Reach, Engagement & Shareability: Metrics That Matter For Law Firm Social Media & Attracting New Clients

The Internet age. Upside, you get to work from home when you don’t feel like going to the office. Downside, you have to work at home when there’s a blizzard.

Alleviate your workload through social media, if not through a snow day (due to Juno’s underwhelming presence).

Social media has empowered businesses and consumers alike. Individuals have never held so much influence in changing the world with just one click of a button. At the same time, businesses are empowered to advertise their products and services to a market much larger than before.

At first, law firms were a bit slow to take advantage of digital days. Not anymore. Now it’s necessary to task young associates with managing your Facebook page, Twitter account, and—hopefully—blog posts, or risk your bottom line by falling behind.

Here’s how your firm gets noticed:

1. Publish your posts on media aggregators.

Upside: Websites like Reddit, Shoutwire, and Digg allow individuals to submit links to websites, blog posts, or any Internet-based page. The community of readers then votes up (or down) the link based on a review of its content. Create flashy titles and you’ll likely see in a flash the rise of your readership.

Downside: Comments by readers can be harsh. The anonymity of the Internet allows people to wriste down criticisms (NSFW) that may end up permanently cached on the World Wide Web.

2. Add website sharing buttons.

Upside: Your firm’s website should have links to all of your social media accounts, as well as ways to share your posts. Programs like “Click to Tweet” make this easy.

Downside: Your firm may need a small amount of Internet savvy to create buttons on your website and restore broken links.

3. Create interesting content.

Upside: Remember to write thoughtful arguments accompanied with eye-catching photos. There’s so much competition already when it comes to online content, your firm’s additions must stand out.

Downside: Yes, this requires a little more time and thought to write captivating posts and tweets. Consumers would rather see the “Yeti Seen Prowling the Streets Near Boston” than your tips about hiring Of Counsel at your company.

4. Do your research.

Upside: If you know what time your readers are logging on then you’ll know the best time to publish your posts. Maybe you’re getting a lot of hits first thing in the morning. People are remiss to start work at 8am and decide to read legal news or browse the web. With this knowledge, you can now set your social media to publish at certain times to target your audience.

Downside: Due diligence on your casework is no longer enough. Time to do due diligence on your business development, too.

5. Crossover multiple social media platforms.

Upside: Happy you finally mastered the art of blogging for your firm? Time to summarize that blog post on your LinkedIn and Facebook page and compile a 140-character hook for your Twitter account. Don’t be afraid to repeat the same ideas on different mediums.

Downside: Now you’ll have to memorize more usernames and passwords. More social media means more potential backlash.

In the end, it’s possible to get your firm’s name and reputation out there. In fact, the Social Law Firm Index, developed by the Above The Law Blog has a formula that measures social-media metrics. It looks at:

Reach. Represents the total number of unique people who had an opportunity to see the firm’s content. Reach would include number of followers on Twitter and/or LinkedIn, company page likes on Facebook, and followers or subscribers on other social media channels (for example: YouTube channel subscribers or Slideshare followers).

Engagement. Measures the actual interaction with the firm’s content via social media. This would include comments or likes (for status updates) on Facebook, RTs or mentions on Twitter, and likes on LinkedIn.

Owned Media. An assessment of the firm’s own site (including microsites) based on, among other things, the proportion of non-promotional content, frequency of updates, and shareability of content.

So, what conclusions were drawn from this study?

First, size matters. If you’re a small law firm, it’s likely that your reach will never meet that of a Top-20 firm. See, for example, the Top 10 ranking in this Social Law Firm Index here.

But, there’s still hope for small firms. There was a much lower correlation between firm size and engagement. That means small firms can still have high interaction by potential clients in terms of likes (for status updates) on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as retweets on Twitter.

It’s quality—not quantity—that matters.

The next finding is that from 2013 to 2014, the largest U.S. firms improved both the reach and audience engagement levels by more than 60 percent, on average. That means firms are getting more savvy about their social media and—more importantly—people are listening.

For law firms looking for reasons why they should spend time and money on social media, this finding is especially pertinent. Consumers of legal services are reaching out via social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, blog posts, and Twitter are helping reach new clients at an increasing rate.

