Every law firm can run into incidents of employee misconduct, data breaches, and intellectual property theft. In the age of modern technology, data breaches, insider trading, and other security problems require extensive technological forensics. Partners and firm owners, as well as lawyers working within the firm, need to understand why a digital investigation is needed, what steps should be taken within an investigation, and who should be involved. Having this knowledge can save the firm thousands of dollars while uncovering the truth.
In this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview ediscovery and compliance attorney Patrick Oot about how attorneys should be prepared on technology issues when they start to investigate criminal and civil matters. Everyone leaves technology footprints, Oot explains. Whether dealing with an internal investigation or with client data, the most important asset is unbiased, comprehensive, and well documented research. When hiring a digital investigator, the firm should always find an outside expert who is experienced with data breaches, understands how data moves through the system, and can manage proper narrative to the regulators. Properly conducting a digital investigation can make the difference in the credibility and success of a law firm.
Patrick Oot is a partner in the DC office of Shook Hardy and Bacon LLC where he leads the practice on e compliance and digital investigations. He is one of the few ediscovery and compliance attorneys in the nation that possesses the tripartite experience of an in-house corporate counsel from a fortune 16 organization, a senior attorney at a federal regulatory agency, and a partner in a large law firm. Patrick has extensive experience advising on discovery and investigative matters involving commercial litigation, compliance, regulatory requests, antitrust matters, and personnel issues.
According to a variety of surveys, the sales of tablets now exceed the sales of laptops and desktop PCs. In a few short years, iPads have made huge inroads into the legal market and are often part of a lawyer’s standard toolkit. In addition to using an iPad for texting, editing documents, consulting a calendar, and email, lawyers are using apps specifically designed for trial presentations and practice organization. In the third edition of his popular book, iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, Tom Mighell teaches lawyers how to use their iPad effectively in their practice.
In this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy interviews Mighell about his latest insights on the iPad, recommendations for lawyers and other legal professionals, and what might be next in the world of iPads. Mighell explains why lawyers might choose different tablets such as Android, Windows Surface, or the iPad and benefits of each one. It is important that lawyers pay attention to the main issues and changes with the latest iPad hardware such as new features in iOS 7 accessibility, Notification Pane, Control Panel, AirDrop, and using Siri to improve productivity.
Kennedy and Mighell also discuss the reason they implement some “easy tips” that they read or hear about and why so many are ignored or forgotten quickly. As always, stay tuned for Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
The Legal Toolkit’s Heidi Alexander interviews Jim Schonrock, VP of performance at FindLaw, live at Mass LOMAP’s 4th Annual Super Marketing Conference about his presentation “Do Silver Bullets Exist with Digital Marketing.” Schonrock discusses the preconceived notions lawyers have about digital marketing and how customers search online. Rather than focusing on ranking in Google for specific phrases, law practices need to expand their social media presence in blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, and optimize their local profiles. However, he emphasizes, successful digital marketing must always be followed by a positive client experience.
Heidi Alexander, co-host of The Legal Toolkit on Legal Talk Network, interviews Jack Newton about his featured presentation, “Delivering a Cloud Experience” at Mass LOMAP’s 4th Annual Super Marketing Conference. In the presentation, he explains how cloud technology such as client portals, online document review, secure live communications, and online billing can improve how lawyers market their client experience. Newton is the founder and CEO of Clio, a company that provides web-based practice management systems and client collaboration platforms for small- to mid-sized law firms.
All lawyers have an ethical obligation to employ security measures when sharing information and data with their clients. Whether that means encrypting all important emails or properly researching cloud based file-sharing services like Dropbox, it is incumbent on lawyers to understand the levels of security available. LexisNexis recently did a survey on what tools lawyers and legal professionals are using to protect their clients’ privileged information. 77% of the lawyers surveyed did not have adequate security for their confidential client data. How important is encryption and what can lawyers do to change the way they share data?
On this episode of Digital Detectives, Sharon Nelson and John Simek interview Bob Ambrogi, a lawyer and journalist who recently wrote about the LexisNexis survey. They ask him about the implications of the survey, what security measures lawyers should be taking, how frequently clients are hurt by lack of security, and why lawyers are generally resistant to learning about data encryption. Ambrogi explains that an overall lack of information, ignored ethics rulings, lack of time, and assumed difficulty are the reasons lawyers often refuse to learn how to safely share data. He encourages lawyers, especially the ones in small or solo firms, to seek out a consultant to learn about the relatively easy encryption tools and techniques. After all, no lawyer wants to be a part of the 77%.
Bob Ambrogi is a Massachusetts lawyer and journalist and has covered legal technology and the Internet for two decades. He writes the “Ambrogi on Tech” column for the ABA Journal and his blog LawSites, launched in 2002, is in the ABA Journal Blawg 100 Hall of Fame. Since 2005, he has co-hosted the legal-affairs podcast Lawyer 2 Lawyer also on the Legal Talk Network.
Do you often do fresh searches on the same topics even though you’ve previously found good information? “Curation” is the word used to describe the process of collecting, organizing, and using good information you’ve found when you need it. Some people also think of this approach as personal knowledge management. This means having an archive of reasonably up-to-date and interesting information from various sources that can be accessed and used for a legal article, podcast, blog post, or social media presence. Knowledge management is a form of information organization that has caught on widely in larger law firms, but has not had as much traction with lawyers in smaller practices or solos. These small-practice lawyers can use tools like Evernote to create a platform for their own personal knowledge management.
