Showing posts with the label Technology

Chatting with Clients

Chatbot apps enable firms to effortlessly answer client questions. Chatbots respond to questions with text and voice. The apps are affordable and easily added to law firm websites.  Firms can select the data provided by chatbots, including information about the firm and legal problems it can solve. The apps can attract new clients and improve service to existing ones. Use the resources below to help add a chatbot to your firm's website. Articles Applications for Legal Chatbots Attracting Clients with a Chabot Benefits of Chatbots and Live Chat Chooisng a Live Chat Provider Ethical Implications Guide to Chatbots Using Chabots on Websites Why and How to Create a Chatbot Books Designing Bots Guide to Making Chatbots Using Bots to Grow Firms Providers Codal Reviews Law Next Directory Samples Ashmore Law Firm  (Dallas, TX - General Practice) Burbank Law Firm (Fullerton, CA - Estate Planning) Phillips & Associates  (New York City - Discrimination Law) Retail Examples  (Various - Con

Writing Website Disclaimers

Continually review your law firm website to keep it current and comply with evolving ethical requirements. Avoid ethical complaints by using  a short disclaimer at the bottom of each page with a link to a detailed Disclaimer Page.  Add a Policy Page to comply with laws governing privacy. For more information, see the resources listed below and  consult your state bar association.  Articles ABA Modernizes Marketing Rules Best Practices for Privacy Policies Disclaimers for Firm Blogs and Websites Ethical Guide to Lawyer Marketing Ethical Guidelines for Websites Guide to Website Design Overview of Online Ethics for Lawyers   Books Ethics and Technology Legal Ethics and Social Media Marketing on the Internet   Forms Jennifer Ellis Blog Louisiana Legal Ethics Blog Samples Disclaimers Cardone Firm (New Orleans) - personal Injury Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo (Newark) - criminal immigration and traffic Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterseon (Lexington) - disability, insurance, and personal inj

Protecting Confidences

Cybersecurity, ethics, and technology  are constantly evolving.   Review your current practices to protect client confidences and comply with ethical rules. Below is a checklist of practices to consider and articles and books for implementing them. Checklist Accounts - Use separate accounts for personal and work (i.e. email, banking and social media, etc.) Backups - Backup client files, correspondence, and other records Conversations - Do not discuss sensitive information near others or smart speakers Emergencies - Exchange landline and cell numbers with co-workers for emergency contact Encryption - Encrypt devices and drives to protect against data theft Erasure - Turn on settings that allow remote erasing when devices are   lost or stolen Locks - Use a locked room or file cabinet to secure paper documents Messages - Use secured messaging or encryption to protect emails and documents Networks - Use secure Wi-Fi network instead of public networks Passwords - Use a password manager pr

Cloud Computing

Cloud services can be used to backup, process, share, and store documents and data . Cloud storage reduces the need for hardware and keeps lawyers and staff  in sync whether working from home, the office, or on the road. Cloud services can be used for document preparation, legal research, and practice management. See below for a list of cloud benefits and resources for implementing them at your firm.   Benefits Eliminate equipment Increase Productivity Reduce Costs No Upfront Investment Save Time Work From Anywhere Articles Advantages of Cloud Computing Apps for Cloud Computing Choosing a Cloud Storage Service Cloud Computing vs Cloud Storage Cybersecurity in the Cloud Google vs Microsoft Moving Your Firm to the Cloud Preventing Data Breaches Public vs Private Services Trends in Cloud Computing Ways to Use the Cloud Books Cloud Computing for Dummies Cloud Computing for Lawyers Cybersecurity for Lawyers Legal Technology Guide Paperless Law Offices Software Licensing and Cloud Computing