Finally, the last important finding worth mentioning is that many firms that were lagging behind in 2013 moved to catch up with market leaders. And this was achieved at rates much more significant than the improvement among already active firms.

What does this mean for you? There’s still time to push social media at your law firm.

Your firm won’t regret that embarrassing Tweet sent out to its thousands of followers; it will only regret not tweeting at all.

How can you maximize the potential of social media while ensuring the appropriate use of intellectual property and customer information? What can counsel do to proactively protect brands from infringement by social networking website users?

As more and more businesses incorporate social media into the promotion of their products and services, they’re also finding that unauthorized use of their trademarks, service marks and trade names are emerging through these same channels.

In fact, a global infringement that once took weeks, months or years to occur, can now take shape as fast as someone can hit “enter” on their keyboard. And, once the infringement is out there in cyberspace, there’s no way of knowing if the offending material is ever truly deleted.

Take the Center for Competitive Management’s audio course, “Copyright and Trademark Enforcement in Social Media: Policing and Protecting Against Brand Infringement,” to learn more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Luddite Lawyers: What Vital Skills Your Firm Can Learn From Its Younger Associates

Lawyers aren’t luddites. At least, the upcoming generation of lawyers won’t be.

Thanks to technology-savvy law school professors like Bonnie Kipp, law school graduates will forevermore understand the importance of technology in the courtroom and in cases.

Nicole Black for Above The Law (ATL) blog describes, “Today’s Tech: How An Adjunct Professor Teaches Law Students Trial Technology.” In this article, Black introduces Bonnie Kipp, an adjunct professor at Michigan State University and judicial assistant for Judge McKeague in the United States Court of Appeals. Professor Kipp teaches “Technology Enhanced Trial Advocacy” and similar courses since 2005 after becoming a certified trainer on electronic evidence presentation software.

“I began teaching law students how to use trial technology after watching attorneys struggle with the technology. Our courtroom was one of the first to be wired for technology presentation and when the judge began to require lawyers to use it, I realized how difficult it was for many of them. I wanted to simplify the learning curve, so I started teaching law students how to use these tools,” said Professor Kipp to ATL.

A struggle to which your firm—particularly among its more “experienced” lawyers—can certainly relate.

“I teach students how to use Trial Director which is electronic evidence presentation software operated from a laptop, and which also includes a free corresponding iPad app. Recently I began to teach the students how to use other iPad apps, some of which are created specifically for trial presentation, while others have more general applications. Apps taught include Keynote, Timeline 3D, TrialPad, JuryTracker, iJuror, Dragon Dictation, Evernote, and WestlawNext. I also teach TD Notebook, which is a cloud-based app for case preparation which permits lawyers to work in a collaborative environment to prepare case for trial.”

Don’t recognize any of those app names? Well, you should. Using the iPad for trial presentations is not new. And, neither is software that helps attorneys with case preparation.

Steep learning curve? Maybe not. While experienced attorneys at your may advise younger associates about trial practice, younger associates—fresh out of courses like Kipp’s—have a value-add in their own right. They can help explain the uses for each of the above apps.

Don’t be too proud to accept help from your more technically proficient pair. Mentoring is a two-way street. So, ask a first-year associate how they use some of these digital tools for case management. In turn, you’ll have plenty to impart from your end.

“[Technical] skills absolutely give students an edge over students without this experience. For example, the resumes of many recent law graduates often look alike. But a student who’s been in a trial advocacy program, who has had hands on learning with trial practice, and has learned electronic evidence presentation will definitely stand out,” explains Professor Kipp to ATL.

“In fact, we’ve had students tell us they’ve taken their laptop with them to job interviews to showcase their electronic evidence presentation skills and they’ve felt that it’s helped them get jobs.”

If your firm is hiring, transform the interview into a mock trial presentation. Don’t simply ask a graduate law student about their expertise, let them demonstrate it to you. This same associate may also be able to lead the charge when it comes to in-house training for your other law firm professionals.

The best part about modern technology is the options it provides. There is likely an app best suited to the specific practices and culture of your firm. If not, there are ample app programmers willing to create one for your firm.

