Tag Archives: smartphone

Microsoft Outlook: Time Saving Tips & Tricks To Get You Home For The Holidays

These days there is an app for everything: Uber for taxis, Tinder for dating, Washio for laundry, and WhatsApp for texting. BigLaw has caught on to this trend and delivered its own range of legal services at your fingertips.

  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has a global sourcing app that helps users calculate costs in outsourcing contracts.
  • Baker & McKenzie has an app summarizing legal and tax issues for public companies granting employee stock options overseas.
  • O’Melveny & Myers provides an introduction to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in its app. The app also reports on related enforcement actions and settlements.

Among those attorneys attune to the app age, 60.8 percent are accessing them on an iPhone (66.8% of the 91% of attorneys who reported using a smartphone), according to the 2014 ABA Legal Technology Resource Center Survey.

In addition to smartphones, lawyers are tapping away at tablets. From 2011 to 2013, the number of attorneys using a tablet increased every year. In 2014, roughly 84 percent of attorneys who use a tablet reported that they use an iPad, according to the 2014 ABA survey.

If Apple is dominating the app and portable device market for lawyers, MS Office still reigns in, well, the office.

The 2014 ABA Technology Survey Report suggests that Microsoft software programs are among the most used office productivity solutions within law firms. Law firms use Outlook for email, Word for documentation, and Excel for timelines and timesheet management.

Work with multiple time zones?

You can easily add a second time zone to your Outlook calendar. Although it varies by version of Outlook, go to File >Options /Microsoft Bubble > Options OR Tools > Options. On the Calendar tab, under Time Zones, select the Show a second time zone check box. In the Label box, type a name for the additional time zone. In the Time zone list, click the time zone that you want to add (read more here.)

Need to add a new person to your Outlook contacts?

Create a new contact in your Contacts folder from an e-mail message you have received by right-clicking directly on the senders name or e-mail. On the shortcut menu, click Add to Outlook Contacts.

Need to schedule an email to send later? No problem. In the email message that you wish to delay, find and click the Options button. Under Delivery options, select the Do not deliver before check box. Next, click the delivery date and time you want.

Finally, sometimes e-mails are more useful on your calendar than in your Inbox, emails such as payment reminders, conference call details, or docketing-related e-mails. Outlook allows you to drag and drop e-mails from your Inbox onto the Calendar folder to convert that message into an appointment

Now there’s one more way to use of Microsoft Office products.

LexisNexis Firm Manager, the cloud-based practice management solution for small law firms, has been integrated with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office 365 since August this year.

The synchronization of these services streamline services for the computer-savvy attorney. For example, if a new law firm client is added to the practice management system, the contact and any associated calendar items will appear in Outlook.

“Microsoft continues to attract more users to using Microsoft Office 365 productivity solutions and with more independent attorneys using mobile and tablet devices such as the Apple iPad, we see an ever increasing demand for seamless integration between Microsoft technology and the LexisNexis Firm Manager solution,” said Susan Harman, vice president and product champion for the Firm Manager team, reported the Law Practice Advisor.

Further initiatives by the two companies include:

  • an integration that will be a bi-directional synchronization between Microsoft Outlook calendar and contacts and those stored in the Firm Manager product. For example, if a new law firm client is added to the practice management system, the contact and any calendar items will appear in the Outlook client of the attorney working on that client’s matter, and vice versa.
  • an app that will enable users to save documents generated in Microsoft products to the LexisNexis Firm Manager application and attach these documents to the relevant matter or client contact, as needed.
  • the ability to save emails and email attachments directly to a LexisNexis Firm Manager contact or matter. These integrations provide additional simplicity and ease-of-use enabling independent law firms to keep their legal matters on track, from anytime, anywhere and on any device.

Need a little help navigating this new integration for better law office productivity? Take C4CM’s audio course called, “Microsoft Outlook: Unlock E-Mail, Calendar and Time-Saving Secrets” on Monday, January 19, 2015 from 2:00 PM To 3:15 PM EST.

You will learn faster and better ways to conquer your biggest time traps and regain control of your time. This is your hands-on road map to Outlook, and how it can send your productivity skyrocketing.

You will learn:

  • Turbo-charge Outlook with powerful, little-known tips and tools
  • Strategies to keep the Inbox clear and email under control
  • How to track appointments, contacts, due dates, and tie them all together
  • Build and maintain an Outlook database and improve business communications
  • Ways to prioritize your daily tasks and long-term projects using Microsoft Outlook
  • Helpful tools to manage your contacts and calendar

So whether it’s via your iPhone, iPad, or the new tools available through MS Office, you can shorten your work day to ensure you get home on time for the holidays.

