka the adrenaline rush). Working continuously in high gear can have serious negative effects on our mind and body. Physical symptoms of stress include low energy; headaches; upset stomach and nausea; aches, pains, and tense muscles; and insomnia, to name a few. Serious mental health risks include depression, anxiety, and burn-out.

Although it is highly unrealistic to live stress-free, we can “dial down a prolonged fight-or-flight impulse” by activating our parasympathetic nervous system (our relaxation response) through mindfulness/self-awareness. We are training our minds to reduce the activities in the part of the brain responsible for fight-or-flight response and activate the parts of our brain responsible for “executive functioning” so that we can respond appropriately in difficult situations.

Self-awareness has been shown to cultivate many attitudes of joy, peace, and calmness that contribute to a more satisfied life. Being aware makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, easier to be fully engaged in activities and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events as they may arise. By focusing on the present, many people who practice self-awareness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or the regrets over the past, and have deeper connections with others.

On top of greater well-being, research has shown that mindfulness/self-awareness can also help reduce psychosomatic symptoms and improve physical health in a number of ways, such as reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, improving sleep and alleviating gastrointestinal difficulties. Further, in recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including depression, substance abuse and anxiety disorders.

But how can it really improve your performance at work? Given that self-awareness has an impact on your attention, it has been shown to improve focus – meaning you are less distracted and can complete tasks more efficiently. Mindfulness also improves listening skills, as you are present in the moment, attentive, and focussed on the conversation and the flow of information instead of thinking of your response, your to-do list, or even what you will have for dinner later. An article in the Harvard Business Review noted, “Neuroscientists have shown that practicing mindfulness affects brain areas related to perception, body awareness, pain tolerance, emotion regulation, introspection, complex thinking and sense of self. While more research is needed to document these changes over time and to understand underlying mechanisms, the converging evidence has been compelling.”

Tips for Lawyers to Practice Self-Awareness

Let’s face it, lawyering is difficult. We all have days where it feels as though the ground beneath us is about to give and we’re spiraling out of control. When you feel this way, what coping mechanism do you use to feel grounded again? Practicing self-awareness allows us to pause, reflect and respond from a place of calm rather than reacting.

To start, try to set aside a few minutes each day: when you are brewing your first pot of coffee in the morning, on your commute to work, while waiting in line. It is important to remember that you will likely not spend much time in a true state of self-awareness, as the mind tends to wander, which is entirely expected given its true nature. Mindfulness is not about “controlling” the mind, it’s about being aware.

Here are a few tips that may help:

1. Breathe: The very thing that makes mindfulness so accessible is that it can be practiced anywhere. The simplest way to begin is with your breath. Sit or stand in a comfortable position and breathe naturally. No need to count inhalations or exhalations: simply relax, focus on the sensations in your throat, chest and abdominal wall as the air enters and leaves your body. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath.

2. Use what you enjoy: Try bringing the present “here and now” awareness to everyday activities. For example, when walking to work, notice the warmth of the sun on your face, observe the leaves, grass and smells around you (note to self: put your cellphone away for just a few minutes, the world will not end, I promise!). This can be done for any activity. When the mind starts a narrative, bring it back to the activity/pleasure of the moment. What brings you joy—hot showers in the morning, spending time with loved ones, a good meal, listening to music, working out, yoga, etc. Use the things you enjoy and practice full awareness in those moments.

3. Find your center: Start using the above self-awareness techniques in a variety of situations, especially when life becomes stressful. “Check in” throughout the day. If you notice you are, for example, stressed about an upcoming deadline, spend a few minutes in mindful breathing. Don’t try to push your anxious thoughts away, rather try observing your thoughts and acknowledge your stress and where it is stemming from. Calm your breath. After a few moments, return to the task.

5. Stay aware: You can try mindfulness in higher stakes scenarios as well—such as difficult conversations with opposing counsel, contentious mediations, in court, etc. Practice mindful breathing beforehand, and then, even in the thick of a conversation, stay aware of your breath, body and emotions. Remain in the moment rather than jumping ahead to how you’ll respond or fend off an argument. This will help you be a better listener and avoid saying something that will not help advance your client’s case.

STOP: In the midst of your day, a stressful situation, or a moment of bliss:

  1. Stop;
  2. Take a deep breath;
  3. Observe what is happening inside and around you at the moment; and then
  4. Proceed with whatever you are doing.

Eventually, your default setting will be calmer—and your body and mind will thank you.

We as professionals must start valuing and making time for self-care, wellness and taking care of our emotional, psychological, and physical health. It is imperative, not only for a long and prosperous career in law, but also to provide our clients with the best and most efficient legal services possible.