Technology can be tailored to your needs, so you just need to lay out an implementation plan. Consult experts if you don’t know where to begin. Make sure there is at least one lawyer-liaison who speaks regularly with your IT Department. In fact, consider assigning one of the younger associates to this position.

Younger associates are anxious for leadership roles. Technology is an arena where young lawyers can thrive, boost your firm’s bottom line, and help improve overall productivity.

Even at an age where they may not be bringing in new business to the firm, younger associates can feel a sense of loyalty and attachment to their firm by taking on a greater role of responsibility.

In the end, technology is not a miracle solution to all law firm inefficiency.

“Certainly whenever you’re working with technology, nothing is set in stone and things don’t always go as planned. But the possibility that technology can fail doesn’t outweigh the benefit of using it. The key is to practice, practice, practice. That way it becomes second nature and doesn’t add to the stress of an already stressful trial,” explains Professor Kipp to ATL.

“And always have a plan B in case technology issues arise. You need a hard copy of exhibits to send back to the jury anyway so if the worst-case scenario happens and the technology goes down you have the hard copies available. So, no matter what, it’s always important to have a plan B.”

The upside to integrating technology in your firm is that your staff—currently proficient in paper—already has a plan B in place.

Don’t know where you firm stands in terms of technical skills? Take C4CM’s audio course, “Suffolk/Flaherty Technology Audit: Is Your Firm Ready?” to help your firm assess individual lawyers skills and training needs at your firm.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

How “Perfect” Is Toyota’s New Hydrogen Fuel-cell Car? Why Law Firms Should Pay Attention

The perfect car. An Aston Martin Vanquish? Bentley Continental GTC? How about the Rolls-Royce Wraith?

Nope. Not even close—at least, that’s what theoretical physicist and best-selling author Dr. Michio Kaku thinks.

According to Kaku, Toyota has just developed the perfect car, but it’s not quite what you’d expect. It won’t break the bank or bring home any super models. However, it might just save the world.

At the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday, Toyota talked about its new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle that combines oxygen and hydrogen to create electricity, called the Toyota Mirai.

Priced at a mere $57,000 and available commercially later this year in California, the Mirai is unique in that it emits water, not exhaust or fumes, and still sports impressive power. The car runs for roughly 300 miles and has the ability to blow your mind and your hair back by going from 0-to-60 MPH in nine seconds.

Unlike hybrids or cars with electric batteries, hydrogen tanks can be refilled in three-to-five minutes. About the same time it takes to comb your wind-blown hair in the rear view mirror.

According to GeekWire, Kaku believes four requirements create the “perfect car.” Not only do all four characteristics describe the Mirai, but each of these attributes also describes perfect law firm management:

1. Mass Market

The perfect car uses a fuel source based on an element that’s the most plentiful in the universe: hydrogen.

“Contrast that to oil,” Kaku said, writes GeekWire. “Nations will kill to secure supplies of oil.”

Like transportation, law firms also provide life-altering services to society. Law firms today must be more mass market—that is to say, offer a variety of expertise with flexible service options.

In fact, the average client has 4 major practice needs and 5 minor, but measurable, needs. Yet, on average a primary provider delivers only 1.8 practices to a single client—meaning most law firms deliver one, and a handful service 2 practice areas.

So, what are law firms to do when so many cross-selling initiatives fail, or fall on deaf ears? Two words…origination credit.

Stop saying, “There are no opportunities with this client outside of my practice area,” or “We don’t handle that type of law.”

More than hydrogen, some might argue that lawyers are the most plentiful profession on earth. Which is why your firm must position themselves appropriately in this highly competitive marketplace. That means cross-selling services and adding practice areas.

Take C4CM’s audio course, “Law Firm Origination and Cross-Selling Credits: A Guide to Your Firm’s Future Success, looks at the key to successful cross-selling initiatives—how to turn selling into a team sport, and manage the origination that ensues,” to learn more about this innovative business practice.

2. Streamlined Operations

The perfect car has as few moving parts as possible.

“In a hydrogen fuel cell car, the engine has no moving parts, whatsoever,” Kaku said, according to GeekWire.

The same can be said for the perfect law firm. A stiff hierarchical system might be slowing you down. Assign casework to the most qualified team of lawyers, but don’t overstaff cases just to overbill clients.

