Print Page | Sign In | Register
Law Practice Management Tips
Blog Home All Blogs

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.
Click image to enlarge

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.
Click image to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  acronyms  Author: Danielle M. Hall  autocorrect  insert text  LPM  Microsoft  microsoft word  MS Word  tech tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Microsoft Quick Tip: Quick Zoom to Save Eye Strain

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, December 18, 2018

When it comes to using Microsoft Word, everyone has their own personal preference regarding the window size. Some people like to work with the window zoomed in to 150-200% to better see the font type, while others may like to work at 75-100% to eliminate the need to scroll left and right to view the entire document. If I had to guess, however, I would bet most may find themselves in situations, where depending on what you are working on, you may have the need to zoom in and out to better see things. Of course, you can always adjust your zoom percentage in the View tab of the Microsoft Ribbon. Here’s how:

  • Click the View
  • Click
  • Select your preferred percentage.
  • Click OK.

These four steps may not seem like a lot, but if you find yourself switching in and out of different zoom preferences while working on the same document it can get burdensome after a while. If that is the case, know there is an easier way to quickly adjust your zoom preference. Say hello to the Zoom Slider!

A zoom-in on the MS Word Zoom Slider
Zoom slider. Click for see full context of where is slider location

You can find the Zoom Slider in the right-hand corner of your Word document.  All you do is slide to the percentage zoom setting that you want or click - or + to zoom in gradual increments. This tool eliminates the need to switch tabs and go through extra steps to change your preferences.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  MS Word  Tech Tip  zoom slider 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Firm Finances: Three Tips for Just Starting Out and Hanging Your Own Shingle

Posted By Susan A. Berson, Tuesday, December 4, 2018
  1. Keep overhead low. For every dollar you earn, if you can reduce your overhead by one dollar, thereʼs your salary.
  2. Distinguish between a want and a need. Malpractice insurance coverage and a back-up server should be categorized as needs. Likewise, a disaster plan binder and electronic folder that detail who does what, when, how and where in emergencies.
  3. An organized recordkeeping system is a must. Calendar small business tax deadlines. Compliance with tax obligations is a requirement for attorneys to maintain “good standing.”

    Examples to consider for software include:
  •  QuickBooks,
  • Acclivity,
  • Peachtree,
  • Microsoft Office or Excel spreadsheet(s)

Tags:  Author: Susan A. Berson  Law Practice Management  software  tech tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)
 

How to Enlarge and Print Only a Portion of a PDF with Adobe Reader

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Have you ever sat and wondered if you can enlarge and print only a portion of a PDF with only Adobe Reader? Well, I have the answer for you. Yes, you can!  Here’s how:

  • Open the PDF in Adobe Reader
  • Select the Snap Shot Tool
  • Drag a rectangle around the area you want to enlarge and/or print
  • Click File, and select Print
  • Choose your Print Option. Send the document to your printer or you can select the Print to PDF option to create a new digital document.
  • Make sure that the Selected Graphic option is selected in the Print Range area of the Print dialog box.
  • To enlarge the selected text or graphic, you can select the Fit to page option or you can select Custom Scale and increase the percentage to a specific amount you like.
  • Click Print

It is that easy!

Note: If you have Adobe Acrobat you can follow the same steps.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Acrobat Reader  Adobe  Adobe Reader  Author: Danielle M. Hall  Danielle M. Hall  PDF  Tech Tip  Weekly10232018 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, October 16, 2018

By , Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator

Considering October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I thought this would be a good time to provide some resources to help others with developing and implementing a cybersecurity plan. With new data breaches popping up on a constant basis, it is important for lawyers to understand that they are not immune from cybersecurity issues. In fact, law firms are especially vulnerable to data breaches because of the sensitive data they handle.

Because data security is more important than ever, lawyers should take the time to develop and implement a cybersecurity plan. Below you will find resources that can help. The first resource on the list, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, is the “go to” resource for developing a plan. Additional resources include information from The Kansas Small Business Development Center and the American Bar Association. The Kansas SBDC resources include a cybersecurity assessment you can take to identify your areas of strengths and weakness in your current cybersecurity policies and procedures.

