Brett Burney is Principal of Burney Consultants LLC, and focuses the bulk of his time on bridging the chasm...
Adriana Linares is a law practice consultant and legal technology coach. After several years at two of Florida’s largest...
Adriana Linares and Brett Burney offer a comprehensive list of useful tips and tools for bettering your technology use in the age of remote work.
Also, check out Adriana and Brett’s recent conversation on Legal Talk Today.
Brett Burney is principal of Burney Consultants LLC.
Tips and Tools for Surviving the Shift to Remote Work
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: Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network. I am Adriana Linares, your host. I am a legal technology trainer and consultant. I love helping law firms and lawyers use technology better. Before we get started, I want to make sure and thank our sponsors.
Thanks to ROSS Intelligence, the legal research platform that leverages AI to get to the heart of legal issues fast. Go to rossintelligence.com for a 14-day free trial.
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Thanks to our sponsor Clio. Check out Clio’s Daily Matters podcast featuring valuable perspectives on legal in the COVID-19 era. Listen to Daily Matters at clio.com/daily or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
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Adriana Linares: All right everyone so today’s guest is my good friend, dear buddy, Brett Burney. Hi Brett.
Brett Burney: Hi Adriana. Thanks for having me on. This is great.
Adriana Linares: Before we launch into just tips and tricks and I have some questions for you, tell everyone a little bit about yourself in case through some wired world they don’t know who you are.
Brett Burney: Well, I have always liked the way you describe what you do Adriana, like just simply helping lawyers better use and utilize technology, I love that, because whatever way that we have come into this and you and I have known each other for a long time and we have lots of mutual acquaintances that do this, it’s just having a passion for helping legal professionals better understand how they can incorporate technology, right?
You and I both hear all the time from legal professionals that they are not computer literate, they are not very tech savvy, so they use that as an excuse to sort of just not be responsible for understanding how technology can work. And that’s really sad in today’s world, especially right now, like you really need to have an understanding, and I mean that in a very general and broad sense, a lot of the stuff that you talk about with utilizing email or incorporating that better, just understanding how to better manage your practice.
One other area that I work in quite a bit is electronic discovery, working with litigators. And that whole idea of helping people understand that technology is extremely important in e-discovery, not just understanding how to manage your practice in there, because logistically that’s very important, but also as litigators today when we exchange evidence, it’s all electronic, right, at least on the civil litigation side, right, all of the evidence and I mean actual evidence that we exchange and produce to each side is email, it’s electronic documents, it’s now text messages and social media channels, all of that is electronically stored information.
And so as litigators you really have a duty, as you and I know, the technology competence duty these days, but you have a duty to really understand how that technology works, not to be an expert on it, but understand like where email is stored and how you can gather that email and produce it to the other side, that’s very important, so that you can be a better advocate for your client or a better counsel to your client in helping them do that.
So those are the areas that I run in. A lot of the general technology things, like I know that you do a lot, I love talking about using the iPad and the iPhone and mobile devices in your practice, but probably my day-to-day work is a lot more on the e-discovery side, litigation support technology.
Adriana Linares: I love sending you my e-discovery users and also my Mac people. So when I get stumped you are one of my go-tos for Macs and e-discovery.
I will just sort of riff a little bit on what you are saying, which is at this point this has been a particularly trying time for me, because I have spent the past 20 years doing nothing but trying to get lawyers to have some level of technology competence. And I have to say I usually feel pretty good about it, but let me tell you man, this crisis has really brought out the incredibly incompetent users.
And it has been really trying for me because helping lawyers with technology and their support staff and paralegals and everyone else that works in a law firm I have to say is probably the only thing on this planet I have patience for. It’s amazing, like I even can’t believe how much patience I have, but I will tell you during the past few weeks was so much exasperation, so much rush, so much pressure, I have lost it a couple of times. It’s been like 10 years, okay, you have had 10 years to move to the cloud. You have had 10 years.
And even if you have had 10, what happened to the last two, what happened to the last three, why so stagnant, I am sorry you still have a server and you are four people, okay, no law firm with four people should have a server.
Brett Burney: Right, right.
Adriana Linares: So I have to say I have lost it.
Brett Burney: Just let it out Adriana, just let it out, it’s good, it’s good, I mean it is unfortunate that it takes a pandemic to get people to sort of wake up to this.
