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Jeff Bennion, Esq., Chair, LPMT
By Jeff Bennion
Here are some helpful tips and tricks that you can start using right now to make your life easier.
Outlook is probably the second most important tool for lawyers after Microsoft Word. It’s a one-stop shop for email, calendar, and task lists. Although it’s a great tool, here are some tweaks to make it even better.
If you are a litigator, there is nothing worse than when you get a trial date and your paralegal or secretary plugs it into the calendaring software and then you get flooded with about 50 calendar reminders to accept: last day to mail serve discovery, last day to personally serve discovery, last day to fax serve discovery, etc. Not only is it annoying, but it’s time consuming to go through and manually click “Accept” on each one. To date, there is no batch “accept” tool, so we are stuck with just clicking each one. There is a way to automatically accept those without even having to click on them though. In the Options/Calendar menu, scroll down to Auto Accept/Decline. If you have that selected, calendar requests come into your inbox and are automatically accepted without you having to click on them. When you do this, it does not delete the message like it does when you manually click Accept, so the message will still be there so you can read any notes attached to it without having to dig through your trash folder.
I also created a rule to take all of my calendar requests and put them in a separate folder automatically. To do that, click on Rules on the Home tab and create a new rule from scratch. One of the options is to automatically move calendar requests to a specific folder. Now, you can work for more than five consecutive minutes without getting an annoying pop-up about every deposition being taken in the office and all the deadlines associated with trial dates.
Spell Check Before Sending
For some reason, this is turned off by default. Turn it on right now. Go to Options/Mail, and the second option is to enable spell check before sending. This is different from just putting the red squiggly lines under misspelled words. When you press send, if anything is spelled incorrectly, it brings up a pop-up window before the email actually goes out, letting you change spelling (and grammar if you so choose). If you hit cancel, it asks you if you are sure you want to send the email without spell-checking it completely. I cannot count the number of times this has saved me from sending out a typo in an important email.
The next option under Spelling and Autocorrect is to set a signature. Do the entire world a favor though and don’t have a really long signature. You can also set it so that your signature does not appear in forwards or replies. When I am attaching an email chain as an exhibit to a motion, there is nothing more annoying than your half-page email signature appearing eight times in the chain with links to all of your social media and your Avvo 10 out of 10 badge and your headshot (you are not a real estate agent) and your disclaimer about how if you are reading this and it was not intended for you, please delete the email, and your pat-yourself-on-the-back statement about please be kind and do not print the email (which actually causes more pollution than it does prevent). Just keep it simple and turn it off for replies and forwards.
Change Default Reminders
If you have a due date plugged into your calendar, it doesn’t do you any good to have the reminder set for 15 minutes before (the Outlook default). A reminder that your MSJ opposition is due in 15 minutes doesn’t really help anyone. You can change the default reminders for things on your calendar to whatever you want. I have the default to be three hours. I manually change things that need more notice time. Like motion due dates and the like.
In the near future, Outlook is coming out with some great enhancements, like Microsoft To Do (which just rolled out of beta), as well as powerful and under-utilized tools like using Groups in Outlook. Those are topics for another day.
About the author:
Jeff Bennion is a solo practitioner at the Law Office of Jeff Bennion. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of San Diego’s plaintiffs’ trial lawyers association, Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. He is also the Chair of the California Lawyers Association’s Law Practice Management and Technology section. He is a member of the Advisory Council and instructor at UCSD’s Litigation Technology Management program. His opinions are his own. Follow him on Twitter here or on Facebook here, or contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Brewster S. Rawls
A few months ago, I had a matter involving another lawyer who was serving as a neutral evaluator in a Federal Tort Claims Act case. He was an impressive character. His quick thinking and creative approach inspired me, especially in light of the fact that he was a bit older than me (62) and still had an edge to him. After a certain age in this business, you worry about being stale and complacent. If you don’t worry about it, you probably are, but just haven’t recognized it yet. When you look around, stale and complacent is a generous description for way too many of my peers. This lawyer was anything but that.
As we were wrapping up our meeting, this attorney told everyone gathered that he would “dictate” a follow-up email which would go out “within a couple of days.” This struck me as curious, but thinking back on our previous interactions, it dawned on me that he didn’t really know how to use email. I was incredulous. It’s 2017, and no one practices this way. I confess that I puffed up with a bit of smug self-righteousness. With a nationwide practice, I pride myself on being able to work remotely from anywhere. I can be just as efficient on the road in Oregon or Arizona as I am in my office in Richmond, Virginia. What was this guy’s problem?
My bubble burst the morning I returned to my office. Although I typically review almost everything electronically, for various reasons sometimes you still need a printed copy. As was my pattern, I simply sent an email to my assistant asking her to print a particular expert report. And then it hit me: I didn’t know how to use the printer. I didn’t even know what printer to use. Albeit through an email, I was doing exactly what I would have done when I first started practice in 1984: Asking and expecting my non-lawyer assistant simply to handle this. So much for being a cutting-edge 21st century lawyer.
I am not alone. Like almost everyone born before the mid-1970s—and some would push that into the 1980s—the world in which we were raised, educated, and first employed is a very different one than our current digital age. Think of it in language terms: Our native tongue is analog; for the younger lawyers, digital. And whether we like it or not, digital is the language of business. For us analog folks, attaining perfect fluency is almost impossible—just as it is for adults learning a foreign language—but you have to know enough to understand what is going on and, just as important, be understood. Also like learning a foreign language, it’s not easy and sometimes messages get lost in translation. There is a reason why law firms and the law business is often perceived as being resistant to technology and innovation. Most law firms are still controlled by “non-native speakers,” people like me.
