Joe Patrice is an Editor at Above the Law. He previously practiced as a litigator at both Cleary, Gottlieb,...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of Florida’s largest...
Laptops are kind of like that greener grass; they always look shinier in someone else’s hands. But switching around your technology, whether it’s transitioning to using Macs or deciding to use a tablet, could be more work than you think. In this episode of New Solo, host Adriana Linares talks to Joe Patrice talk about what it really looks like to switch from Windows to Mac and the advantages and disadvantages of using tablets for your business. Sprinkled into their conversation are tips about buying new tech tools, switching to the cloud, and where you can find small firm content on Above The Law.
Joe Patrice is an Editor at Above the Law where, for him, making snide remarks about other lawyers is at least as fulfilling as motion practice.
The Difficulty of Switching Technology
Intro: So you are an attorney and you have decided to go out on your own, now what? You need a plan and you are not alone. Join expert host Adriana Linares and her distinguished guests on New Solo. Tune into the lively conversation as they share insights and information about how to successfully run your law firm, here on Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Hello and welcome to New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I’m Adriana Linares, a legal technology trainer and consultant. I help lawyers and law firms use technology better. This is a pretty special and cool episode because I’m in Vancouver at the ABA mid-year meetings and I ran into another Legal Talk Network guest Joe Patrice. Hi Joe.
Joe Patrice: Hello.
Adriana Linares: It’s really cool that — to do like a sort of host to host kind of little interview and talk about some interesting things that are happening for solos and new solos. So that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to sort of organically have some discussions about some things that we hope will help you through the rest of this year in getting your technology ready for having a good 2018 preparing for disasters, may be thinking about travel which is a couple of topics we sort of talked about randomly today. But before I go on and get to talking to Joe and thinking about some of these things I want to make sure and thank our sponsors.
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Of course I want to make sure and thank our sponsor PerfectIt. Do you know about PerfectIt Joe?
Joe Patrice: I mean I’ve heard of them, I don’t know.
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Joe Patrice: Yes.
Adriana Linares: After thanking our sponsors, tell us a little bit about yourself, because I wonder in this crossover episode of a host and a host, if maybe some of my listeners haven’t heard about your podcast and they’d be interested in dialing and in subscribing, so what is your podcast about on Legal Talk Network.
Joe Patrice: So our podcast is a little more unruly than most on the Legal Talk Network.
Adriana Linares: Do you have a lot of beeps and bleeps in your podcast?
Joe Patrice: No.
Adriana Linares: Because I know you and Elie and I feel like there could be.
Joe Patrice: There could be, instead we just have the explicit tag which makes us proudly the only legal podcast with an explicit tag on iTunes. But no, so Elie Mystal and I are at Above the Law, which is a website that I think a lot of people in the legal profession know of and read.
And we have a podcast where we try to — we try generally to bring on people who are lawyers, but have other things going on, broader focuses and we kind of grill them on thinking like a lawyer. We talk about these other areas that they might be involved in, but how their brain because they messed up and at some point went to law school, has influenced the way in which they think about these other issues.
So we’ve had TV writers, we’ve had video game attorneys, people who do different niches and how they kind of think through it. And that’s usually what it is, but sometimes we just talk about Star Wars for a 30 minute episode. So that will also happen occasionally.
Adriana Linares: That’s very varied in topics so —
Joe Patrice: It is.
Adriana Linares: And the name of it is?
Joe Patrice: Thinking Like a Lawyer.
Adriana Linares: Thinking Like a Lawyer. So for everyone out there please tune in and listen to Joe and Elie talk about some very interesting and funny topics, they are hysterical. But if you don’t like cuss words maybe you shouldn’t listen, but if you don’t like cuss words like what do you listen to.
So I thought it’d be fun if Joe and I sort of talked about the issues that maybe are facing new solos or I mean I know the show is called New Solos, but I have a lot of non solos. I have a lot of “experienced solos” let’s say that listen to the episode and pick up a lot of tips and tricks because I mean I think most of this podcast is just about helping lawyers run a better and more efficient practice. And Above the Law has a special section for solo and small firms, do you want to talk about that for just a second and point people in that direction?
