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Technology Quick Tip: Serving Clients Remotely

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, March 17, 2020
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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, lawyers have come face to face with the reality they may have to work remotely over the coming weeks. That begs the question, “how can I effectively serve my clients?” Once you are ready to work remotely, (see Awareness, Response and Workplace Plan/Policies Part 1 and Law Firm Operations Part 2https://cpm.ncbar.org/2020/03/16/covid-19-law-firm-operations-part-2/) you may find that you have some clients who are averse to using technology. If that is case, I recommend reading the paper from the 2020 ABA TECHSHOW by Annie Arbenz and Shantelle L. Argyle on Loving the Luddites: Serving Tech-Averse Clients. This paper does an excellent job of walking you through online alternatives and how to adapt for your clients.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  COVID-19  serving clients  tech-averse clients 

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Covid-19: Law Firm Operations (Part 2)

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 16, 2020

As a part two of her recent blog post, Catherine Sanders Reach of the North Carolina Bar Association, discussed considerations and guidance on temporarily moving a firm to a “virtual” environment in the wake of COVID-19. She recommends speaking with your IT service provider, whether in-house or outsourced, to understand your options to move your firm to remote work as quickly and securely as possible. Additionally, remember to use what you have and buy only what you absolutely need. Many software applications have freemium (free for basic use) offers, as well as free trials.  Before getting a free product, however, check the terms of service to make sure it is appropriate for confidential client information. 

In her post, Sanders Reach looks at the following areas lawyers should consider in preparation of moving to a virtual environment: Hardware, Infrastructure, Security, Software/Productivity, Marketing/Communication, Intra-Office Communication, and Staffing.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Sanders Reach pertinently points out that everyone will need a computer, however, not everyone may have a laptop. Ideally, you don’t want to ask employees to use their home computers due to security reasons. If purchasing new hardware is not option, team members with desktops may be able to pack everything up and take it with in. If the firm chooses to have staff use their home equipment, they will need to deploy a VPN for security reasons.
  • Keep in mind most remote work will require in internet access. Additionally, a plan should be put in place to ensure your data is being backed up while working remotely.
  • For law firms using a VoIP telephone system like RingCentral, Ooma, Jive, or others, the system can be set up to be used remotely through apps on mobile phones, through a computer browser, or have calls forwarded to mobile phones. Other VoIP systems through Comcast, Spectrum or AT&T may have similar options. For firms that have more traditional non-internet based phone systems or hybrid systems should check to see if calls can be forwarded to mobile phones. If not check to see if voicemails can be forwarded to email. An additional option may be to use a virtual receptionist service. Ruby Receptionist, for instance, is member benefit for KBA members.
  • If you will need to participate in video chats and video conferences, you will need a camera. Most newer laptops have a built-in camera. You will also need a microphone and speakers. If your firm uses a file server for shared files or to access on-premise client/server software like your practice management software or time/billing/accounting or other firm-wide software you will need to make that server available to your team remotely. Keep in mind, firms using cloud-based systems and services may have limited need for access to the firm’s servers. 
  • You should determine who in the office will receive the firm’s mail and make sure that the person has the capability to scan and email to files to appropriate parties. Keep in mind, mail forwarding through USPS can take up to 10 business days, so you may alert the necessary parties of your temporary address.
  • Have strong passwords, using multi-factor authentication, encryption and an VPN are always recommended, and Sanders Reach points out working remotely is not different with respect to employing these methods to work securely.
  • If your firm saves files to the cloud in an online document storage/sync application like OneDrive, GoogleDrive, ShareFile, Box, Dropbox, etc. then you’ll just need to make sure everyone has the login information and access they need and know how to save files to the appropriate folder. If the firm stores files on a physical server in the office, you will need to set up access via VPN or remote desktop and provide login instructions so your team can access the files. For firms using installed or client/server practice management, time and billing, accounting or practice specific software you will need to set up remote access.
  • Put a sign on the door of your office telling clients, as well as other visitors, how to get in touch.
  • Don’t forget to update your website to reflect any changes to phone numbers, fax numbers, or other communication methods. Your firm may also issue a statement through email to current and former clients, on the web and through social media, about how the firm will continue to do business, and measures you are taking to maintain a safe environment and continue to serve their needs. 
  • Email is an easy was to communicate with your team. However, there are more tools available to communicate. For instance, chat tools may be useful. For firms using Office 365 you have Teams for video and audio calls, group chat, individual chat and more. firms using G Suite (f/k/a Google for Business), your firm can use the G-suite Hangout  A very popular and freemium chat product is Slack. In the free version, Slack allows your team to chat, hold 1:1 audio and video calls, share files and integrate with G Suite, Office 365 and many other products.
  • Working offsite may create environments that are difficult to stay on top of tasks and deadlines. If so, your firms can create or share calendars in Office 365 and G Suite. There are also many freemium task management application options available, such as To-Do, Asana, and Trello.

