The Connected Lawyer

Leveraging Technology to Practice Law More Effectively

The Connected Lawyer - Leveraging Technology to Practice Law More Effectively

I’m Going to Oklahoma!

If you saw my Twitter Feed earlier this week, you probably guessed the news that I was not yet ready to share: I have been invited to speak at the 2014 Oklahoma Solo & Small Firm Conference. Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled at this opportunity and am looking forward to my first visit to Oklahoma.

OK Solo and Small Firm ConferenceThe conference is June 19-21, 2014 at the Hard Rock Casino Resort in Tulsa.

I will be participating in four sessions.

On June 20, I will be participating in:

  • 60 Tips in 60 Minutes, with Jim Calloway and Jeff Taylor.
  • How I Leverage Technology to Improve My Solo Practice. Plenary Session.

On June 21, I will be participating in:

  • Remote Communications: Practicing from a Coffee Shop or other Remote Location
  • What’s Hot and What’s Not in Management & Technology, with Jeffrey Taylor, Jim Callowayand Jody Nathan.

Another Reason I Am Glad I Am a Solo

This morning, like every Friday morning, I received an email from the ABA with a roundup of the top stories of the week. One was about an attorney in California who requires all of the male attorneys at his firm to wear a tie every day.

Now I could not care less what this guy likes to wear, or how he runs his law firm. If he believes that wearing a tie everyday makes him more successful, then more power to him. Although I love the linked article (downloads as a PDF) in which he shows off his various accessories, including his pocket square, reading glasses, cufflinks, watch, and sevenfold tie.

I find hilarious, however, that he criticizes younger attorneys because “They rely on social media for their news and to exchange information with others, causing them to frequently examine their smartphones for updates, even in the middle of discussions with others.”

I agree that one should not examine smartphones for updates while in the middle of a discussion. However, I fail to understand why it is bad for attorneys to use social media to gather news and to exchange information with others.

Regardless, I am just glad that I work for myself, so I can choose how I run my office, and how I dress.


I Will Be Speaking At ABA Techshow 2014

I can’t believe that I have not mentioned this, but I will be speaking at ABA Techshow 2014. The title of my session is Leveraging Technology for Practice Efficiency. The session will be on Thursday, March 27, at 4 pm.

I will be presenting with Victor Medina, which I am thrilled to do. I have long been a fan of his podcast SmartTalk, which he does with Mark Merenda.

Techshow 2014I am a big fan of this conference and it is a true honor to be asked to speak. If you have been considering attending this year’s show, now is the time to act. Early Bird registration ends on February 10.

Having attended the show both as a speaker and an attendee, I can assure you that it is well worth the investment of the time and money. I have attended many informative sessions at past shows. Additionally, I have always found interesting new technology in the Expo Hall, which is absolutely free to visit.

Securifi Almond Router

I have discovered a new router that I absolutely love. It is the Securifi Almond Touchscreen Wireless Router/Range Extender. You can pick it up on Amazon for $90.

Almond_The thing that I love about this device is that it is unbelievably easy to set up. On the Amazon page, they promise a 3 Minute Setup. This was certainly true for me. I daresay, that it would be true for most people.

The innovative concept is that the controls are operated by the touchscreen on the side of the device. You don’t have to log in to it from your computer, or any other device. Instead, you plug it in and follow the directions that appear on the touchscreen.

Really, it is that simple. You can easily change the name of your network and the password to access it. Again, you do all of this through the touchscreen. Best of all, the device works either as a router or a range extender. I bought two for my house. One I use as a router. The second I have upstairs and use as a range extender.

The setup for the range extender was just as easy as setting if up as a router. In addition to its ease of use, you can also choose to have the display go dark, or show either the time or the weather.

The only thing that I did not like about the router was that it has only two Ethernet connections. This problem was easily solved by adding a switch to the network. However, I would prefer a couple of more connections.

If you are in the market for a new router or a range extender, or if you are looking for one to purchase for that relative that might be technologically challenged, I urge you to check out the Securifi Almond.

Service by Email Comes to Illinois

Recently the Illinois Supreme Court adopted an amendment to Supreme Court Rule 11, which deals with service of documents to opposing parties. This amendment, which takes effect January 1, 2013, allows attorneys to serve documents by email and it requires attorneys to provide an email address for service on all appearances and pleadings.

I think this is a great change. Admittedly, I think the rule requires some refinement (e.g., what formats are appropriate, when is email service effective). However, on the whole, I think this is a great step forward.

One Laptop Per ChildNot unexpectedly, however, there has been a significant outcry from members of the bar who are raising objections to this. Some of the objections that I see include the typical claims that this discriminates against attorneys who are not technologically savvy and that it provides no exemption for attorneys who do not have an email address.

Excuse me, but that is the most ridiculous thing that I have heard. I was doubly struck by the ridiculousness of the statement when I recently read an article about the One Laptop Per Child Program. This program aims to increase education by providing educational software to children in third world countries.

I recently read an article in which OLPC distributed Motorola Xoom tablets in Ethiopian villages. Significantly, the tablets were “distributed” by leaving them in sealed boxes in the middle of the village. Further, the village was one in which the children were illiterate. In fact, neither the children nor almost all of the adults in the village had never before seen the written word.

Notably, the children were provided with absolutely no instruction at all. OLPC monitored these devices and what the learned was amazing:

We left the boxes in the village. Closed. Taped shut. No instruction, no human being. I thought, the kids will play with the boxes! Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, but found the on/off switch. He’d never seen an on/off switch. He powered it up. Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs [in English] in the village. And within five months, they had hacked Android. Some idiot in our organization or in the Media Lab had disabled the camera! And they figured out it had a camera, and they hacked Android.

Think about it. Within 5 months, these children, who were not only illiterate, but also had never before seen the written word, were able to hack the security on the tablet to enable the camera.

I think if illiterate children in a third world country can manage to do that, then highly educated attorneys can figure out a way to obtain and manage an email address.

Although not related to OLPC project or email specifically, I find the following video on point.

Gizmos, Gadgets & Widgets

Recently I had the honor of  presenting with Nerino Petro at the ISBA Solo and Small Firm Conference. One of the sessions that we did was a Gizmos, Gadets & Widgets session at 8:30 on Saturday morning. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of people who turned out early Saturday morning for the presentation.

KeynoteAs usual, we had great fun with this presentation. At the session, we mentioned that we would make our presentation available on my site. Thus, you can now download a PDF of our presentation Gizmos, Gadgets & Widgets. You can also find this and many other files on my Files page.

If you have any questions on any of the items, feel free to contact either Nerino or myself.

The Legal Practice Landscape

On Friday, June 15 ,2012, I will be part of a panel speaking about The Legal Practice Landscape: Thriving in a Climate of Change.

This is a CLE sponsored by the ISBA at its annual meeting. However, you need not attend the annual meeting if you just want to attend the CLE.

During the program the other panelists and I will share information you need to know about current and future changes affecting the practice of law as well as some tips on how to prepare for and adapt to those changes. We will facilitate discussions among attendees and offer our insights on some of these topics: the shifting paradigm of the practice of law; the information tsunami and how to use it to your benefit; generational preferences and practices; technological changes and positive ways to embrace them; and what it means to you; social media – pluses and minuses; and business trends impacting the legal profession.

You can find further information about the presentation here.

If you need professionalism credit, please note that this presentation has been approved for 3 hours of professionalism credit.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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