I hope you will practice a little self-awareness, one breath at a time.

About the Author

Marie T. Clemens is an attorney with Moodie Mair Walker LLP in Toronto, and is a yoga instructor. Contact her at 416.340.6808 or mclemens@moodiemair.com.

Tags:  Mindfulness 

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Law Firm Security: Fortify Your Network

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Monday, June 19, 2017

 

Law Firm Security: Fortify Your Network

Article written and distributed by LawPay

Wi-Fi networks make it easy to connect the systems in your practice, both to each other and the outside world. However, they often make it easy for an intruder to gain access to those same systems and the data therein. You can significantly reduce this risk by making a few important changes to your network configuration.

Secure Administrator Access

Start by setting a strong password for administrative access to your wireless router. Many networks are breached because the default password was never changed. You will need to log in to your router’s configuration website to reset this password and update the other security options discussed in this tip. For most wireless routers, you access this website by entering “192.168.1.1” or “192.168.0.1” into your browser address bar. (Make sure you are connected to your network first, either via an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi.)

With administrator access locked down, you should now secure access to the network itself. Most wireless routers today support a primary Wi-Fi network, one or more guest networks, and wired, local network (LAN) ports to connect directly to the router. We recommend that you keep your office devices and staff on the primary Wi-Fi (your “private” Wi-Fi network) or LAN, and use a guest network for any clients or visitors who need internet access.

Enforce Wi-Fi Authentication

Access to all of your Wi-Fi networks needs to be password-protected. For small businesses, the predominant standard is referred to as WPA2-PSK or WPA2-Personal, or just WPA2 (WPA2-Enterprise can provide more flexible authentication options for larger practices with many users, but requires additional configuration, which may require IT services). With WPA2-PSK, a shared password is used to access the network. Use your password manager to generate a different, strong password for both your private and guest Wi-Fi networks.

From your browser, you will need to find the wireless settings section of your router’s configuration. For each wireless network, you should:

● Set a network name, or SSID. This is what users will see when they choose from available wireless networks. Clearly differentiate your private and guest network names.

● Choose “WPA2-PSK” for the network authentication method and “AES” for the encryption method. Depending on your router, these may be grouped together or split into two separate options, and they may use different labels like “WPA2-Personal” or “WPA2”. Do not use “WEP”, “WPA” (without the “2”), or “TKIP” (without “AES” included), as these options are less secure and may be easily circumvented.

● Enter the password you generated for the network, also known as the pre-shared key.

Limit Guest Access

Your guest network is there to keep your clients and visitors separate from your private network — and out-of-reach of your confidential information. If you’re not careful, however, you may inadvertently allow your guests much greater access. When configuring your guest network, you may see an option to allow guests to access your LAN, local network, or intranet. Make sure you do not allow LAN access so that your guests cannot reach office systems that are wired directly to the router.

Physical Security

Keep in mind that wireless routers can typically be reset to their factory configuration with the push of a button or a straightened paperclip. Once reset, the default password is the only defense between an attacker and your network. If possible, keep your wireless router in a locked enclosure or cabinet with the reset mechanism inaccessible.

After completing these steps, you will have locked down access to your network configuration and created a secure way to connect your staff and clients to the network resources they need.

LawPay is proud to be trusted by more than 40,000 law firms, recommended by 46 state bars, and the only payment solution offered through the ABA Advantage program. LawPay was developed specifically to separate earned and unearned payments, giving attorneys peace of mind that their credit card transactions are always handled correctly. To learn more, call 888-403-4876 or visit our website at https://lawpay.com.

 

 

Tags:  Legal Technology 

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Legal Services Corporation to Brief Congress on New Justice Gap in America Report

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Friday, June 16, 2017

 

Legal Services Corporation to Brief Congress on New Justice Gap in America Report

On Wednesday, June 14, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) will issue a new report, The Justice Gap: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans.

The report is a study of the "justice gap" in the U.S.—the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet them. Last year, 86% of the civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help at all

To read the full press release related to the study, cut and paste this link into your browser:

http://www.lsc.gov/media-center/press-releases/2017/legal-services-corporation-brief-congress-new-justice-gap-america

 

Tags:  Justice Gap  Legal Aid  Legal Services  LSC 

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The Promise and Peril Chatbots Pose for the Legal Industry

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Thursday, June 15, 2017

 

The Promise and Peril Chatbots Pose for the Legal Industry

The link below will take you to an interesting new article written by Tom Martin and published in the June issue of Law Practice Today. If you are not familiar with the term "chatbots", like I wasn't before reading the article, he is referring to "Alexa" and the Echo Dot, and other "personal assistants." The article offers an interesting perspective on how this technology should be a part of the legal industry. It is worth the read. It may be a bit on the edge, but I thought it was worth sharing!