Improving Productivity

Below is a list of personal productivity tips from the ABA Guide to Doing More in Less Time .  The book was written by two lawyer/consultants who explain easy to implement steps each to improve your practice and well-being. The detailed Table of Contents facilitates adopting of strategies one-at-time.  Set a goal of reading a chapter every month to work smarter. For additional study, see check the apps, articles, and books listed below.   STRATEGIES Create Systems Eliminate Distractions Delegate to Others Eliminate Clutter Schedule Tasks and Use Calendars Plan Meetings Remove clutter from desktops Set goals and priorities Use technology tools Apps Calendars To Do Lists Productivity Articles Being More Efficient Increasing Employee Productivity Improving the Workplace Keeping Time Self-Improvement Using Calendars to Manage Tasks Books Collaboration Tools   Organizational Skills Project Management   Time Management  

Blocking Unwanted Calls

Many Americans are choosing not to answer their phones because of a deluge of robo and spam calls. Legislation has been adopted to stop the unwanted calls, but the problem is likely to continue. Below are strategies to block unwanted calls and articles with additional tips.  Strategies Apps - use an app like Hiya or NoMoRobo to block robocalls Complaining - submit a complaint to the FCC or FTC  Do Not Disturb - send calls to voicemail  Notifications - turn off notifications on smartphones to stop alerts from texts and calls Privacy  - keep your phone number confidential and/or use a second number Registering - register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry Screening - use settings to silence unknown callers and send them to voicemail, or hire an answering service to screen incoming calls Setting  - use smartphone settings to silence unknown callers, block unwanted calls and stop spam texts  Articles Anti-Robocall Act A pps For Call Blocking Avoiding Scams Blocki

Monitoring Legal Trends

Below is a list of current trends in the legal profession. Keep your firm ahead of the competition by adopting them early. Learn more about the trends by reading the articles and books appended at the end of this post. Trends  Artificial Intelligence - gradual adoption of AI for drafting, litigation, marketing and research Cloud Computing - growing use of cloud for collaborating, saving and signing documents Cybersecurity - rising use of authenticator apps, encryption, and training Office Space - spread of unassigned seating to accommodate hybrid workers and reduce rent Payment - increasing acceptance of credit cards and other electronic payment alternatives Remote Work - remote working continuing at least two each week Schedule - hybrid work schedules with 2 or 3 days in office and remainder at home Signature - increasing use of e-signing with Adobe Sign, DocuSign and Microsoft Teams Team Building - greater emphasis on online engagement to keep lawyers connected  Training - continued

Choosing Legal Software

Small firms and solos can enjoy many benefits from management software, including client satisfaction, cost reduction, data protection, and information sharing. Monthly subscription fees range from about $40 to $100 per user. The software can manage billing, payments, calendars, cases, communications, conflicts, and documents. Select software that is easy to use and flexible to fit your needs. Look for features like cloud storage, paperless processing, online payment, and smartphone accessibility.  Read reviews to assess quality, scalability, support, and training.  Check your bar association for member discounts and preferred providers.  Use the resources listed below to select a vendor, implement software, and train staff.  Articles Benefits of Business Software Client Relationship Software  Digitally Transforming Yourself Questions to Ask Selection Criteria Solo and Small Firm Software Technology Trends Tips for Choosing Types of Legal Software Assistance  ABA Directories State Bars

Securely Sending Documents

Electronic delivery speeds the delivery of documents whether filing, collaborating, sharing,  or seeking signatures.  Assure timely and secure delivery by checking addresses and using encryption. Consider alternatives that work best for you, your clients, and co-counsel. Consider the electronic delivery alternatives listed below. Read the see resources listed below for additional tips and a list of providers for client portals.  Alternatives Client Portal - secure, but requires practice management software Cloud - convenient for collaborating and getting signatures E-mail - instantaneous, but security risks Fax - quick and secure, but requires hardware Articles Alternatives to Attachments Client Portals Digitally Signing Documents Email Security Ethical Guidelines Keeping Communications Confidential Protecting Documents with Encryption ,  Passwords, and Portals   Using Email to Communicate with Clients Securing Your Communications Sending Paper Documents Staying Up to Speed on Security