To read the complete post, which is highly recommended visit: https://cpm.ncbar.org/2020/03/16/covid-19-law-firm-operations-part-2/

Tags:  backup  cloud storage  COVID-19  remote office  work from home 

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Covid-19: Awareness, Response, and Workplace Plans/Policies (Part 1)

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 16, 2020

In her recent blog post, Catherine Sanders Reach of the North Carolina Bar Association discussed how law firms should maintain and monitor the current outbreak of COVID19. She opined that while law firms may have a disaster recovery or a business continuity plan, they should be reviewed and updated to reflect a pandemic response.

Additionally, Sanders Reach suggests law firms should review their plans and policies and update them to reflect possible quarantine situations, infected employees, reducing the spread of the virus, and strategies for dealing with a swiftly evolving situation.

Below are some of the resources Sanders Reach suggests lawyers review. To view the entire post, visit https://cpm.ncbar.org/2020/03/16/covid-19-awareness-response-and-workplace-plans-policies-part-1/.

Stay Aware

Global Response

Covid-19 Legal Implications for the Firm and Clients

General Business Planning

Law Firm Policies/Plans to Review and Update

Policies

Sample Law Firm Policies

Some policies have legal implications. Contact a Labor and Employment lawyer or Privacy and Data Security lawyer if you need help with compliant policy language. 

Business Plans

Sample Business Continuity and Succession plans:

Tags:  COVID-19  disaster plan  succession planning 

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Quick Tip: Cleaning/Disinfecting Your Electronic Devices

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, March 10, 2020

With the growing awareness and concern over the spread of the coronavirus, you are likely taking extra precautions, such as washing your hands more often and for 20 seconds. But what about those devices?

 

As store shelves of cleaning products empty and people hoard sanitizer, I recommend learning how to appropriately clean your devices without damaging them. For instance, most newer phones have screens that can be damaged by harsh chemicals—and you should never submerge your phone in a cleaning agent or spray cleaning fluid directly on the device. In fact, most phone manufactures suggest wiping them down with a damp cloth.

 

To learn more about how to appropriately clean your devices, check out the following resources:

 

Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  cleaning electronic devices  Corona virus 

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Microsoft Word Quick Tip—Keyboard Shortcut to Reveal Formatting

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, March 3, 2020
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If you have ever had formatting issues within a Microsoft Word document, you know that these issues can sometimes be a pain to fix. If you find yourself in this situation, using the keyboard shortcut SHIFT + F1 can be helpful. When used, this keyboard shortcut will reveal the formatting within a chosen area of a document. The formatting will be displayed on the right hand of your screen, allowing for easy identification of any formatting errors that may need to be corrected, and hopefully, saving you some time.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  formatting errors  keyboard shortcut  Microsoft Word  reveal formatting 

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The Consumer Electronics Show

Posted By Larry N. Zimmerman, Tuesday, February 25, 2020
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The massive, annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is ongoing as this goes to print and already there have been a variety of interesting announcements this year. Not all products announced at CES actually make it to market but quite a few can be expected by the end of the year.