In fact, I was just talking with a reporter from ALM; he is doing several stories obviously lately on how technology is working from e-discovery platforms, but he was asking generally about like court technology, even the courts Adriana, right, I mean most federal courts have at least embraced technology to a certain extent, because I am talking about trial technology, right, most of the time when we talk about that, having an understanding even on the e-discovery side, how to manage the parties, but you and I both know when you start getting down to state and county level, sometimes it’s just really sad.
And I was just even thinking about this, it’s taken this pandemic to really even have court sort of wake up and understand. I mean I love court reporters, but I mean there is technology out there that in some cases that can transcribe a lot of this, and I love court reporters, I do, and they are absolutely necessary, but maybe there are some situations where you don’t have to wait until you have a live person there.
Or something I even thought about today, because we have seen a lot of these orders come through, notaries, right? I mean 250 years ago we needed actual in-person witnesses that could be there to say, yes, I am watching this person sign with an actual quill and pen. But today we have other technology that can take the place of having an in-person witness. Many states today have temporarily forgiven having an in-person.
It’s a little sad, I think between you and me, I can say that word to you, because it’s sad for us that it takes a pandemic to get people to wake up and understand how technology can actually be fruitfully helpful and support what you are doing as opposed to just having this attitude that well, that’s for the nerds and the geeks. Well, that might be true; I am a nerd, but it’s like no, you need to understand how to best embrace a lot of this so that you can be a better professional.
Adriana Linares: I completely agree with you. So let’s do some of that, let’s help them be better professionals. I think we should definitely continue giving tips. I am always — look, I love what I do and I have always loved it, I just would love to get to an advanced level, right? I am still teaching lawyers what the right click does on a mouse.
I had an attorney a couple of months ago who, we were rolling out NetDocuments, she insists on having a Mac because it’s the only thing she knows how to do and work. And then as I am training her I said well, right click on that option right there and after telling me what an extensive Mac user she is and how it was the only way she would be able to work she responded to me by saying there is no right click on a Mac. And I said and there we are.
Brett Burney: And there we are.
Adriana Linares: And there we are, drink.
All right, so Brett, you and I had a list of tips and tools that we were going to rattle off, but Laurence came in with a stopwatch and cut us off.
Brett Burney: He is very mean.
Adriana Linares: He was mean, before we could get through our list and I had worked really hard on my list to come up with new and different tools, services, gadgets or apps that I hadn’t rattled off in the past before. So I want to talk about a couple of those.
Let’s talk about TextExpander, let’s start there, because I know that’s one of your favorites, it’s definitely one of my favorites and then I have — I am actually going to use this opportunity to troubleshoot a technical problem I am having with TextExpander.
Brett Burney: Oh, good, goody, okay.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. So tell everyone what is TextExpander and how can it help us save time and be more efficient and make less mistakes?
Brett Burney: Wow, that’s almost like you rehearsed it, that’s fantastic. So Adriana, here is one way that I try to explain TextExpander to so many folks, when I was in law school, which was many, many, many, many, years ago now, I used a laptop what that I carried around with me and this was a huge 9.5 pound Gateway Laptop; it even had a floppy drive in it, okay, that’s how old it was, but I took all my notes in Microsoft Word.
Now, many times throughout the day I would have to type the phrase United States Supreme Court. Now, I could type that whole thing, but I would want to capitalize the U and the S — the S and the C because that’s proper, right?
Adriana Linares: You feel like it’s proper.
Brett Burney: And I had to type that entire phrase, four words there, not that big of a deal, but when you are trying to take notes and listen, that gets a little cumbersome, so I thought — I just came up with the most brilliant thing ever Adriana, the AutoCorrect function in Word would already correct when I mistyped the; I would type hte instead of the, but it would brilliantly autocorrect it for me; I loved it.
So I am thinking to myself, so if it could correct little things like that, what if I could sort of like fool Microsoft Word into typing United States Supreme Court for me if I just typed SUPCT, Supreme Court, SUPCT and voila, it would immediately expand out to United States Supreme Court, I mean how many characters did that save me?
Adriana Linares: Tons.
Brett Burney: I could count it up. But it was great because now instead of taking the time to type all that, just a little tiny snippet of one, two, three, four, five characters and immediately expand that out. Plus, every time it expanded it, spelled it correctly, because of course if I mistyped it, I would have to go back and delete and backspace; too much time.