What can lawyers like myself do to function better in the digital age? Here are my suggestions:
1. Accept that you cannot avoid addressing the changes that come with technology.
Deal with it. The changes of the last 25 years have been tremendous and the pace will accelerate. The reality is that the changes in technology can improve the practice of law and make life easier for all of us, but change is never easy and never without a downside. If you’re not willing to deal with it, move aside for someone who can. It may sound harsh, but if a firm is to survive, old mindsets have to be questioned and updated.
2. Make compliance mandatory.
Offices typically have protocols for the use of things like document or practice management systems. Enforce those protocols for everyone, including senior lawyers (who can often be insistent on doing things a certain way). Non-compliance creates confusion (at best) and huge risk. The impact on office morale is detrimental too. Frankly, as painful as it can be, you are actually doing a favor for your older lawyers to force them to learn and use a firm’s IT systems.
3. Know what you don’t know.
If you are a lawyer, most likely you have a healthy ego, especially if you are a senior partner and/or running a law firm. Admitting ignorance does not come easily. We are often loathe to do it, but the simple fact is our knowledge is at best limited on many things, and technology is often an important one. If we don’t appreciate the fact that we are not experts (or even reasonably well-versed), we not only frustrate those working with us who do understand, but we put our practices at huge risk. In sum, as Clint Eastwood put it in one of his movies: A man has to know his limitations. (Obviously, the same would apply to a woman.) If you don’t appreciate your limitations, you are a hazard to yourself and others.
4. Ask for help.
A corollary of the first point is seeking the expertise of others. Of course, this might be in the form of IT consultants and providers. Almost all of us have such services and they are important, but what I am really talking about is the people you work with every day. I didn’t need a consultant to tell me how to use the printer. My assistant was happy to show me—and likely relieved that I asked. Whether it is the nuances of Outlook or the idiosyncrasies of a document management system, people right outside your door almost certainly know a lot more than you do and can help. My observation is that, in fact, most of the younger staff and lawyers are genuinely happy to assist. When they are out of earshot they might have a good laugh at my ignorance, but that’s okay. If your ego can’t take that, you need to retire or do something else for a living.
5. Figure out what you really need to know how to do.
Law practices need to be efficient. We are no different than any other business in that regard and the penalties of inefficiency can be harsh. To be efficient as a lawyer, you cannot do everything yourself (at least if you have a busy practice). You need a division of labor and it should be a rational one. Efficiency is not just for the lawyers. Everyone needs to be as efficient as they can. It may seem like a trivial example, but let’s go back to my situation about using the printer: Before learning to do this myself, I would look at a document and decide I needed a hard copy. This then produced an email. When the email popped up in my assistant’s inbox, she might well have been in the middle of something, which she would then feel obliged to set aside to print my document. By knowing how to send a document to the correct printer, I saved the step of sending an email, and the only additional effort on my part was to get out of my chair and walk to the printer, probably less than a minute’s effort, while my assistant’s work was not disrupted. Overall, that seems to be the more efficient way to do something—and getting up and moving around is good for guys my age, an incidental benefit I suppose. If a task is something that occurs regularly, such as printing a document or putting an appointment in Outlook, it makes sense for the lawyer to be able to do it on his or her own. This involves the fewest steps by all involved and, therefore, enhances efficiency. I could list many other examples, as a law practice is filled with many such rote but very necessary tasks.
6. Figure out what you really don’t need to know how to do.
This is the flip side of No. 3. We can’t do everything, so it makes no sense to do those things that someone else can do faster and better. The line between what you need to know how to do and what you don’t is not a bright one, and is likely to vary from lawyer to lawyer. For example, I leave to my paralegal and assistant the “finalization” of correspondence and pleadings. My familiarity with the formatting operations in Word is limited, and more importantly, I know I am not a very good proofreader. I never have been. While I might draft and edit a document, I defer the preparation of the final copy to others with better skills in that area.
7. Make yourself learn how to do new things.
And do it frequently. This involves an intentional effort to step outside your comfort zone. Many of us really like our comfort zones, so doing so does not come easily. Like most firms, my practice has a document management system, and like most document management systems, ours is definitely quirky. It’s easy and tempting as a senior lawyer just to let others deal with it. My efforts to use it myself are at times frustrating, but slowly I am learning. I get a number of benefits from this, not the least of which is being able to use our “file system” myself whether I am in the office or on the road. I hope it also gives me a better appreciation of what our staff and younger lawyers deal with—and that is important in its own right.
Finally, what advice do I have for younger lawyers and law firm staff, those native Digital speakers? First, remember that everyone shares the same goal. We want to do a good job for our clients and make a decent living in the process. In getting there, however, you need to understand the potential for “translation errors.” If someone does not speak English, simply raising your voice and speaking a little slower is not likely to aid in comprehension. It’s not that much different here. The person not comprehending is not stupid, and it is the height of unfairness to reflexively assume they are. For everyone to enjoy the benefits of technology, a curiosity and willingness to learn is needed by those of us who have been doing this for 20 or 30 years or more. Just as important, those on the other end need an ethic of sharing and patience—and let’s not forget a sense of humor, too.
Brewster S. Rawls is the founder of Rawls Law Group, a healthcare law firm based in Richmond, VA. Contact him on Twitter @RawlsLawGroup.
Source: Law Practice Today, Technology Issue, January 2018
By Rebecca Herold
Infographic marks Data Privacy Day, warns of ransomware threat
Ransomware is predicted to be one of the most popular cybercrimes this year. That's because where there's an Internet connection, there's a datanapper.
This infographic walks through the ransomware threat posed by the dark web and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as in homes, workplaces, stores and even doctor's offices. Download it now.