Today, the new mantra in cybersecurity is not if an organization will be breached, but when will it be breached. Now is the time to start recognizing that cybersecurity just isn’t an IT problem anymore, and everyone in your organization plays a role in keeping your client data protected.

Cybersecurity Resources:

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Author: Danielle M. Hall  cybersecurity  Cybersecurity Awareness Month  Danielle M. Hall  Tech Tip  Weekly10162018 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Lawyer Content on YouTube

Posted By Larry N. Zimmerman, Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2018

By , partner at Zimmerman & Zimmerman P.A.

YouTube is a big deal. It has become the second largest search engine on the internet serving up over 300 hours of videos per minute­ more than all of Netflix and Facebook combined. The site reaches into at least 88 countries and translates into 76 languages representing some 95% of the world’s population. User demographics indicate 80% of adults between age 18 and 49 watch and 60% prefer it to television. I was at a national legal conference recently where the average age of attendee was notably higher than 50 and YouTube has made its mark with that audience as well. Most of the presentations, comments, and discussions featured YouTube content.

Because there are over 1.3 trillion videos hosted by YouTube, finding content of interest can be challenging. The algorithms YouTube uses to figure out what users might be interested in viewing are not terrifically reliable and the trending playlist is mostly viral pop culture hits or paying advertisers. Leveraging the value of YouTube involves finding good channels (content creators), subscribing, and setting notices to catch new episodes. Some suggestions for lawyers:

Real Crime Networks

LadyJustice2188—This trial channel includes a library of 4,400 video feeds from criminal trials and proceedings throughout the U.S. Every stage in criminal procedure is shown from arraignment to sentencing and the proceedings shown are often from newsworthy cases. The video feeds are not heavily edited and include no commentary or explanation. The channel adds new content several times a week though multiple uploads may be from the same case broken into more manageable segments.

The Law & Crime Network—This channel is a more polished news program focused on “the day’s biggest trials and legal controversies.” Regular episodes drop at 9:00 a.m. EST, Monday through Friday with supplemental trial feeds as well. Like LadyJustice2188, the Network includes actual criminal proceedings but provides in-depth commentary as well. Recent high-profile cases covered include Travis Reinking, the Waffle House gunman, and Cristhian Rivera, the accused murderer of Iowa college student, Molly Tibbetts.

Content Creators

Shouse Law Group—Not every lawyer is content as a content viewer, some want to get in on the action as content creators. The lawyers at Shouse have modeled a particularly effective and professional way to create a YouTube channel. The firm uploads 1-2 videos a week that are usually just 2-5 minutes long. The videos address very specific topics in a broadly informative way (staying within ethical guidelines). Examples include explanations of recovery options when hit by a an uninsured driver, whether a California medical marijuana card can be used in other states and what are likely outcomes of a minor caught in possession of alcohol case.

YouTuber Law—Wading into content creation can present some interesting legal issues. Tech lawyer, Lior Lessor, has expertise in representing technology companies and brands including YouTube content creators. His small (340 videos) channel covers subjects such as challenges to negative reviews or the rights of site hosts like YouTube’s rights to censor controversial speech. Lessor releases a video per week; most are quick takes of 10-15 minutes, but he does not hesitate from going long when a complex topic is presented.

Law School and Life

Learn Law Better—Every lawyer knows a law student. Every law student could use a bit of help sometimes navigating their way. Beau Baez is an accomplished educator with Best Teacher of the Year awards from two different law schools. His channel presents polished, pedagogically thoughtful videos of 5-10 minutes each on issues for which law students (and lawyers) might need a refresher. Legal topics can include res ipsa loquitur or Erie v. Tompkins. Survival strategies for school and life are covered in videos about overcoming procrastination or how to effectively cram for a deadline. Information that is no longer relevant to lawyers is still useful for the law students we mentor.

Live Laugh Law—This is another law student channel by a young black woman in her second year of law school at Howard. She is infectious with her joy at working toward her ticket. She shares her setbacks and worries as well. The law school experience may be a distant memory for most of us but Live Laugh Law brings back some of the good memories of challenges met and defeated while underscoring the importance of mentoring and supporting those coming up behind us.

