Episode Notes

Stephanie interviews Affinity’s Barron Henley and they dive into how lawyers can maximize their use of Microsoft Word. From formatting to footnotes, Barron offers his insights, tips, and strategies for making Word work for any law firm.  

Links from the episode:

Workshop | Beyond the Budget: Why You Need a Financial Projection 

Microsoft Word for Legal Professionals 

Microsoft Word Digital Course 

Barron’s Pinterest Page for Vegan Recipes 

Interested in hearing about personalized training for your firm? Contact sales@affinityconsulting.com 

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  • 9:06. Misdiagnosis of skillsets
  • 10:42. What are Word styles?
  • 21:44. Master your tools
  • 25:21. Paragraph glue

Transcript

Announcer: 

Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts 

 

Stephanie Everett (00:35): 

Hi, I’m Stephanie Everett. 

  

Jennifer Whigham (00:36): 

And I’m Jennifer Whigham. And this is episode 435 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Stephanie interviews Affinity’s Baron Henley on his top word tips. 

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists, Clio, & Gavel 

Stephanie Everett (00:47): 

Today’s show is brought to you by gavel, posh, virtual receptionist, and Cleo, we wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support, so stay tuned cause we’re going to tell you more about them later on. 

  

Jennifer Whigham (00:57): 

So Stephanie, we got something coming up for everybody to join if they want to. 

  

Stephanie Everett (01:02): 

Yeah, I’m really excited about this. We’re doing our redoing a workshop that we’ve done in the past. It’s called Beyond the Budget, why You Need a Financial Projection. 

  

Jennifer Whigham (01:14): 

And so this will be a two day workshop. It’s going to be April 12th and April 19th, 12:00 PM Eastern. It’s $149 to register. We’ll have the link in the show notes, but we did this for our labsters a couple months ago and it was, I would say mind blowing for the group that joined. 

  

Stephanie Everett (01:32): 

Yeah, it really was. If I, it’s fair to say, yeah, I think that a lot of Lawyers one, either we ignore our finances altogether, or maybe you’ve gotten started and you’ve started working with a budget. This is really going to take this whole concept to the next level. We’re going to teach you not just how to do a budget, but how to do a financial projection. This is going to give you so much information about your business, about your cash flow, about what your business is worth. I think it’s really going to help you think about your business very differently from a financial aspect. And I hope give you that peace of mind, right? Yeah. Because a lot of where a frustration our fear comes from is just simply not knowing. We don’t know, we don’t understand. We’re not sure what to do with the numbers. So this workshop’s going to be action-packed with a lot of information that’s really going to help break it all down, simplify it, and give you the information you really need to know. 

  

Jennifer Whigham (02:31): 

And I want to point out the simplify part because I think it can be daunting to hear the words financial projection or numbers or anything involved in that, but this will really simplify it for you. So don’t be scared off by these phrases at all, at any level that you’re at. This is something that you can join for sure. 

  

Stephanie Everett (02:49): 

And the resources that we give you step by step instructions. So we’re going to make it super easy and I would just love to see you there. I’ll be leading the workshop. I love doing this. It’s a lot of fun for me and I think for our participants as well. So if you want to join us, make sure you check out the show notes and register. 

  

Jennifer Whigham (03:10): 

Yeah, we’ll see you there. And now here’s Stephanie’s conversation with Baron. 

  

Barron Henley (03:18): 

Hi, my name is Barron Henley and I am one of the founding partners of Affinity Consulting. 

  

Stephanie Everett (03:24): 

Hi, Baron. It’s so great to have you back on the show you were on many, many, many years ago with Sam Glover. I don’t even know if you remember. 

  

Barron Henley (03:32): 

Oh, I do actually. I don’t know if that’s still out there, but I get occasional emails about that. People will listen to it randomly and then send me an email about whatever I ranted about. Yeah, I think it was Microsoft Word, but I don’t recall. But yeah, that was a while. 

  

Stephanie Everett (03:50): 

It was a while. So we thought it’s time to revisit it because for those that don’t know Baron Henley is, I feel like you need a cool title. Are you the grandfather of Legal Word document knowledge? You need a title that befits your knowledge base. We’ll work on it. I’ll ask chat. G P T. 