Datanappers love the way we live, always connected and happily over-sharing. While you shop, get a check-up, work or stream movies on the couch, the bad guys are right there watching, waiting for you to drop your data or open a pathway to it.
So, what can we do to protect our data from getting napped and held for ransom? Here are three easy steps to mitigate a large portion of the risks:
Delete unused apps. Games, especially, are often fronts for data collection entities. Get rid of all you haven't used lately.
Patch your systems. This should be set up to happen automatically. Double check you have all of your devices set to auto install security patches and updates.
Back up your files. If you use a cloud service, double up and use a physical device, too. Make sure it is not attached to your computer except when actually backing up.
To learn more about ransomware, keep an eye on my The Privacy Professor YouTube channel. We'll soon be posting a clip of my recent visit to the CWiowa Live morning show, during which we talked all things ransomware.
About the author:
Rebecca Herold, CISM, CISSP, CISA, CIPP, FLMII has over 25 years of systems engineering, information security, privacy and compliance experience. She is an entrepreneur; CEO and Founder of The Privacy Professor® consultancy, established in 2004, and Co-Founder and President of SIMBUS, LLC, an information security, privacy, technology & compliance management cloud service for organizations of all sizes, in all industries, in all locations. She serves as an expert witness, and is an Adjunct Professor.
She has authored 19 books, dozens of book chapters, and hundreds of published articles covering information security, privacy, HIPAA compliance, and other related business topics. She led the NIST SGIP Smart Grid Privacy Subgroup for eight years, was a founding member and officer for the IEEE P1912 Privacy and Security Architecture for Consumer Wireless Devices Working Group, and serves on the Advisory Boards of numerous organizations.
By Neil Pedersen
With a new calendar year comes new changes in the law that will affect your law office and how it should deal with its employees. The following summarizes some of the more important employment law changes that may affect law office practitioners.
Starting January 1, 2018, marijuana in various forms is legal to use and possess under California law. However, legal use of marijuana can still give an employer the right to terminate an employee if it is aware of such use by the employee. This is because marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. As such, use of marijuana during off-work time can still give employers the right to fire the employee, even if the use is for medicinal uses pursuant to a doctor's prescription.
Effective January 1, 2018, employers may no longer ask an applicant about how much money they made in prior jobs. The new law was put in place to prevent prior unlawful biases from affecting the actual market value of employees. Do not ask. Do not inquire further if the employee volunteers the information. And do not use the information in formulating your wage offer.
Effective January 1, 2018, most employers are forbidden from seeking information about a prospective employee's criminal history before the employer makes a conditional offer of employment to the employee. This "Ban the Box" legislation was enacted to improve employment prospects for formerly incarcerated job seekers by giving former convicts a better opportunity to be considered on their merits before they are judged for past mistakes. Employers will still be able to conduct a background check once a conditional offer has been made, but even then, an applicant cannot be automatically rejected and a somewhat complicated process will determine if the employer can withdraw the offer of employment.
California Senate Bill 63, effective January 1, 2018, now allows nearly 2.8 million workers at small businesses with between 20 and 49 employees up to 12 weeks of guaranteed unpaid parental leave within the first year of their child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. This law expands to the employee's of these smaller employers the same baby bonding leave that employees of larger companies already have.
Effective January 1, 2018, the California minimum wage increases by 50 cents. Workers at companies with at least 26 employees must make no less than $11 per hour. For workers at smaller companies, the minimum wage is now $10.50 per hour. The next minimum wage hike is set to occur on January 1, 2019.
Properly characterized exempt employees are paid a salary and are not entitled to overtime premiums or meal and rest periods. However to qualify as an exempt employee the employee must be paid at least double the minimum wage. Any employee not paid at least double the minimum wage cannot be considered an exempt employee under the law. With the minimum wage increase on January 1, 2018, each employer should determine if their exempt employees' wages are at least double the minimum wage by dividing the weekly salary by 40. If that number is not $11 per hour for companies of more than 26 employees, or $10.50 per hour for smaller companies, then they are no longer exempt and they are entitled to overtime, meal periods and rest periods.
About the Author
Neil Pedersen is a 28-year attorney and the Principal of Pedersen Law, A Professional
Law Corporation, a small three attorney firm in Irvine, California primarily dedicated to the representation of employees in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, and leave issues. Neil is member of the California Lawyers Association Law Practice Management and Technology Section Executive Committee, and he co-created and teaches a 3-unit law school class on Law Practice Management and Technology. Neil can be reached at email@example.com
By Stephen Fairley, Founder and CEO of The Rainmaker Institute
If you are failing at lead conversion, you shouldn’t necessarily blame it immediately on the quality of your leads. It just may be that you are committing one or more of the following common mistakes law firms make when following up with leads:
1. Taking too long to follow up.
Timing is everything when following up on a lead. Research shows that you are 100x more likely to connect with a prospect if you follow up within five minutes vs. a half hour.
Unfortunately, fast follow-up is a real stumbling block for most law firms, especially for solos, litigators, and small firms who usually rely on attorneys to return a call or email inquiry. This is the first mistake. NEVER make an attorney or a paralegal responsible for following up! You may want to, you may intend to, but it rarely happens because of your workload.
So what to do? Automate the process! You simply cannot be consistently good at lead conversion unless you have a process in place that sends your prospect an immediate message responding to their inquiry.
Every contingency can be planned for in advance with an automatic response system. A prospect calls in, a staff member gets an email address, enters it into the system, and that person is immediately sent an email. The email encourages them to set an appointment, educates them further about your firm, includes some testimonials from other clients, offers a free consultation, or whatever step you want them to take next.