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Why Tech Gurus Will Be Your Law Firm’s Next Hire

Founder of Dropbox Drew Houston, Founder of Paypal Peter Thiel, and former Apple CEO John Sculley, have a lot in common. They’re not just tech geeks, entrepreneurs, and billionaires; they’re also equally exhausted after speaking at this year’s Web Summit in Dublin.

They’re not alone. This year, the Web Summit gathered together 20,000 entrepreneurs, each with different objectives—to exhibit, to speak, to buy, or to sell—for four straining days straight.

Do you develop software? Then you were in Ireland last week.

Why? For the networking, for increasing your know-how, and for generally keeping up-to-date with technology news and invention.

One of the key issues being debated was Internet and online privacy. How should data be encrypted? What are the ethical ramifications of firms collecting and distributing user information? How can you stop security breaches on the cloud?

There were companies exhibiting mobile apps that store and protect your passwords so that you don’t have to remember them.

There were thousands of alternatives to Dropbox allowing users to store information in the cloud securely (or so they touted).

There were machines that coordinated your smartphone with smart accessories (Ringly—a company that sells rings that vibrate and glow depending on your mobile app notification, with semi-precious stones to boot—is sold out for a year). Ok, that has nothing to do with privacy or security, except that you can more discretely look at your phone during an important client meeting or even Friday date night.

One thing that was clear, among the thousands of exhibitors, there was no single solution to data security, there were many. And, everybody involved in web software and programming were prioritizing data security and privacy.

As should your law firm.

It should come as no surprise to know that there were legal services software representatives in attendance at the Summit, as well. They were also keeping up-to-date with what’s new in tech.

Legal services have permanently crossed over into the world of tech, even if key distributors—the lawyers, themselves—are a bit slower to the punch. This is why it is so important to train your lawyers in how to use legal tools and software, and why you should fully vet the software provider you end up choosing.

When was the last time your legal services software distributed a software update? What is their encryption strategy? Do they have a mobile app and how do they keep it secure?

As a law firm manager, if you don’t know how to ask hard (and hardware) questions, it’s time you hired an IT Department that does.

The Web Summit attracted software developers and engineers. The topic of tech has transformed select entrepreneurs into billionaires. But very soon it will also attract legal professionals (and it has already, just check out Clio, who attended).

In a bring-your-own-device, digital world, it’s time your firm understood exactly what these devices—mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers—are capable of.

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Effective Time Management In The Digital Age: Guides, Strategies, Phone Apps & More!

Do you ever look at the clock and think, “where did the time go?”

You know you’ve been working, but on what? For how long? Some days you can’t help but get caught up in the minutiae, whether it’s paperwork, responding to emails, or writing to-do lists for tasks you still—at 5pm—have yet to do.

This is why you’re still billing hours at the end of the day. This is why you’re unable to go home until midnight. This is why you hate coming to work on Monday mornings.

But, those wasted work days—the ones where you lose track of time—can come to an end. At least, Julie Morgenstern, author of Never Check Email In The Morning, would have you believe.

“There are several reasons why our days have swelled,” says Morgenstern to Forbes.

“Companies continuously are trying to hire as few people as possible. Our roles are continuously changing, the world is changing, we’re in a time of rapid change—nothing is ‘business as usual’…”

And, when it comes to law firm professionals, Morgenstern is absolutely right. There’s no such thing as the “normal” associate. There’s no more “standard” for partnership track positions. In fact, law firms are changing the way they do “business as usual” through outsourcing the document review in the discovery stages, utilizing more electronic legal assistants than in-person ones, and even adding online services.

So how do law firm professionals adapt their time management styles to accommodate today’s digital world?

Try writing a time management diary.

Morgenstern suggests employees write down how much time they’re spending on a project, including when and why their workflow was interrupted, everyday. Soon, you’ll find out exactly what’s squandering your and what’s saving you time.

Management consultants are hired to help your firm operate more efficiently. But, you can start auditing your own your own activities is through a smartphone or tablet app.

Consider one of the following apps:

1. Eternity Time Log Lite – Personal Timesheet (Free)

This time management app lets you focus on the work that matters and avoid distractions through project lists and timers. The app creates reports about your time. Just review, and adjust your work habits, accordingly.

2. Klock ($19.99)

Do you know how much time you spend in meetings? On the phone? Promoting yourself? Making sales calls? Keep track of anything with Klock’s work timer and visual display of how your days “fill up”. Klock can be synched across multiple employees. That way you can track time management across team members.