  

Barron Henley (04:12): 

Yeah, there you go. Should it’ll probably say something rude about me, I suspect. But 

  

Stephanie Everett (04:18): 

Yeah, maybe 

  

Barron Henley (04:20): 

I guess I have gray hair so I could be a grandfather of something 

  

Stephanie Everett (04:23): 

Godfather, 

  

Barron Henley (04:23): 

Although I don’t. That sounds cool. I don’t have any grandchildren yet, and my daughters hopefully will do something about that in the next five years or so. We’ll see. 

  

Stephanie Everett (04:33): 

Well, here’s the thing more about this stuff than most Dare I say. Yeah, the vast, vast majority of people. And I’m so excited you’re here to share with us today because what we’re going to talk about is probably one of those things that is a fundamental tool that every single lawyer I know uses and yet most don’t know how to use it well. And so it sounds maybe a little boring, not very sexy, but your whole practice depends on your use of, in most cases, word. I think at this point, not many people are using Word perfect, although there’s a few hanger on, there’s 

  

(05:14): 

Guess G-Suite is a possibility too, but a lot of, but I think in the legal profession, most people are in the word office environment. Yeah, 

  

Barron Henley (05:25): 

Unfortunately many people started with Word perfect. That fact is not unfortunate. What’s unfortunate is they tried to convert their documents and they did it wrong. And as a result, literally right before we started this, I’m working on lawyer in New York, sent me this estate planning template. It’s like this 91 page document comprised of a will and a trust, advanced directors and power of attorney. And within nine seconds it was obvious that it had begun its life and word perfect because there was all these structural defects with the document, including rando section breaks, sprinkled throughout the document, none of which are required and just make the formatting harder. There were little codes that I know come across from Word perfect. There was manual tabs across the ruler. There’s all this baggage that if you just let word open up a word, perfect file, it creates all these structural issues. 

  

(06:21): 

Like the text is accurate, but the formatting is a total mess. And unless you know what you’re doing with Word, it’s not very obvious until you try to edit and you’re like, what is wrong with this thing on those things? You just have to start over mean. Even with Word documents that began in Word, a lot of times they’ve been used and reused and recycled and for years, sometimes decades, and at this point, by the time I get them, they’re so messed up that they can’t be salvaged. If you think about a Word document as a bucket or a container, the container is so messed up that it can’t be fixed, you can’t patch it. It’s a leaky rusty bucket, and you need to start over, which is normally what we do. We create a new Word, document blank, copy the text from the old thing and paste it into the new one with no formatting attached. And you have to rebuild it from scratch if you want file stability going forward. Because sometimes people send me files and they’re like, I don’t have any idea why this is happening or what’s going on with this particular page. And the answer is it, it’s been corrupted. It needs to be started over with. And people don’t like to hear that, but that’s what you got to do sometimes. 

  

Stephanie Everett (07:36): 

So I think this is maybe a aha moment for some people because we’re in these documents, we’re in this program all day long and we all know that there are formatting challenges, but we’ve somehow, along the way, we’ve just accepted it as a part of our life that this document is not going to do the things we want it to do. And here’s the good news, is Baron’s here telling us? Yeah, because you guys forget. Formatting seems like an afterthought. And the reality is, if we started with formatting and actually understood it just a tiny bit, these documents would do what we want them to do and it would save us a lot of time, I think is the bottom line, right? 

  

Barron Henley (08:13): 

Yeah. The unfortunate reality is the using word does not improve one skillset over time. If you practice anything else in your life, free throws, golf, whatever, you’re probably going to get better at it with word because so much of it is buried and the interface doesn’t tell you what’s happening when it is. It applies a style to every paragraph. There’s nothing in the interface that tells you that. And then furthermore, there’s features and functions that Lawyers would need to use for which there are no buttons on any ribbon or tab in word. Many of the things that I use on a daily, you can only get to by right clicking, going to paragraph, clicking on a tab and checking a box. It’s a four click thing. And even though those, I would view those as super important features, they just don’t have buttons for ’em. 