The same process can be put in place for leads that you capture through your website, blog or social media posts.
2. Failing to provide value.
When you use an automated process to follow up, you are able to respond with information that your prospect will find immediately useful. Emails are written according to what legal problem the prospect is facing, providing solutions that encourage the prospect to take that next step of scheduling an appointment.
Selling legal services should be approached as a consulting sale, not a product sale. Prospects can easily find background information on firms and attorneys on the Internet; when you contact them, they are looking for more, not just a recitation of facts they could easily read on your website.
3. Not understanding the prospect.
The primary reason why someone hires an attorney is to alleviate his or her “pain.” They may use words like “goal,” “challenge” “problem” or “issue,” but their pain is whatever they are experiencing that they want you to fix. Once you understand the signs to look for, use these tips to turn a prospect with pain into a paying client:
Client acquisition begins with listening, then digging deeper to get the whole picture of a potential client’s needs and taking the time to talk with them about how you can help.
4. Not demonstrating empathy.
We do a lot of secret shopper calls to law firms around the country. As of this month, we have secret shopped over 2,700 law firms. Consistently, we find 85% of the firms we call do a poor job at compelling us to do business with their firm. For example, we call personal injury firms all the time and the person on the other end of the phone rarely even says, “I’m sorry you were in an accident.” He/she immediately begins to ask qualifying questions without showing any compassion or even trying to build rapport with us. Fixing this is simple, yet often overlooked. You must train all your people how to empathize with prospects and build rapport. Sometimes the simplest fixes can provide compelling results – and this is a simple fix that can make a real difference in your appointment rates.
5. Not understanding the prospect’s buying stage.
There are four stages a prospect goes through on their journey to selecting an attorney: awareness, consideration, evaluation and decision. Each of these stages demands a different type of approach with different messaging. Not understanding where your prospect is in his or her buying stage is a signal to the prospect that you do not understand their needs. The content you share and conversations you have with prospects as you lead them through the purchase process must be tailored to their needs, not yours.
About the Author
Two-time international bestselling author, Stephen Fairley is the Founder and CEO of The Rainmaker Institute, LLC, a multi-award winning digital marketing agency and the nation’s largest legal marketing company specializing in online marketing and lead conversion for small to medium law firms. Over 18,000 attorneys nationwide have benefited from learning and implementing the proven Rainmaker Marketing System. Over the last 17 years, he has become a nationally recognized legal marketing expert and been named, “America’s Top Marketing Coach.” He has spoken numerous times for over 35 of the nation’s largest state and local bar associations and has amassed over 200,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For more information, please visit
www.TheRainmakerInstitute.com or call 888.588.5891
In the first part of this series, Part one and Part two, I discussed the concept that we work in a very stressful environment, so stressful that it is leading many of us to suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and a greater susceptibility to depression that the rest of the working world. This recurring series provides practical tips we must employ to avoid becoming one of those statistics. In this segment, how to wrestle control back over our day and our practice:
Tip No. Four: Gain control of your time
Stress, at its core, occurs when we feel as though we have a perceived lack of control over the events in our lives.1 While some events in our professional life do occur outside of our control, carefully planning how to use your time and managing interruptions in your daily routine can strongly enhance your sense of control.
Every attorney should make an effort to learn more about effective time management techniques to take control of their most valuable asset - their time. From organizing your day through effective list making, to taking control over your workspace to avoid clutter, to intentionally managing predictable interruptors in the office, to learning how to manage the phone and other technology in your life to make them efficiency devices, not efficiency drains, time management techniques are a critical part of stress reduction through the control of your most valuable asset.
Easier said than done? Take a look at my 8-part series of articles in this very E-News publication that I would recommend you pull up from the archives and read.2
Without regularly using time management techniques, your day and all of its interruptions will cause you to feel like you are in a small boat on a large ocean, being swept here and there by the winds and the waves. Take control of those things you can control and your stress levels with ease.
Tip No. Five: Learn to engage in problem-focused decision-making
How we approach our day-to-day tasks can actually affect our stress levels. We all have duties that come along that are more unpleasant or are less rewarding than others. It is our tendency to work on projects that we enjoy, or that might bring us greater immediate benefits, and push aside the jobs that involve less fun or more discomfort, regardless of the priority level those jobs many actually hold in our daily routine. An example will demonstrate this.
You agreed to work on a low-bono case for a client who is somewhat abrupt and can get downright demanding of your time. This is your least favorite client and you do not like dealing with him, but you believe he has merit to his position and you have agreed to assist him. The other side has served discovery on your office and you need client input to complete your task. With most other clients you would have called them within a few days of getting the discovery documents to gather the necessary information. However, for this client, you keep putting that call off, from one day to the next, until finally you are down to the last several days before responses are due. As each day passes, you are feeling more pressure about the pending task and approaching deadline. Yet you dread making that call that you know will be somewhat unpleasant and difficult. Eventually, when the stress has reached such a high level that you force yourself to make the call and you get the information. After the call you wonder why you ever waited so long - because the call was nowhere near as unpleasant as the stress you have been feeling for over a week regarding the call.
We cope with stress in many ways. Many of us tend to use avoidance as a coping mechanism. We somehow convince ourselves that as long as we leave our head in the sand the problem will go away. However that kind of coping mechanism simply leads to greater stress. "Avoidance coping creates stress and anxiety, and ravages self-confidence. It's is a major factor that differentiates people who have common psychological problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, and/or eating disorders) vs. those who don’t."3
Problem-focused problem solving "targets the causes of stress in practical ways which tackles the problem or stressful situation that is causing stress, consequently directly reducing the stress. Problem focused strategies aim to remove or reduce the cause of the stressor..."4 Where the stressors are within your control to address, problem-focused decision making is the optimal way to keep your stress levels lower.
