Law Practice Tips

Jim Calloway is the Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program. I served as co-chair of ABA TECHSHOW 2005 and the first two GPSSF National Solo and Small Firm Conferences in 2006 and 2007. I frequently write and speak on legal technology issues, Internet research, law office management and organization and legal ethics. I make several dozen presentations per year to county bar meetings and other CLE events within Oklahoma.

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Would you invest just a few minutes doing something that will save you minutes each workday afterwards? Outlook users can quickly and easily automate several email actions to run sequentially using Quick Steps.. Open an email in Outlook and you see the Quick Steps in the Ribbon at the top. You can use the arrow in the lower right-hand corner to expand the view. There is a Create New command to build new Quick Steps. Here is an example of how this works. There are two other people in my Department, Nickie Day and Julie Bays. I email both frequently.…
So, if your firm wants a better tool for interoffice communication than email should you use Slack or Teams? That was the framework for a presentation “Collaborating: What is the Best Tool?” at ABA TECHSHOW 2021. However, the TECHSHOW planning board asked John E. Grant, the founder of Agile Attorney Consulting and Kenton Brice, Director of Technology Innovation, University of Oklahoma College of Law to do this presentation. These two might have a bit of a reputation for being overachievers. So, they “over-engineered” their paper for the session, in their words. And that benefits you as much…
Many media outlets covered the plight of Stefan Thomas, the man who, as of January 2021, had $250 million worth of bitcoin trapped in his Bitcoin wallet. He secured the keys to the wallet on an IronKey flash drive. I recall in one 60 tips presentation years ago noting the Mission Impossible feature of the IronKey that provides extra security by terminally encrypting the contents of the drive after 10 incorrect password entry attempts. Yes, the data does self-destruct. Mr. Thomas lost the paper with his password written on it and, after a few wrong guesses, now has two password…
Lawyers are trained to consider the negative implications of anything new. When the idea of chatbots on law firm websites first surfaced, many were concerned about the potential for malpractice liability based on poor advice from a chatbot. But giving legal advice is not something your law firm would ever want a chatbot to do. Where a chatbot can excel is assisting visitors with quickly navigating your website, routine questions or directions on how to schedule an appointment, e.g. “You mentioned bankruptcy. Our law firm’s bankruptcy resource page is xyzxyz.com. Would you like to schedule an in-office or virtual appointment…
Attorney@Work posted Takeaways and Tips From ABA TECHSHOW 2021 today. I was happy to contribute, along with several legal technologists and practice management advisors. If you know me, you know I love ABA TECHSHOW. The takeaways on this featuree are wide-ranging and cover a diverse set of issues. I hope it will inspire you to attend the next ABA TECHSHOW, which will be held March 2-5, 2022. Most who take the time to read this post will find something they can put to use right now and also some items for future planning.…
As most of you know, beginning with the March lock down I started posting daily tips and did that for all of 2020. The most popular tip of the year was a fairly basic tip about reformatting Word documents and it pointed out how many Word users don’t know what all of those choices and buttons they see every day actually do. So I am sharing this one once again. Feel free to share the link below with someone you know who might need to know this. Removing Formatting from Word Documents (April 17, 2020)
Most lawyers now appreciate that an online presence and online marketing efforts are important for client development for most law practices. Your marketing efforts typically cost both time and money. Our latest Digital Edge podcast is How to Win Clients Online for Free! Our guest is Gyi Tsakalakiss, a former lawyer and the founder of AttorneySync, an online legal marketing agency that helps lawyers be where their clients are looking.            Gyi Tsakalakis Gyi stresses that some of the best ways to gain clients won’t cost you anything but time. Personally I am always surprised at how many small  law…
ABA TECHSHOW 2021 will be held March 8 -12, 2021 and will be virtual. But a virtual venue means it is much more affordable with lowered registration fees and no need for travel and lodging expense. As you know, ABA TECHSHOW 2021 brings together attorneys, legal technologists, thought leaders, law professors and many legal tech vendors. The educational sessions are top-notch, whether you want to learn more about Microsoft 365, cybersecurity or Artificial Intelligence in legal work. Registration is $295 for ABA members (and Oklahoma Bar Association members too.) The non-member registration fee is $350. That is much less than…
That helpful person calling from Microsoft Tech Support is most likely a scammer. The odds go up to 100% if they tell you they noticed a problem with your computer and are calling to help you fix it. You can easily test that premise by telling them they have just reached an FBI agent and asking for their real name. Such surprise phone calls from Microsoft tech support are always scams. A legitimate call could result if a user initiated something with Microsoft in the preceding hours and is expecting a return call. The legitimate tech support phone call will…
Lawyers deal with confidential client information and we have a duty to secure that information. No matter who you are, you wouldn’t want to donate, give away or even discard a computer or phone with information still on the device. No one would want to transfer a computer or phone without making certain the personal information on it is wiped. In the old days, I could confidently send lawyers off to Darik’s Boot and Nuke at https://dban.org/ after warning them to be cautious with whatever media they installed the tool on, lest they accidentally nuke something they did not intend…
Let me stress this is “ten top” tools, not a ranked Top Ten list. But these ten types of tools should be on the agenda for implementation in most solo and small firm practices. Here’s the quote I’d emphasize from the column. The most significant observation I have distilled from the past year is the practice of law has bifurcated into two “branches,” if you will: people law and business/corporate law. With each passing year, each branch looks a bit less like the other in terms of the operations and business processes. We will be exploring those distinctions more throughout…
The “On Tech” newsletter from The New York Times typically has great content. I encourage people to subscribe to this. The current edition is Why Your TV Spies on You, which is a fact of life for most smart TV’s and streaming services. But while some lawyers may find that discussion interesting, I want everyone to scroll down to the next feature, “Three must-have apps for every smartphone” by Brian X. Chen, the personal technology columnist for The New York Times. I would guess few lawyers have all three of these apps and many do not have any of…
Negative online reviews can hurt businesses and law firms are no exception. But other types of businesses don’t have to be concerned about confidentiality and attorney-client privilege if they choose to respond to a negative review. Here are some suggestions for lawyers on dealing with negative online reviews. The American Bar Association released Formal Opinion 496, titled Responding to Online Criticism on January 13, 2021. You can download the opinion here. If you have an interest in the opinion, I encourage you to download and save it, as these opinions are available for free download for a limited time.…
Muting a browser tab quickly is a skill that you may not know you need to know. But once you use it a few times, you won’t forget. Blaring popup video ads are bad enough, but when you still have the headphones on from your last video-conference, they can be startling. If you have many tabs open and are switching frequently, sometimes it is hard to determine which tab belatedly launched that video or sound. Some browsers have recently changed and so the results returned by search engines on this subject may be dated. But for most, it is simple:…
It is now a cliché to note that we have more computing power in our mobile phones than NASA had at its disposal during the moon missions. Today we’ll discuss harnessing one bit of that power with scanning apps. Suppose you are visiting with a client outside of your office and the client shows you an important document. You need the document for the client file, but you hate to take the only document with you when you don’t have the physical client file to keep it in. Hopefully this example points out how every lawyer should be able to…
The Oklahoma Bar Association has a new digital publication called Courts & More. It is sent to OBA members and features links to the recent Oklahoma appellate court opinions and other Oklahoma legal news. I write a practice management feature for that publication and will republish it here the week after it goes out to OBA members. Every law firm needs the ability to securely share information electronically with clients. Email is not a secure communication tool. Every law firm also should have a goal of providing superior client service. Providing your clients a secure location to log-in to review…