The recent growth in in-house counsel means your firm must stand out and meet market demand—that demand calls for the end of traditional hierarchical billing models and more personalized attention at the partner-level—stop delegating work to inexperienced associates, knowing that top ranks will only give a brisk review.

The best way to ensure streamlined operations is implementing training programs for support staff and associates. You’ll have fewer moving parts and higher-quality delivery of services after strict and structured training schemes.

Because, in the end, sometimes the most effective teams are the smallest ones.

Need help? Take C4CM’s audio course, “Legal Support Staff: Revamp & Reassign Support Services for Max Profitability & Productivity.”

3. Idealist

The perfect car emits nothing but water.

“The word ‘smog’ is going to disappear from the dictionary because we are going to be entering a new age,” Kaku said, writes GeekWire.

Young associates are idealistic. This can be a positive quality. It’s important to mentor younger associates so they understand the practical implications of practicing law.

At the same time, embrace this idealism. Take some “unwinnable” cases because they take the “right” position. This will boost morale and serve as a reminder to the higher purpose of the legal profession.

Get some ideas for training programs with C4CM’s audio course, “Integrating Legal Mentoring With Law Practice Management.

4. Affordable

Finally, the perfect car is one that is friendly to the consumer, writes GeekWire.

“Usually hydrogen cars are priced at hundreds of thousands of dollars, way beyond the pocketbook of the average person,” Kaku said. “But this car, we’re talking about the neighborhood of $50,000. As mass production, competition, and economies of scale begin to kick in—and as governments begin to subsidize the creation of refueling stations — you’re going to see that cost drop even further.”

The perfect law firm also provides affordable prices. Affordable doesn’t mean redrawing the bottom line at your firm from black to red. It means flexibility.

The rise of alternative fee arrangements is not necessarily a “win” just for the consumer. It can be a “win” for your firm, as well. With proper structuring, you can increase your client base, client loyalty, and caseload while providing accessible prices.

Need help? Take C4CM’s audio course, “Structuring Sustainable and Profitable Alternative Fee Arrangements (AFAs).”

With these four requirements, Kaku is satisfied. But for firms, there’s one more bonus characteristic.

Toyota also announced, reports GeekWire, that it would make all of its 5,680 patents related to fuel cell technology royalty-free to anyone in an effort to drive more innovation. This means fuel cell technology can now be available to anybody who wants to build on it.

Every firm should practice a bit of probono work.

The combination of innovation and affordable services? Now that’s a model for cars (and firms) worth driving forward.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

BigData: Friend or Foe? Why Law Firms Should Join the Discussion on Data Protection & Digital Privacy

BigLaw used to instill fear and awe in members of the legal profession. Today, the same can be said for Big Data.

In an Internet age, people should be both impressed and frightened of big data power.

In fact, so many modern business models surround the collection and distribution of data as the sole source of their importance. It’s a way to outsmart your rivals and more closely target your customers.

Data is being collected everywhere you look, from the Internet provider you use to log onto the World Wide Web to the mobile app that located the nearest Starbucks, you are being monitored personally and professionally.

In fact, the face behind the monitor is getting many companies, like Uber, in trouble. How far should private firms be allowed to go in violating the privacy of their customers?

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack—as well as other concerns over Internet control—the justice and interior ministers of 12 European countries released a joint statement calling for government intervention over digital communications, reports TechCrunch.

The statement reiterates concern at, “the increasingly frequent use of the Internet to fuel hatred and violence and signal our determination to ensure that the Internet is not abused to this end, while safeguarding that it remains, in scrupulous observance of fundamental freedoms, a forum for free expression, in full respect of the law.”
“With this in mind, the partnership of the major Internet providers is essential to create the conditions of a swift reporting of material that aims to incite hatred and terror and the condition of its removing, where appropriate/possible.”At first, it’s easy to rally around such an idea. Shouldn’t we all feel more protected against the threats of terror, especially those made more accessible via lax Internet security?

However, upon further reflection, this joint statement should make us wary.

The world is still recovering from the brazen attack on French freedom of speech and press. Charlie Hebdo represents exactly that, and the satirical magazine was targeted specifically by Islamic extremists to send the message that more liberal societies should afraid of what they say and to whom.