Joe Patrice: Well we definitely do. We don’t, it’s not really a section as much as that we have that content and we do tag it. So you can go to the small law firms tag and see all of our small firm content and we put out a bunch and we also have a small firm newsletter that collects all of our —
Adriana Linares: Oh excellent.
Joe Patrice: — small firm content every week that’s curated by my colleague Kathryn Rubino. So what we talk about is doings in small law and that will sometimes be technology-based.
Adriana Linares: Sure.
Joe Patrice: Which obviously has a lot to do with this podcast, but also we’ll have lawyers behaving badly stories.
Adriana Linares: Who doesn’t love a good salacious story?
Joe Patrice: Exactly. And that’ll come up from time to time. We’ll have stories about practice areas. So there is a lot of options for what comes up. But from tech to management of small firms to lawyers behaving badly, it’s all there.
Adriana Linares: Well and I again encourage everyone to go and take a look because it is very good content, your writers are very good. And I know that’s not necessarily your specialty, but in talking and thinking about things that we can encourage lawyers to do before end of 2018, I thought that it would be fun if you and I talked about some of those things, but also we travel a lot.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, we’re in Canada for the American Bar Association.
Adriana Linares: Which is so weird.
Joe Patrice: Which seems weird.
Adriana Linares: Right.
Joe Patrice: I was nervous coming across the border that they were going to ask why I was here and I’d have to give the entirely dumb answer, I’m here for the American Bar.
Adriana Linares: Right. And they’re like should you be on this side of the border because it sounds good.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, well I was totally going to get arrested, but I made it.
Adriana Linares: So tell us a little bit about the type of technology that you use, it’s probably not that complicated and I think a lot of lawyers feel that and you are a lawyer.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, yeah, yes. I was a lawyer — well I am still a lawyer, but I was in active practice for 11 years. I was at Biglaw, a giant corporate New York firm for first bit and then I moved to a white-collar boutique because I’ve done a lot of white color litigation at the big firm and then the natural step is to move to the kind of boutique where I took on more individual clients whereas my previous firm did more companies.
Adriana Linares: Corporate.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. So we would – indeed, I actually worked with my old firm a lot. They would represent the company and they’d bring me and do and the partners I worked with to do you are going to represent the CFO for instance. So did a lot of white-collar defense, but now I’ve been at Above the Law, so I use less legal technology, but I write about legal tech for Above the Law, so I see a lot of it.
Adriana Linares: Sure.
Joe Patrice: So what tech do I use?
Adriana Linares: Yeah, when you’re traveling, so did you pack your bags which I see right behind you.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I do.
Adriana Linares: Do you have a laptop in there?
Joe Patrice: I have a Mac in there, a MacBook Pro.
Adriana Linares: Okay, you are a Mac user.
Joe Patrice: I’m a Mac user. I like the fact that it works without and I – my move over was actually fairly controversial, I didn’t want to.
Adriana Linares: Let’s talk about this.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, okay.
Adriana Linares: This is actually so one of the biggest questions I get from lawyers all the time, maybe they’ve been Windows users for a long time.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: And they’ll say to me my kid told me that a Mac is going to be easier and I won’t get viruses as easily, should I make the move. So is that what you’re about to tell me that your transition over was hard.
Joe Patrice: So my transition took a couple of weeks, but it was a big deal, because I actually started I was techy as a kid, so I used MS-DOS machines and transitioned into Windows.
Adriana Linares: I am familiar.
Joe Patrice: It was the thing, it was the — everybody did it, it’s the corporate thing. I moved to the Mac actually because my iPhone — wait no, not an iPhone, before that I had an iPod and it worked and never broke and I was like if I had a computer that did this that would be amazing, so I got myself a Mac. Took a long time to learn that right-clicking doesn’t exist –
Adriana Linares: It does, take a minute.
Joe Patrice: I mean it does, but it’s not right. You are like, you got it, yeah, exactly I had to learn a new way of dealing. But once I did it was great. Now, would I use that if I were an enterprise? I’m not sure, but as an individual it was great.