Dell and Lenovo Folding Tablets – Both laptop giants are betting on dual screen, folding tablets for 2020. Dell’s Ori and Lenovo’s X1 Fold open to a 13.4” OLED screen surface when fully unfolded. The devices look and function like a tablet or offer a virtual keyboard on one half when opened partway like a laptop. Dell’s Duet is twice the size offering up to 26” of screen and a detachable keyboard providing an unprecedented amount of screen space in a such small form factor.

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus – The ThinkBook Plus is a truly unique offering with a paperwhite e-ink display on the outside cover of the 13” laptop. The e-ink screen can display calendar, text, and other notifications or act as a notetaking platform. It consumes little power, looks clean and crisp like paper, and nicely supplements the full HD display inside. The ThinkBook Plus will start at $1,200 this year.

Samsung Sero TV – Samsung has recognized how ubiquitous mobile phones are for video and image recording and sharing and the majority of mobile phone imagery is vertically oriented. The Sero TV accommodates this by rotating from a horizontal to a vertical orientation to make full screen presentation more natural – no large black or blurred frames. It may seem like a simple trick but it allows mobile phone imagery to fully fill a large screen and makes for more compelling display. Anticipated to arrive this year near the $1,000 price point.

Hachi Infinite Touchscreen Projector- The short-throw projector from Hachi can display a bright, crisp image up to 26” on any surface and the image will respond as a touchscreen with 10 points of touch. The portable three-pound device includes an onboard battery, microphone for voice command via Amazon Alexa, and dual 5W speakers. It is Android-powered and Bluetooth-enabled to allow wireless screen casting. Shipping is anticipated in March at around $1,000.

Mophie PowerStation Go – Mophie is well-known and respected for its portable power banks and the PowerStation Go adds a new trick – it can jump start your car. In addition to dual USB-A charge ports, the new model adds a wireless charging pad and an attachment that can jumpstart any car or SUV. The PowerStation Go will retail for $160 and should arrive on shelves in February.

IVEA Time-C Smartwatch – Most smartwatch activity trackers only monitor the user’s stats like heart rate and activity levels. The analogue face, steel band Time-C monitors environmental factors as well. It can measure sun/UV exposure, pollution and particulate levels, humidity, temperature, ambient noise, and ambient lighting. This full-spectrum monitoring station on your wrist will ultimately help wearers be more alert to environmental factors on health and well-being. Pricing starts at $500.

Neutrogena Skin360 – The Skin360 app uses your phone’s front-facing camera to take a 180-selfie and then process and analyze over 100,000 pixels to measure skin health. The algorithm evaluates features like smoothness, wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and dark circles to watch for problem areas and to create a custom skin care maintenance regime (using Neutrogena products, of course). Available now for Android and iOS.

Opte Beauty Wand – Throw away the old-fashioned foundation and concealer because there is a new technology for concealing age spots, sun spots, and pigmentation issues. Sweep the Beauty Wand over your face and it scans the surface of your skin, analyzes spots, and then uses 120 nozzles to spray pigment and moisturizer like an inkjet printer. Demonstrations (in a controlled environment) make it look fast, simple, and effective with no mess. The Beauty Wand should ship this year and starts at $600.

Motion Pillow by TenMinds – Snoring is a problem for the snorer and anyone else within earshot but the Motion Pillow aims to stop it. The memory foam pillow houses multiple air chambers that can inflate and deflate on command. That command comes when microphones in the pillow detect snoring and the pumps activate to shift the snorer’s head on the pillow until silence returns. It aims to provide a gentle nudge to reposition rather than the harsh slap expected from an exhausted bed mate. The newest version will ship this year for $420.