Well, think about that instead of only working inside Microsoft Word TextExpander now does that for me in all of my applications.
Adriana Linares: Across the board.
Brett Burney: Everywhere. Now, that was sort of using AutoCorrect in a way that it wasn’t exactly meant for, but it worked great.
Adriana Linares: Right, it was a good hack.
Brett Burney: Right. But now today I talk about using TextExpander as a way to sort of automate your typing. In fact, when I introduce TextExpander I say this, here are two questions, do you type; of course we all do; and second question, do you want to save time? Who would not say yes to both of those? Then if you say yes to both of those questions then TextExpander is going to absolutely improve your technology life.
So now what I do, instead of doing like kind of an AutoCorrect, I think about things that I type frequently throughout the day, like my office or work phone number, right? Now, a phone number typically I have got to do Shift and use the parenthesis and a space and a dash in there, not that big of a deal, but if you have got to do that several times in a day, why are you taking all that time.
So now I have, for me, for my business phone number, it’s a little bit long, doesn’t have to be this long, but I do bizphone, bizphone, no spaces, no nothing and immediately it expands out to that phone number and it’s 100% accurate every single time.
A couple of quick examples, my office mailing address, the full thing, right, you have got three lines, you have got returns and hard spaces in there and commas and numbers, I don’t want to take the time to type all that out every time. For that what’s even better, it’s office address, but it’s abbreviated offadd, no spaces, no nothing, offadd and immediately expands out into my entire office address. It’s fantastic.
And then lastly, quickly the dates; I am constantly typing when I am taking notes somewhere but I don’t want to take the time to pause what I am doing, pull up my calendar, because I can never remember exactly what day it is, especially these days, pull down the calendar and figure out, what week this is, I don’t want to take the time to do that. I have a very simple snippet and that’s what you call it in TextExpander, it’s ddt; it’s date, it’s something I would never type typically within a word, ddt, just lowercase, three characters and immediately it expands out into my current date.
Adriana Linares: Is that a built-in one or do I have to create that one?
Brett Burney: Those are not built-in. There is a date one built-in, I think it’s ddate, ddate, but that’s too long for me.
Adriana Linares: It’s too much.
Brett Burney: So there are some built-in ones that come with TextExpander, but I like to make sure that it’s something that I know and that I am familiar with, it just makes sense to my brain. You can use whatever you need. Some people use triggers like ;;, something that you wouldn’t type typically throughout the day and it could be a trigger for all your TextExpander snippets.
Adriana Linares: So I love TextExpander for all the reasons you just said. And so I use — here is a typical sentence that I write that has a hyperlink, it will say, if you have a few minutes before our call, please visit this link and take this pre-call survey. So it’s .precall, because pre-call is a word I might actually use, but in my mind it was the one that I remembered. So you have to sort of makeup shortcuts that you will remember.
I use it for all sorts of stuff. I love TextExpander. I use it for formatted text, unformatted text. I create different signatures in there. I have put — I get a lot of tech support questions about NetDocuments, I have got all that stuff in there, so I absolutely love TextExpander, and what is it, about $40 a year?
Brett Burney: It is, yes.
Adriana Linares: Do you have a discount for us Brett?
Brett Burney: I do, because this is how much of a nerd I am that I love TextExpander so much that I actually even created like a course around it.
Adriana Linares: Oh wow.
Brett Burney: There was a discount on there. So I am going to give it to you just simply because you don’t have to go and get the course, you can go and sign up for it separately, but on this website there is a video that I put up there that will show you exactly what it does. So I always tell people just go there and at least watch it. This is textexpanderforlawyers.com, so textexpanderforlawyers.com. You can go to textexpander.com, you can see, but this is application that is used in so many different companies.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, we like for lawyers.
Brett Burney: Exactly, but this is TextExpander for Lawyers, so obviously on that website you can see I give specific examples of what it does on the legal side.
For example, one of my — I have a friend that he — I loved this, he practices in Paducah, Kentucky; I just love saying Paducah.
Adriana Linares: Don’t we all?
Brett Burney: Which is home to the American Quilt Museum by the way, if you have ever been there. Anyway, so Jeff practices there, but he typically had a divorce petition that he would have to fill out every single time.