Adriana Linares: So I get this lot, it’s a big question and I’d say 10 years ago, I would have said to a lawyer look, first of all, you barely know how to use a Windows machine, so you are going to switch over to a Mac, just because your kid said it was easier and it does and get as many viruses.
Well, a Mac still requires a learning curve. So if you’re a lawyer out there thinking about getting a Mac here’s what I have to say to you about it.
You need to take the time, and often times today when you buy a Mac you can buy the training and the package at the Apple store if you happen to be near one, and they show you how to transition the skills and that’s funny that you say the right click because that’s the one I always get.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: How to transition what you know on a Windows, which unfortunately for a lot of people isn’t a lot. So you take the few skills that you know how to use on a Windows machine and you need to be able to do it on a Mac. So the right-click is a funny thing, because number one, the Mac doesn’t come with an actual separate — I mean if you buy an Apple Mouse which by the way you can use any Mouse, it doesn’t might not necessarily show that there’s a right-click button there but certainly if you sort of click on the right side, it doesn’t right click. And then the options in the menu that pop-up might be different, but there is most certainly a right-click.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: The other thing I think that’s hard is searching at first, you’re used to Windows Explorer and then you’ve got to figure out how Finder works, so that can be a little hard. But I would say that any attorney or any person who’s thinking about making that switch, don’t think for one second that you’re just going to pop over there and it’s not like getting into — moving from a Toyota into a Ford, where everything kind of looks like. It’s basically like getting into a Tesla after having driven a Camry for many years. The steering wheel is there but there are some nuances.
Joe Patrice: The analogy I might go is motorcycle versus a car.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. It moves, gas is involved, other things are very different. It will still get you from place to place and once you understand how it does it, you’re going to be great, but that’s going to be a difference.
Adriana Linares: One of my favorite things about the Mac, so I joke around all the time that I’m bi, bi-tech.
Joe Patrice: Fair. I mean I assumed that was the —
Adriana Linares: Yeah. And I had to learn Macs, like I said about 10 years ago because lawyers at that point really started asking me and at the point cloud technology or cloud-based services weren’t what they are today.
So today I can honestly look anyone in the eye and say you can do everything you could on a PC, and I mean that from a practicing law perspective on a Mac. I have tons of clients, tons of law firms that are running Macs. The key is learn how to use it right. Yes, they crash and unless you’re living in New York City where there’s a 24-hour Apple Store open that can —
Joe Patrice: There’s three of them.
Adriana Linares: Three, oh really?
Joe Patrice: I think, yeah.
Adriana Linares: Great. So if your Mac crashes at 2 o’clock in the morning while you’re working on a brief that needs to be filed the next day, and you can run into a Mac store in the middle of the night, be prepared for a crash because it’s hardware like any other, but one of my favorite things about traveling with a Mac, and until just recently I’ve only traveled with a Mac is that when you’re on Wi-Fi on an airplane you can get your text messages.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: And I love text messaging, it’s the way I communicate with the world. So I would say that that is a huge tip if you’re going to be a Mac user, know how to use it, be prepared for backups, I mean crashes, and if you like being connected, that’s a huge bonus.
Another weird side tip I travel on Delta, and I’m sure many airlines do this too, but Delta has recently introduced free text messaging on any of their Wi-Fi enabled planes which is almost I think like 95% of their fleet, and you don’t have to even pay for Wi-Fi in order to at a minimum and be able to text message on your iPhone or your Android or whatever it is.
Do you have any other good Mac tips or tricks for our listeners?
Joe Patrice: I mean the thing that always got me is I actually have reached a point where I don’t currently utilize Office, though they do have Office 365 for Mac now. There is few years ago there are Microsoft’s Mac offerings were always like slightly just not quite, but now they have actually gotten to the point where they are pretty, pretty on the ball.
Adriana Linares: They are trying very hard to achieve platform parity.
Joe Patrice: Yep.
Adriana Linares: And we’re so close. I think Word, you know one of the things that drives me crazy that you have to get a third-party tool for if you’re a Mac. One of the biggest productivity tips that comes on Windows is the clipboard, where you will have like ten things that you’ve copied or pasted sort of stored and then you can quickly grab those to use them in other — like you could have your cuts or copies sitting on a list in Word, you open up an email in Outlook, you show the Clipboard and you’ve got all the clippings there.