Cosmo Connected Helmet – The Cosmo with glasses provides high-tech safety options for motorcyclists. The glasses offer a full heads-up display of the vehicle’s instrumentation and offer an array of sensors monitoring the environment for potential dangers around the cyclist and signaling on-coming risks. The Bluetooth-connected glasses and helmet cannot execute emergency maneuvers but they can call 911 and emergency contacts for help, providing GPS coordinates if you are down. The helmet and glasses will retail for $300.

Google Assistant Web Page Reader – This enhancement to the Google Assistant will allow users to say, “Hey Google, read this page” and it will read the text of a webpage in a natural-sounding voice. AI is improving such that it will only read relevant text and ignore navigation buttons, ads, and other clutter that infests websites. The Web Page Reader will be a free enhancement to Google Assistant later this year.

Originally published in the February 2020 Journal of the Kansas Bar Association.

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Tags:  8902  Author: Larry N. Zimmerman  CES  Consumer Electronics Show  show  tech 

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Casemaker Tip: Tutorial Videos

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, February 18, 2020

You may be a bit hesitant to use Casemaker4, since changing to a new system can be a bit overwhelming. The improvements, however, make it worth it. With the newest version of your KBA member benefit, Casemaker has updated the homepage, improved the search, added an alert system, and have given users the ability to customize the interface to more suit their individual needs. Are you looking to learn more about Casemaker4 before committing to the change? If so, there are tutorial videos available within the Casemaker system that can be helpful.

Once you log in to the research tool through the KBA website, you will be prompted to try Casemaker4. If not prompted, you will find this option on the lower left hand side. Once in Casemaker4, you can click on the Videos link in the upper right. Here you can review a tutorial overview that covers all you need to get started with Casemaker4. 

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  Casemaker  Casemaker4  tutorial  video tutorial 

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Email Quick Tip: How to Delay/Schedule an Email

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Have you ever found yourself working over the weekend or into the evening to catch up on work? While we all should strive to attain a better work/life balance, there will inevitably be a time when we need to work during non-business hours. If you find yourself in this position—particularly with finding the time to catch up on emails—I recommend considering the use of delayed or scheduled emails. 

Recent studies have shown email notifications received after hours can be a source of stress for lawyers. While access to email after hours provides flexibility, care should be taken to avoid burnout, and we should also demonstrate consideration for our colleagues. Just because I have found myself in a position where I am catching up on the weekend, it shouldn’t mean that I expect a response from my colleagues over the weekend as well. A good way to alleviate this expectation—even if it is a false one—is to use the delay/schedule email option. This option will allow you the time to compose your catch-up emails, but delay sending them until a later date (ie., Monday morning at 8:00 a.m).

To delay emails in Outlook (PC):

  1. Go the Options Tab.
  2. Select Delay Delivery.
  3. Under Delivery options, select the Do not deliver before check box, and then click the delivery date and  time you want.
  4. Click Close.
  5. When you're done composing your email message, select Send.
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After you click Send, the message remains in the Outbox folder until the delivery time.

Google recently (April 2019) added a scheduling feature to Gmail. Before that, you needed a third-party extension for this capability. For instruction on how to now delay/schedule an email within Gmail, check out the recent article on How to Geek.

To delay emails in Outlook (Mac):

  1. Compose your email message and include one or more recipient names on the To: line.
  2. On the Send button, select the dropdown arrow Send Later.
  3. Enter a time and date.
  4. Select Send. The message will be saved in the Drafts folder until the specified date and time. It will be sent even if Outlook is not open on your computer.
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View full Microsoft Office support article

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  catching up on email  delay Email delivery  How to Geek  Outlook  schedule Email delivery  work/life balance 

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Separating the Wheat from the Chaff—Getting Rid of Formatting Changes

Posted By Jacob E. Peterson, Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The “track changes” or “redline” function for word processors is essential to law practice, whether used to suggest revisions to a colleague’s work, to send modified contract terms to opposing counsel, or to tweak an agreed-upon order. It’s a great tool that promotes efficiency and transparency between lawyers.

