I have not decided just how I want to use Dropbox yet, but I will tell you what: this is one slick program. Dropbox is a very simple, easy-to-use program you install on all your computers, and it automatically syncs your files with a set of files in the cloud whenever you make changes, on whatever computer you have Dropbox install on.
Watch the video. Dropbox is really cool. I do not think it is ready, yet, to use for sensitive client documents, but I can think of a lot of other documents I want to have with me no matter what computer I am using.
Like Rocket Matter before it, Clio is a promising online practice management solution. Clio gave me a tour last Friday, so I have seen it in action and had the opportunity to ask the developers all kinds of questions.
For lawyers currently wrestling with Time Matters, Amicus, Abacus, and other clumsy practice management packages, Clio would be a breath of fresh air, and well worth the $49 per month for attorneys and $25 per month for staff. For lawyers like me whose practice management software is based on disparate webapps like Google’s online applications, Freshbooks, and Remember the Milk, Clio has no real advantage.
I like everything about Clio except the price. For me, Clio just does not pass the cost/benefit barrier.
Since first writing this article, I’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to do an in-depth test-drive of Clio. While I still think the price is high, I also think it is worth it, especially for growing firms where the cost of equivalent hardware, software, and support would be comparable, if not greater.
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When I got my first job out of college (back when God was a child) as a loan officer trainee at a big bank, computers (old Wang workstations) were only for secretaries. I suggested to my superiors that if I had a computer on my desk I could be much more efficient but that was like asking them to send me to school to learn stenography. Several years later, when I got out of law school and went to work at a law firm and at legal aid, still no computer on my desk. But that didn’t last long.
In talking to lawyers about going paperless, I’ve come to realize that in some offices with more than one attorney or more than one staff person, the scanner (if there is one) is treated like the fax machine or the copier. That is, they have one machine, it is in a common area, and the lawyer either has to leave his or her desk to use it or ask the staff person to scan the documents. The scanner is treated like the old Wang workstation.
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Lawyers have a terrible habit of Overusing Capitalization. This goes for pleadings, discovery requests, briefs, you name it. Exuberant capitalization is the “cop talk” of legal writing.
Litigators capitalize some other words, like Plaintiff and Defendant, by convention, but many get carried away.
Capitalize the name of a document only when you are referring to a specific document. “complaint,” “counterclaim,” “third-party complaint,” and similar terms are sufficiently generic that you never need to capitalize them.
For any delicate questions of capitalization, as well as other fine points of legal style, Bryan Garner’s Redbook is an excellent legal writer’s reference.
You see them everywhere: heads bowed, thumbs flying, oblivious to the things they’re about to walk into. They’re people texting friends and family on their cell phones, the communication method du jour, favored by the under-30 set (although the rest of us are not immune).
Over the last 30 years, we’ve gone from the formality of letters sent by post, to the immediacy of faxes, to the instancy of e-mail. Each new form of communication has been both a blessing and a curse to busy lawyers. Which makes me wonder whether texting would be a good way of communicating with clients.
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Like time-share shysters and ultra high-end restaurants, most lawyers prefer not to advertise their fees. Oh, many attorneys advertise their hourly rate, but that does not really help consumers, who have no idea how long a task should take.
Sure, you have a better chance of getting a client to sign a retainer once they walk in the door, so many attorneys focus on that. But if potential clients already know what you charge before they walk in the door, your potential client:client ratio should approach 1:1.
Will you lose clients if you give up the opportunity to give your “spiel” to each one? I suppose that, in part, depends on your spiel.
I have seen criminal defense attorneys whose sales method seems to be scaring the hell out of potential clients, then trying to find out how much money the client could beg, borrow, or steal for a retainer fee. That is definitely harder to do through a website or phone book ad.
If, on the other hand, your strategy is to be straightforward, up front, and consistent, I think advertising your fees—to the extent you can—could only help. We’ll see, anyway. I am giving it a try to see how it goes.
There it is, the first smartphone available from a major carrier with a free and open-source operating system. Ain’t it pretty? That is Android Linux. On your phone. Hot.
The launch is not until tomorrow at 10:30 EDT, but Engadget already found the picture above. You can follow the launch at T-Mobile’s special site for the G1.
So does this mean Linux is ready for the pocket, even if some people think it is not quite ready for the desktop? Seems so.
Meet the T-Mobile G1 | Engadget
At Sam Glover’s behest, I have been experimenting with social networking sites such as Linked In and Facebook. Both sites urge you to find your “friends” and “connections” so that you can expand your network and uncover untold riches (they really are untold).
So you dutifully go about searching for people you know, inviting them to be your friends, and then in turn look at their friends to see who you may know in common. It’s much easier to find friends by looking at other people’s lists than it is to just randomly type in names of people you know (like your buddy Jane Johnson). If you stick with these sites for a while, you’ll periodically get waves of e-mails of people you know who have just joined and are themselves trying to expand their networks.
For lawyers, creating these on-line friendship circles raises some interesting questions about who should be your friends. For example, do lawyers want their clients to be their “friends?”
From a networking perspective, this could be a great boon to a lawyer’s practice. Become “friends” with your clients (with their permission, of course, because the client may prefer that you keep his or her identify confidential under Rule 1.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct), and then all of the client’s friends can see who the client’s lawyer is, or provide a prospective client with yet another means of checking you out. Your social network page may even drive clients to your website through a convenient link on the social networking site.
Wait a second. Your clients are going to be your “friends?”
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According to a British study, it takes us over a minute to recover our focus after checking email. That means if you check your email every five minutes or so, you are spending over eight hours a week trying to recover your focus.
That’s one more good reason to stay on task! To get back some of that time, turn off the auto-check feature on your email software. If you use webmail, don’t leave it open in a browser tab all day.
Instead, wait until your attention is already diverted to hit “send/receive.” Do it after you finish a task and your focus is already in limbo. Or before and after lunch when you have a few moments. You will spend less time in transition and more time getting things done in your day.
Email becomes a dangerous distraction | Sidney Morning Herald (via Lifehacker)
Microsoft video number 2. I don’t know WTF either, but I laughed all the way through.
(For those not following current events, here is video number 1 in the new Microsoft ad campaign designed to compete with the popular “Get a Mac” Apple ads.)
Edit: Okay, I think this guy at Engadget may be on to something. Jerry eating an apple in the hallway? Maybe they are doing a subtle take on the Mac vs. PC ads, after all, with Jerry as the Apple guy. Except less “vs.”