An example of this approach is to identify those tasks on your plate for the day, and attack the least enjoyable, least profitable, and/or most distasteful jobs first. Like ripping off a bandage quickly, get it over with quickly. Do not let the anxieties over the task fester. A colleague of mine calls this concept doing the worst first. By doing the worst first, you eliminate in some cases days of building stress about a task that is never as bad as we allow our minds to make us think it is. When you make your day plan, start employing a worst-first dynamic and see how much better the rest of the day and the rest of the week will feel.
To be continued...
1Jeffery Janata PH.D. Psychologist University Hospitals Case Medical Center, How Does Time Management Help Reduce Stress, And What Are Some Tips To Manage Time Better? 2008
2 See, Time Management series in the State Bar Law Practice Management and Technology Section's E-News in each edition from September-October 2013 to the March-April 2015 edition.
3 Alice Boyes Ph.D., Avoidance Coping, Psychology Today (on-line)
About the Author
Posted by Lindsey Dean on January 25, 2018
Working in a law firm has its moments of excitement, but the day to day responsibilities can often be less than dynamic. As the support and foundation of a successful law firm or legal department, your workday likely includes repetitious or non-creative tasks. And while these responsibilities are critical to the smooth operation of a law firm, you may find yourself looking for a way to shake things up.
Check out these ideas to spice up routine tasks, and make seemingly mundane work more approachable.
#1 Switch up your routine
Do you generally follow the same routine each day at your law firm? While a routine gives stability to your work, it could also be a slippery slope to monotony. In fact, there’s a saying that claims “routine is the enemy of productivity.” Switching up your process can help you engage more fully with what you’re doing, and can get around the shortcuts or zoning out moments that your brain has taught itself.
Try completing tasks in a different order and see if that element of novelty makes them hold your interest. What would your day look like if you did everything at a different time than was usual?
#2 Sandwich an undesirable task between two more pleasant ones
Take a look at your to-do list and see if there are ways to alternate responsibilities you like best with the ones you aren’t as crazy about.
Schedule preferable tasks immediately before and after the duties you don’t like. That way, you’re capitalizing on a goals-and-rewards-based system. When tasks you enjoy more are surrounded by those you like less, the jobs you really don’t look forward to doing are automatically a little better than before—there’s something to look forward to at the end.
Make sure those unfavorable are also clumped into more manageable chunks. Don’t set yourself up to be daunted with too many hours of projects that you dislike.
#3 Unleashing your internal competitive streak
Did you know that your innate desire to succeed can make boring tasks more interesting, too? Come up with ways to constantly push yourself to do the best you can, whether you’re interviewing a client about his case or implementing a new system for organizing files. In the process, get involved in a competition with yourself and keep track of your performance. For example, maybe you want the new system to enable anyone in the office to find any file in less than one minute. How can you assign success to the work that you do?
#4 Time yourself
Bear with me, this can be more fun than it at first sounds. It can be easy to meander through tasks that bore you without much of an incentive to work quickly. You’ll be doing yourself and your day a favor if you give yourself a true time limit. Find a picturesque hourglass that can gently let you know how much time is left in your designated slot. Or, for a more pressing push, purchase a digital countdown clock.
#5 Listen to something interesting
From hip-popping melodies to an enthralling audiobook to a thought-provoking podcast, listening to something while you work can be a great way to feel mentally engaged. The best option will depend on your working style and the level of attention you need to pay to your work. Can you successfully eFile court documents while listening to the latest thriller? Or are you better off sticking to experimental jazz while you sort through eDiscovery documents?
#6 Figure out shortcuts
For some tasks, there’s little to do but hunker down and enter that data. But in some cases, you can identify workarounds to shorten the time commitment and outsmart that project. Is there an Excel formula or shortcut that can cut down on manual data entry? Did you know that One Legal Templates let you skip ahead on frequently filed document types? Start looking for useful skips.
#7 Gamify your day
Are there tasks that simply don’t challenge you anymore, or haven’t challenged you in years? What if completing tasks also helped you to earn “points?”
You can turn your entire day into a game. Apps that gamify your personal and work life give you points for achieving tasks, penalize you for missing deadlines, and overall turn your list of to-dos into a quest of accountability. SuperBetter, for instance, suggests power ups and creative ways to try new things.
#8 Do it with friends
The people you work with can make a huge difference in how pleasant your day to day is. Work friends can add accountability and increase connection. If you and a coworker have similar big projects to work on, try choosing the same time slot to work, or even retreating to a meeting room for focus in solidarity. Once you’ve finished, reward yourselves with a coffee run.
Lindsey Dean is the Content Marketing Manager for One Legal. When she's not writing about legal support matters, she's probably reading, writing some more, or practicing martial arts.
There are currently two items posted by The State Bar seeking public comment.
(1)The State Bar seeks public comment regarding a proposed California Supreme Court rule implementing a fingerprinting requirement for licensed attorneys pursuant to the recent amendments to Business and Professions Code section 6054, effective January 1, 2018. Read More
Deadline to submit comments is March 3, 2018, at 5 p.m.
(2)The State Bar seeks public comment regarding Proposed Formal Opinion No. 14-0003 regarding settling a client's case before withdrawing from representation. Read More
Deadline to submit comments is May 3, 2018, at 5 p.m.
If you feel that the LPMT Executive Committee should submit comments on behalf of the LPMT Section members to a particular item out for public comment, please contact Amy Williams, Chair of the Rules Subcommittee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not, be construed as a recommendation or approval by the State Bar Board of Trustees of the materials published.
