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Lending Library Book Review: Women Rainmakers' Best Marketing Tips

Posted By Danielle M. Atchison, Tuesday, August 20, 2019
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Theda Snyder’s Women Rainmakers’ Best Marketing Tips is a great introduction to marketing for all women lawyers, including those who don’t currently believe they are on the “rainmaker” path. Women need to know about business and how to stand confident in their competence. The book is especially great at identifying those areas of the legal profession that aren’t exciting and presenting them as marketing opportunities. For instance, the author tells women rainmakers to use the legal community’s gossip to your advantage! If you hear about your competitor is making changes, maybe it is an opportunity for you in the wake of their restructuring.

The author also presents a unique way of using Lexis and Westlaw, which are sites normally used for dry legal research. She says spending time on these platforms doing keyword searches for legal issues in your area of practice may show current litigation emerging or growing in your area that you didn’t already know about—i.e. new avenues of revenue. The book also has standard business marketing advice, including articles about watching your competition, discovering your target customer, and drafting a business plan. Yes, draft, it needs to be in writing! She also talks about rainmakers considering focusing their practice so they are the experts in their field—having a niche automatically sets you apart from others in law. This is not always easy to do as a new solo practitioner, but is something to consider.

I think this book is useful for new people learning about marketing themselves. I think some of the material is a little dated, but probably still true. For instance, on page 21 the author gets into the detail of how women rainmakers should dress. She says, “[s]ome men can adopt far-out fashions with success: ponytails, cowboy regalia in northern climates, and feminine-looking fur coats. Regrettably, though, women are still best advised to adopt a conservative look. Since a good rainmaker attracts business everywhere she goes, plan on keeping the conservative appearance for a long, long time.” While I have trouble with this viewpoint, the author is getting at the larger issue— which is women and men are treated differently in business, and this is not going away for a long, long time.

This book is a great start for any woman lawyer ready to awaken her inner rainmaker!

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Atchison  Book Review  lending library  Lexis  marketing  Theda Snyder  Weekly20190820  Westlaw  Women Rainmaker' Best Marketing Tips 

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FSLA Frequently Asked Questions

Posted By John R. Dietrick, Tuesday, August 13, 2019

FLSA Frequently Asked Questions

John R. Dietrick, P.A. frequently has inquiries regarding exempt employees and managing their schedules. See below for a few of the most common questions and answers.

Can an employer create a specified schedule for exempt employees?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not specifically prohibit employers from requiring exempt employees to work a particular schedule or to track the hours they work. The Department of Labor (DOL) has stated that employers may require exempt employees to work a specific schedule and to record and track hours without affecting their exempt status. 29 CFR Part 541. However, it is important to note that if you require exempt employees to work a certain number of hours and account for their work time on an hourly basis, you may jeopardize the exempt status of these employees if the accounting has the effect of treating them like hourly workers. This will likely create liability for overtime payment for the employer.

Will tracking time with a specified schedule risk an employees exemption status?

The DOL has allowed for hourly tracking of time for exempt employees. (See 29 CFR Part 541, employersmay require exempt employees to record and track hours.) However, this may only be done for purposes unrelated to employee pay (i.e., tracking to monitor performance, productivity, or billing to clients). The hours should be tied to job duties rather than strictly connected to starting and ending work times. Conversely, tracking hours and then adjusting the base salary compensation to match work hours would likely cause a loss of the exemption. If the exemption is lost, the employee becomes nonexempt and the employer will be liable to pay any earned overtime.

What options are available for an employer when an employee fails to meet the minimum hours of the employee specified work week?

An exempt employee must receive the full salary for any week in which the employee performs any work without regard to the number of days or hours worked. If the employee is ready, willing and able to work, deductions may not be made for time when work is not available (i.e., inclement weather). 29 CFR Part 541.602.

The relevant exceptions to this rule are as follows:

  1. Deductions from pay may be made when an exempt employee is absent from work for one or more full days for personal reasons other than sickness or disability;
  2. Deductions from pay may be made for absences of one or more full days occasioned by sickness or disability if the deduction is made in accordance with a bona fide plan, policy or practice of providing compensation for loss of salary due to sickness or disability;
  3. Employers may offset any amounts received by an employee as jury fees, witness fees or military pay for a particular week against the salary due for that particular week without loss of the exemption if the employee is absent to fulfill those duties; and
  4. An employer is not required to pay the full salary for weeks in which an exempt employee takes unpaid leave under the FMLA. 29 CFR Part 541.602.