Tips and Tricks

ABA Law Practice Division—The ABA has a tiny channel of just 89 videos that is infrequently updated – about once per month. Broadly speaking, there are two categories of video on the site. Brief clips of 1-2 minutes provide quick explanations of topics like spear-phishing or ransomware. Longer videos of 30-60 minutes give detailed information about document assembly, legal services pricing, or artificial intelligence, for example.

Chicago Bar Association’s How To…Video Library—This is not a YouTube channel but worth a look. The Chicago Bar recently opened up its members-only tutorial videos to the general public. There are a host of gems by lawyers with technology expertise. Videos teach removing metadata, protecting documents from editing, and permanently redacting documents. One of the latest videos gives sound advice on how to start as a YouTube content provider. The full list of videos is at lpmt.chicagobar.org/how-to-video-library – not YouTube.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Author: Larry N. Zimmerman  Larry N. Zimmerman  tech tip  YouTube 

Share |
PermalinkComments (1)
 

To Scan or Not Scan a Document, Part 2

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, September 18, 2018

By Danielle M. Hall, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator

Last week, I discussed the importance of converting a document to PDF rather than printing and scanning. To recap, when you scan a document, you are creating an image-only PDF rather than a “true” PDF. The downside, you lose a lot of key functions in the PDF when you scan the document. If you missed last week’s Tech Tip, I encourage you to go back and look. You can always find the Tech Tips archive on the KBA website at https://www.ksbar.org/blogpost/1106646/LPM-Tech-Tips.

In last week’s tip, I provided instructions on how to convert a Microsoft Word document to a PDF. This week, I want to provide you with instructions for another commonly used document in the legal practice, Microsoft Excel.

There are a couple of ways to convert an Excel file to PDF. You will see that your options are similar to that in Microsoft Word.

Option 1: Save As a PDF

  • Click the File
  • Click Save As.
  • Select your file location.
  • In the File Name box, enter a name for the file, if you haven't already.
  • In the Save as type list, click PDF.
  • Click Options to set the page range and what to publish (such as the entire workbook or just active sheets).
  • Click Save.

Option 2: Print to PDF

  • Click the File tab and select Print.
  • In the Printer options, select Print to PDF.
  • Click Print.
  • A pop-up box will appear, select your file location and enter a name for the file, if you haven’t already.
  • In the Save as type list, click PDF.
  • Click Options to set the page range and what to publish (such as the entire workbook or just active sheets).
  • Click Save.

Now you know how to convert both a Microsoft Word document and a Microsoft Excel document to PDF. So, no more printing and scanning. If you prefer using WordPerfect for your word processing software, you can find instructions here that will walk you through converting a WordPerfect document to a PDF. 

Stay tuned, in the coming months we will begin to explore the functions in Adobe, so you can see why creating a “true” PDF is worth it.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Danielle M. Hall  Excel  Microsoft Excel  PDF  Save to PDF  Tech Tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

To Scan or Not to Scan a Document

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2018
By Danielle M. Hall, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator's Office

On multiple occasions I have seen lawyers print a document, walk over to the scanner and scan the document to create a PDF. Sure, this is relatively easy to do; however, when you scan the document in this manner, what you are actually doing is creating an image of that document rather than creating a true digital document.

There are clear downsides to an image-only PDF. For instance, you lose search capabilities, because the image-only PDF contains just the photographed images of pages without the underlying text layer. Additionally, their text usually cannot be modified or marked up for the purposes of editing. The only way to correct these issues is through using an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) application. Unfortunately, if you only have Adobe Reader, you won’t be able to perform this function. You must have Adobe Acrobat or some other tool to OCR text from a scanned document. The other issue with OCR is that, depending on the quality of the image, or the recognizability of the writing, it may not be 100% accurate.

Instead of scanning a document into an image-only PDF, I highly recommend creating “true” or digitally created PDFs by using software such as Microsoft Word or Excel. For instance, if you have created a document in Word, converting it to a true PDF is just as easy as creating an image-only PDF, without even having to walk to the scanner.

Here are the steps for converting a Word document:

  • Click File, then click Save As.
  • In the File Name box, enter a name for the file, if you haven’t already.
  • In the Save as type dropdown list, click PDF.
  • Click Save.