That’s not built into Mac OS yet, but there are most certainly third-party tools that allow you to do that. So there are some weird little nuances that you get used to in Office on the Windows machine, Outlook I could cry all day long about the things that Outlook on the Mac is missing.
But anyway Office 365, let’s end this segment with this, which is Office 365 is one of the greatest gifts that have ever been given to small businesses and especially law firms, and we have a whole episode that I did with Ben Shore on Office 365. If you just go back and look through the New Solo archives on the benefits of and how inexpensive it is and we have clients that are solos, all the way to some of the largest law firms that we service and/or work with or just know of that are using Office 365.
So before I go on I’m going to take a quick break to listen to some messages from some of our great sponsors and we will be right back.
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Adriana Linares: Welcome back to New Solo. I am Adriana Linares, and with me today is Joe Patrice. Hey Joe.
Joe Patrice: Hello.
Adriana Linares: Hey Joe, thanks for staying, sticking around. We were just briefly talking about traveling and how much we like our Macs. I wanted to say as much as I like my Mac, I got a Microsoft Surface tablet.
Joe Patrice: Okay. I don’t have one of those and I have been considering.
Adriana Linares: You have MV?
Joe Patrice: It looks pretty cool.
Adriana Linares: They are great, and I got one for Christmas, and because I’m a techie and I just like having every possible technology tool available, I’m still waiting for Elon to send me my flamethrower, but not that that’s technology but it’s gadgety.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, it counts.
Adriana Linares: And if like technology you tend to like gadgets. So anyway, I got this Surface tablet and again a lot of what pushes me to want or get technology is what lawyers are asking me for. Adriana, how can I use a Surface tablet in my practice, I’m like well it’s Windows like how hard can it be.
And this thing is really cool and amazing and I recently helped a big firm attorney go from his cushy big firm, where all the resources were there and he had a secretary and he had a paralegal, and he had an IT guy, to literally he had to sub let an office space from a friend because his firm had dissolved and went on his own and he said what do I get and he was a Mac user.
And I said listen, first of all you’re not a really good Mac user, so why don’t try a tablet? He said why, and I said well, there’s a lot of cool things that you can do which includes like sort of being able to turn it sideways and take notes on it and not have the — one of the biggest issues I have from lawyers is that wall that a laptop can create between a client like have you — do you know what I’m talking about?
Joe Patrice: Yeah. No, I mean I was — so I am one of those people who even though I’m despite people can’t see me but I’m not actually old enough not to know how laptops work, but I was always a –
Adriana Linares: You are a spring chicken in my eyes.
Joe Patrice: I was always a paper person. When I would meet with clients I would always have a notepad and a pen. I preferred that and yeah, it added a little bit extra time for me to memorialize it digitally afterwards but I always preferred that and part of the reason was the wall part of it was I felt I retained better.
Adriana Linares: Oh yeah. But then isn’t that —
Joe Patrice: But I mean that’s because I was a kid.
Adriana Linares: — signs of proven, haven’t they said if you take notes or write it down like you remember stuff better, you process it better.
Joe Patrice: There are studies that say that. Though I have also heard counter studies that suggest that that might just be the tail end of my generation, that the next-gen that is more used to only ever using tablets may prefer the tablet. But for me, as somebody who grew up with handwriting, we don’t retain it as well if we don’t write it. So I’ve always been a writer, but you’re right, there is a wall and artificiality to that screen that you don’t get with a tablet.
Adriana Linares: So that’s definitely one of the benefits and then if you have the right tools being able to sign a document, you just pick up your laptop, turn it sideways, grab your pen, which is $99 on top of whatever the Surface Pro cost, and signing it and then either converting it to a PDF or sort of flattening that signature so it can’t be easily lifted is a gift for lawyers.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: So now I am a big Surface, well I’ve always been a little bit better on a Microsoft machine anyway, but I would say if a lawyer was out there looking for a good road warrior like device, your choices these days are any small Mac, Windows tablet and then of course the iPad, but I will tell you I’m not that efficient on an iPad.