Other potential options for employers include a salary cut (not below the minimum exempt requirement), voluntary loss of exemption (this would require a balancing test), and as a last resort, termination.

Note: It may be beneficial to speak with the employee to determine why he or she is not meeting the minimum hours. If an employer has over fifteen (15) employees, the employer is subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act. If there is a situation that falls under this act preventing the employee from working the minimum hours, the employee may be entitled to reasonable accommodations. 

Tags:  29 CFR Part 541  29 CFR Part 541.602  ADA  Author: John R. Dietrick  exempt status  Fair Labor Standards Act  FLSA 

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Scam Alert: Vishing Threats on the Rise

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, August 6, 2019
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In the last week or so, there has been an increase in reported vishing attempts targeting law firms and legal departments in Kansas. In fact, not only have I received some of these reports, I recently took one of these scam phone calls at my own office. The phone call appeared to come from a technology company, and the caller indicated there was a problem with my computer. The caller wanted my login credentials and remote access to my computer to “fix the problem.”  Of course, I immediately recognized this was a vishing attempt, and I did not give any information to the caller. The caller was more than likely using spoofing software to make the call appear as if it were coming from a legitimate company.

Vishing is the term used for these types of scam calls. Similar to email phishing, vishing uses social engineering to gain access to private and/or financial information. Instead of using a computer, however, this type of scam takes place over the telephone.

 

To avoid falling victim to vishing scams:

Do NOT
  • Participate in surveys over the phone.
  • Share personal information to an unknown caller. Banks and government entities, for instance, should never ask for personal information over the phone.
  • Give out computer systems or network information over the phone.
Things to DO
  • Document the situation. Verify the caller’s identity, obtain as much information as possible, if caller ID is available write down the caller’s information, and take detailed notes about the call.
  • Designate someone responsible for tracking, notifying, and educating staff on recent vishing attempts.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  law firms  phone scam  protect private information  vishing 

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Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows: Let’s Talk about Ctrl

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, July 30, 2019

In several recent blog posts, I have highlighted the usefulness of using keyboard shortcuts into your everyday typing. It is no secret using shortcuts can make you more efficient at doing certain computer tasks. So given the benefits, I have listed below a few more shortcuts that you can add to your cheat sheet. All of them involve using the Ctrl key on your keyboard.

 

 Ctrl + a  select an entire document or a window 
 Ctrl + c  copy a selected item
 Ctrl + v   paste what you have copied
 Ctrl + x   delete the selected text
 Ctrl + z  undo an action
 Ctrl + y  redo an action
 Ctrl + d   delete a selected item or file and move it to the recycle bin on your computer
 Ctrl + r   refresh and active a window

 

There are many more keyboard shortcuts you can use when working in Windows. For a complete list, click here.  If you are a Mac user, you can still use most of these same shortcuts by using the Command key on your keyboard in place of the Ctrl key. Click here to view Mac shortcuts.

 

Do you have a favorite shortcut or maybe a shortcut you created specifically for law-related work? If so, let me know, and I can share it with our readers!

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  Control key  keyboard shortcuts  Mac users  Windows users 

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Marketing Quick Tip: How Did You Hear About Us?

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, July 23, 2019

This past week, I attended the Kansas Women Attorneys Association Annual Conference in Lindsborg, Kansas. During one of the CLE presentations, a discussion took place regarding marketing efforts. One of the audience members had an excellent suggestion, and I want to share it with you. The suggestion was to take the opportunity to collect information about your marketing efforts from potential clients that call seeking representation. Asking one simple question prior to concluding the call can tell you a lot. That question? “How did you hear about us?” The answer should give you some insight into your marketing efforts. Track the answer to this question, and over the course of time you will have collected data that should show the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. From there, my recommendation is to then make more data based driven decisions about where you plan to spend time and money in your marketing efforts.

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Tags:  advertising  Author: Danielle M. Hall  marketing 

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Casemaker Tip: Search Operators in Casemaker4

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, July 16, 2019

If you were not aware, Casemaker recently introduced a redesign of its legal research platform called Casemaker4. Currently, upon log-in to your member benefit, the platform will continue to default to the prior version. You can, however, select to switch to the new version. Eventually this default will change to Casemaker4 for everyone upon log-in. In the meantime, I suggest taking a look at the new version prior to this switch.

While there are somethings that have changed in Casemaker4 quite a few things have not. For example, you can use the same search operators in Casemaker4 that you used in previous versions of Casemaker. Let’s review them!