3. Frecke ($19+/month)

Says one satisfied user:

“The Pulse is my favorite feature and what sold me on Freckle. With the Pulse, I can easily see and keep track of how many hours I’ve done and for which client. This makes it really easy for me to see what I need to do for the rest of the week, and also plan for the time I can use for other projects. I can quickly see that I have already put in a certain amount of hours for one client and not yet another, so I know to dedicate some time to the other client. The Pulse really helps me manage my time better and keep track of how I’m actually using my time. It even lets me see when I’m not using my time efficiently.”

And eight more apps here!

You can also sign-up for C4CM’s information-packed guide “Effective Time Management: Take Control, Tackle Work Flow Chaos and Overcome Productivity Challenges.”

This 73-page, comprehensive guide provides many strategies for tackling time management issues at your firm, from handling crises to multitasking to burnout.

You work at a law firm. Chances are you cannot leave at 5pm with everything done like Morgenstern would have you believe. However, you can make sure that each hour you bill is an efficient one, and that each hour you don’t remains productive.

The first step in managing your time? Finding out where you’re wasting it!

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FREE iPhone Apps That Lawyers Can’t Do Without

Last year, the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Survey Report claimed 31 percent of lawyers (in private practice) use an iPhone and 13 percent also using an iPad.

That’s an estimated 300,000 lawyers nationwide.

So, for any law firm professional who regularly depends on his smartphone, below is a list of five iPhone apps you never knew you couldn’t do without. And, the best part? They’re all free.

LexisNexis® Legal News – FREE

The recently updated LexisNexis® Legal News app by Newstex draws information and updates from the vast LexisNexis content repository. The app provides selections of the best legal news, video, blog, and Twitter sources into a continuously updating content feed for the iPhone or the iPad.

With this app, law firm professionals can stay on top of breaking legal, business, and financial news; set alerts for news pertinent to your clients, competitors, or market conditions; and create customized searches for information from across a wide variety of content providers and formats including blogs, Twitter, and video.

After all, a lawyers should be able to provide the best service for their clients at no additional cost.

LexisNexis® CourtLink – FREE (with subscription)

Also a LexisNexis-developed app,LexisNexis CourtLink allows legal professionals to review recent court docket alert and tracking activity.

With this app, you can also set up alerts to monitor activity on a specific case, as well as receive lists of newly filed cases in a particular practice area or involving specific parties.

Technically the app is free, but a subscription to CourtLink is required. The app markets itself to a variety of professionals related to the field of law, including:

  • Legal Professionals, so they can argue more effectively and grow their business.
  • Corporate Counsel, so they can hire and manage outside counsel more effectively; manage internal caseload more easily; and investigate patent questions (and more).
  • Financial Services/Insurance Providers, so they can improve investment decisions knowing the full risk picture; and improve profitability by preventing and detecting fraud.
  • Media Professionals, so they can be alerted to newsworthy litigation, receive updates on ongoing cases quickly, and research litigation trends.
  • Litigation Support, so they are immediately notified as a case is filed, trial begins, or a decision is being reached.

Waze  – FREE

Although not specifically a legal app, Waze can be quite valuable to lawyers.

Waze lets drivers manually input traffic and accident data while they’re on the road. For time-sensitive lawyers who are constantly dashing to and from the office, client meetings, or court, Waze is an indispensible, portable tool.

Waze isn’t a new app—with about 12 million users—but it has been recently updated. The app now includes a feature allowing drivers to speak into the iPhone to report traffic and accidents.

Atypical of the tech world, Waze values safety overs speed.

American Arbitration Association – FREE

If you are involved in arbitrations or mediations via the American Arbitration Association, the brand new AAA smartphone app (for iPhone and Android) will allow you easy access to all AAA rules, codes, and protocols.

The app also provides immediate access to contact information for AAA offices throughout the U.S. and regional locations around the world.

Legal professionals can enjoy reading arbitration and mediation rules from labor and employment, commercial, construction, real estate and environmental, government and consumer, to international cases.

Need international dispute resolution rules in a foreign language? Not a problem.

Read more about the app here on Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites.

Finally, there are a variety of other interesting apps for legal professionals that, while not free, won’t break the bank. Don’t forget to check out these ten iPhone apps for lawyers, each fewer than five dollars, including this one:

iPunchclock – $4.99

The iPunchclock by EpIPhone Coders’ Guild is one of many timesheet apps for lawyers available for the iPhone. The unique feature of this app is that it tracks not only the time you spent on the task, but also the location where you completed the task using the iPhone’s GPS function.