But the changes can be overwhelming. Oftentimes, that results from “formatting” adjustments like those shown below:

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And let’s face it, precise formatting changes don’t matter much to us. We just want a document that looks “right,” and we don’t typically care how it got that way.

There are a couple of ways to avoid unnecessary formatting clutter. If you are marking up a document and want to stop recording formatting changes in Word, click the “Review” tab at the top of your screen, find the “Tracking” section, then click the small arrow in the bottom, right-hand corner.

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Then click on “Advanced Options.”  Towards the bottom of the new pop-up window, you can deselect “Track Formatting.” 

If you have received a document with a bunch of formatting bubbles and you only want to review the substance of what was modified, first click on the “Show Markup” drop-down menu in the “Tracking” section of the “Review” tab. Deselect “Comments” and “Insertions and Deletions,” but leave “Formatting” selected. The only changes shown in the document now should be the formatting changes you wish to accept (i.e., the bubbles you want to remove). Next, move to the “Changes” section immediately to the right of the “Tracking” section within the “Review” tab. Click the “Accept [arrow]” button below the button with the document image behind a green checkmark:

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Now select “Accept All Changes Shown.” 

Because the only changes shown are formatting, that option will accept and remove formatting changes while leaving the substantive redlines you really want to see. After clicking “Accept All Changes Shown,” simply return to the “Show Markup” menu from before and reselect “Comments” and “Insertions and Deletions.”

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Tags:  advanced options  Author: Jacob E. Peterson  comments  document formatting  insertions and deletions  review  show markup  tracking 

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Casemaker 4 Quick Tip: Client Tool

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In the Features Toolbar is a link labeled Clients. In the Clients menu you can create and store a list of clients you will be doing research for. Click Add next to the client field, type in your client’s name, and click Save. You also have the ability to set up several matters you are working on for that client. To add different matters to your clients, you will go through the same process of clicking Add, typing a title, and clicking Save. Once you have made your selections, choose Continue. You have now effectively logged in to do research for this client. The Client link will display the client’s name, letting you know that from this point forward any research you do, or any documents you view, are being labeled as research for this client. 

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When you view your history, documents and search queries will be tagged with the time, date and client you had selected. Later, upon clicking our Sign Out link you will be logged out of the system and provided with a Session Summary. Like History, the session summary is a listing of everything you did while logged in—complete with date, time, and client labels; however, it is limited to only what you have done during that particular session. It is useful for some to sign out after completing research for that client. That way, every session summary is client-specific, and you can print a copy of your session summary for your client files. The date and time stamps can help you keep track of your billable hours for research you conducted.

 

Please note—the session summary page is unique to the session, and you will not be shown that page again. However, if you wish to see your client research information, you can still find that in your History.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  Billable Hours  Casemaker 4  Client Research  Client Tool  History  Session Summary 

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Time Management: The Quadrant Method

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Developing and maintaining effective time management skills is a continual process. However, if you are willing to put in the work to improve your time management skills, the pay off can be well worth it. Studies show that in addition to improving productivity, time management skills can also help reduce stress. 

In our July 17, 2018 post, we discussed using the Pomodoro technique to better help manage your time. This technique is a personal favorite; however, it might not work for everyone. If you are looking for a different option to better suit your needs, you may want to consider the quadrant method, a time management method developed by speaker and author, Stephen Covey.

This method takes your linear to-do list and asks you to split the items up into two buckets: what’s important and what is not. From there you split the tasks even further into what is due soon and what is due later.

Here is a sample:

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Quadrant 1 would include only those activities that need your immediate attention. This space should stay reserved for emergencies and extremely important deadlines. When you start your day, you know where to work first: the upper left corner in Quadrant 1.

Quadrant 2 should be comprised of things that are important to you and your business but need not be done until a later date. A good example for this quadrant would be something like strategic planning.

Quadrant 3 would contain items that are more than likely interruptions in your day. Items like emails, phone calls, some meetings. Setting aside a time to specifically handle these interruptions at one time should save you some time in your day and allow you to focus on Quadrant 1 tasks. Delegation may also be an option for some of your Quadrant 3 tasks.