You can also create a PDF in Word by using the print to pdf option, following these steps:

  • Click File, then click Print.
  • Under the Printer option, select Microsoft Print to PDF.
  • Click Print.

Stayed tuned to next week’s Tech Tip for instructions on how to convert other documents, including Excel Files.

Tags:  Microsoft  Microsoft Word  PDF  save to PDF  Tech Tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Microsoft Outlook Spell Check

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, September 4, 2018

By Danielle M. Hall, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator, Office of the Disciplinary Administrator's Office

Microsoft Outlook has a "spell check" feature that can be helpful in preventing those pesky misspelled emails we all have sent when trying to reply quickly to a matter. The great thing about this feature is that it doesn’t just highlight the misspelled words in the email while drafting. In addition to highlighting the misspelled word, it also causes a pop-up window to appear after you have clicked send. This pop-up window allows you one last opportunity to fix the error by offering suggestions to correct the mistake.

For some reason, this feature comes turned off by default in Outlook. As a result, if you want to take advantage of it, you will have to turn it on. To turn on the Spell Check feature:

  • Click the File tab, and then click Options.
  • Click Mail.
  • Click to turn on Always check Spelling before sending.
Screen grab of settings to turn on check spelling always before sending

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  error prevention  Outlook  spell check  Tech Tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

How to Combine Track Changes from Multiple Authors

Posted By Danielle M. Hall, Tuesday, August 21, 2018

By Danielle M. Hall, KBA LPM Committee Member,
Office of the Disciplinary Administrator, Deputy Disciplinary Administrator 

Have you ever sent a Microsoft Word document to multiple colleagues in your office to edit, only to find it a cumbersome process to then go through and make the suggested changes from each person in the original document? Instead of going through each document one by one and making the suggested changes in the original document, try merging the tracked changes into one document to save time.  Here’s how you do it:

  1. Click Review > Compare > Combine.
  2. A pop-up window will appear letting you choose the Original Document and the Revised Document.
  3. Under Original Document, click the down arrow and choose the document you sent for review.
  4. Under Revised Document, choose the document you want to merge.
  5. In the Label unmarked changes with box, type the name of the person who made the suggested changes.
  6. Click the More
  7. Under Show changes in, select New document.
  8. Click OK.

Word will then open a new document that combines the original document and the copy you merged.  The screen will be divided into three sections:

  • the combined document,
  • the original document, and
  • the revised document.

You can hide the original and revised document screens by clicking Compare Show Source Documents > Hide Source Documents, or by clicking the x’s in the upper right-hand corner of each section.

You can merge more revised copies by saving the document that contains the combined changes and merging an additional copy into that document just like you did before. You would repeat this process until all revised copies have been merged.

Tags:  merging documents  Microsoft Word  Tech Tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Ant Text Makes Your Email Work Smarter

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 7, 2018
Updated: Monday, May 7, 2018

Originally published by Sean Doherty | Mar.30.18 | Daily DispatchLegal TechnologyProductivityTech Tips

Most states have rules of professional conduct for lawyers to inform clients of the status of their cases and to promptly reply to their reasonable requests for information. An efficient and timely way to comply with these ethics rules on client communication is via email (encrypted as necessary, of course), which supplies lawyers and clients with a communications record.

Templates to Save Time Responding to Email

To save time and labor in writing emails, develop automated responses for when you are on vacation or otherwise unavailable. You can also create quick replies to send from your smartphone, such as “I’ll read this later and get back to you” and “Let’s set up a meeting to discuss this — please send me your availability over the next few days.” To save even more time, consider composing templates or boilerplates that can easily be inserted into new emails and email messages you respond to. That’s the premise and promise of Ant Text, an add-in for Outlook and Outlook Web Access (OWA) running on Exchange Server 2013 and above, which includes Office 365.

Ant Text makes it easy to write and reuse form emails and meeting invitations using your own designs, logos, text and attached files. After you design the email templates, you can share them with the rest of your firm to ensure consistent communications with clients and potential clients. Ant Text provides the sharing function.