Using Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and data analytics are powerful tools for automating repetitive tasks, crunching data, and competing for clients.  They can assist with analyzing, litigating, marketing, researching, and writing.  Consult the practice management service of your state bar association for help implementing these tools. Contact legal technology vendors to learn the benefits cost of their products. For self-study, see the articles, books, and software listed below. Articles AI Tools for Lawyers , Emerj Blog, 2/1/2022 Automating and Creating with AI (WSJ Feb. 20, 2023) Benefits of Artificial Intelligence , ABA News, July 2017 Building AI into Law School Curriculums , Guardian, July 31, 2017 Changing the Legal Profession with AI , Business Law Today, 2/21/2022 Chatbots for Law Firm Websites , ABA Journal, 7/22/2022 Collecting Data for Small Firms , Law Technology Today, April 13, 2018 Examples of AI Use by Lawyers , Thompson Reuters, 1/22/2023 Ethical Issues , Squire Blog, January 20

Getting Paid Faster

Get paid faster by screening new clients for ability to pay, requiring them to make deposits, and keeping them happy. Make it easy with timekeeping systems, billing software, monthly invoicing, and follow-up.  Facilitate quick payment by accepting credit cards and using online payment apps. Avoid fee disputes by communicating fee expectations and drafting client-friendly bills. For more tips, see the articles, books, software, and reviews lsted below.   Articles Accepting Electronic Payments Approaches to Collections Automating Timekeeping Avoiding Write-Offs Best Practices Billing Procedures Billing Software Billing Tips for New Lawyers Engagement Letters Ethics Getting Paid Improving Billing and Collections Keeping Clients Happy Payment Apps Payment Systems Sample Billing Language Tips for Billing Software Trends   Books Attorney-Client Agreements Drafting Bills Clients Rush to Pay Guide to Law Firm Profitability Keeping Clients Happy Quickbooks in One Hour Software Bill4Time

Using Emojis

Emojis have been used in texts, tweets, and emails since 1998.  Originally limited to communications between family and friends, they are becoming popular in professional communications. Emojis emphasize  positivity and help convey feelings . Start slowly by limiting to communications with emoji users and selecting images with common meanings like OK or Thumbs  Up .  Mind the age gap since different age groups give different meanings to emojis. Get perspective by reading about the history of emojis   benefits of using them , interpreting them in the courtroom , and why they are acceptable at work . Get proficient  by reading a guide to using emojis articles about age gaps ,  applications ,  etiquette , silencing , user tips and  evidentiary value .

Updating Technology

Using up-to-date technology can keep your firm competitive and make work easier. Get help by resources available from the ABA's Legal Technology Resource Center , CUNY’s Tech Center , and your State Bar's  Lawyer Assistance Program . Learn how to automate by reading articles about client portals ,  client relationship software,   document automation , keeping time, and virtual assistants , Also read ABA books about computers , collaboration ,  cybersecurity , and  technology .  Use  the following Technology Checklist to assure success whether working from an office, home, or on the road. SOFTWARE Billing (Bill4Time, PC Law, Quicken, Tabs3, TimeSov, Zola, etc.) Bookkeeping (e.g. QuickBooks and ZipBooks) Client Relationship (e.g. Aptivo, Clio Grow, Salesforce, or Zoho CRM) Conferencing (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Zoom) Email Marketing (e.g. Constant Contact or Mailchimp) Employee Incentives (e.g. Bonusly) Office Productivity (e.g. Office365 or Google Workspace) Pasword

Going Paperless

Below are tips on how to become paperless office or reduce the amount of paper used in your practice. Less paper means lower costs and greater efficiency. For detailed guidance, read articles about  going paperless , why it might be right for you , and simple steps for going paperless . Also see LexBlog's Guide to Transitioning to a Paperless Law Firm  and ABA Books about Going Paperless  and Paperless in One Hour .   Visit the Paperless Lawyer Website  for a blog and podcasts about going paperless. View the  Paper Chase  movie for an award-winning look at student life at Harvard Law School in the 1970’s. GOING PAPERLESS 1. Switch to a paperless client intake system 2. Create a system for ensuring files stay paperless 3, Digitize your existing paper files 4. Scan any paper as it comes into the office 5. Keep paperless files organized 6. Avoid creating paper by not using printers and fax machines