Unlike other timesheet recording apps, the iPunchclock records time in seconds—as opposed to 0.1 fixed intervals. Nevertheless, this format makes conversion to .CSV for use in Excel much easier.

Professionals can name the task, create multiple timesheets and tasks, add personalized comments, and map their conference calls on Google Maps. Not too shabby for the on-the-go lawyer.

Check out a complete guide of tracking time apps here.

-WB

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Turning The Smartphone Off & Still Satisfying The Client

How many times have you been at the movies and snuck out to take a work call?

Or, had the win of a big sports game spoiled because you were unable to watch it? How many times have you cancelled on an important date with the (potential) man of your dreams because work ran late (again) in the evening?

Professionals in high-powered, high-stakes industries, like law or medicine or finance, live at the office or by their phones. The constant struggle to achieve an adequate work-life balance always tips in favor of the former.

These over-worked, over-stressed professionals often wonder: what would it be like to have just one night off?

Well, that’s the exact the experiment Leslie A. Perlow ran at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and discussed in her new book, Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24/7 Habit and Change the Way You Work.

It turns out, Perlow’s experiment improved not just employees’ work lives, but also the effectiveness and efficiency of the work process itself (read, Harvard Gazette).

The experiment implemented a process called “PTO.” It creates predictable time off for employees. “Time off” aptly implies, no computer and no phone for work purposes.

Employees on the same project team schedule time off on different days so that one person will cover for the other, and so that no project is left completely unattended.

“The happy result for BCG was that individuals engaged in PTO experiments were more likely to see themselves at the firm for the long term (58 percent versus 40 percent) and were more likely to perceive that they were providing significant value to their clients (95 percent versus 84 percent),” writes Perlow in her book.

Employees took their free night off to go to the gym, spend time with their families, or make up for much needed rest.

One night off per week, where a person’s eyes and ears were not in tune 100 percent to their blackberries, made a noticeable difference in the participants’ home lives—in terms of increased happiness—and work lives—in terms of productivity.

“The experiment created an open culture where the biggest value wasn’t the fact that I was getting a Tuesday night off, it was that we were a team trying to address work-life issues,” said Bob in Perlow’s book about the experiment. Bob was originally skeptical of the plan.

Today, all skepticism is put aside. The successful PTO program is currently in place in hundreds of BCG teams globally.

“This modest experiment generated such powerful results—not just for individuals’ work-lives but for the team’s work process and ultimately the client—that the experiment was expanded to more and more of BCG’s teams. Four years later, over nine hundred BCG teams from thirty countries on five continents had participated,” writes Perlow in her book.

Ultimately, the success of the PTO program lay in its ability to raise dialogue and team communication about work-life balance issues.

Also, once a place for structured dialogue was established, the PTO program boosted collaboration among teams, as team members helped to cover one another’s nights off, while satisfying the needs of their client.

In the end, the PTO program was also a great success for the client, according to BCG’s results.

For the management consulting industry, the experiment changed the way large, traditional firms perceived work culture.

It suddenly seemed possible to work for a big corporation and—once in awhile—leave work at the office and off the smartphone.

“By starting with one small, doable change—a unit of predicable time off each week—team members discover that challenging the way it is and the way they have presumed it has to be is not as inconceivable as they as they once believed.”

And, it doesn’t “have to be” that way for law, either.

-WB

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Now Access Legal Ethics Opinions On Your Smartphone

Last week, New York-based lawyers were banned from joining a new type of law firm that would allow external investors—a blow to contending international firms that were considering third-party capital (via FT).

The New York State Bar ruled that New York lawyers cannot practice law in the state if they are part of U.K. law firm with non-lawyer owners after considering the following scenario:

“Lawyers licensed to practice in New York enter a business relationship with a U.K. firm that has non-lawyer owners and managers. The New York lawyers establish a New York office for the firm and represent New York clients. They don’t share confidential information with the non-lawyers and they abide by U.K. rules,” summarizes the WSJ Law Blog.

The New York State Bar ruled that the above scenario violates ethics rule that forbids a lawyer from practicing law for profit with an entity that includes a non-lawyer owner.

Now, blogs (like this one) have already discussed the idea of deregulating the legal industry.

With countless lawsuits accusing law schools of misrepresenting employment statistics and a rise in online legal services, law school graduates are seeking jobs and clients are seeking affordable counsel.

To achieve this, both the Cato Institute and OpenMarket.org believe deregulation is necessary.