Search Operators

"AND" searching

Example: Contract Binding

To perform the AND search, simply leave a space. Casemaker sees the space as the AND operator. Our example will give us documents that have the word contract as well as the word binding.


"OR" searching

Example: alimony OR support

Using OR as the operator will find documents that use either word in the query. In our example, this query will pull up documents mentioning either alimony or support anywhere in them.


"NOT" searching

Example: property NOT commercial

Using the NOT operator will tell the system to find the documents that mention the first term but do not mention the second. In our example, the query will pull up documents that refer to property but do not mention the term commercial


"Phrase" searching

Example: “right of way”

This search type tells the system to treat everything in the quotations as if it were one search term. In our example, this means it will only pull cases that mention right of way but not cases that mention the words right, of and way by themselves.


"Thesaurus" searching

Example: ~parole

The thesaurus search not only locates your search term but also words with the same meaning. In our example query, the search will pull up documents that mention the word parole as well documents that mention any synonyms of the word parole.


"Asterisk" searching

Example: run*

This search will pull up documents that mention terms that begin with the letters prior to the asterisk. In our example, the query will find documents that mention not only run but also any words that start with run such as runner, runs, running and so on.


"Proximity" searching

Example: Tax w/10 property

This search will pull up documents that mention your first term within the number of words you specify of the other term. In our example, this will bring us documents where tax is mentioned within ten words of the term property.


"Grouping" searching

Example: (alimony OR support) AND divorce 

This would be the one case where you should use the word AND in Casemaker. Using the parentheses tells the system we want to group these queries. In this example, the system will return documents that mention alimony or support but also mention divorce.

 

When creating searches, if you run into trouble or need a few tips Casemakers highly recommends contacting their customer support department. They have a live chat feature which will allow you to instant message the customer support team during their regular hours. You will find a link to livechat in the upper right of the Casemaker4 screen. Live chat is especially useful when you are looking for search query assistance. Casemaker’s support team can give you a sample query and you can copy and paste the search suggestions they have to offer.

Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  Casemaker  Casemaker4  operators  search operators  search tips 

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Quick Tip: Using Print Friendly to Print or Convert a Webpage to PDF

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Have you ever tried printing a webpage that ended up difficult to read because of all the extra content on the page? If so, I suggest trying the free service Print Friendly. If you are like me and find articles on the web you want to save to read later, or that you just want to keep as a resource for when you may need it, then using Print Friendly is a great option. Print Friendly lets you either physically print the webpage, convert the page to a PDF, or email it to yourself without all the extra clutter. Simply copy the URL of the page you wish to print from your browser’s address bar, then go to www.printfriendly.com. Paste the URL into the text box, then click the print preview button. It is that simple! From there, you can choose which option you prefer for saving. There is also an option to install a browser extension for easy use.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  Create PDF  Print Friendly 

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Quick Tip: Taking a Break

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Monday, July 1, 2019

With the 4th of July holiday this week, and the summer months upon us, now is a good time to talk about taking a much needed break or vacation from work. Taking a break from work may seem impossible at times. In fact, I recently taught a CLE where I discussed unplugging while on vacation. The majority of responses I received from the audience was that completely unplugging is impossible. Why? We worry about the amount of work that piles up while we are gone. Sometimes, it may even feel stressful just preparing to leave for vacation as you work through tasks that need to be completed before leaving. Despite this, studies show that taking time away from work allows the body to replenish and repair itself. In addition to the health benefits, you often come back from a break feeling refreshed and re-energized, allowing you to increase productivity and creativity. Now, in full disclosure, I am currently on vacation as I type this week’s tip. So, I will follow my own advice, and instead of giving you tips for taking a break, I will encourage you to head over to my friends at the Attorney at Work blog and read last week’s article on Time Management Tech Tips to Help Reclaim Your Weekend.

Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall 

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eFiling Rejections—The Lambert Decision

Posted By Larry N. Zimmerman, Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Lambert v. Peterson, et al (No. 117,344) decided by the Kansas Supreme Court on April 19, 2019 is worth careful review by every efiling lawyer. Lambert highlights the dangers to litigants in an electronic filing system that discounts the actual pleadings filed in favor of immaterial metadata entered by filers to describe the pleading within eFlex.

Lambert’s lawyer filed a medical malpractice petition on the last day of the statute of limitations. The following day, the clerk of the district court worked the filing queue and rejected the petition because the clerk did not accept how the data describing the petition (metadata) within eFlex was entered. The lawyer refiled the petition, changing the metadata, but that resulted in the petition being file-stamped one day past the statute of limitations. Lambert ultimately lost her claim to a motion to dismiss because of that late file stamp.