Isn’t this joint statement by governments bordering on the same oppression? That we are not at liberty to express ourselves, our opinions, online?

In the world of vigilantes, hackers have taken this matter in their own hands. A group who use the Twitter handle @OpCharlieHebdo claimed responsibility for shutting down a known French jihadist site. Now the site redirects to Duck Duck Go, a search engine.

The group Anonymous also listed the names of dozens of Twitter account handles that the hackers group claim belong to jihadists. They posted them on Pastebin, a website that lets people post information anonymously online, reports CNN Money.

These acts were in conjunction with a Friday announcement by members of Anonymous of their operation #OpCharlieHebdo, which is a declaration of digital war on Islamic extremists.

Legal professionals in the United States are on the verge of addressing the most important issue of this generation: Where do we draw legal lines for freedom of speech, press, and (digital) assembly in the Internet age?

One step law firm professionals can take immediately is to embrace the good that comes from big data. Big data doesn’t have to be used for piracy or spying. On the contrary, big data can be used to make your employees happier, to leave your clients more satisfied, and to win your hail-Mary cases.

Collecting profitability data at your firm can help your administrators with better budgeting, like targeting profit margins for timekeepers or allocating resources where they’re needed most.

This same data can help you craft and manage alternative fee arrangements that assess risk versus reward, and help your firm in retaining cash-strapped clients looking for fee flexibility.

Finally, back-end data collected from your firm can help facilitate future hiring and salary decisions.

Your firm is already collecting data through its current systems, whether you know it or not. So, it’s time your harnessed this power for good, not evil.

Create a better work environment for your employees and win more cases for your clients. Increase your firm’s bottom line and payout for partners. All this and more is possible with the proper technical guidance.

If your IT department needs a refresher, consider the Center for Competitive Management’s webinar “Law Firm Profitability: Using Profitability Data to Improve Processes, Make Better Business Decisions, and Increase Net Income Per Partner,” which is live Thursday, January 15, 2015, from 2:00PM to 3:15PM EST.

Big data is a big discussion. Don’t be afraid to be a part of it.

-WB

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fight or Flight? One Small Bird’s Big Lesson On Being A Gracious Loser

In a rare moment of fight and flight, more than 30,000 spectators burst into applause when a lone seagull—knocked out by a stray Cricket ball—regained consciousness from a seemingly early demise.

On Wednesday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Melbourne Stars and Perth Scorchers didn’t realize there’d be a third player in the game. Nevertheless, there he was, unexpected competition: a seagull—sunning itself on the field—suddenly got caught in crossfires of batsman Adam Voges’ ball.

But, in an unlikely turn of events, as Melbourne fielder Rob Quiney lifted its lifeless-looking body off the pitch, the bird regained consciousness and ruffled its feathers with a determination to live and (what we can only assume to be) an overpowering love of the game.

Released in Yarra Park, the bird was permanently ejected, but not without first leaving a lasting impression. The seagull saved the home team two runs and cinched their three-wicket victory, reports CNN in “Down but not out: Relief as seagull recovers after being bowled over during TV cricket match.”

In the end, we’ll never know if the visiting Scorchers would have recovered had the bird not.

Crippled by a sports injury, bad day in the financial market, a losing court case, or just plain bad luck, it can be hard to recover after a loss. Law firm professionals, like any other, are victim to bad days.

Accidentally missed a deadline? Deliberately lost out after a poor strategic decision?

Managers are particularly on the hook for team mishaps. More important than the outcome, however, is how you handle the outlook afterward.

1. Analyze the events

Before anything, it’s important to gather information about the loss and investigate how it happened. Collect data. Generate an analysis.

Emotionally, you might have to “let it go,” but as a manager, it’s important to learn from mistakes. This requires an objective analysis of the facts.

2. Objectively separate the good from the bad (Don’t place blame)

Next, distill from the analysis the good outcomes. There are always positives to every negative. Perhaps you lost a court case or motion argued in court. But, at the same time, did you learn something about opposing counsel to be used in your legal arsenal the next time? Write it down, file it away.