Quadrant 4 activities are those that waste your time and offer no value. These are the tasks you want to eliminate. Think: surfing the internet or social media.

You should find that most of your time is spent in Quadrants 1 and 3; however, having a more organized and prioritized list should open time in your schedule to work on Quadrant 2 tasks, allowing time to focus on items that enhance your skills and your business.

Do you have a different time management method that you have found effective? Leave your recommendations in the comments.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  quadrant method  time management 

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You Don't Need to Plug the Dam Yourself—Let Outlook Do It For You

Posted By Jacob E. Peterson, Monday, January 13, 2020

We’ve all experienced it: the email flood.  Whether it’s due to a pro se opposing party who doesn’t have a day job or a slew of “unsubscribe” “reply all” listserv emails, sifting through dozens of obnoxious messages makes the practice of law much (but needlessly) more difficult.

Rather than sorting or deleting the problematic emails one by one, set up a “rule” in your email application that sends them somewhere other than your inbox.  To do so in Outlook, click on “File,” then “Info,” and look down the list of buttons until you find “Manage Rules & Alerts.”  There you can ask Outlook to automatically move certain emails to a specific, separate folder.  And Outlook can sort emails based upon a slew of conditions, including sender, subject line, and the content.  By using the appropriate rule, you can review your inbox much more easily and manage the problematic emails as necessary.

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Tags:  Author: Jacob E. Peterson  email  Outlook  Outlook rules  sorting email 

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Spoofing on Caller ID: problems for you and your clients

Posted By Larry N. Zimmerman, Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Caller ID Spoofing

“The original factory warranty on your vehicle has expired and this is a final courtesy call to activate your warranty.”

“This call is regarding your Social Security Number. We found some fraudulent activities under your name.”

“We have called to inform you about a lawsuit filed in your name and the Internal Revenue Service has issued an arrest warrant in your name.”

“Grandma, I got arrested and I need you to write down this case number to talk to my lawyer when he calls you soon. I need help with bail money. I love you grandma.”

Scammers & Spoofing

If you have not been on the receiving end of a scam call, then your phone is probably two soup cans on a string. Estimates show as many as one in 10 American adults has lost money in a phone scam each year for a total of almost $10 billion annually. Over 60 percent of those calls originate outside the U.S., but technology allows those callers to alter their caller ID to appear as a domestic call. Some brazenly spoof the caller ID of legitimate businesses, government entities, or even family of their intended victims. The caller ID spoofing tools scammers use are causing issues for lawyers in routine cases.

SpoofCard – Cheap & Easy

It helps first to have some familiarity with how an amateur accesses caller ID spoofing technology. SpoofCard is one of the more popular services because it is so simple and cheap.

  • Step One: Go to spoofcard.com and create a login.
  • Step Two: Pay as little as $7.95 for call time credits.
  • Step Three: Enter the number you want to appear as your caller ID (e.g. Stan Hazlett’s office, the IRS, or Jenny at 867-5309).
  • Step Four: Dial the spoofcard.com switchboard and enter your call PIN.

The process is that easy and is available from desktop or mobile app. You can try it yourself for free without an account; SpoofCard allows a 60-second trial. SpoofCard even allows a call to push direct to voicemail so you can make it appear to your mark that they missed a call from Rudy Giuliani.

Problems for Clients

Domestic lawyers are well aware of problems from caller ID spoofing technology. Angry partners use spoofing to get through to their victims by spoofing the caller ID of the victim’s parents, her children’s school, or even her lawyer. Harassers push obscene and threatening calls directly to voice mail even if the victim never picks up her phone. Lawyers report that this high-tech, low-cost psychological warfare helps to isolate their clients as they come to distrust any incoming calls including from family, trusted friends and counsel.

