As any solo lawyer knows, taking a new client is not simply shaking a hand and signing a checkbook. After marketing and selling legal services, there are still several necessary steps before beginning work. A conflict check must be done, the client’s data and information need to be gathered, and a retainer engagement letter must be drafted and sent off. Many new solo practitioners think they will be able to remember every matter and deal with situations as they come, but it is much more efficient to have a data management tool and systematic habits in place when dealing with clients.
On this episode of New Solo,Adriana Linares interviews attorney Chad Burton about best practices for client intake and how things differ in a virtual law firm model. He emphasizes that particularly solo and small firm lawyers should remember that a conflict check must be done before payment is accepted. Then a retainer engagement letter is drafted that ought to contain fee structure, disclaimer, shortened terms of service, and preferences like whether the client prefers paper or electronic bills. Additionally, the lawyer should provide an explanation of how costs are handled, what is passed-along, why the client pays for certain things, and whether the firm charges for research so the client never has a question about cost. Burton recommends that the solo or small firm lawyer create a process by working hard to find the right management tool and creating good habits around using it. Even the data in small matters add up.
Chad Burton is the founder of Burton Law, one of the leading firms in virtual law firm structure. Formerly in a big law firm, he now represents technology-oriented companies from startups to multi-national. Additionally, he started Curo Legal, a company that helps legal professionals with serving their clients efficiently and productively.
Lawyers often focus on how they can use technology to improve the efficiency and quality of their legal services. However, technology has additionally started to change what people in other professions provide to their clients, even to the point of changing the meaning of “services.” Professionals are now creating products that provide revenue in the form of royalties, thereby exceeding what can be made in billable hours. These include books written about new forms of technology, tax guides, answers to common questions, convenient apps, and even software. Is this a “Big Idea” that lawyers should also be considering as they think about the ways they might use technology?
In this episode of the Kennedy-Mighell Report, Dennis Kennedyand Tom Mighell discuss how lawyers might begin “productizing” services, some ideas about how to create successful products, and the legal and ethical implications of providing this information. Kennedy explains that products such as books or apps providing tips on marketing, finance, general management, or technology are valuable to lawyers. Most often, the lawyer or firm has already done the research required, and simply needs to create a means for selling it. Kennedy recommends several ways lawyers should get started: analyze what other lawyers are doing successfully, look closely at the strengths within your firm, and learn by trying certain products even though they might fail. Mighell points out that the concept of creating products out of your firm is not a simple process, rather it requires a lot of thought and should not be gone into as a whim.
After the break Kennedy and Mighell ask anyone who thinks they might be the right candidate to write a book providing information on technology for lawyers to reach out and let them know. They emphasize that many lawyers underestimate their own level of experience and offer to provide subject ideas. Tweet @DennisKennedyor @TomMighell or click the link below to download a proposal form. As always, stay tuned for Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation that you can use the second the podcast ends.
E-discovery is an intricate and complicated process where law and technology intersect to find solutions to complex litigation challenges. Lawyers and legal professionals going through the e-discovery process are often overwhelmed with data and information in varying systems in different stages of technological advancement. From millions of documents to tight production deadlines, no one understands the realities of the e-discovery frenzy better than an e-discovery case manager.
On this episode of The ESI Report, Michele Lange interviews Joe Edlund and Matt Samet, two e-discovery case managers from Kroll Ontrack. Edlund explains that it is the job of a case manager to establish a working relationship with the lawyer, including training on the data software, explaining data sets and performance, helping to make deadlines, and generally decreasing stress. Samet describes some of the benefits to the legal professional of having an e-discovery case manager. They are able to see the client from beginning to end and organize data recovery systems, identify response documents, and be proactive about potential issues. Through an open and communicative relationship with engineers and project level support, case managers are able to make the hectic process of e-discovery easier and more manageable. Stick around to the end for a fun quiz about job descriptions.
Joe Edlund is a Kroll Ontrack case manager who partners with law firms and corporate clients to provide sound advice and best practices in connection with e-discovery management. Matt Samet has experience as a case manager and is also a portfolio manager at Kroll Ontrack, also providing clients with e-discovery solutions.
Technology has changed the world of law firms and businesses, affecting the way lawyers are required to retrieve, record, and archive information. Instead of communicating entirely by email or phone, professionals are now also exchanging valuable information by instant message, collaboration systems, or social media. It is important for paralegals to understand the ways in which this data is stored and maintained as it can often result in expensive lawsuits.
On this episode of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin interviews social business management expert Doug Kaminski about data recovery, ediscovery, regulatory requirements, and archiving information that is exchanged through new forms of communication like social media. He emphasizes the importance for paralegals to become technology savvy, not only to assist in relevant lawsuits, but also to expand their skill set. As communications evolve, Kaminski explains, there will be an increased amount of potential evidence passed through instant messaging and social media. Paralegals should be knowledgeable about the laws concerning data retention in order to inform on custodial interviews and depositions. And most importantly, paralegals and everyone should be aware of the consequences of online communications.
Doug Kaminski, VP of Sales at West & Canada at Actiance, specializes in litigation, electronic discovery sales management, technology security, corporate compliance, corporate governance, information governance, archiving, social media, and enterprise software. He is requested as a speaker nationwide on topics including corporate compliance and governments, social media, security, and electronic discovery.
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.