What parts of the strategy worked, and why? Recognize what works and what doesn’t so that your firm doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

At the same time, don’t place blame. No win or loss is generated by a single player or event. It’s important in your role as manager to identify the collective good (and bad) as a learning exercise. The blame game is never productive in the long-term and only creates dissent among your ranks and resentment among your employees.

3. Create a recovery plan

So you missed a deadline. Would it have helped to log the event on an online calendar or smartphone? Implement a strategy for incorporating online legal tools in the workplace.

A recovery plan can be anything from providing additional training for employees on a particular skill or software that was previously lacking, to boosting morale.

A key loss can be as devastating on the future motivation of your employees as the bottom line of your firm.

So, as a manager, meet with each of your team members individually to discuss their contribution. Include positives and negatives. Especially in the case of unexpected loss, be sure to show appreciation for everybody’s efforts.

So the Scorchers lost the game and two runs to an ill-fated fowl. At least there was no loss of life: something animal activists—if not sports fans—can be relieved to know.

Lesson learned? Sometimes the only lesson learned is that your team did the best they could given a situation. The fight by Perth’s Scorchers was just no match for the flight of one small seagull.

Need to boost morale? Take C4CM’s audio course, “Toxic Behavior at Work: Strategies to Reduce Dysfunction, Defuse Venom, and Improve Workplace Morale.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Tragedy In Paris Today & How To Create A Safe Office Environment For Your Employees & Law Firm Clients

A terrible tragedy occurred today in Paris.

French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, went under fire as at least two, likely three hooded gunmen assailed the office, shot and killed a reported 12 people, including the magazine’s top editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier, as well as two French policemen, according to France 24, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

“We need to find the actors of this terrorist act,” French President Francois Hollande said in the aftermath.

“They must be arrested and brought before judges and condemned as quickly as possible. France is shocked today.”

Sadly, this is not the first time the controversial magazine has been victim to violence.

The magazine frequently depicts the Muslim Prophet Mohammed in satirical cartoons, much to the condemnation of Islamic religious representatives. In November 2011, the magazine Charlie Hebdo’s office caught fire the same day it was supposed to release a cover poking fun at Islamic law.

The magazine’s editor, Charbonnier, among the deceased, has been outspoken about his belief in the freedom of the press in France, once saying to the French newspaper Le Monde:

“It may sound pompous, but I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.”

Now trending on Twitter and other social media accounts are digital cries of solidarity, “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie.”

U.S. President Obama has also joined the many voices condemning today’s attack. He vowed to “help bring these terrorists to justice” and support “America’s oldest ally.” In the meantime, the New York Police Department is adding additional police offers to sensitive sites in the city, including the French Consulate, reports CNN.

Attorneys can relate to the dangers that sometimes come with upholding civil liberties. In many cases, lawyers are under both physical and verbal threat for their actions or words in the courtroom.

The tragedy in Paris should remind us all—beyond just journalists and law firm professionals—of the importance of security measures in and outside the office.

How is your firm protecting its employees from disgruntled claimants or former employees? Do you apply the same security measures to your computer access, as well as paper and digital data? Are clients’ personal information safe? What happens if your office experiences fire or water damage?

For physical security of your data center, Xerox Litigation Services suggests your firm employ extensive processes, including 24/365 staffing and monitoring with professional security guards. They also recommend camera systems to monitor all entrance and exit points and zoned keycard access with segregated security levels. If you work on particularly contentious litigation or corporate cases, consider placing a security guard at your office entrance at all times.

Your firm should also create a disaster recovery plan and develop business continuity capabilities. Faced with tragedy or natural disaster, for example, your firm still has an obligation to its clients to remain available and current, explains Xerox. Can your partners work remotely? Who is the voice of the firm or PR representative that will communicate to clients difficult-to-hear news?

Finally, beyond the physical space into virtual reality, law firm data security has been the subject of numerous articles, particularly after reports of breeches from foreign countries and hackers from Russia and China, as well as high-profile tech breeches of companies like Target.

“Clients are putting more restrictions on law firms about things to do to protect themselves,” said Mary E. Galligan, an executive in the cyber-risk services division of Deloitte & Touche and the former special agent in charge of cyber and special operations for the New York office of the F.B.I., to The New York Times.