How Ant Text Works

Ant Text can be downloaded and installed manually by administrators, but Office 365 users can enable it without IT support.

  • For the add-in, click the Store icon on the Outlook Ribbon, search for “Ant Text,” and install it.
  • For OWA, click the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window, choose “Manage add-ins,” search for “Ant Text” and install it.

Yes, you can do both; however, the Outlook desktop version is more advanced than the OWA version. Ant Text promises the desktop and online versions will have feature parity later this year. Until then, I focus on Outlook for the desktop.

Once Ant Text is enabled, select an email in your inbox and start up the add-in from the Ribbon. The Ant Text window opens on the right side of Outlook, allowing you to create a reply to the selected email by choosing a template.

Pull down the Settings menu items and click Ant Text. The Ant Text window changes, allowing you to create folders and forms. I first created a folder for new client inquiries. The folder appeared in an “Ant Texts” folder containing a default template. Don’t remove the default template. For folders to work in Ant Text, they must include at least one template. Then I created draft messages as models to reuse and dragged them into the folder structures under the Ant Text folder.

Templates for Retainer Letters, Inquiries, Meeting Requests and Much More

For my practice, I created templates to respond to new client inquiries for each state, outlining my areas of practice in the jurisdictions. I attached a sample retainer letter and New York statements of client rights and responsibilities to my model reply for the Empire State. I also included my law firm logo and v-card in the message and as an attachment.

When the Ant Text window is open, reply to a selected message by clicking on the template, which is inserted into the reply to the sender.

I also replied to messages by setting up meetings, using Ant Text to set up reusable meeting requests. Although I can use Outlook Templates for form emails and default meeting requests, Ant Text templates make it easy to create forms with standard text and vibrant graphics using copy-and-paste functions and reuse that work on demand and within the context of messages and invitations.

Windows Desktop Client Works with Word and Excel Files

Besides the Ant Text Outlook and OWA add-in, the Danish technology provider also supplies a Windows client that installs to the desktop in one click. The client software allowed me to create and edit Microsoft Word files (.doc, .docx, .docm) files to insert text and graphics into new email messages and save them to a file structure made known to Ant Text in a configuration setting. The documents are stored on a local or network drive, which can be used to share the files with other lawyers and staff who also install the client code.

Click on a new message, select the Ant Text tab from the ribbon, and use the pull-down messages to choose files to insert into an email. Ant Text supports MS-Word files, HTML documents, and text files.

Ant Text’s Ant XL feature supports merging fields from Excel spreadsheets into templates in Outlook. Ant XL made it easy for me to compose a newsletter via email and simultaneously send it to a list of clients. Ant XL also supports merged fields and Out-of-Office templates in Outlook and OWA.

You can try Ant Text free for 14 days. The Standard subscription (10 Ant Text templates) is $14.95 per month, which amounts to $1.50 per template per month. The Business license allows the use of unlimited templates and Ant XL for $18.95 per month.

Sean Doherty is a sole practitioner advising organizations on technology controls that comply with industry standards, laws and regulations governing information technology, safeguarding privacy and preserving evidence in litigation. Sean previously worked as an analyst for 451 Research, where he directed the company's business and technology coverage of information governance, compliance, and electronic discovery. He also worked as a technology editor at ALM Media. Follow him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @SeanD0herty.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Legal Technology  Productivity  Tech Tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Best Ways to Upgrade Your Technology in 2018

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Friday, December 1, 2017

Original article by  | Dec.01.17

upgrade tech

What’s on your tech to-do list for next year? Maybe you’ve resolved to get more organized, go paperless once and for all, or move all of your practice systems to the cloud. Could be you’re dreaming of a new website — or a better laptop and new headphones would make you happy. What’s worthy of your technology investment next year?

We asked the practice management technology pros to recommend one good way for lawyers to upgrade their tech in 2018. Here’s wise advice from Heidi Alexander, Sheila Blackford, Joyce Brafford, Jared Correia, Tom Lambotte, Sharon Nelson and John Simek, and Lee Rosen.

(Tip: Consider Nehal Madhani’s advice on using “process mapping” to identify which areas of your legal workflow are ripe for automation — and where to invest in technology.)