Those facts admit Lambert’s lawyer to a large society of Kansas filers who routinely see legally-adequate pleadings rejected due to metadata issues. Under paper filing, Lambert’s lawyer would have walked the petition to the courthouse for a file-stamped petition at the window. The clerks trained to enter metadata about the case would enter it.

Rule 23(c)

When efiling rolled out, it shifted that data entry task from clerks to lawyers. Now, a filing lawyer must know the law on behalf of the client and be able to ferret out the data entry policies of every county—unwritten policies that differ from court to court and which are usually discoverable only through trial and error. (Clerks may correct data entry issues but OJA recommendations and local rules tend toward rejection.)

As I write this, the Kansas Supreme Court is accepting comment on proposed rules which include an effort to address the Lambert issue. Proposed Rule 23(c)(1) narrows clerk rejection reasons to the following:

  1. the document is illegible or in a format that prevents it from being opened;
  2. the document does not leave a margin sufficient to affix a file stamp…;
  3. the document does not have the correct county designation, case number, or case caption; and
  4. the applicable fee has not been paid or there is no poverty affidavit submitted with the document or already on file in the case.

The change redirects clerk attention toward the document itself and away from the metadata in eFlex. Had this rule or focus been in place upon roll out, the Lambert rejection may not have occurred.

Proposed Rule 23(c)(2) also speeds up the review process in the clerks’ offices. Clerks must process a document no more than four business hours after filing. Because Lambert’s petition was submitted at 11:56 AM, the lawyer would have had the rejection by 3:56 PM the same day leaving time to refile within the statute of limitations. A promise of efiling was that the clerk window would always be open to receive filings. However, the rejection process, and the seeming missing audit trail for those rejections, places a caveat on that promise.

Proposed Rule 23 would likely eliminate most of the scenarios in which a Lambert set of facts could bite a litigant. It does not eliminate the possibility, however. First, there are no remedies for non-compliance within the Rule; it serves as a best practices aspiration but does not provide filers any enforcement. Second, there is still room for a clerk rejection unrelated to the document. For example, a dispute over whether a party is fee exempt could still generate a clerk rejection.

Proof of Filing

Because a clerk rejection can adversely impact a party’s rights under statute, the counsel in Lambert is important. The district court and Kansas Supreme Court have not taken judicial notice of the system they maintain to see the content of the original, timely filing. In some cases, lawyers have been told that the courts do not have access to see the same information we see on filing. It is also possible that there simply are no audit records or other digital trail left by documents that cannot survive a clerk rejection. Either way, the state of the court’s efiling system with respect to a pleading is, by nature, outside the pleadings—and that is significant.

The Kansas Supreme Court notes, “Certainly, a party responding to a motion to dismiss can go outside the pleadings to raise facts supporting the party’s response to the motion. But to do so, the party must follow prescribed procedures. Specifically, ‘the motion must be treated as one of summary judgment under K.S.A. 60-256.’” It continued, “Instead, Lambert (or any other party responding to a motion to dismiss) must, ‘by affidavits or by declarations pursuant to K.S.A. 53-601…or as otherwise provided in this section, set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.”

If you have a time-sensitive document, start the filing process with eyes wide open toward how to prove by “affidavit, declaration, or testimony by a competent affiant, declarant, or witness based on personal knowledge setting forth facts that would be admissible into evidence” that the document was timely filed. Think about the checklists and business records your own staff can create which would prove filing. Pay attention to which clerks or other OJA staff might need to be subpoenaed to testify. The burden will be on you to prove you showed up at the clerk’s virtual window on time.

Originally published in the June 2019 Journal of the Kansas Bar Association.

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Tags:  Author: Larry N. Zimmerman  efiling  e-filing  et al  Lambert Decision  Lambert v. Peterson  Rule 23(c) 

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Cybersecurity Tip: Scan Your Samsung Smart TV for Viruses

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Samsung recently posted a tweet revealing that it is possible for your smart TV to get a virus, just like a computer. The original tweet has since been deleted, however, there is a video on the company’s website detailing how to check your Wi-Fi connected Samsung smart TV.  You can view the video here. Should you have one of these TV’s in your office or home, you need to scan the TV for viruses on a regular basis.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  computer virus  cybersecurity  Samsung  TV viruses  virus  Wi-Fi 

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Casemaker Tip - Client Tracking

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Need to keep track of time spent doing online research for a client?  Making use of the Client and Session Summary features of Casemaker can help. First, make sure to sign in to your personal Casemaker profile. Next, simply create a Client and select that client each time you begin to conduct research for that individual.  Once you have finished, click the Sign Out link to sign out of Casemaker and view the Session Summary.  The Session Summary contains the date, time and client for each search, which can be used to keep track of billable hours for the client. 