To read the article, just cut and paste the link into your browser:

http://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/promise-peril-chatbots-pose-legal-industry/

 

Tags:  Legal Technology 

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ABA Retirement Funds: An Opportunity to Learn More About Retirement Funds

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Members,

The ABA Retirement Funds Program is hosting a free webinar on June 29th at NOON CST: UNDERSTANDING CASH BALANCE PLANS.

If possible, please plan to attend and learn more about the ABA Retirement Funds Program.  

Registration is free and easy! To register, just follow the link below. You do need to register for the webinar in order to attend.

http://www.programcommunications.com/library/Webinars/2017_0617/

What Members Will Learn?

  • Insights into the retirement savings landscape
  • The basics of retirement income and where it comes from – social security, individual savings and employer sponsored programs
  • Plan type savings and accumulation comparisons
  • What is a cash balance plan and what providers are needed

Tags:  ABA  Retirement 

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At Least Half of the Lawyers in These Nine States and Jurisdictions Aren't Working as Lawyers

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Tuesday, June 13, 2017

 

Check out this new article by Debra Weiss in the ABA e-news journal released this week revealing that "[a]t least half of the lawyers in these nine states and jurisdictions aren't working as lawyers."

"Leichter included Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., in his analysis. The states and jurisdictions where at least 50 percent of lawyers who aren’t working in attorney jobs are: Puerto Rico (68.9 percent); Alaska (56.7 percent); Tennessee (53.6 percent); Alabama (51.5 percent); Missouri (50.8 percent); Louisiana (50.5 percent); Maryland (50.3 percent); Massachusetts (50.1 percent); and Minnesota (50 percent)."

To read the full article, click this link:

www.abajournal.com/news/article/at_least_half_of_the_lawyers_in_these_nine_states_and_jurisdictions_arent_w

Tags:  ABA  changing economy 

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Do You Know What's New with Casemaker?

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Tuesday, June 13, 2017

 

Do You Know What ‘s New with Casemaker? The Legal Researching Bundle Available to You

 

 

Casemaker, and all of the researching tools included with it, make an excellent research bundle. In May, I presented at KBA’s Solo & Small Firm Conference in Lawrence on, what else, Casemaker! And, I learned through this presentation that some of our members are not all that familiar with some of the “extras” that come along with Casemaker as a part of their membership to the KBA. So, I want to take this opportunity to fully inform you of all that is included with this excellent benefit to your bar membership.

 

*Casemaker:  Research Tool

Casemaker is one of the leading low-cost legal research services available. With intuitive search capabilities, you are able to conduct your legal research quickly and, with your bar membership, at a cost you can afford. The Google-like search bar is conveniently located at the top of every page, inviting you to conduct your search using either simple or complex search language. Once the results are delivered, Casemaker offers intuitive ‘search-within-a-search-capability’ to further narrow the results.

 

Casemaker is filled with organizational features that make it more than just a research library with a fast search engine. With Casemaker you can create individual folders to store your research, and they can be renamed, reorganized, or deleted with just a few clicks. And, with its notes feature, Casemaker makes it possible to write, post, and save notes directly to the documents being viewed.

 

Casemaker carries annual archived versions of state statutes for all states and the U.S. Code. Attorneys with an issue arising in the past are able to quickly and easily check the text of the law in effect at the time the issue arose.

 

 

*CaseCheck+:  Sheppardizing Feature

In addition to the standard Casemaker subscription, the Kansas Bar has also added CaseCheck+ which is a sheppardizing like feature. Previously available only by subscription, CaseCheck+ allows members to quickly determine if a case is still good law through a negative citator system that rivals Shepards® and KeyCite®.

 

 

*Casemaker Digest:  Summaries of Appellate Decisions

The newest addition to the standard Casemaker subscription with your KBA membership is Casemaker Digest. The Digest is a summary of appellate decisions you can receive based on criteria you set. Once you log on, you set the criteria based on date decided, date added, jurisdiction, court, and judge. The Digest case summaries will be sent to you either daily or weekly, depending on which you select and only within the criteria you select.

 

 

*CiteCheck:  Citation Report—Still Good Law?

Another great feature of the Casemaker bar membership bundle is CiteCheck allowing members to enhance their research. With CiteCheck, you can upload a document or brief to see whether your case citations continue to be good law. In most situations, reports are generated between 30-90 seconds after the initial document is uploaded.