The December 2017 issue was not distributed due to the transition of the Sections from The State Bar to the California Lawyers Association. We are pleased to announce that the February 2018 issue will contain those articles previously announced and more, as follows:
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Obtain MCLE credits by reading articles which have appeared in past issues of The Bottom Line. Read the article, take the quiz, and you have earned an hour of self-study MCLE credit. This is a quick and easy way to obtain required MCLE credits.
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Articles for publication are welcome. Send them to email@example.com or to Section Coordinator, Melanie Miranda (firstname.lastname@example.org), to be reviewed by the editorial committee. Obtain the Guidelines for submitting articles from the Section Coordinator.
Archived Articles: Archived issues of The Bottom Line can be found in the Members Only section of the LPMT website going back to October 2011. Prior to that date, you will find only a table of contents for past issues. Some past issues may still be available. Contact Section Coordinator, Melanie Miranda (email@example.com).
ABA TECHSHOW 2018 Conference & EXPO is back at a new location, The Hyatt Regency Chicago.
View the schedule of workshops and classes being offered
Friday-Saturday, September 14-15, 2018
Sheraton San Diego Harbor Island
The Sections Convention Reconfigured as the Annual Meeting of the California Lawyers Association
In this, Year 1 of the California Lawyers Association, we're inaugurating our Annual Meeting. The event follows in the footprints of the Sections Convention of 2017, and more than 30 years participating in the Annual Meeting of The State Bar of California.
In fact, this event will feature many of the events you associated in the past with the Bar's Annual Meeting.
Watch for more information as it becomes available! You won't want to miss this networking and learning opportunity planned especially for California attorneys and legal professionals. http://calawyers.org/CLE-Events/Annual-Meeting
The Education Committee is continuing to develop several webinar series for presentation. If there are any topics that interest you, let us know and we'll work on putting a program together for you. If you would like to contribute to an MCLE self-study article or a webinar, please contact the Education Chair, Jeff Bennion, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The California Young Lawyers Association has assembled a series of mentoring videos which are posted at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNgOYDlJUcKSWB1GJEeqI5g/videos. New videos are being added all the time.
Videos by LPMT Executive Committee members/advisors are set forth below.
Neil Pedersen – Time Management for the Busy Attorney
Neil Pedersen – The Paperless Law Office: Using Technology to Maximize Efficiency and Profit
Mari Frank – Successful Negotiation and Mediation in Your Practice
Peter Brewer – Evolving Your Solo Laws Practice: Daring to Become a Firm
Perry Segal – Today’s Technologies and Maintaining Client Confidences 101
The hash tag for the CYLA Mentoring Videos is, #10MinuteMentor, should you wish to retweet any of the videos.
View the Online CLE catalog to find webinars and programs presented by the LPMT Section or which contain practice management topics. Also find articles from Section publications, including The Bottom Line, to obtain self-study MCLE credit.
Click Here for CLE
Please provide your thoughts and suggestions for future webinars and educational programs to Jeff Bennion at email@example.com or LPMT@cla.legal. Let Jeff hear from you with suggested topics or a proposal to present a webinar or program
Submit your application now to serve on the Executive Committee of the Law Practice Management and Technology Section (LPMT). Be a part of the leadership team for the LPMT Section and the other Sections of the California Lawyers Association (CLA) as the new association begins developing plans for the future of CLA and the Sections. The LPMT Executive Committee is seeking members to step up and serve on its Executive Committee. The online application is available on the appointments page of the CLA’s website. The volunteer positions carry a three-year term. Submit your application today to join a group of very dedicated members working hard to bring information, educational opportunities, newsletters, etc., to the LPMT Section members.
For questions regarding Section requirements or how to become more involved in Section activities, please contact the Section's staff administrator or chair.
Chair: Jeff Bennion, San Diego
Staff contact: Melanie Miranda 415-795-7109
Members, let us know what you are doing so we can include your activities and accomplishments in our next eNewsletter. Let us hear from you (LPMT@cla.legal).
Purchase the State Bar’s two publications, The California Guide to Opening a Law Office and The California Guide to Growing and Managing a Law Office (official hash tag #GrowLaw) to assist you in running and growing your law practice. Your Executive Committee members are contributing authors.
The following benefits continue to be available to members of the LPMT Section.Make the most of your membership by using the following vendors who are offering discounts to LPMT Section members (listed below in alphabetical order):
15% off discount on promotional products for LPMT MEMBERS exclusively!
About Us: Recognizing a need, during the economic downturn, for a company that offers all facets of marketing a product while still maintaining the bottom line, AB Unlimited: A Marketing Resource Agency, specializes in Promotional Products & Event Graphics. AB Unlimited operates as an offsite extension of our client’s internal departments, providing cost-efficient solutions, quality products and superior customer service. AB Unlimited has a proven track record of providing resources to fit any budget, timeframe or circumstance.
Expertise: A former litigation attorney, majority owner and COO Amy Williams brings a workflow management expertise that produces projects on time and under budget. Minority owner Brian Williams brings over 20 years experience in the print advertising industry which provides him with a keen eye for color and a resourceful execution of our clients’ most difficult projects. The AB Unlimited team includes our Vice-President of Business Development, with 10 years experience in the promo industry, Account Executives, Production Manager, Production Coordinators and Trained Advertising Specialists, kitting/fulfillment crew, and delivery drivers.
AB Unlimited specializes in Business 2 Business marketing: to help sell the client’s brand and increase brand loyalty from the end user. Where other shops demand high QTY minimums, AB Unlimited is known for projects with low quantities, short runs, and one-off products with a fast turnaround time.