** Please remember to print this information as it cannot be retrieved after closing the Session Summary. **

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  billable hours  Casemaker  client tracking  session summary 

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Need Help Putting Down Your Phone? Go Grayscale!

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Did you know the average person checks their phone 52 times per day? Or that 2/3 of us check our phones within the first 15 minutes of getting out bed? If you find yourself constantly checking your phone, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, or watching all those cat videos on YouTube well into the wee hours of the night, then you may want to try going to grayscale on your phone. The idea is that by stripping away all the neuron-stimulating colors, you become less motivated to check your phone. 

Interested in going gray? Just Google your phone and model number for instructions. There are plenty of resources out there explaining how to turn your phone to grayscale, however, most newer models of iPhones and Androids will have this option under the Accessibility menu in the Settings app.

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  cell phone  grayscale  scrolling  settings 

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Casemaker Tip - Finding a Case by Docket Number

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Sometimes a case is so new, you may not have a citation. If you have the docket number, you can still find the case. Under the search bar on the homepage of Casemaker, you will see words with circles next to them. These circles are called radio buttons. The options you will see are Keyword, Citation, Party, Section, and finally, Docket No. Make sure you have selected the correct jurisdiction from the jurisdiction menu drop down to the right of the search bar (it is the box with the downward pointing blue arrow); then select the radio button next to Docket No. Enter the docket number of your case and hit the blue search button. You should be able to pull up the case you are looking for.

Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  Casemaker  Citation  Search  Search by Docket Number  Tip 

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Microsoft Word Quick Tip—Use AutoCorrect to Insert Text

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, May 21, 2019

You might have noticed that Microsoft Word has an AutoCorrect function. If turned on, you might even get slightly annoyed with some of the built-in auto corrections. For instance, if you have ever intentionally typed “(c)” and Word changed it to the copyright symbol, chances are you have questioned why you should keep the AutoCorrect function on—I know I have. Lately, however, I have started using the AutoCorrect function within Word in a completely different way.  Since making this change, AutoCorrect has become a pretty amazing tool to use while I am drafting documents in Word.

What have I been doing? I have been using AutoCorrect to replace shorthand words, characters, and/or acronyms as I type with complete words or short phrases that I commonly use. For example, when I type “/dmh" this gets replaced automatically with my full name.  Another example I have set up is this: if I type “/KRPC” it autocorrects to Kansas Rules of Professional Responsibility. You may have noticed that I strategically placed a forward slash in the acronym that I am using to replace text with.  I did that, because there are times where I may want to keep the use of the acronym available to me within my documents.  You need to keep this in mind when creating your shortcuts. Also, once you have added a shortcut to your AutoCorrect library, it will work within PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel and OneNote, since the library is shared across Microsoft Office.

If you want to try using the AutoCorrect feature more actively in your drafting, here is how you set up your shortcut entries:

PC Instructions

  • Click the File tab.
  • Click Options.
  • Click Proofing.
  • Click AutoCorrect Options, and then Click the AutoCorrect tab.
  • Select Replace text as you type check box, if it is not already selected.
  • Under Replace, type your shortcut character, word, or acronym.
  • Under With, type the word you want the shortcut replaced with.
  • Click OK.
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Mac Instructions

  • Click Word at top left of the menu bar.
  • Click Preferences
  • Click AutoCorrect under "Authoring and Proofing Tools"
  • Select Replace text as you type check box, if it is not already selected.
  • Under Replace, type your shortcut character, word, or acronym.
  • Under With, type the word you want the shortcut replaced with.
  • Press Return.
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Tags:  acronyms  Author: Danielle M. Hall  autocorrect  insert text  LPM  Microsoft  microsoft word  MS Word  tech tip 

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Casemaker Tip - Finding Your Search Terms

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Wednesday, May 15, 2019

You’ve done your search with your keyword or keywords and you have pulled up your first result to read the case. Now, where in the world are your search terms even mentioned?

You can find them using the Search Terms arrows in the gray toolbar. Located just above the title when you are reading the case is a gray toolbar. Here you see options to return to results, arrows to move around your list of results documents, as well as the phrase Search Terms with arrows on either side.

Clicking on either arrow will take you to the next search term above or below where you are in the case you are viewing.

 

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Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  Casemaker Tip  Search Terms 

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