 

 

*Casemaker Libra:  Online Searchable Library (available Summer 2017)

Casemaker Libra is an online searchable library of treatises, practice guides, coursebooks, deskbooks, and continuing legal education materials linked to the Casemaker database. Books can be purchased individually or the entire library can be downloaded. Typical links into the Casemaker system include case law, statutes, acts and administrative codes. Books can be browsed individually or searched similarly or by practice area or library.

 

 

Legal Research Center:  Expert, On-Demand Assistance

Another feature of Casemaker available to members for an additional price (not included in the KBA membership bundle) is the Legal Research Center (LRC). Casemaker has partnered with LRC to offer members expert on-demand memoranda, brief writing, and discovery support and analysis services at a reasonable price. All contact information is located on the Casemaker platform and KBA members are offered a 10% discount on LRC services.

 

 

 

Legal Forms:  Online Database of State-Specific Legal Documents

Casemaker also offers KBA members a discounted rate for Legal Forms. Legal Forms are not part of your KBA membership Casemaker bundle, but they can be accessed through the Casemaker platform and are available to KBA members at a 10% discounted rate. Legal Forms is an online database of state-specific legal documents and forms.

 

 

vLex:  International Primary & Secondary Legal Materials

vLex is a new product partner of Casemaker recently made available to Casemaker users. vLex provides international primary and secondary legal materials. Casemaker users may search the vLex Global Platform and receive a translated preview of their search results for free. To gain unlimited access to full text versions and downloads, a 24-hour Daily Passport may be purchased for $129, or members can select the “contact vLex button” and a representative will contact them to customize an annual subscription to their needs at a 10% discount.

 

 

CosmoLex:  Practice Management Software

CosmoLex is another partner of Casemaker providing a solution for the attorney’s time management, billing, accounting, and other practice management needs/systems. Because CosmoLex is a partner of Casemaker, any Casemaker user, or KBA member, receives a discount for this product. CosmoLex is also a member benefit provider through the KBA. If you are interested in CosomoLex, contact them through the member benefit page on the KBA website and be sure to tell them you are both a Casemaker user and a KBA member to guarantee you receive all available discounts.

 

 

*= Products included in the Casemaker bundle provided through your KBA Membership. All other products are available to you for an additional fee.

 

Have questions about any of the Casemaker products?

 

Contact the Casemaker Helpdesk:

            helpdesk@lawriter.net

            (877)659-0801

 

Contact Sara Rust-Martin, Law Practice Management Attorney at the KBA

            srustmartin@ksbar.org

            (785)234-5696


 

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Tags:  Casemaker  Legal Research 

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Practice Pointer: Thoughts on Succession Planning

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Monday, June 5, 2017

 

 

 Thoughts on Succession Planning[1]

 

How is your firm planning to deal with its future?

 

For many firms, coming to terms with aging and retirement, and identifying transition candidates, can be a difficult process. But, this is essential for all firms, small and large, because the failure to plan and develop a timeline for transitioning can have major repercussions including losing clients, losing talented associates or potential leadership, instability within the firm, among others.

 

Because most firms do not have a succession plan in place, here are a few tips and considerations:

 

1.      A succession strategy and plan should be incorporated into every strategic plan and partnership, operating or shareholder agreement. It is never too early to start thinking about succession planning.

2.      If any sole-owner firm, or when any partner in a multi-owner firm, is age 50 or older, it is important that the firm get started on developing a succession plan.

3.      Remember, the succession plan and transition will take time. Solo practitioners will have a significant challenge because there is no obvious person to whom the practice will transition. Thus, the practitioner may need to hire and groom an associate who could buy the firm or become a partner and eventually buy the partner’s interest.

4.      A succession plan should start no less than five years from the retirement or exit date of the owner/partner. For some, less time is sufficient. Think through your circumstances, talk with your partners, develop a plan that works for you and your situation, and then take action.

5.      “Write down the plan and timeline because what is written down, what is measured, what is calendared, is what gets done. Effective management of the succession planning process takes discipline and accountability. Once it is written down it is in the form of a “project plan” with due dates, start dates, tasks and action items, required resources and names of those responsible for different tasks and action items. Unless attorneys approach their retirement like a case or project and develop a succession/transition/exit plan with calendared timelines, the project will likely experience fits and starts, timeline drift and the needed momentum may not materialize”.[2]



[1] Olmstead, J. Are You Prepared for Your Exit? Your ABA Newsletter. Apr. 2017.

[2] Id.

Tags:  Law Practice Management  retirement  succession planning 

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