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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Do you find you don’t print many photos even though later you would like to have more prints? You may be great at determining which photos to use as exhibits in court, but not so good a picking which family gathering picture or nature scene to print. For $6.99 a month, Google Photos will use artificial intelligence to automatically select your 10 best photos and mail the prints to you. It should be entertaining to see what AL selects as your top ten each month. For more information on this new service read For $6.99 a month, Google will send
To be honest, one of the last things I’d ever want to write a law practice technology tip about is Jeffery Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell’s deposition. But after a federal court recently released a redacted copy of her 2016 depositions, the cyber sleuths went to work. Lawyers, if you ever relied redaction of a deposition to protect a client’s confidential information, you had best read Slate magazine’s We Cracked the Redactions in the Ghislaine Maxwell Deposition. First of all, it turns out the deposition index can become a virtual Rosetta Stone to unlocking some redactions within the deposition. Here’s…
Lawyers can benefit from automated document drafting of routine documents. The challenge is investing the time and money to automate document this process. OBA members have another option: OBA Intellidrafts. This subscription offering includes about 175 forms/templates, including the computation for Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines. We wanted something like the old OBA Formbook, but automated. These templates are intelligent, providing drafting guidance and commentary in context as you use them. OBA Practice Management Advisor Julie Bays and OBA Intellidrafts creator (and Oklahoma attorney) Gabe Bass put together this video demonstration. Free trial for OBA members. Sign up using your…
More lawyers and law firms are placing PDF files online for clients and potential clients to read or download. The conventional wisdom has always been to avoid placing too much information in PDF files on your website because Google and other search engines wouldn’t index them well or at all, so you wouldn’t get “credited” for your online content. It turns out that is not so true now and there are many ways to make your PDFs posted online much more SEO friendly. As more law firms place more PDF’s online this is good information. Check out 13 Tips to
As videoconferencing exploded in 2020, Zoom went from something most lawyers had never heard of to something many used every day. Zoom became a verb and, after months of a changed business environment with many videoconferences, many people now complain of Zoom fatigue. While there are many video conferencing tools, Zoom zoomed to prominence for two reasons: 1) It was very easy to operate and 2) the free version was very useful. But there is big money in business videoconferencing and we are going to see quite a battle between Zoom and Teams (at least on the small business level.)…
Lawyers are often concerned about the ethics rules requirements of understanding “the risks and benefits of relevant technology.” But you do have to competently protect your clients’ digital information and you would be wise to protect your own digital information, particularly your online financial accounts. One of the major steps in protecting digital information is using multi-factor authentication for the online services you use. Fool is a strong word. But read this great column by these two legal tech experts to see why they used it. What Kind of Fool Am I (That Doesn’t Use MFA)? by Sharon D. Nelson,…
I know an Oklahoma lawyer who doesn’t understand why so many lawyers use high-powered computers. He and his staff use Chromebooks. That just wouldn’t work for me. I’m a heavy multitasker that uses speech recognition and other resource hogging tools. But for law firms who need to send staff to work from home, it is a wise and security conscious decision to send them home with a law firm laptop rather than having them use a home computer and if finances are tight, Chromebooks are very inexpensive. But before you make that decision, you need to understand what Chromebooks are…
Trial presentation software and presentation tools have become a part of many trial attorneys’ lives. Many hearings do not require these tools. But today’s jurors are used to receiving information via videos and graphics. Every trial lawyer has seen the jurors pay close attention to well-crafted charts or photographs of the accident scene displayed on a big screen in the courtroom. Those of us who lug screens, projectors and laptops to various venues to do presentations or trials have become adept at setting this equipment up and traveling with a few extra batteries and cables. In Still Using a Screen
For those who were used to 2 or 3 monitors and found themselves working from home with a single monitor it was common to have many open windows, stacked on top of the desktop. If you needed to access your desktop, drilling down to the desktop by minimizing many open windows be time-consuming— and you may have had them arranged a certain way for a reason. Show Desktop is what you need for this situation, but its icon is hidden to the point of almost invisibility in Windows 10. It is a little nondescript vertical line in the far right…
Today, the legal technology community is in mourning. We lost Gayle McCormick O’Connor, who was truly one of a kind! Tom and Gayle O’Connor have been a fixture at legal tech conferences for decades. You never knew what fascinating stories they would have to share. It is a cliche, but Gayle could light up a room just by entering. She liked people. Gayle will be missed. Many of us from all across the country are feeling her loss today. Bob Ambrogi wrote a fitting tribute RIP: Gayle McCormick O’Connor.…
Pandemic-Proof Your Practice As the ongoing health pandemic continues to create challenges, it’s also served as a catalyst for law firms to get serious about effective disaster planning. By Jim Calloway (This article was written early in the pandemic and was published in the Big Ideas issue of ABA Law Practice Magazine in July 2020. Since it was written very early in the pandemic, some items are now obvious and others now appear dated. Even the title is a bit cringe-worthy. But the idea that our business continuity plans often paid little attention to epidemics and should at some point…
WordRake is a great tool for lawyers to improve their documents and their writing skills. I consider myself to be a good writer. But when I use WordRake to review a final draft, it always provides several helpful suggestions. It is a great tool if you need to cut a few dozen words out of a brief to comply with a page limit. In our video, WordRake’s Ivy Grey, highlights how WordRake addresses typical problem areas in legal writing. This is a great video to improve your writing skills whether you are considering subscribing to WordRake or not. Ivy identifies…
You have received a questionable email. You want to ask your IT Department if it is legitimate. You have received a scam email. You want to warn others. What do you do? Your next step is very important. Do not forward the email! You have received the data equivalent of a bomb, even if it is not exactly ticking. You want to render it harmless, not share it with others. If you really want to ask your IT department or warn others (or if you want to preserve an image for use in a cybersecurity presentation later. I have friends…
Wellness and dealing with stress were important subjects for the legal profession long before 2020. Wellness is a critical topic for everyone during 2020. People working in law firms are the most important asset our law firms have and they all need to take care of ourselves. They are doing sometimes stressful work in stressful times. Margaret Ogden is the wellness coordinator at the Supreme Court of Virginia. The Virginia Lawyers’ Wellness Initiative is providing resources and educational opportunities to help attorneys prioritize wellbeing. Sharon Nelson and I welcomed Margaret Ogden to our Digital Edge podcast to discuss the history…
Scribble is a new feature in iPadOS 14. It looks quite handy. Jeff Richardson of iPhoneJD explains Scribble in this post: “One of the interesting new features in iPadOS 14 is Scribble, the ability to use an Apple Pencil to write text into a text field instead of using the on-screen keyboard.  I wasn’t sure how useful the feature would be when it was announced, but now that I’ve been using it, I really like it. When I then need to enter some quick text — such as to search for something in Safari or Mail — it is…