Contact: http://www.ab-promoitems.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (310) 424-5310
California-based Aptus Court Reporting has invested in today’s most innovative, time-saving, cost-conscious tools with your productivity in mind. We focus on a fuller view of court reporting. From time-management and pleasant interaction to ease of technology, our cornerstone has always been improving your entire workflow, not just the bottom line. Aptus provides a one-stop solution for your deposition and trial needs. Our international network of reporting expertise, cutting-edge technologies, and conferencing capabilities provides your team with outstanding court reporting services and online convenience.
We believe you’ll find an outstanding partner in Aptus Court Reporting. We proudly offer LPMT members Aptus Connect at your next deposition or one month of eDepoze as a complementary service for trying Aptus Court Reporting.
For more information on how our remote videoconferencing and exhibit tools can make your depositions smoother, please email LPMT@aptuscr.com, visit our website http://aptuscr.com, or call us at 866-999-8310.
CEB is pleased to continue to offer rebates to members of participating California Lawyers Association sections.
If you have already paid your annual section dues, CEB will apply the cost of your dues towards the purchase of either a:
Gold CLE Passport or Single full-price CEB MCLE program ticket
In addition, as a LPMT member, you will receive a 10% discount on selected products offered by CEB. To receive this discount, simply go to the bottom of the LPMT Members Only page and follow the link.
Built by lawyers, for lawyers, ClientSide provides innovative solutions that comprehensively automate the document and signature management processes of today’s law firms. With tools created with a law firm’s needs and preexisting processes in mind, ClientSide allows you to focus on growing and expanding your business.
Manage your workflow to ensure that your documents are properly prepared from the start. Use forms to send your documents out with just a few clicks. Send out custom automated reminders in accordance to your schedule. With ClientSide’s tracking tool, view the progress of your documents throughout the signing process live and receive tamper-proof audit trails showing the access data for every signed document.
ClientSide’s mission is to make your firm more efficient and make your clients happier by automating and simplifying the integral document signature processes. To start seeing improvements in your firm, visit https://www.goclientside.com/ca-bar-free-trialdiscount-page/. You’ll be able to start your free trial today and secure a 10% discount thereafter by entering the code, CABAR.
eDiscovery Litigation Specialists, Inc. provides processing, hosting, consulting, trial presentations, analytics, forensic data preservation, collection and extraction for litigation matters. They use the latest technology available, operated by experienced and highly trained legal professionals. Founded by a team nationally recognized attorneys and skilled technology paralegal with decades of experience, we understand litigation from inception through trial.
eDiscovery Litigation Specialists, Inc. will offer LPMT members a 20% discount on data processing, 15% off forensic data extraction and half off license fees (up to 3 licenses). For more information about EDLS go to www.edlsi.com or call them at (949) 218-2110. Use the discount code LPMT2016.
Inventus is a consulting practice focused on helping organizations effectively manage the legal discovery process.
Its services combine legal project management and best-of-breed technologies to provide their client base with cost-effective and defensible document reviews.
Their tools and expertise make their clients more efficient, and in turn, better positioned to manage e-discovery challenges.
As a LPMT member, Inventus is offering a 10% discount on any invoice involving line item described as “data processing” over $1,000. To receive this special discount, contact Andrew Bayer at email@example.com with the code word LUMINOSITY.
JumpStart Genius® by InnovPro Solutions, Inc.: an online software program to help attorneys and law students design, start, and manage their law firms. JumpStart Genius® helps you earn a profit, serve your clients with integrity, and have a healthy personal and family life.
JumpStart Genius Version 1 includes modules on
JumpStart Genius Version 2 will include modules on Setting Fees, Billing Clients, Managing Your Client Trust Account, Risk Management, Attorney as Employer, Finances - metrics - and running a profitable law practice, Security and Privacy policies and best practices, Outsourcing, and Trending and the Practice of law.
Enter your Discount Code: CALPMT to receive a 50% discount on JumpStart Genius. The standard price is $500, but your annual license to JumpStart Genius® is just $250. See JumpStart Genius®, our passion is Implementing Your Success™. Pricing page: http://www.jumpstartgenius.com/pricing.php [then click on the $250 discounted pricing, and when prompted, enter discount code LPMT.]
Edward Poll, J.D., M.B.A., CMC, advises law firms and their leaders on practice management, business development, and financial matters. He is a nationally-recognized practical guide to profit. His advice has benefited national, regional, and local law firms. Ed is unique in that he has long-term experience in both business and law. Ed has practiced law for 25 years, was the CEO and COO of several manufacturing businesses, and has been a consultant to small and large law firms for 15 years. - See more at: http://www.lawbiz.com/about_old.html#sthash.k5G2htAW.dpuf
As a special benefit to LPMT members, members can download one of Mr. Poll’s many information books FOR FREE. Click this link to choose your book and begin your download: http://www.lawbiz.com/lmpt-free-book - password: LMPT4FREE. In addition, Mr. Poll is offering a 10% discount on all of his other publications.
LegalBoard™ is the first and only computer keyboard designed specifically for lawyers and other legal professionals. The LegalBoard is made for time savings. There's a section symbol key and a paragraph key. You can add a footnote or comment by hitting a single key, type whatever you want in the footnote or comment and then hit shift to go back to your place in the text.
Want to insert the phrase "court of appeals"? Then hit a single key. Want it capitalized? Hit shift and the "Ct App" key. Turn track changes on and off with a key; add a bullet with a key; turn on small caps with a key; or even change the line spacing with a key. You get the idea. And most of the functions (yes, including the section symbol) even work when typing an email. The keyboard and number pad function normally when not in legal mode.