  

(09:06): 

You just have to know how to get to ’em and when they’re appropriate to use. And unfortunately, you’re not likely to stumble upon them by clicking around, which is how people think. They can learn softwares, I just click around and I’ll figure it out. No, you’re not. Yeah, not with word Anyway. And then that creates a misdiagnosis of skillset. Like a lawyer will rely on a support staff person and assert that this person knows word comprehensively because they’ve been using it for 20 years, when in fact the duration of exposure doesn’t have anything to do with skillset developed. And ultimately they’re struggling with it and they’re just used to it. They accept the glitches and my document seems possessed and Word wants to do this other thing that I don’t want to do and I can’t get, paragraph number even works, so I just gave up. They just accept it and instead chisel it out of a stone tablet. And that just means it takes way longer than it should to generate documents, and that’s generally a lose proposition for a law office. 

  

Stephanie Everett (10:05): 

So you do whole trainings on this and you train firms and the administrative staff on all these things. And if you’ve never seen Baron in action, you should, but he’s agreed to come on the show today and give us some of his top tips for constructing and drafting documents and document efficiency. So maybe we should start because you kind of slipped it in there, styles. I will confess that maybe in the very recent history I didn’t really understand and appreciate styles and Baron explain them to me and now I’m using them correctly. So what are styles and what should we know about ’em and what can we do to start using them the right way? Well, 

  

Barron Henley (10:42): 

A style is a formatting definition. So when you create a new Word document, like a blank document word already has 247 styles inside the document and word watches what you’re doing in a creepy way and then applies a style to everything you type, literally every single paragraph in every Word document ever created in any version of Word, it’s a style applied to it and people don’t realize that’s happening. So if I create a footnote, it applies a style called footnote text to the footnotes. And if I don’t like the way my footnotes look, instead of selecting the footnote and picking a different font size and adding a hard return after it, which a lot of people do, the proper way to approach that is to simply update the style that’s controlling that formatting. And then you don’t have to select anything. If I have 72 footnotes in a document and I update the style to reduce the point size by two points and add a blank line in between literally all 72 footnotes, do that instantly. 

  

(11:43): 

The second I click, okay, so you’re talking about let’s assume 72 footnotes. That could be 20 minutes of teeth grinding work to make them all smaller and add space between them. And then the next time you insert a footnote, you’re going to have to do it again because you didn’t fix the style. If I fix the style, then not only do I fix all the current footnotes, but then when I add more, they already come in with the formatting that I want. But again, that’s such a fundamental aspect of controlling formatting in Word. And the interface does not disclose it. It doesn’t tell you that there’s a style applied. It doesn’t tell you the name of the style. It doesn’t tell you how to manipulate the style and using word over however long you want to use Word still doesn’t reveal that. So that’s what people are fighting against. The style, as I like to say, always wins. So you can have a style and you can apply manual formatting on top. The style will keep coming through that and switching your formatting to something else that maybe you didn’t want. 

  

Stephanie Everett (12:41): 

So it seems to me like listening to you firms, if I’m at a firm, we should have our set styles that we as a firm agree we want to use. And maybe there’s a way then to set up so that everyone in the firm’s styles are the same and then we’re all applying the same formatting just like we have naming conventions where we all agree this is how we’re going to name documents. Because the other thing that I’m sure drives people’s crazy is one partner has wants it this way maybe. Yeah. So maybe on purpose you have different style setups in your firm, but I’m going to suggest stop doing that, just everybody get on the same page with your formatting so it can be consistent. 

  

Barron Henley (13:20): 

Yeah, there’s two aspects to that. So if the document’s constructed properly with styles, I can literally reformat the whole document and just a few clicks without even selecting any texts. So when I have, let’s say I’m a support staff person and I work for three Lawyerist and they’ve agreed to disagree on formatting and they do the same. This is not weirdly uncommon, as I’m sure you’re aware, they might be all be estate planning Lawyerist for example, and they work in the same firm and yet they don’t even use the same forms a lot of times, but they often disagree on formatting. If I’m the support staff person, the document is set up correctly. From a styles perspective, it’s very, very easy to change font, point, size, paragraph alignment, the hierarchy of the paragraph numbering with just a few clicks. But when it comes to that, your point about giving people a common footprint, there’s two aspects to it. 

  

(14:10): 

Number one, there’s the blank document footprint. So when I go into Word and I open up a blank document, I start typing by default you get a Collibra, which is a fun almost no law office once it’s 11 point, which most people want 12, it adds extra space between the paragraphs by default, which people don’t want. And the line spacing is slightly bigger than single and it’s left justified for people that full justified they’re going to want to switch that. But most people don’t create new documents from a blank page. We’re usually taking notes in my experience on a blank page, but at least I can give people a set of tool formatting tools for maybe a six level deep auto paragraph numbered outline. They can easy, I get that question all the time, why can’t I just get word to give me a stupid outline that works? 

