Last week was the 2015 Winter Meeting for the Florida Bar in Orlando. This was the perfect time to sit down with Bar leaders and discuss what they’ve been working on, future conferences, member benefits, and online resources.
In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, Adriana Linares interviews Florida Bar President Greg Coleman about the Practice Resource Institute (PRI), member benefits focused on solo and small firms, and the Clio Cloud Conference happening during the Annual Florida Bar Convention in June 2015. Coleman discusses creating the PRI to fill the gap in technology resources provided to lawyers in small firms without tech departments. It is comprised of materials on PC and Apple computers, apps, practice-specific software, general practice software, practice management tools, and anything else a new lawyer, young lawyer, or a lawyer who wants to leave a firm needs to know. Several practice management products and other legal technology tools were vetted and are now provided as member benefits.
Coleman and Linares discuss the Florida Bar’s day-long technology program, which will be presented on June 24th, just before the Annual Florida Bar Convention. Tune in for a preview of what will be included.
Coleman closes the podcast with a discussion of the Florida Access to Civil Justice Commission, created by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga on Nov 24th, 2014. This commission addresses the issue of people who cannot afford or are unable to obtain legal aid. As a member of the commission, Coleman plans to engage the business community in order to think of creative solutions to the problem.
Greg Coleman, partner at the Law Firm of Critton, Luttier & Coleman and President of The Florida Bar, has been practicing law in Palm Beach County for more than two decades. He joined the Law Firm of Critton, Luttier & Coleman in 1995 and was named partner in June of 2000. In June 2014, Coleman was sworn in as President of The Florida Bar. His focus is complex commercial litigation, insurance bad faith, employment litigation, professional malpractice defense, personal injury, and wrongful death.
Legal Talk Network Producer Laurence Colletti interviews electronic evidence expert Craig Ball at the 2015 Winter Meeting of The Florida Bar. Ball discusses the limitations of electronic search tools and how lawyers need to move past the delusion of the right keywords yielding perfect results. He summarizes his 2015 Solo and Small Firm Conference presentation about the proper use of PowerPoint presentations, a field in which lawyers still struggle. A certified trial lawyer, Craig Ball limits his practice to serving as a court-appointed special master and consultant in computer forensics and electronic discovery.
Florida Bar Podcast host Adriana Linares interviews social media law attorney and consultant Ethan Wall at the 2015 Winter Meeting of The Florida Bar. He talks about leaving his law firm to start Social Media Law and Order, a company that educates lawyers and professionals about the effect of social media on the law. Wall discusses his presentation at the Bar’s technology conference and frequent questions lawyers have about using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Ethan Wall is a social media law attorney, author, professor, consultant, and keynote speaker in Miami, Florida, and was recently elected to the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors.
Florida Bar Podcast host Adriana Linares interviews attorney John Stewart at the 2015 Winter Meeting of The Florida Bar. Stewart discusses speaking about PDF manipulation tools at the Wild, Wild Tech: Getting Down and Dirty with Technology conference, a soon-to-be annual tech conference at the Winter Meeting. Stewart and Linares discuss why lawyers should get involved with Bar leadership, useful topics for the Florida Bar Podcast, and the rolling out of the Practice Resource Institute. John Stewart is a practicing attorney and serves on the Board of Governors for the 19th Judicial Circuit, Chairs the Vision 2016 Technology Committee, and is on the Alternative Dispute Resolution Executive Counsel.
Florida Bar Podcast host Adriana Linares and Florida Bar Attorney Renee Thompson interview Michelle Suskauer at the 2015 Winter Meeting of The Florida Bar. Suskauer discusses her role as a professional legal analyst, the importance of the Disciplinary Review Committee for the legal profession, and why Florida lawyers should get involved with the Bar to make a difference in the industry. Suskauer has been on the Florida Bar Board of Governors for five years, is Board Liaison to the Criminal Law Section of the Bar, and is a local and national legal analyst.
Lawyers, even solos, are constantly working with experts, opposing counsel, court officials, and colleagues. Dennis and Tom like to keep an eye on new developments and the current state of collaboration tools and technologies, which they consider one of the most important, yet under-appreciated, areas of legal technology. In 2008, they wrote a book together called The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies, which gives suggestions about the bigger collaboration platforms and smaller discrete tools that lawyers can use to work together. In the last seven years, many collaboration tools have changed but a lot of systems have stayed the same. What’s happening in 2015 and what developments do you need to know about and incorporate into your work?
In this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell survey the current landscape for collaboration tools, trends and best practices, and what lawyers should be doing to make better use of these tools. They begin by examining their book and the collaboration tools that have disappeared or morphed into different programs. Kennedy mentions that Sharepoint, Wikis, Instant Messaging, Adobe Acrobat, and Microsoft Office Suite can all be used by attorneys and staff to work together, although Mighell is skeptical that many law firms actually use any of these. Both hosts maintain that lawyers almost exclusively use email for collaboration, although they believe future generations of lawyers will introduce a new perspective on technology use. They finish the first section by mentioning social media and listing other underutilized tools for lawyers who work with others on many cases.
In the second portion of the show, Kennedy and Mighell discuss the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The CES revealed the latest consumer technologies to expect throughout the year. They discuss the best and worst of drones, wearables, or new selfie technologies. As always, stay tuned for Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
Ed Walters started as a lawyer in a big law firm in Washington D.C. In the late 1990’s, he was approached by a client asking him to research a relatively new legal issue without using LexisNexis or WestLaw, as they were trying to reduce online legal research costs. His inability to do this set off a chain of events leading him to create the company Fastcase. His story begs the question, are lawyers simply paying too much for online legal research sources? What are some ways particularly solo and small firm attorneys can reduce research overheads in their practice? And when is it necessary to pay for LexisNexis or WestLaw?