Some lawyers share another twist: instead of calling the victim, the harasser would use caller ID spoofing to fake calls from the victim. Harassers can generate a call log of repeated calls to their own phone making it appear as if they were the actual victim of harassing calls. Others would spoof the victim’s number to threaten the victim’s support network and children who might unwittingly give up information useful to enable continued harassment.

Domestic lawyers have discovered they often have to provide technological instruction and assistance to their clients ranging from replacing phones and numbers, enabling filtering in Android/iOS, and subscribing clients to defensive services like Trapcall. (Trapcall.com offers subscriptions for $4-7 per month and provide some tools that help unmask caller ID without picking up a call.)

While domestic lawyers might have the most experience with caller ID spoofing impacting their cases and clients, there is no forcefield protecting other practice areas. A variety of scams have targeted civil litigants using litigants’ lawyers’ caller ID to direct payments to scammers’ accounts. Parties themselves can also join the fun, spoofing their opponent’s lawyer and obtaining sensitive case information. A lawyer herself may even use caller ID spoofing to get a leg up on her case.

Problems for Lawyers

In May, 2019, the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys decided a case in which a lawyer used caller ID spoofing in an attempt to collect a debt and repossess vehicles after consumers defaulted on a lease agreement. The lawyer called an individual she believed had the vehicles but used spoofing software to make her call appear to be from the individual’s wife. (For whatever reason, spoofing the caller ID of his wife did not prompt the individual to pick up, and the lawyer did leave a message with her real name.)

The Board found that the lawyer violated Rule 8.4(c) as use of the software constituted misrepresentation. The Board did not find a violation of Rule 4.4(a). After deciding that the lawyer’s use of the spoofing software was motivated by dishonesty, it unanimously recommended informal admonition. Lawyers dabbling with caller ID spoofing should beware of ethics ramifications of their conduct and be cognizant of exposure under federal laws including the Truth in Caller ID Act and, where applicable, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act—each of which may expose a lawyer to financial penalties and fees.

While generally legal, caller ID spoofing presents a range of problems for lawyers. Our clients and cases can be impacted by other litigants and non-parties, while our own license and practice can be impacted if we decide a little misrepresentation might help our case.

Originally published in the January 2020 Journal of the Kansas Bar Association.

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Tags:  Author: Larry N. Zimmerman  caller id  scammers  scams  spoofing 

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Holiday Gifts Worth Getting

Posted By Larry N. Zimmerman, Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The holidays approach and the shopping days are running out. If you have any nice lawyers left on your list, consider the following:

DocuSign (docusign.com) – Now is the time to experiment with electronically signed documents with clients and opposing counsel. Getting signatures back electronically is considerably faster than paper and mail in an era of smartphones. Additionally, electronic agreements come with tamper-evident technology, admissibility certificates, and audit trails built in unlike wet-ink paper solutions. Lawyers should skip the personal plan ($10/month) and start with the $25/month plan which includes unlimited documents, access via mobile app, and adds reminders, personalized branding, and real-time comment and markup.

Klipfolio (klipfolio.com) – Lawyers have an abundance of tools available to monitor cases, deadlines, and clients. Significantly fewer tools are available which tell lawyers how the business is faring. Klipfolio is a cloud-based analytics tool which allows you to automatically upload key data about your business and then share that information as a visual dashboard for at-a-glance review. For example, a firm could track when bills are sent and record when those bills are paid to generate a visual dashboard indicator of average time to pay. A test drive is available at $49/month allowing up to five users to view up to five custom dashboards. It is one of the quickest and easiest ways to start with visual business analytics.

Fizzy Flight Insurance (fizzy.axa/en-gb) – **UPDATE (1/7/2020): Fizzy Flight Insurance is no longer available.** Smart contracts based on blockchain technology and its inherent ability to automatically verify compliance are still just buzzwords to many lawyers. Fizzy offers an opportunity to see how such smart contracts work in real life. Enter your flight number and departure date and Fizzy will allow you to purchase insurance on covered flights. If your flight is delayed by two hours or more or cancelled, Fizzy knows automatically and you are paid without ever filing a claim. The terms are clearly defined and independently verifiable. The payment automatic and instant. Using something like Fizzy can help lawyers visualize how smart contracts can be designed and deployed for our clients.