  

(14:56): 

I don’t when it gives me, I hate, I can’t figure out how to control it. So you just set that up. But the problem generally in drafting in law offices is they don’t return to a common starting point when they’re drafting new documents, they go back to instead the last one they can think of that they drafted for another client that’s similar to what they need. And because you’re never returning to a consistent starting point, you end up fixing the same problems over and over again. In addition to the fact that anybody who uses Word over a period of time knows the longer that you recycle documents, the more digital baggage they accumulate and they become harder and harder to edit because people have copied stuff into them, they brought in things with, they added a section break that isn’t necessary, but it got copied into this and that’s the one that I started with. 

  

(15:42): 

And that’s just going to make your formatting more difficult. So what we try to encourage people to do is stop just recycling the last one you did. That’s pretty close to the next one you need. And instead create a gold standard template to which you return every time you draft a document of that type and then you’ve got something you can work on upgrading, fixing, improving. And when you have this, we all have drafted some custom provision to deal with a fact pattern that we might see again in the future. And we tend to lose track of those things. Cause I can’t remember the client’s name. I know I drafted this, I just don’t remember where it is. And I tried looking for it for 20 minutes. I finally gave up and redrafted this thing. I’m absolutely certain I already drafted previously, I just couldn’t locate it. 

  

(16:26): 

So I end up spending time I shouldn’t have to spend. If you have a template to which you return, it’s basically like a chest of drawers that you can throw that kind of stuff in. And not only is it a place to put that kind of language that you can then revisit later, but they’re sharable. And then I have an easy means by which I can raise the bar for everybody in my office because we’ve got this thing that we’re making better and better over time. And in particular in practice areas where it’s negotiated. If it’s a settlement agreement, unless you’re an amazing negotiator and the other side was horrific, you probably made some compromises and intellectually that document’s been compromised and that there’s a bunch of latent defects in it, but unless you have a photographic memory, you’re not likely to be able to return it back to neutral because you can’t remember all the little compromises you made. 

  

(17:17): 

We know it’s not a good starting point and yet it’s better than a blank page. And if your choice is a compromised document or a blank page, you go to the compromise document and that’s never a good starting point. So if I can negotiate it and then I’m done with that, I’m going to go back to my starting point. Some people even create templates that are literally completely different based on which side of the table they’re on. I might be representing the buyer or the seller, and if I get the pleasure of putting out the first draft, I’m going to produce a draft that’s completely slanted toward whatever side of the table I’m on. And sometimes those templates are so dissimilar, the only thing that they share in common is the first paragraph in the signature block. Everything else has been slanted against the other side and we leave it up to opposing counsel to try to figure out all the landmines we left for their client. I’d like to have that as a starting point. And then I have started this negotiation from a superior position because I got to put out the first draft and this one is completely customized to what side of the table I’m on. So sometimes you just can’t even combine ’em because they’re so different. 

  

Stephanie Everett (18:26): 

But sounds like the big takeaways are one understand styles and how you’re using it. And so you need to set up your styles and then if you’re in a document and you need to make changes to the formatting, don’t go up there and just click on the font size. You need to actually go over and pick which style you want to be in, is what I’m hearing. 

  

Barron Henley (18:47): 

Think of your document as like a wall that you’re going to paint, and if you select the text and layer formatting on pop, you are basically painting over your wallpaper. That paint will get scraped off and you’ll see the velvet fuzzy wallpaper behind it. Word literally works like that. So if you are selecting and applying formatting in word vernacular, that’s called direct formatting. You build up layers. And then what happens with most documents that I receive when a document’s created in Word in originally whatever, so every document started with a blank page at some point that user 25 years ago when they created the form that I’m using today, that document was given default formatting by that user’s computer. And unfortunately, most people are unaware of the fact that documents have default formatting and they keep selecting and layering on top and layering on top. 