Joe Patrice: Me neither. I like iPads but I don’t find them a business tool.
Adriana Linares: I agree, and I have a couple friends who do everything on an iPad, but you know what, they are not doing that much then. If you’re a strict iPad user, you’re reading emails, responding to emails, looking at documents, maybe marking them up, you are not doing I think heavy editing. When I’m doing editing on a document I require three screens.
I have got research on the left, I’ve got the document I’m working on in the middle and I’ve got another document or two or ten on the right-hand side and there’s a lot of information that’s just moving between these screens, I think that’s really hard to do on an iPad. But I love my iPad still; I just don’t use it for heavy, heavy productivity work.
Joe Patrice: Yeah definitely. No, the Surface Pro tablets are clearly better for that sort of thing. I know somebody who uses one and put me through the paces of it.
Adriana Linares: Let you touch it.
Joe Patrice: Yeah exactly. And it was –
Adriana Linares: They are impressive.
Joe Patrice: I was very impressed.
Adriana Linares: Yes.
Joe Patrice: And the knock-on using tablets and stuff like that as opposed to full-on computers is always well where do I store all this and that bring, I mean that’s a thing you adopt a cloud mentality and then you don’t need to worry about it.
Adriana Linares: That’s right.
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Adriana Linares: You know I can tell you a fascinating story. So the attorney that I mentioned a few minutes ago who went from a big firm and sort of was rushed into this solo practice and he said what should I get? I said look why don’t you try a tablet?
Specifically a Windows Surface Pro and I think they dropped the number now but the newest one is the 4 but they’re all Windows Surface Pros. And he said okay, which one do I get? When lawyers ask me what do I ask for in a laptop or an iPhone, actually this is the same answer. You walk into the store that you’re going to buy that device from and you say, I need the most expensive one you have.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: It’s a no-brainer and they go well why? I said because inevitably, if you don’t do that, you will run out of space because of pictures or movies or in the case of a laptop, documents, especially if you’re a litigation attorney, you’ve got a ton of documents that you happen to have to store in the hard drive maybe for travel purposes or whatever.
But I just tell everybody buy the most expensive one because even the most expensive one in the reality of what a business tool will cost you, you’re probably not looking at more than $2,500 which is the cost of a decent Mac.
Joe Patrice: Yeah I would say the most expensive one and not necessarily — not necessarily the more room but at a certain point they stop supporting older things.
Adriana Linares: That’s true.
Joe Patrice: You want to be the thing that you’re going to get the most support out for the most amount of time.
Adriana Linares: And the amazing thing about either platform today and almost any program is the regularity in which updates happen.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: So now and this is one of the cool things of course about Office 365, when there’s an update it just happens –
Joe Patrice: In the background.
Adriana Linares: In the background and the changes are not as shocking as they were when an update would take 10 years.
Joe Patrice: Yep.
Adriana Linares: So but back to your point about cloud based. So this attorney I said walk into the Microsoft store in Miami, you buy the most expensive one which he did. And I cannot believe this happened. So we got him all set up. It took me two days and it was fun.
Clio, NetDocuments, a little bit of one drive for the stuff he didn’t need to put, we got him set up. I even showed this guy how to code his own merged documents because it was so easy through Clio. Anyway, so he goes on for like three weeks. His firm folded and he was a new solo on January 1st.
So now we’re talking, it’s not even like February 3rd. Three weeks of having this Windows Surface Pro and loving this thing and I showed him we got him Acrobat DC, so he’s paying about a $100 a month and subscription services which by the way attorneys that is what you should be paying for a practice management program, a decent document management system, Office 365 and a professional PDF manipulation tool, which of I still like Acrobat which is $15 a month.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: Anyway this guy was flying. He calls me one night, he says, my Surface tablet just crashed. It’s a rock, it’s dead and I thought holy shit. Oh my God, and I was afraid he was going to be freaking out because this is hard for lawyers to deal with.
I said well, I looked really quick, I said the Microsoft store opens at 9, be there at 9, either they will fix it or they’re going to hand you a new Pro, a Surface Pro because you just bought it not even 30, literally not even 30 days ago. Anyway he goes down there. They ended up reformatting the hard drive, something I won’t mention it QuickBooks desktop that his accountant made him get crashed it and literally made the operating system inoperable.