“It is being driven by victims of hackers, and they don’t want to be victims again. It’s just good business sense.”

“A lot of firms have been hacked, and like most entities that are hacked, they don’t know that for some period of time,” Vincent I. Polley, a lawyer and co-author of recent book for the American Bar Association on cybersecurity, also said to The New York Times.

“Sometimes, it may not be discovered for a minute or months and even years.”

The bloodshed in Paris is a solemn reminder that simple criticism can quickly and unexpectedly escalate into carnage. So, don’t take any type of security for granted. Consult with experts today about your options for security measures and policies.

For cyber-security advice, consult C4CM’s webinar “Mitigating Cyber Risk: Strategies for Legal Counsel to Reduce Exposure and Avoid a Data Breach Devastation,” available on CD.

This comprehensive webinar will help you to mitigate risk by fine tuning or putting into place key procedures and policies for cyber protection. You will also learn what to do once a data breach is revealed.

  • Data breach response tactics and notification obligations
  • Practical and essential first steps to take if a breach occurs
  • What to include in your Incident Response Plan
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure obligations related to cyber risks and data breaches
  • How cyber-insurance coverage acts a risk mitigation tool, and what to look for in your policy
  • Key individuals that your organization should be developing relationships with and why
  • Practical protocols for reviewing and including cyber clauses in vendor and client contracts
  • Much more…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Gamers Rejoice! Computer Games Make People Smarter, Says Study

Evolution-of-Gamers-lRarely do you hear parents encouraging their children to play computer games. Yet, neuroscientists are prescribing just that to promote brain development and cognitive skills.

Two recent studies have shown that there are real life-size benefits to playing in virtual reality.

A study published in April 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that less than six hours of brain games played over the course of ten weeks allowed frequently-absent first-graders—those who attend school irregularly due to family problems or income-related issues—to catch up with their regularly-attending peers in math and language grades, reports Dan Hurley in The Atlantic.

Another study, presented at the April 2014 Cognitive Neuroscience Society meeting in Boston, aggregated data from 13 previous studies of computerized brain-training in young adults to ultimately conclude that training enhances what’s called “fluid intelligence,” or the fundamental human ability to detect patterns, reason, and learn.

Ergo, playing games makes people smarter.

Other scientists are calling for study replication and further experimentation. But, it’s not the first time that brainteasers and logic games have been linked to physical differences in the brain.

For example, a recent study from the University of California, Berkeley, published in the online journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, showed that applying to law school doesn’t just test your intelligence, it increases it.

How? Studying for the LSAT reinforces circuits in the brain and can bridge the gap between the right and left hemispheres, which, according to researchers, can improve an individual’s reasoning ability and possibly IQ score, reported Sam Favate for the Wall Street Journal.

Among those adults who studied, the brain scans showed an increase in connectivity between the frontal lobes of the brain, as well as between the frontal and parietal lobes, which are the areas of the brain associated with reasoning and thinking, summarizes Favate in the Wall Street Journal.

The LSAT is a unique exam made up of logic games. Essentially, the study is a continuation of the findings in children and young adults showing that analytical skills can be honed with repetition and practice.

The idea that critical thinking and eye for detail are actually skills to be cultivated, not born to an individual or certain personalities.

“What we were interested in is whether and how the brain changes as a result of LSAT preparation—which we think is, fundamentally, reasoning training,” said lead researcher Allyson Mackey, a graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute.

“We wanted to show that the ability to reason is malleable in adults.”

The application for these findings is vast. Instead of requiring CLEs, should the American Bar Association require lawyers to complete a certain number of logic games or problem sets over the course of their career?

Should attorneys take the new LSAT exam each year, just to keep up their cognitive skills?

At your law firm, think about implementing informal “game nights” with prizes and rankings to incentivize participation. Not only will your employees have the opportunity to bond with one another during these social events, they will also hone their cognitive skills and increase brain development.

Find out who at the firm is involved in computer games and encourage them to get more law firm employees involved.

Playing games at your firm will boost interoffice morale, create a positive-competitive corporate culture, and strengthen the most important skill set required of its legal team—analytical thinking.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized