Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : May 2009

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 SOLO/SMALL FIRM PRACTITIONER

  

Listed are some sites which you will find helpful. In this new information age, it is no longer necessary to create new information but rather know where to find information. In an effort to point you in the direction of helpful information, we will begin to provide monthly Tidbits and Bytes to Help. Beginning July 1, 2009, we will list these sites on the MSBA LOMA site, www.msba.org/departments/loma/index.htm. If there are any sites you find helpful and want to share, please forward them to me at pyevics@msba.org. We will credit you for passing along the tip to members.

Social Media Rules

The Virtual Marketing Officer Blog has a good post entitled “20 things law firms need to have in their social media guidelines”. Some of the rules are:
• Don’t give legal advice.
• When discussing the law firm or law firm-related matters write in the first-person, and make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the law firm.
• Content that is published to any website (blog) that is related to firm work should use a disclaimer.
• Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure.
• Don't criticize the judiciary in any way.
• Respect audiences. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the workplace.
• Show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory – such as politics and religion.
More rules can be found at http://tinyurl.com/clej2l.
Another excellent set of rules for social media for law firms is at the blog KM Space. This site gives very specific rules and wording for blogs and social media sites. Some of its rules are:
• Maintain client confidentiality.
• Be mindful of creating an attorney-client relationship.
• Think first (my personal favorite).
• Identify yourself.
• Details can be found at http://tinyurl.com/ce4cm3.

Who You Gonna Call?

Most solo and small firm practitioners wonder whether or not to use a consultant to help with technology or management. I would say that if you think that you need a consultant, you probably do. The problem comes in deciding how to decide what type of consultant to engage and even what to look for in a consultant. At the Does It Compute blog, “What is a Consultant, Actually?” offers an excellent list of questions to use in determining the best consultant for your firm.

The End of Lawyers?

The keynote speaker at this year’s ABA Tech Show (held in April) was Professor Richard Susskind, author of The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services. According to those in attendance, his keynote was worth the price of admission. (Considering the cost, that is great praise.) Susskind’s keynote speech can be downloaded from the ABA Tech Show site at www.abanet.org/techshow.

YouTube
can be a cost-effective marketing tool for solo and small firm practitioners.

Do You YouTube?

YouTube can be a cost-effective marketing tool for solo and small firm practitioners. It is just another way that technology can level the playing fields. The TechnoLawyer blog highlights YouTube “ads” by practitioners and points out why they work effectively. In this entry, they review a video by the The Chinese Dry Wall Lawsuit Lawyer (I am not making this up) Richard J. Serpe, a small-firm lawyer in Virginia. You can view the video and read the review, which can be helpful if you are considering using YouTube, at http://blog.technolawyer.com/2009/04/youlaw-richard-serpe-drywall.html.

Metadata: What It Is and What to Do About It

Hidden within the word-processing and spreadsheet documents that lawyers use all day long are telltale signs that can reveal potentially confidential or privileged information. Understanding what metadata is and how to properly find it and remove it from your documents is a critical skill for practicing law in the 21st century (www.llrx.com/features/metadata.htm).

Steps Along the Paperless Path: Keys to a Successful Scanning Implementation

Without a doubt, the first step to a “paperless” office is scanning. This article from the ABA’s LPM Magazine discusses in detail all the information for establishing the strategy for getting this first step correct. It is a whole lot more than, “Which scanner should I buy?” (www.abanet.org/lpm/magazine/articles/v35/is2/pg39.shtml).

Google Voice: Is There Anything It Can’t Do?

Recently on the Solo Email List, there have been questions about phone systems, so this should be of some interest.
Google is beta testing its newest product, Google Voice, which is supposed to deliver a high-end digital phone system to everyone for free. According to a number of blogs, it is going to be a great product. Two blogs, TechCrunch and LifeHacker provide two good reviews [Tech Crunch: http://tinyurl.com/bpwypk; Life Hacker: http://lifehacker.com/5173793/a-first-look-at-google-voice].

Legal Technology Decisions Made Simple

For solo and small firm practitioners, sometimes making the decisions about technology can be even more complicated than the technology itself. In an excellent free podcast from the ABA, Simplifying Technology Decisions for Solo and Small Firms, three excellent legal tech experts have done a good job discussing how to make decisions. Sharon Nelson and John Simek were keynote speakers at the 2006 Solo and Small Firm Conference and were well-received. The podcast is available at www.abanet.org/abastore/books/inside_practice/2009-04.html#podcast.

I-Phone Apps for Lawyers

In an article from TechnoLawyer, Jeffery Allen, a California lawyer and tech guru, lists his favorite smartphone apps for lawyers.
Zeptoliner. Software for using outlines for taking notes, preparing arguments, etc. ($7.99)
My Eyes Only. Stores your passwords, credit card number, and other sensitive information in an encrypted state on your iPhone. ($8.99)
I-Clickr PowerPoint Remote. Transforms your iPhone into a remote control for PowerPoint presentations ($9.99)
Mobilefiles Pro. Enables you to move documents on and off your iPhone for easy portability ($9.99)
Spreadsheet. Enables you to handle relatively simple spreadsheet work on your iPhone and to transmit a file readable by Excel ($5.99)
Timewerks. Provides a basic time-recording and invoicing system for use on your iPhone ($4.99)
Documents. Calls itself an “iPhone Office Suite” ($4.99)

Twitter Woes

Finally, if you are like many people who can’t figure out the fuss about Twitter and have five minutes to spare then view “The Twouble with Twitter
Also, just a reminder about the excellent “Solo Day @ The Annual Meeting Program” on Friday, June 12, 2009, in Ocean City. Sessions include:
• “Using Social Networking Sites to Grow Your Practice”
• “Finding the Silver Lining: Practice Tips for Managing in Tough Times”
• “The Vocational & Nurse Expert in a Workers Compensation & Liability Case”
• “Paralegals: Your New Best Friend and Key to Efficiency and Profitability”
• “How Much is This Business Worth? Valuations For Your Clients & Your Practice”
• And the keynote: “The Virtualization of America: Knowing What’s Coming Helps You Thrive”, with Michael Rogers, New York Times, Futurist www.practicalfuturist.com and MSNBC commentator.
See you down da ocean, hon.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin: May 2009

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