HEIDI ALEXANDER: TAKING CARE OF YOU, FIRST

Quality client service is essential for a successful law practice. Indeed, elevating the needs of your clients will lead to more consistent collections, return clients and referrals. However, while there is no doubt that focusing on client service has its time and place, the only way you can provide real value and efficacy to clients is by putting yourself first.

Something accurate underlies that annoying recitation to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. The reality is that practice is stressful and if you ignore your own needs, you will burn out. If you are so busy that you can’t stop to take a breath, it’s time to take a step back from your practice and focus on you.

What does this have to do with upgrading your legal tech? Well, legal tech solutions are no longer a scarcity; you can find a product to suit any one of your practice needs. Most importantly, though, implementing a legal tech solution requires thoughtful research, vetting, planning, training and more — not to mention budgetary considerations. If you don’t have the mental bandwidth or proper mindset to adequately implement legal tech, it will lead to frustration, increased costs and ultimately failure.

So, before you dive headlong into system upgrades, work on first taking care of you. Schedule time for yourself every day, try exercising regularly, and learn about mindfulness. Test out mediation using an app such as Headspace or Calm, or just take a moment to breathe. (Try setting a timer or use Apple Watch’s Breathe app.) 

If you can make these activities a habit, you’ll reduce stress and approach your practice with a clear head, thus enabling you to effectively implement whatever tech your practice needs in 2018.


Heidi S. Alexander (@heidialexander) is Deputy Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, where she also leads the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program (LOMAP). She is the author of “Evernote as a Law Practice Tool” and serves on the ABA TECHSHOW Planning Board. In 2017, Heidi was appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s Standing Advisory Committee on Professionalism. 

SHARON NELSON AND JOHN SIMEK: CONSIDER THE CLIENT PORTAL

If you don’t already have one, consider implementing a client portal. Client portals will help you solve all sorts of problems. Clients can access documents pertaining to their matters. They’ll know the status of their matter whenever they want to check on it. Clients will be able to “follow the money” and know how much the matter is costing, how much may be left in the retainer and even pay their invoice online if needed. Client communications is much improved as well. Client portals can allow document collaboration and even facilitate secure, encrypted communications.

The good news is that many case management platforms provide client portals as part of the offering. Having a client portal integrate with your practice management is an excellent way to improve the client experience (clients adore client portals) and make your practice much more efficient, profitable and attractive to prospective clients.

Sharon D. Nelson (@SharonNelsonEsq) and John W. Simek (@SenseiEnt) are the President and Vice President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a digital forensics, legal technology and information security firm based in Fairfax, Va. They have written several books, including “The Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guides” and “Encryption Made Simple for Lawyers.” Sharon blogs at Ride the Lightning and together they co-host of the Digital Detectives podcast.

JARED CORREIA: INTELLIGENT CLIENT INTAKE

It’s finally happening. The robot apocalypse is upon us — but, the robots are not what you thought they were. These are not walking, talking robots. These are intelligent machines, or software — and they’re not something you need to fear. In fact, if you embrace them, you’ll be another step ahead of your competitors. One place where law firms need to clean up their act is in terms of client intake. Lawyers generally waste time and money and lose business by using antiquated intake systems (read: the office-based telephone). But new options are coming down the pipe, including Gideon, an intelligent messaging system and data analytics tool built specifically for law firms.

Jared Correia (@JaredCorreia) is CEO of Red Cave Law Firm Consulting, which offers subscription-based law firm business management consulting and technology services for solo and small law firms. A former practicing attorney, Jared is a popular presenter and regular contributor to legal publications (including his “Managing” column for Attorney at Work). 

JOYCE BRAFFORD: EMBRACE SLACK

As an alternative channel for communication, Slack helps you be more responsive to conversations that really matter. It’s like a high-priority system for communication threads, tasks and calendars. Slack connects with many of the apps lawyers are already using, including Dropbox, Google Calendar, Box and Wunderlist. As a single platform to better communicate in the office and with clients, it’s a no-brainer. 

Joyce Brafford (@Joyce_Brafford) is Distance Learning Manager for CLE at the North Carolina Bar Association.