  

(19:43): 

And one of the common complaints about where it is, I’ve got this document, I’m doing basic editing, I’m adding text, I’m deleting text, I’m not doing anything else. It’s not fancy, but yet the formatting keeps shifting on me and I’m not doing it. I’m not clicking anything, but I’m getting a different font point size. I’m getting a different paragraph alignment and I’m like, why does it keep shifting? Like this document seems possessed, it’s not a possession, no exorcism is required. It’s simply that the default formatting will not leave you alone. It keeps seeping through the direct formatting, you’ve layered on top, and unless you get the underlying default in alignment with what you want to see, you’ll keep seeing something else. And again, there’s nothing about the interface that explains that. That’s one of those epiphany things when I’m doing training and we go through actual examples and I’m like, how do you even identify what the default is? 

  

(20:35): 

There’s a very specific method by which you can do that. And then once I select and I reveal the default, if it doesn’t agree with what I want, then how do I fix it? Okay, how you identify the default, the fact that there is a default, how you identify what it is and how you update it. There’s nothing in word that explains that you can use it for 20 years and you’re not going to stumble upon those three things. So I mean it’s wonderfully powerful. It is endlessly irritating and there’s a lot going on behind the curtain that you will not figure out by using it. Therefore, training becomes very important. We like to say the best bang for your technology dollar is to learn how to use the stuff you already bought. Okay, you already have office. It’s time to wrap your arms around it and figure it out even if you find the way that it handles things like people can legitimately object to the idea of styles as being moronic and making the word processing task more difficult, but that’s what word does and there’s no way to turn it off. Every paragraph has a style applied to it, and even to you hate that fact, you can’t stop it from occurring. 

  

Stephanie Everett (21:43): 

So learn how to use it, I guess is 

  

Barron Henley (21:44): 

Right. You got to learn, master your tools. I love it. And unfortunately it’s not, it’s very often not mastered at all. And so people struggle with it and they beat it to death and they spend way more time drafting documents than they should. And particularly in today’s world where so many practices are going to flat fee, you’re just exposing yourself to taking an unpleasant bath. If you don’t in some way figure out how to do that more efficiently. And it’s usually the easiest thing to fix in the law office, like improving drafting efficiency has the lowest cost and the highest impact in my professional opinion. 

  

Stephanie Everett (22:20): 

I love it. All right. With that, we’re got to take a quick break and hear from our sponsors. We, it’s my favorite Tips. 

 

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Stephanie Everett (25:05): 

I’m back with Baron. I think we’ve killed the Styles horse for now, but so hopefully everyone got the message to go learn about them and set them and use them. One of the other big easy mistakes that you see Lawyers make that we can fix when it comes to drafting documents, 

  

Barron Henley (25:21): 

An easy one would be when I’m trying to hold things together, we call it paragraph glue, but paragraph glue is an umbrella term that covers multiple types of glue. There’s a type of glue where I have a heading or a title and I want to hold it to the next paragraph and not allow a page break to occur in between. And then there’s also, I have a paragraph that I do not want to allow a natural page break to occur in the middle of, for example, an acknowledgement. I got county state, and then before me came, Baron Henley who signed this document is Free and Voluntary Act. Indeed. I don’t want a page break in the middle of that paragraph. That’s a different kind of glue. I’m holding the lines of the paragraph together. So in most legal documents that comes up and unfortunately the way people solve it is they go enter, enter, enter. 

  

(26:09): 

Like I want to push this title down to the top of the next page. Or they’ll put in a page break control enter, and then depending on how the document’s edited, that page break will come back to haunt you because now it got pushed down to a new page by itself and I end up with a whole entire blank page and the middle of my document and the page break I needed or the extra hard returns I needed to create the alignment originally now are working against me and I have to go remove them. That is all just wasted time. What you should have done in the first place is glue together the stuff you glue together. Whenever I get a document from a law office and it’s got all these page breaks in and I’m like, okay, we need to talk about glue because none of that stuff is necessary. 

  

(26:49): 

The weird thing is if you came from a word perfect, there’s a feature in Word perfect called Block Protect, and that would allow you to glue together like a title with the paragraph. And the way you applied it was you selected the title and the paragraph and you went to the format menu and down to keep text together, and you chose Block Protect. It’s like a three click deal. So that specifically glued together the title in the paragraph in Word. You don’t apply it like that. It’s a little bit different. Instead, you right click the title and then you go to paragraph and you check the box. The feature’s called Keep with Next, but I only apply it to the paragraph, the title that I want to glue to the subsequent paragraph. If I selected both the title and the paragraph, I’ve over glued because that will glue the title to the paragraph and then the paragraph to the next paragraph. 

