Editor: W. Patrick Tandy
|Solo/Small Firm Practitioner
"Tidbits & Bytes:
Catching Up on Old Periodicals"
|By Pat Yevics, MSBA Director
Law Office Management Assistance
At this time of year, I try to catch up on
my reading. I have been going through some of my magazines and publications, and
I would like to share some of the information I have read. In addition, I am
including some Internet sites that I have learned of at some seminars and used
in some of my own presentations.
From the Free
Law Technology News
I regularly recommend that practitioners
subscribe to Law Technology News. It is a free monthly publication that
mostly contains information from companies about their products, but it is a
quick way to keep up with new hardware and software. It has just celebrated its
and its editorial content has improved dramatically over the 10 years.
- Which PDA? - There is an excellent
review and comparison of the many products on the market in the October 2003
issue of Law Technology News (I told you I was catching up on my
reading). In order to read the article on-line you must subscribe. Go to
The name of the column is “Fifth Gear,” and the article is called “Your Whole
World, In Your Hand.” The link is
www.lawtechnews.com/r5/showkiosk.asp?listing_id=414661. Although it
did bring up the article when I typed in the address, I am not certain it will
always work if you do not register. If you do register, you have the option of
not accepting advertising or having your e-mail shared.
- Power Persuasion - Craig Ball is a
solo practitioner and legal consultant from Houston. He recommends that
practitioners start to learn (and ultimately use) PowerPoint. According to
Craig (from the same October 2003 issue of Law Technology News),
practitioners can teach themselves the basics of PowerPoint in a single
evening. However, to go beyond the basics he recommends using the PowerPoint
area of MS website at
www.microsoft.com/office/powerpoint. He also recommends reviewing
postings in one of the PowerPoint newsgroups such as
microsoft.public.powerpoint. In addition, you could check out the Google
Groups for PowerPoint discussions.
- Tips for Upgrading - Although the
article was written to assist mid-sized firms with upgrading their computer
systems, the tips are universal. The article from the October, 2003, Law
Technology News was written by Wayne E. Smith, manager of Information
Systems at Chester, Willcox and Saxbe in Columbus, Ohio. The tips are:
- Have a compelling reason for the
- Do your homework.
- Get as much input and feedback from
all potential stakeholders as possible…
- Always get the best.
- Get more than you need.
- Track what larger firms are doing. [This
is a good idea even for solos and small firm practitioners because
technology can level the playing field – PY]
- Test and document everything
thoroughly once you have decided to upgrade.
- Top 10 Websites of the Last 10 Years
- Robert Ambrogi has been managing editor for Law Technology News for
the past 10 years. Over those years, he has written on and evaluated websites.
Much of my information about sites has come from his articles. He wrote an
article about the top 10 sites of the last 10 years in celebration of Law
Technology News’ 10th Anniversary. He states that these are the 10 most
influential websites, although they may no longer be judged “the best” by
today’s standards. I think the list is an excellent one and worth sharing. If
you are not familiar with these sites, take a look. They are described in
detail in the October issue under WebWatch.
4. and 5
(a merger of Law Journal Extra and Counsel Connect)
From Law Office
- 10 Tips for Marketing
visitors sign up for an e-newsletter.
e-newsletter in HTML format.
content provider for AvantGo which is a medium that allows PDA users to
see your Web content. For more information, go to
writing a blog. (For more information on blogs, see the article from the
October, 2003, Bar Bulletin at
www.msba.org/departments/loma/articles/articles.htm and go to
your website for search engines.
your site has the three things business clients look for: industries
served, businesses represented and client success stories.
directional norms on the Web. In other words, Web users expect a certain
layout. Know what that is and follow it to make it easier for users to
putting up content you want and not what users want. Such unwanted
content may include welcome messages, firm history or mission
with your Web bio.
See what comes up when you put your name in Google and Google Groups.
[From “Ten Tips for Marketing
Online,” by Larry Bodine; August/September, 2003]
- The Envelope Please… - The winners
of the 5th Annual Best Law Office Website Contest conducted by Law Office
Computing were listed in the October/November 2003 issue. Take a look at
what are considered successful sites. They were judged on aesthetics, ease of
use and navigation, quality and quantity of content, unique features and
search engine effectiveness.
The winner of the large firm category is
Jones Day of Washington D.C. (www.jonesday.com).
Runners up are Kirkpatrick & Lockhart (www.kl.com),
Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox (www.skgf.com)
and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur (www.porterwright.com).
The winner in the small firm category “by
a mile this year” is Zupkus & Angell (www.zalaw.com)
from Denver. The runners up are Wolf Greenfield & Saks (www.wolfgreenfield.com),
Gorberg, Gorberg and Zuber (www.mylemon.com)
and Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell (www.gcglaw.com)
from Concord, New Hampshire.
It is interesting to note that runners up
in both the large (Kirkpatrick & Lockhart and Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein &
Fox) and small (Wolf Greenfield & Sacks) categories were designed by the same
company, Greenfeld Belser from Washington, D.C. (www.gbltd.com).
It is also worth noting that David J.Gorberg designed the site for the small
firm runner up, Gorberg, Gorberg and Zuber.
[To request a packet of information on
developing and maintaining a law firm website, please send an e-mail with your
mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call Pat Yevics at (800) 492-1964.]
Law Marketing Portal
An excellent site for one-stop marketing on
the Internet is www.lawmarketing.com. Although this is geared to larger
firms, much of the information is easily adapted to solos and small firms.
As many as 55 billion (yes, billion)
posted pages are not found when a searcher enters key words. They are not
visible because they have not been located or indexed. There are many reasons
they are not found, but one of the reasons could be that they are PDF files,
which are generally not searchable or indexed.
There are now two ways to search PDF files.
Google currently indexes 13 million PDF files. In addition, Adobe also allows
searching of 1 million PDF files. To search these files, go to http://searchpdf.adobe.com.
Keeping Your Website Fresh
It is important but difficult to keep a
website current or even give the impression that it is current. One way to
consider doing that is to subscribe to a news service that will provide new
legal news content. Lawyer’s Weekly, a newspaper for solo and small firm
practitioners, provides daily legal content. For a sample and details, go to
[From Law Practice Management, ABA
Law Practice Management Section, November/December 2003.]
Looking for Someone?
In a recent post to the Solo and Small Firm
Email List, MSBAsolo, someone wanted to know how to find someone who had moved and
left no forwarding address. Here are some places online that could assist you
- Portico (http://indorgs.virginia.edu/portico/home.html)
– This is a site from the University of Virginia that is a collection of links
created by the development office. It is very organized and has many
- Switchboard (www.switchboard.com)
– This site still maintains a reverse lookup for phone numbers.
- Accurint (www.accurint.com)
– This is one site that came up many times on the Email List. It was highly
recommended. It is an aggregator of public records data. It is done on a
pay-as-you-go basis for a reasonable price.
- VitalCheck Network (www.vitalcheck.com)
– This site describes procedures and fees required of each state’s vital
records agency and links if they are available.
- Public Records (www.searchsystems.net)
– This site links to free and public databases throughout the United States.
- KnowX (http://knowx.com)
– This is another site for public records. Some require a fee, but it is
usually less than $10. Although you must register, it is on a pay-as-you-go
- Skipease (www.skipease.com)
– Skipease was created by skiptracers, people searchers and public records
researchers to search for people and public records. It is a free service with
other types of information available as well.
[From a presentation to the Virginia
Trial Lawyers, October, 2003 by Hazel Johnson, Richmond Librarian, McGuire