Adriana Linares: Guy loves to get married.
Brett Burney: He and I were at a conference and I was talking about TextExpander and he said I have got this form that I have to have my assistants fill out every time, can I use TextExpander to automate that? Now, you and I know there are some other fantastic document automation tools out there, but for what Jeff was doing, this worked out great, because even in TextExpander, not only can it expand out to a full letter, but it will also give you the opportunity to fill in fields or have a drop-down if you want to select certain things. So you can get all kinds of crazy good on TextExpander if you wanted to take it to the nth degree.
But I like just thinking about with people on the simplest aspect and then you can start building on that.
Adriana Linares: I didn’t know TextExpander could do that. So you expand something and then it stops and asks you a specific question?
Brett Burney: Yeah, absolutely.
Adriana Linares: And then it keeps filling in. Oh, that’s interesting. I am going to go take your course.
Brett Burney: Yeah, similar to what — you and I know HotDocs and some of these others on there, which are great, and I am not saying TextExpander is a replacement for all of those, but for some simpler things.
Like for example, I use this all the time when I am creating email messages and sometimes like for you, you might want to select a specific link to send somebody. Well, you could have all of those links in a drop-down, for example, and depending on who you are sending the email to, you could say here is my email, and then it would say, what’s the name of the person you are sending it to, so you could address it appropriately. And then you could do a drop-down.
Or there is even a pick field, so you can say I want this sentence to be included and not this one. I mean it really gets amazing what you can do.
Adriana Linares: No kidding.
Brett Burney: That’s the more advanced stuff.
Adriana Linares: I have been sleeping.
Brett Burney: Yeah. Well, no, no, I tell people start small, because once you — you have been doing this for a while, once you understand the power that’s in there with the simple things, then you can start building on that knowledge.
Adriana Linares: I love it. I am totally going to figure out how to do that, that’s the type of stuff I do all day long and I just haven’t — I guess I hadn’t thought about it too much.
Sometimes though I find that when I go to expand something it misses the mark and it pastes whatever was last on my clipboard. Does that ever happen to you?
Brett Burney: It has. So there are a few settings in TextExpander that you can tweak on there, so that — this has happened on the Mac, because by the way, TextExpander —
Adriana Linares: It happens to me on my Mac too.
Brett Burney: Yeah. So I mostly have found this to happen on the Mac. Now, by the way just quickly, TextExpander was originally just a Mac application, but it is now a cloud-based subscription so that it will work on the Windows side as well. It will also work on your iPhone and your iPad; they even just released a Chrome version, so it can work on the Chromebook as well, which is great because now I can create these snippets and they are shared across all my devices.
Not only that, but if I were in an office where I needed to share snippets with others, because I do this, they are just not in my office, I share my sections of my snippets with other people and they can get access to the same snippet, so if I make a change to it, then obviously it changes for them.
So I work with a lot of lawyers that do this in their office because they want all of their people to use the same snippets.
Adriana Linares: The same language.
Brett Burney: Exactly. Or I will even say this quickly Adriana, we have touched on this a little bit, but let’s say you have got a judge’s name that’s hard to spell, or a client’s name, what’s great about TextExpander, not only does it save you time, but every time you expand a snippet, it’s 100% accurate.
Adriana Linares: That’s true.
Brett Burney: You never want to misspell a judge’s name.
Adriana Linares: No, they don’t like that.
Brett Burney: So like Shira Scheindlin was a judge up in the Southern District of New York, was a big e-discovery judge, but I could never remember if I could spell her name with ie or ei, I never wanted to misspell her name, so I created a snippet that I knew; it was J Shira, her first name I could always spell for some reason, SHIRA, so J Shira, it expanded out into her whole full name and I never had to worry about misspelling her name again. So I use it from that aspect.
It’s almost just like when I work with lawyers and firms I say make sure you put all your client names in there so that everybody is spelling the client name correctly every single time.
Adriana Linares: Right, I love it. So I am a universal technology user. I wish I had taken a picture of this over the weekend. I was testing out a new feature from NetDocuments called ndMail. And what’s happened over the past few weeks is with the disbursement of everyone at home, so all these attorneys, these law firms are on Windows at home, they have got all — I mean at work, at their offices, now they go home and they are all on — half of them are on Macs and one of them was on a Chromebook. And I was like oh, what am I going to do with this lady on a freaking Chromebook? I mean it’s just so limiting.