  

(27:39): 

And if you glue too much stuff together, then you also end up with blank spots in your document because it’ll automatically shift down to the top of the next page because you glue together like four paragraphs. This happens to people all the time, but the point is, stop hitting, enter, enter, stop hitting page breaks. If it occurs to you, it would be cool if Word can do the thing you’re thinking of, for example, glue some stuff together so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Then that’s a feature, and I think people feel like they have to finesse it or they have to figure out how to work around. No, there’s features that do all that stuff. There’s nothing new in word processing. If you think it would be neat if that tool existed, there’s a 99% likelihood it does. Just don’t give up on it. 

  

(28:21): 

But unfortunately the Google doesn’t always help people with this, and I talk to Lawyerist all the time. They’re like, I’ve Googled this over and over and I can’t find the answer, and I’m like, oh, you just do blah, blah, blah. And they’re like, oh my God, are you kidding me? I’m like, we use the word differently than everybody else. Law offices require more of the word processor because our documents are more complicated. Other people don’t need to know how to do a seven level deep auto paragraph numbered outline. Other professions don’t have cross references that automatically update. They don’t do tables of contents necessarily. They certainly don’t do tables of authority. I mean, there’s a whole bunch of things like starting page numbering over the standard pleading. I got a title page with no page numbering at all, and then I got a table of contents, table of authorities, and those are typically numbered with Romans, but it starts at Roman one, even though it starts on physically page two overall. 

  

(29:10): 

Then on page 10 or 11 or 12 or Weber, the brief starts, I start over again with Arabic one, not Romans, and even though it’s page 11, I want it one. That’s a fundamental simple thing that a lot of times people don’t figure out and they end up, I’ve had people email me separate, here’s my title page, separate document, here’s my table of content, table authority, separate document. Here’s my brief separate document. I’m like, why are these separate word doesn’t have the ability to start page numbering over? I’m like, just because they couldn’t figure it out. Instead of blaming themselves, they blame the software. And I have low self-esteem, so I always think it’s my fault, and maybe that’s why I know more about Word because I’m like, there’s got to be a way to do this. It sure it’s me and not the software. And invariably that was the issue. It was me not the software. 

  

Stephanie Everett (30:03): 

Yeah. All right. I’m going to shift gears for a minute here as we start to wrap up. As our time comes to a close, one of our core values is around staying curious, always learning. So I’m just curious, what have you been learning lately? And it can be personal or professional, but what’s gotten you excited? 

  

Barron Henley (30:21): 

Well, I mean from a technical perspective, I’m always learning new things about document automation because it’s basically a programming language and there’s always, I’m constantly presented with new challenges. How do I get the language to come out correctly under any of 50 different fact pattern combinations? That’s actually one of the things I like about document automation is it constantly challenges me. It allows you to be creative. There’s usually multiple ways to do a particular thing and you’re trying to figure out the best way so that it makes the most sense to the user. So from a tech perspective, it’s just the constant learning environment of document automation. From a personal perspective, my wife and I switched to a plant-based lifestyle about eight months ago, and I spend quite a bit of time trying to find satisfying recipes cause I’m the cook in the family that are plant-based, but which are delicious and filling and good. 

  

(31:16): 

And that is an intellectual challenge, and I’m using all kinds of weird new ingredients that I never even purchased before in my entire life in spite of the fact that I cooked every meal that’s been eaten in our house for 32 years of marriage. So that’s been kind of an interesting experiment with trying to figure out how do you make a cheese sauce when you can’t use cheese? Well, I got a pretty good recipe for that and it’s pretty darn convincing. I suspect you’d have a hard time telling it wasn’t cheese if you tasted it, that kind of thing. 

  

Stephanie Everett (31:47): 

I love that. I’m super intrigued by this journey that you’ve been on because I’ve kind of followed slightly along with your food journey and I’m not there yet. I’ve dipped my toe in. I’m ready to learn more, and we’re trying to shift away so that not every meal is meat-based in our house. So I’m excited to pick your brain and maybe we’ll post your favorite recipe or ingredient in the show notes. I’ll give everyone something to look forward to. 