In this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss curation and personal knowledge management including tools and techniques, ways to improve success, common difficulties, and their own personal experiences. They describe the three important aspects involved in sustaining a successful knowledge management system: collecting the information in one place, organizing it for later access, and using the collected information for legal clients or marketing when it might apply. While Kennedy and Mighell prefer Evernote as an organizational tool, there are many other options including Excel Spreadsheets, bookmarks, Instapaper, Pocket, Readability, or using PDF files. Their suggestions for curation and long-term knowledge management involve finding the right tool, designing systems around personal habits, and mentally focusing on long-term success.
In the second part of the podcast, Kennedy and Mighell review the announcements made at the 2014 Google I/O conference including smart watches, Android TV, a “kill switch,” for smartphones and many others. They also comment on a couple of hot topic items that were avoided in the conference’s keynote speech. As always, stay tuned for Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
It is important for lawyers to keep up with the newest pieces of technology. Software and products are constantly improving and it can be incredibly beneficial for a firm to switch to a new system. These new software packages can save time for lawyers who are then able to focus on new clients or marketing rather than busywork that can be automated. TechnoLawyer is a network of free legal newsletters that keeps lawyers and legal administrators up to date with the newest technology in the field. Every year, TechnoLawyer’s newsletter, TL Newswire, reports on nearly 200 new products and services for law firms. From these, TL NewsWire subscribers choose the top 25 new products of the year.
On this episode of The Legal Toolkit, host Heidi Alexander interviews TechnoLawyer’s founder, Neil Squillante, about the newest legal technology products for 2014, what they do, which ones are the most popular, and how each one can improve a law firm’s efficiency. These products include management software, dedicated document management systems, case prep and litigation support tools, e-discovery tools, trial specific software, document encrypting tools, eNewsletter marketing tools, and research products and services. Companies like LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters have developed features that range from connecting with Dropbox to assisting in public records research. Every lawyer or legal administrator could benefit from the information that this crash course provides.
Neil Squillante, the founder and publisher of TechnoLawyer, has practiced commercial, intellectual property, and securities litigation at a large international firm in New York City. Neil’s areas of expertise include advertising and publishing technologies, information architecture, persuasive writing techniques, statistical analysis and research, and legal technology. At the end of each year, Neil gives the TL Newswire’s Top 25 Products Awards to the legal products subscribers find the most interesting.
*Correction: An earlier version of this description said TL Newswire prints the top 25 most popular new products each year. TL Newswire reports on nearly 200 products and services each year, with subscribers choosing the top 25.
Many attorneys now use PowerPoint in trial to preview, highlight, and sum up the evidence for their arguments and organize their presentations. Effective PowerPoints garner the attention of court personnel and jury members and enhance their overall presentation. However, ineffective PowerPoints can be confusing, difficult to read, or distract the audience from the presentation’s overall objective. Attorney and legal technology consultant Paul Unger argues that only with the proper skills and learning can a lawyer create an informative and engaging PowerPoint presentation that will be a useful tool in the courtroom.
In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview Unger about the best practices in using PowerPoint in the courtroom. Unger emphasizes simplicity, professionalism, and making PowerPoint a tool that reinforces the content rather than providing it. According to research Unger has done, audiences who are distracted by bullet points and excess text are unlikely to remember much of the slide’s content or even the presenting lawyer’s main point. He recommends that the PowerPoint slides provide only headlines and pictures that are held together by the attorney’s narrative.
Unger’s experience in PowerPoint and legal technology comes from being an attorney and founding principal of Affinity Consulting Group, a nationwide consulting company providing legal technology consulting, continuing legal education, and training. He specializes in trial presentation and litigation technology, document and case management, and paperless office strategies. To learn more, pick up a copy of his book, PowerPoint in One Hour for Lawyers, at the ABA bookstore.
While identifying a client base, deciding on office space, and making countless other decisions, assumptions are made when developing a legal business plan that are, at best, educated guesses. Many startups have decided to follow in the path of previous companies only to find that their firm does not thrive in such a structured methodology. In the incredibly complicated world of legal business, social media attorney Scott Malouf argues that the Lean Startup method provides an alternative and relatively efficient approach to identifying the specific needs of potential clients.
Lean Startup is a trial and error based business model in which a startup company makes small, specific assumptions and does vigorous testing on the results rather than depending on a big picture business plan. On this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, Christopher T. Anderson interviews Malouf about the benefits and difficulties of applying Lean Startup to law firms. New law firms can benefit by limiting wasted money, efforts, and time by truly sampling what clients might want and eliminating unnecessary services according to direct feedback. However, there may be challenges in ethical statutes surrounding lack of certain services and the ability to be transparent with clients.
Scott Malouf is an attorney who helps other attorneys turn texts, social media, and web-based information into evidence and advises in social media risk reduction. He has extensive insight into the best practices for startups, challenges that may arise, and examples of how he has personally applied Lean to his practice. He writes the Social Media Law column for the New York Daily Record and can be found on Twitter @scottmalouf.
Stick around to the end for details on how you can learn more about Lean Startup.
Does the standard approach to the website homepage still make sense in the era of social media? Some feel that the role of the homepage on your website has so diminished in importance (and traffic) that it is no longer relevant. Is it time for a new approach? In this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell discuss what people mean when they claim the website home page is dead, what role the standard website now plays, and what practical steps you might take to improve your web presence.