“People can represent themselves in small-claims courts, which have simplified procedures, but in many states, such courts can hear only the tiniest legal claims, like those seeking less than $5,000,” states OpenMarket.org (via ATL).

“Every other U.S. industry that has been deregulated, from trucking to telephones, has lowered prices for consumers without sacrificing quality,” continue Winston and Crandall.

The American Bar Association is considering a tweak to its ethics rules, but there is no realistic solution in sight. Despite the dire economic climate for lawyers, the U.S. is hesitant to propose any innovation that would deregulate the law industry.

Although innovation via deregulation has been tabled, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) has, in the least, brought legal ethics research into the 21st Century.

In January, the NYSBA announced the release of its Mobile Ethics App—an app for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry—that allows judges, lawyers, and law students to access instant ethics advice from their smartphones.

The NYSBA Mobile Ethics App incorporates the state bar’s catalog of more than 900 legal ethics opinions, dating back to 1964, into a searchable database.

Type keyword searches, enter opinion numbers, or browse a list of categories that include “attorney advertising,” “concurrent representation,” and “non-refundable retainer.”

So, download the app here to get notified each time a new opinion is added.

That way, even if you can’t change the decisions, at least you can read about them in real-time.

-WB

Access the full press release regarding the ethics app here.

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Marketing Law Firms – With and Without Twitter and Smartphones

In this day and age of marketing gurus for every conceivable service under the sun, there are bound to be one or two…or, more likely, thousands…of folks who make it their business to help lawyers build their online brand. Larry Bodine has a service just like that, and he’s got stories galore about how firms  went from a blip on the screen of new client revenue to a force to be reckoned with. 

  • Here’s one:  Christopher Levinson, a law firm administrator with the same firm for over 25 years, has 52,477 followers on Twitter.  This is not quite the same as having that many clients, no…but it’s a beginning.  In the realm of social media, the more you’re known online, the higher your visibility in general. Levinson, with all his Tweets, has inadvertently (or perhaps not always so inadvertently) helped spread the word about his place of employment: Masry Vititoe, a personal injury law firm in Westlake Village, CA, near Los Angeles. (This was also the firm featured in the Erin Brockovich film.)  He usually Tweets about law-related items, such as those that appear on product and recall service lists which he subscribes to. 
  • For instance, Levinson let his followers know that B.O.B. Trailers Inc. recalled about 337,000 single and double strollers in the United States and about 20,000 in Canada – http://bo.st/eMmky. A reader commented on the fact that, when you look at his stats, which Bodine provided, it’s evident that Levinson has actively mined a lot of this activity by initiating contact, or by “following” people, to use the Twitter parlance. (The reader also acknowledges that there’s nothing wrong with that.) “I just like to do good and Tweet about things that will help people,” Levinson said. According to Bodine, Levinson automatically follows everyone who follows him. We also learn that he’s a guy “who loves giving back” and is past president and a current member of a local sheriff’s foundation.
  • Here’s another case of marketing saviness, this one with less of a coincidental factor: Goulston & Storrs in Boston has placed a high-tech QR code–a quick response code–into a print ad. When scanned with a smartphone (that’s any phone–usually less than a couple of years old—with advanced capabilities), it’ll direct you to Google’s top-five search results on your firm. Or, alternately, it’ll take you  to your firm’s “What’s News” web page…as it does for G&S.  So the ad, which congratulates a client on the several-million dollar sale of its “trophy asset”, has a little box on the lower right hand side which takes would-be clients just where they need to go to learn more.

  • And from Lawyer’s e-Journal, we learn that “being present in your community” makes all the difference in the world when it comes to letting people know who you are.  Doing good is its own reward, of course, but “in-person networking remains a vital component of legal marketing”…one that Twitter can’t touch. “Organize an instructive course in one of your practice area topics.” If you are a churchgoer, you might invite those you worship with as, there, you’ve already established the foundation of a relationship.
  • When your firm conducts outreach…joins organizations, formulates presentations, etc., it almost makes you the go-to guy or gal.  (Folks still want to buy local—and this includes lawyers’ services.)  Try advertising in a little-league publication; the parents of the young pitchers and batters will love you forever.  Of course, you can always Tweet your online friends about the upcoming events, too.  Remember: you’ve got to be in these endeavors for the long-haul.  It’s about building trust, which takes time. Don’t abandon the effort.

To read more, go to:  http://blog.larrybodine.com/ and to: http://www.massbar.org/publications/e-journal/2011/april/04-21/law-practice-management-tip    Photo courtesy of popsci.com.

-EM

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