In this episode of New Solo, Adriana Linares interviews Ed Walters about his experience starting Fastcase, how it interacts with the bigger legal research companies and smaller startups, and the right steps for solo practitioners to take in choosing an online research source. Linares and Walters begin by discussing the differences between a free resource like Google Scholar, a mid-range company like Fastcase, and a larger company like LexisNexis. If an attorney has a boutique practice and needs treatises or specialized databases, Walters says, they will need a big online research company. Otherwise, the lawyer might be paying too much. He urges practitioners to check their local bar, state bar, and other associations or organizations for member benefits that often include research and even practice management tools. There are three startup companies that Walters encourages lawyers to research: Casetext, which focuses on crowdsourcing, Ravel Law, which uses data visualization, and Judicata, which uses semantic analysis to find relationships based on meanings. He encourages all lawyers, but especially those in small firms, to research different options and find the one that fits their practice best.
Ed Walters is the CEO and co-founder of Fastcase, an online legal research software company based in Washington D.C. Before founding Fastcase, Ed worked at Covington & Burling where his practice focused on corporate advisory work for software companies and sports leagues, and intellectual property litigation. He has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The University of Chicago Law Review, The Green Bag, and Legal Times, and has spoken extensively on legal publishing around the country. He is an adjunct professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches The Law of Robots.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Solo Practice University.
The ABA TECHSHOW is an annual legal technology conference in Chicago, sponsored by the Law Practice Division of the ABA. The goal of the conference is to educate lawyers, legal professionals, and law firm employees on using technology in their practice. The 2015 conference will be held April 16th through the 18th, and will feature many new and recurring educational topics that are trending in legal technology. Want to find out if this conference will benefit your practice?
In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview the Chair of the ABA TECHSHOW Board, Brett Burney, about the 2015 conference, what attendees can expect, and why attendance is useful to almost anyone working in the legal field. The people who should attend, Burney says, are solo and small firm lawyers, government lawyers, members of corporate legal departments, and big firm lawyers. Additionally, law firm employees such as paralegals, legal assistants, CIOs, IT professionals, law firm administrators, office administrators, litigation support professionals, and many others will benefit from the educational value of the ABA TECHSHOW. He talks about this year’s legal technology topics such as cloud computing, a paperless office, digital security, and many others, and how the board selects speakers of quality and relevance. Burney discusses how having vendors and exhibitors at the conference can help users, why a legal professional should attend for the first time, and what’s new and cool for the 2015 conference. The ABA TECHSHOW comes highly recommended by past attendees for legal professionals at any level of tech experience, from novice to expert.
Brett Burney is the Chair of this year’s ABA TECHSHOW Board and is also the Principal of Burney Consultants LLC. He focuses the bulk of his time consulting on e-discovery and litigation support topics. He also works with lawyers who want to integrate Macs, iPhones, and iPads into their practice. Burney is a frequent contributor to Legal Technology News and speaks around the country on litigation support, e-discovery, Mac and iOS-related topics.
Apple products are gaining traction in the legal field, particularly among solo and small firm lawyers. As more software and apps are being created for Apple computers and law firms are working in the cloud, using Macs in your legal practice is becoming a better option for many attorneys. But often, it can be intimidating or seem challenging to make the switch to a new computer. Changing operating systems seems like an unnecessary added task, especially for already busy lawyers, but you might find that an Apple computer better suits your practice.
In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Jenny Stevens, also known as Mrs. Mac Lawyer, about her switch from a PC law office to one using exclusively Apple products. Stevens was converted by her husband, The Mac Lawyer, when they merged their family law practices. She had the benefit of already having a cloud based office, so she was able to access all of her files and applications in the same way. She was also already using an iPhone so she understood the way that iOS works to a certain degree. Stevens explains that there was not much of a learning curve and she mostly had to adapt to new keyboard shortcuts. Switching from Microsoft Office to Mac applications Pages and Numbers was easy, she explains, and her practice improved when she added other apps such as Dropbox, Keynote, Rocket Matter, and Textexpander. While switching to a Mac is certainly not for everyone, Stevens encourages attorneys who are thinking of making the switch to jump in with both feet. When she didn’t have access to her PC, she learned to use the Mac much faster.
Jenny Stevens co-owns and practices family law at the Stevens Firm in South Carolina with her husband. Before they merged, Stevens worked for an all PC law office in Charleston, South Carolina. She has nicknamed herself Mrs. Mac Lawyer and frequently contributes to The Mac Lawyer, a blog about using Apple products in your legal practice. Jenny is also a frequent speaker at local, state, and national continuing legal education seminars.
In this month’s Asked and Answered podcast, moderator Stephanie Francis Ward talks to Linda Greenhouse and Jonathan Turley about the past, present and future of legal journalism, and how it has influenced courts. Greenhouse reported on the U.S. Supreme Court for the New York Times for four decades, and is now the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law and Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at Yale Law School. Turley is an attorney, legal scholar and professor at George Washington University Law School and is a legal analyst for several media outlets.
Linda Greenhouse is the Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law and Knight Distinguished Journalist-in-Residence at Yale Law School. That follows a 40-year career at the New York Times, where she covered the U.S. Supreme Court. She currently writes a biweekly op-ed column about the Supreme Court for the New York Times website.
Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, focuses his academic work on constitutional matters, legal theory and tort law. He also writes an eponymous blog; is a member of USA Today’s board of contributors; and had done legal analyst work for CBS and NBC.