Audio vs Video Calling

Below are tips for deciding whether to use audio or video when calling adversaries, clients, or associates. Audio calling remains a workhorse for communication despite the growing use of video calling. Consider switching off video during conference calls to avoid distraction. Improve your communication skills by reading articles about best practices , calling techniques ,  communication policies , and video conferencing tools . Also see the ABA book about Improving Client Communications  and Clio’s Guide to Videoconferencing for Lawyers . Calling with Audio vs Video Accommodation  - be considerate of hearing impaired who need visual cues. Audio - useful for short and impromptu calls; use to focus on what is said and take notes.   Fatigue - limit the length and number of video calls to avoid fatigue. Medium  - determine the best medium for your message - calling, writing, or face-to-face Notification  - alert callers at the start of calls about your preference for audio vs video.  Vide

Replacing Apple Devices

Below is a list of Apple products with recommendations for when to replace old ones. Apple  has replaced the Lighting connector with USB-C on the iPad Pro, Ipad Air and iPad Mini. In the near future, in the Fall of 2022, Apple is expected to switch to USB-C on standard iPads and in the Fall of 2023 USB-C Is expected on iPhones. To learn more about timing purchases of Apple products, read  Best Time to Buy Apple Products  and visit the  iPhone JD  blog and the  9to5Mac  website. Also read about replacing devices with battery decay . Time for Replacing Apple Products iPhone SE  - could take till 2024 to update with  USB-C (instead of Lightning connector) iPhone -  update in Fall 2023 should add USB-C. Fall of 2022 added eSims, improved camera, screen and faster processors. Apple also added emergency access to satellite signals for text messaging. AirPods - in September 2022 AirPods Pro  were updated with better noise cancellation and longer battery life.  Apple Watch - Apple upgraded it

Using FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Question Pages attract prospects, boost rankings, and drive traffic to law firm websites. They save lawyer and staff time by enabling visitors to answer their own questions. FAQ Pages can answer questions about fees, hours, and practice areas. They can also explain common legal problems and how the firm can help solve them. Remember to add a search bar at the top of the FAQ Page and periodically update the answers. Enhance visibility by including a link to the FAQ Page in drop-down menus, footers, and sitemaps. For more FAQ tips, read articles about benefits , content , and design of FAQ Pages. For further study about websites, read the ABA's book about Marketing on the Internet , Clio's Guide to Website Design , and Lawyerist’s Web Site Reviews . Also see below for links to effective FAQ pages. SAMPLE FAQ PAGES Questions About the Firm Dixit Law Firm , Tampa (business and technology) Fry Law Firm , Atlanta (personal injury) Thurman Law Firm , Hillsboro (gener

Best Apps for Lawyers

Apps enable  access to data and documents 24/7 at home, on the road, or in the office.   They can  be installed   quickly  on  computers, smartphones , and tablets .  Some apps are free while others require  purchase or  a subscription fee. Below is a list of popular apps along with articles, books, and websites to help use them in law practices.  Apps Archiving - DropBox, Google Docs, and OneDrive Billing - Quickbooks, Square, and Zoho Calendering -  Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar Dictating - Apple Dictation, Dragon Anywhere, and Microsoft Dictate Litigating - Depose and TrialPad Managing - Clio, Lexacata, MyCase , Rocketmatter, and Zoho Note Taking - Evernote, Notepad, and One Note Researching - dLaw and Fastcase Scanning - Abby, Adobe Scan, and Evernote Scannable Writing - Grammarly, Microsoft Editor, and Copyscape Articles Robert Ambroggi,  40 Essential Apps for Trial Lawyers ,  LawSites  Blog , Feb. 12, 2015 Robert  Ambroggi,  A BA Tech Survey Reveals Lawyers'