  

Barron Henley (32:11): 

Well, you look up my Pinterest, I post my favorite recipes on Pinterest. I’ve been posting recipes to Pinterest for a while, but I think it’s just Baron Henley all run together as my Pinterest page, but I make a tremendous number of recipes. I don’t like repeating stuff unless it’s just absolutely frigging amazing. And so I usually make four to five new recipes a week, and only one or two a week are like, oh, those, that was good. So those are the ones I post. So they’re kind of already tested, itch and tested. If you go to my page, 

  

Stephanie Everett (32:46): 

I love that. If you’ve been listening and you’re like, wow, this word stuff, there’s a lot more to it than I realized I need to learn more or my staff needs to learn more. We have good news because the fine brains at Affinity have put together some training manuals and courses, and we are putting those onto the Lawyerist website for our community. So it’ll be an easy accessible way. I will tell everybody right now, I had to use our manual for how to set up office. It was super easy. I just followed it and there’s screenshots and I was like, oh, how did I not know this stuff years ago? So in my opinion, you in 

  

Barron Henley (33:24): 

Default settings. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like whole, we have 12 pages in our manual on how to fix words, default programmatical settings. Not even having anything to do with formatting, just how word does its job is quite maddening and can be significantly upgraded and improved just by tweaking its settings. So we offer prerecorded content. We have a ton of that, but we also offer live custom training where, I mean, the big benefits are you can obviously ask questions and it can be customized for whatever practice area types of documents your office uses, which I mean sometimes like you take a prerecorded thing, let’s say you’re a litigator and they’re using state planning documents as samples. You’re like, this could not be less relevant to my world because those weren’t the kind of documents I draft and pleadings present a whole different set of issues. So if you want custom and your documents can even be incorporated into it, we do that all day and they can be delivered on site or they can be delivered remotely and if they’re delivered remotely, which is particularly attractive today, not only because it costs a little bit less, but you can chop up a long class into little pieces and spread it over multiple days and they get the recordings afterward anyway. 

  

(34:41): 

So even if they sign up for live training, we record every single one. They get the videos back and they can use those for new employees refresh training or whatever. So they’re kind of armed for the future after they go through it once. 

  

Stephanie Everett (34:53): 

Yeah, I love it. And I’ll give one last plug, which is that now that we’re teammates, these fun folks are coming in to Lawyers’ lab and have already done some workshops and we’ve already made some of these trainings, part of our lab offering, and I can already tell you the Labster, it’s Raven Reviews, it’s helping them, and so this is just the start of some of the benefits of this great merger that we’ve made happen this year. So I’m super excited. Erin, thanks for being with me today. We always learn so much when I hang out with you and we will definitely have you back on. Thank you. 

  

Speaker 1 (35:28): 

The Lawyerist podcast is edited by Britney. Felix, are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First, if you haven’t read the Small Firm roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist dot com slash book, looking for help beyond the book. Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities are right for you. Head to Lawyerist dot com slash community slash to schedule a 10 minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you. 

 

Announcer: 

The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you. 

 

Your Hosts

Stephanie Everett

Stephanie Everett is the President of Lawyerist, where she leads the Lawyerist Lab program. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap and is a regular guest and co-host of the weekly Lawyerist Podcast.

Jennifer Whigham

Jennifer Whigham is the Community Manager at Lawyerist where she coordinates the Lawyerist Insider and Lawyerist Lab.

Featured Guests

Barron Henley Headshot

Barron Henley

Barron K. Henley, Esq. is one of the founding partners of Affinity Consulting Group, a legal technology consulting firm focused on automating and streamlining law firms and legal departmentsHe earned his B.S./B.A. (marketing and economics) and J.D. from The Ohio State University and is a member of the American, Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations, and the Worthington Estate Planning CouncilHe is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Technology and the Courts, and a member of both the ABA Law Practice Management and the Real Property Trust and Estate Law (“RPTE”) Sections and is Vice Chair of the Joint Law Practice Management Group. He’s also a former member of RPTE Futures Task Force, a former Board Member for the ABA TECHSHOW, and the former Chair of the Ohio State Bar Association Law Office Automation & Technology CommitteeMr. Henley heads Affinity’s document assembly/automation and software training departmentsBarron is also an expert in launching new law firms, overhauling existing firms, and documenting and re-engineering law firm processesFinally, Barron teaches continuing legal education (CLE) classes throughout the U.S. and Canada covering a wide variety of topics related to law practice management, technology and ethics.   

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Last updated June 18th, 2024