LEE ROSEN: FOCUS ON BEST-OF-BREED APPS AND BRING THEM TOGETHER

Stop trying to find the magic bullet. There isn’t a single app that will properly manage your client information, track your time and billing, create your documents, control your calendar, and generate comprehensive management reports.

You’re asking for something that doesn’t exist and you wouldn’t really want it if it did. Software developers can be good at a bunch of things or great at one thing. Great always beats good, and you’re never going to be satisfied with the compromised software made by vendors trying to be all things to all lawyers.

Pick the best software for solving each of your specific problems. Then tie your best-of-breed applications together so that they share information. You won’t have to enter the same data twice, plus you’ll get applications built by specialists who completely understand your issues.

Pick the best document assembly system, integrate it with the best document management system. Tie both of those apps in with your client relationship management system and connect that to your time and billing product. Bring all that data together with your task management system and connect it to your phone system and your accounting application.

Products like ZapierAutomate.io and IFTTT are the glue connecting your apps to one another. Start small and, over time, go big.

You’ll end up with the best software, minimal data entry, and solutions that keep you satisfied rather than always wishing for more.

Lee Rosen (@LeeRosen) grew his North Carolina family law practice and sold it. He travels full time while helping lawyers grow their practices. His blog at Rosen Institute is an ABA Blawg 100 Hall of Fame honoree. He is a recipient of the ABA James Keane Award for Excellence in eLawyering.

SHEILA BLACKFORD: LEVERAGE TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE PRODUCTION TIME

Lawyers who are tech-savvy are taking this year-end time to evaluate their business processes to identify ways to leverage their production time. Clients are choosing efficient law firms that deliver high value at the most reasonable cost. This means upgrading to technology tools that can reduce production time, such as document automation and document assembly software Pathagorus, along with speech recognition software like Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Tools like this will help get the work done more efficiently.

Sheila M. Blackford (@SheilaBlackford) is an attorney and Practice Management Advisor for the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund. She is the author of the ABA book “Trust Accounting in One Hour For Lawyers,” co-author of “Paperless in One Hour for Lawyers,” and a past Editor-in-Chief of the ABA’s Law Practice magazine. She writes the Just Oregon Lawyers Blog

TOM LAMBOTTE: SAFEGUARD YOUR DIGITAL CREDENTIALS

In 2018, something you need to do is find out if your digital credentials are for sale on the Dark Web. Digital credentials such as usernames and passwords connect you and your team to your critical business applications: case management software, banking, online file storage and much more. Unfortunately, criminals know this — and that’s why digital credentials are among the most valuable assets found on the Dark Web. Far too often, law firms that have had their credentials compromised and sold on the Dark Web don’t know it until they have been informed by law enforcement.

Dark Web ID, from ID Agent, will detect your compromised credentials in real-time on the Dark Web. It vigilantly searches the most secretive corners of the internet to find compromised credentials associated with your law firm and notifies you immediately when these critical assets are compromised before they are used for identity theft, data breaches or other crimes. Ask your IT provider if it offers this service.

Tom Lambotte (@LegalMacIT) is CEO of GlobalMacIT, a company specializing in providing IT support to Mac-based law firms. Tom is the author of “Hassle Free Mac IT Support for Law Firms” and “Legal Boost: Big Profits Through an IT Transformation.” 

Tags:  Legal Technology  Productivity  Tech Tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Tech Tip: Scan Your Email Messages with Antivirus Software

Posted By Sara E. Rust-Martin, Monday, October 2, 2017

Tech Tip: Scan Your Email Messages With Antivirus Software

Posted:02 Oct 2017 05:33 AM PDT

Viruses often infect your computer via instant messages and email attachments, especially when the attachment is an executable file. Enable your antivirus software’s auto-protect feature to automatically scan email attachments for viruses when the messages are downloaded. Hackers routinely create new viruses, so it’s essential to keep the signature files for your antivirus software updated. Ensure your antivirus software also uses heuristic algorithms that allow the software to detect viruses based on their behavior, rather than a specific signature.

For more information on how to set your privacy settings see:

Thank you to the Florida PRI for the information contained in the Security Awareness Tip posted in today's Tech Tip.

Tags:  Antivirus software  Tech Tip 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)