Privacy (privacy.com) – Credit card fraud remains a big business for criminals and U.S. consumers are more than twice as likely to be impacted due in part to lackadaisical security measures by card issuers here versus abroad. Services like Privacy create a single-use credit card number subscribers can use for online, phone, and recurring charges that keeps your primary card out of the retailer’s hands. How you use your cards is also scrubbed by Privacy so your card issuer cannot use your payment history to sell ads and otherwise target you based on your habits. The service is free (funded by the interchange paid by merchants) unless you get into extensive use beyond 12 cards per month.

Zipwhip (zipwhip.com) – If you set an appointment with your dentist, she probably sends you a text message confirmation and then a reminder the day before. No one in her office is tapping away on their phone to send those reminders. It is automated through a service like Zipwhip which allows you to manage texting from the desktop just like email. Zipwhip allows automated messaging in addition to more one-on-one interactive options. The economy option starts at $35/month per line for unlimited texts and contacts for up to two numbers (devices) with reporting and apps included. Jump to the business package at $100/month per line and features like firm personalization, scheduled messaging, auto-reply, and integration with Clio is enabled. (Clio integration logs and preserves texts in the client file for billing and record-keeping purposes.)

Faraday Bag/Box (do-it-yourself or faradaybag.com) – I have never allowed Alexa or Google Home devices into the office as they feature always-on microphones recording what they hear to Amazon and Google servers. The electronic eavesdropping issue is not so simple, however. Recently I was discussing a case in my office with an intern and my Android smartphone chimed in with an unsolicited comment. This occurred despite my configuring it to disregard wake words and to only activate with a physical action. A Faraday box or bag shields a device like a phone or laptop from all radio frequencies so it cannot “phone home” or receive remote instructions. You can make a tinfoil hat for your phone yourself or buy something more professional-looking for $50 and up.

Date Night at Kansas Supreme Court Special Session (kscourts.org) – Assuming the Kansas Supreme Court continues its traveling dockets after Chief Justice Nuss’s retirement, it is well worth the experience of attending one of its special sessions away from the Judicial Center in Topeka. My wife and I have attended five special sessions now from Lawrence to El Dorado and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience every time. We are not invested in the cases heard but swell with lawyerly pride at seeing hundreds gather at a time to watch the process. Afterwards, the non-lawyer public debates thoughtfully and sincerely about the cases and acknowledges the challenging work lawyers and judges do. Just remember that you are a lawyer and a special session in a high school is still a court room; show up dressed appropriately as an officer of the court.

Six Minute Meditation for Lawyers (theanxiouslawyer.com) – As cheesy as it seems to some of us cynics, the data is in and meditation offers tangible health and mental benefits. Jeena Cho offers free guided meditation audio files broken up into 0.1 hour segments. I reluctantly submitted and have been pleasantly surprised with the results. I am not at peace but am more peaceful—and that is truly a gift.

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Tags:  Author: Larry N. Zimmerman 

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Microsoft Quick Tip: Unformatted Copy/Paste

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Sometimes you need to copy and paste data from one document to another. Unfortunately, copy and paste may place unwanted formatting and styles into your new document. To avoid the unwanted formatting and styles, try pasting using the “text only” option:

  1. Copy the content you want to place from your document.
  2. Click where you want to paste the content in the new document.
  3. Select the  Keep Text Only option.

Should you forget to select the Keep Text Only option, you can clear the formatting by using tools in  Styles group under the Home tab of the Ribbon in Word.

 

  1. Highlight the text for which you want to clear the formatting.
  2. Click on the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the down arrow next to your Styles to select the More option.
  4. Click Clear Formatting.
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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  copy  formatting  keep text only  Microsoft  paste  styles 

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