So anyway, they fixed it. They basically hand him back his brand new Surface tablet.
Joe Patrice: Right.
Adriana Linares: I didn’t hear from him again which was kind of weird until the next day and he said, well, I had to rebuild my whole laptop. It kind of took me the whole day only because he had a lot of settings and some –
Joe Patrice: Right, of course.
Adriana Linares: But he said I cannot believe that all I had to do was log back into those programs.
Joe Patrice: Yep. Everything is there.
Adriana Linares: Make a couple — everything was there, and he was so happy. Of course, I knew that that’s what’s going to happen because I consider hardware dispensable and I — when something crashes for me, I just dump it and I pay $600.00 for new all-in-one at Office Depot and I get started.
So I think that technology today is really pliable, mobile. I think lawyers are really ready to just easily and affordably take on the cloud and not have to worry about hardware issues.
Joe Patrice: Don’t fear the cloud.
Adriana Linares: Don’t fear the cloud. Is that an issue that you find a lot with your readers and the lawyers that you talk to?
Joe Patrice: I thought it was disappearing more. People were starting to get more familiar with it and largely because of Office 365.
Adriana Linares: Sure. Big deal.
Joe Patrice: I think that kind of forced people to recognize that it’s not that scary that it’s important to put your documents in another place where you can always access them but just by logging in, where frankly the lawyers are scared about cyber security. You know what Microsoft’s more prepared. —
Adriana Linares: Exactly.
Joe Patrice: Than you’re going to be.
Adriana Linares: Totally got it.
Joe Patrice: Yeah and I think people are starting to get that message.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Joe Patrice: Obviously there’s a long way to go but get that message.
Adriana Linares: And thankfully a lot of the organizations that they look to for guidance like bar associations are saying, hey cloud is okay, just do your due diligence, make sure you’re doing the best that you’re capable of doing and so far as protecting client data and you’re going to be okay.
Joe Patrice: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: Well Joe this has been really fun. It looks like we’ve reached the end of our program. I’m so glad I ran into you here in Vancouver because we don’t get to see each other unless we are at these special conferences and stuff. So I just want to make sure that you let everybody know how they can find friend or follow you on the Internet and of course tell everyone one more time about your podcast on New Solo.
Joe Patrice: So read Above the Law. Subscribe to Thinking Like a Lawyer, which is the Legal Talk Network Podcast. I’m @JosephPatrice is my Twitter and that’s probably the most important way to follow me unless you want to stalk me.
Adriana Linares: You’re quite stalkable and Patrice is spelled P-A —
Joe Patrice: P-A-T-R-I-C-E, so it’s Joe Patrice is how I say my name. Though my Twitter is Joseph.
Adriana Linares: Got it. No weird spelling. Just Joseph as is.
Joe Patrice: No weird spelling Joseph
Adriana Linares: Well thanks so much. I totally appreciate your time. Of course if you like what you’ve heard today, please rate us on Apple podcast. We’ll see you next time for another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network and don’t forget you’re never alone. You’re just New Solo.
Outro: Thanks for listening to New Solo with host Adriana Linares. Tune in again to learn more about how to successfully run your new practice, solo, here on Legal Talk Network.
The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of, nor are they endorsed by Legal Talk Network, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, shareholders, and subsidiaries. None of the content should be considered legal advice. As always, consult a lawyer.
New Solo covers a diverse range of topics including transitioning from law firm to solo practice, law practice management, and more.
Philip Mauriello discusses his path to becoming a solo attorney.
Kristin Rizzo describes her journey from a large law firm to solo practice to mediation.
Daniel Whitehouse guides lawyers in the process of choosing secure, ethically compliant cloud services.
Marco Brown shares how to change your mindset, stop chasing money, and get paid for the great work you do.
Amanda Moore, CPA, shares tips on how to manage your practice’s finances and your bookkeeper as well as keeping yourself off the IRS’ radar.
Liz McCausland shares some of the professional and personal services she uses to improve both her work life and her personal life.