According to the LegalBoard's maker, Pro-Boards, LLC, the average user will save three to five seconds per legal key used. If you have an hourly rate of $300 per hour, that means the keyboard pays for itself in weeks or at most a few months in time savings.
But let's be real: the main reason you need one isn't to save your clients or your firm time or money. It's to keep your sanity. Nothing is more annoying than finding and inserting that footnote or section symbol. And now you can just use a key.
Buy a LegalBoard now and receive 10% off at www.legalkeyboards.com. Just insert the code CALBAR when checking out.
Connecting Your Firm to Success
“Do what you do best, practice law. We will do the rest.”
Legal Connect Consultants is a California based consulting group for solo and small law firms. Let us put our two decades of experience to work for you. Founded by Marla Mohr, a former Litigation Paralegal, with extensive expertise as a consultant to law firms in legal publishing, court reporting, court filings, litigation support, ESI, business development, vendor management and client relations. Marla identified many shortcomings in marketing/business development, vendor management and client relations within the solo and small firms. She quickly realized that some firms do not have the time, resources or knowledge to fill these critical voids and began to consult with a small group of firms who quickly benefited from her expertise. Her early successes led her to form Legal Connect Consultants.
Our consulting services include:
Increase your visibility on the web though social media, blogs and newsletters.
Work with your current and/or future vendors to lower your cost and increase your productivity. This includes:
• Litigation Support
• Legal Software
• Legal research
Improve your client services(customer service) to retain clients and get referrals.
Our goal is to help build your practice with our extensive knowledge of the legal industry, attention to detail and top-of the line customer service. We understand the time crunches you have and the need for quick responses from your partners. Our team will work with you to find the best possible solution for your case and/or firm. Together, with our partners, we have you covered!
Do you and your staff have time and/or resources to:
If you answered NO to any of these questions. We are your solution.
Contact us today for your LPMT Members Exclusive Discount
10% on consulting fees
Lexicata is the legal industry's leading CRM and client intake software. Lexicata enables law firms to effectively track and convert leads into clients with a seamless and easy client intake process. Features include interactive intake checklists, customizable online intake forms, consultation scheduler, automatic reminders, retainer letter automation, and e-signature. Lexicata also integrates with companies/softwares such as Clio, MailChimp, WordPress, Ruby Receptionist and more.
We are pleased to offer LPMT members $100 off your first year’s annual subscription. To take advantage of this special offer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-886-2750. Mention Promo Code CALPMT to schedule a demo using this code and receive your $100 discount.
General Homepage - https://Lexicata.com; Page for Scheduling a 15 Minute Demo - https://lexicata.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php
Lexology is an innovative, web-based service that provides company law departments and law firms with a depth of free practical know-how that would be impossible to produce internally. By collaborating with the world's leading commercial law firms, Lexology is able to deliver fully tailored intelligence to the desktops of business lawyers worldwide on a daily basis.
It is usually free to subscribe to Lexology. Simply register your details and create your own legal newsfeed service - geared to your practice or business interests. Lexology will immediately begin to deliver the most recent legal analysis to you. You will receive no more than one daily newsfeed email from us and this will report only on the information that you have requested. You are free to change your settings or cancel your subscription at any time. Your personal details will remain confidential at all times.
National Law Foundation – Online Forms is now offering LPMT Section Members 10% off all FORMS. Enter LPMT at check-out on www.NLFforms.com to receive this special discount. Save drafting time with their fully-editable and current FORMS which are immediately available for unlimited use upon purchase. Visit www.NLFforms.com for a complete list of all FORMS available covering most practice areas.
ShareFile is an easy, affordable secure file transfer system, client extranet, and mobile editing tool designed specifically for law firms to allow legal professionals to securely access any document, from any device, any time. Citrix ShareFile allows you to create a custom-branded, password-protected space where you can exchange business files with clients easily and securely. Whether you need to send large files by email, conduct a secure file transfer or set up a collaboration space for project-related files, ShareFile has the solution for you.
ShareFile benefits include:
As a special benefit to LPMT members, ShareFile is offering a 10% discount on the monthly rate and a 30-day free trial to determine if it would work for you or your firm. To obtain this benefit, please go to http://sf-mktg-pages.sharefile.com/CABarAssociationLP.html
A Member Benefit Worth $100. Subscription to the TechnoLawyer Archives for one year.
TechnoLawyer is an award-winning network of email newsletters for lawyers and law office administrators. TechnoLawyer's newsletters cover law office management, legal technology, law firm marketing, and litigation practice. Searching everything TechnoLawyer has published to date requires a paid subscription to the TechnoLawyer Archive. This searchable web archive contains more than 14,500 newsletters and counting, including thousands of legal product reviews unavailable elsewhere.
A one-year TechnoLawyer Archive subscription costs $100 for most people, but not for you.
Effective immediately, you and your fellow members can obtain a free one-year TechnoLawyer Archive subscription. You don't have to provide any payment information such as a credit card.
Simply use this special web page for members of the Law Practice Management & Technology Section of the California Lawyers Association to obtain your free TechnoLawyer Archive subscription. (http://technolawyer.com/affinity/lpmt-sbc.asp)
You'll receive an email message with the link to the TechnoLawyer Archive and some tips so that you can immediately start searching.
If you are already a subscriber to TechoLawyer, and would like to take an advantage of this offer to access the TechnoLawyer Archive, please send an email to email@example.com.
For detailed information about vendor benefits, go to the Members Only Section under Special Offers and Discounts
Acknowledgments – January/February 2018
Special thanks to those who have contributed content to the January/February 2018 issue of the eNews: Neil Pedersen, Jeff Bennion, Mari Frank, Peter Brewer, and Patty Miller.