But anyway, I have a Mac, I have a Surface, I have an a really nice ASUS laptop that I just got, I have an iPhone, I have an iPad, I have an Android. I had them all out on my table in the living room and I call them my babies at that point. I said to my boyfriend like look at all my babies. The amazing thing about that was I had TextExpander and all my snippets and everything that I use all the time on all of those devices except that Chromebook, but now you just made my day.
Brett Burney: Yeah, yeah, they just released this a few months ago. So they don’t quite yet have an Android version but I know they are working on it, but Mac, Windows, iOS and then they have the Chrome version now.
Adriana Linares: And man, I love it in iOS. But I have to tell you I struggle with that app sometimes, I really do. Sometimes I can’t get to my snippet and I am like where is it.
But anyway, all right. Well, let’s move on because we could do a whole hour on just TextExpander.
Brett Burney: I know, we could just keep talking about TextExpander, I love it.
Adriana Linares: And we really should because it’s such an amazing app and it’s so affordable and it’s so universal. So I am really excited to hear about TextExpander or Lawyers; I did not know you had that until we chatted with Laurence the other day. So I have got it on my list of places to make sure I go visit and you have got a discount code on there?
Brett Burney: There is. In fact, if you look at — on that page you can have a link there and then also, just by the way, I tell people you can try it for free for I think they have 15 or 14 days, something along those lines, but you know what, if it’s not on there, if you have any questions, just connect with me through that website, always happy to talk about TextExpander, as you can tell.
Adriana Linares: No, I love it and I am going to check it out right now. I feel like Leo Laporte, I am doing my podcast and I am looking things up at the same time.
Brett Burney: I love Leo, he is great.
Adriana Linares: I wish Leo would call us. I mean doesn’t Leo need us for a show over there?
Brett Burney: I wish, I wish. Boy, I have been following him for a long time, from the early days on TV, good stuff.
Adriana Linares: I know, me too. But your courses are so affordable, they are only $100 or $160 for both.
Brett Burney: Oh, thank you, yeah.
Adriana Linares: And I think that that would totally make itself up and save time for any attorney that bothered watching this. Find the time you guys, have it now.
All right, well, cool.
Brett Burney: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: Having said that about TextExpander, I just wanted to talk, I am looking at our list about how we both, so you are a Mac for the most part, right?
Brett Burney: For the most part, yes.
Adriana Linares: But you also were going to give a good Microsoft app to do as a tip from your list. So tell me about how, are you a G Suite user and an Office 365 user, how do you live in a hybrid world, because I do too and I always like to hear about other people and how they do it.
Brett Burney: I actually don’t have G Suite, but I am in Google platforms all the time; in fact, several of my projects, probably just like you, constantly using Google Drive and Google Docs and even my Gmail account and Google Calendar; we even have a Google Calendar for the family that we share around, so always using Google products. And in fact, I work with a lot on the litigation side, when we do e-discovery we are collecting from Gmail accounts many times, so we are constantly looking at G Suite on the back end, Gmail and Google Vault and everything on those ends. But I do subscribe to Office 365, which is now going to be Microsoft 365, right, they are rebranding because it is just going this way.
Adriana Linares: So let me just ask you a question in case you can confirm. I got the notifications that they were going from Office 365 to Microsoft 365 and then I was listening to a podcast, Microsoft Central I think it’s called and they confused me a little bit because they made it sound like the term Microsoft 365 was going to be only for their consumer/family new set of products, but do you think they are calling it Microsoft 365 across the board?
Brett Burney: I saw the same thing, I know exactly what you are talking about, and frankly the reason that I know this, that you are right is I believe they will continue to keep the Office 365 branding for what we call the enterprise-level subscriptions, right?
So again, I run into this all the time; in fact, when I work with corporate clients, most all corporations today, most companies, anybody that’s not a law firm is either in Office 365 or they are in G Suite, they have all gone to the cloud. So when I work with a law firm or a corporate internal legal department that is trying to collect information for production, for a litigation matter, we are always going to the back end of either G Suite or Office 365. So these are the enterprise-level subscriptions, we call it E3 and E5.
And I know that as well because many times we will bump people up in a corporation to an E3 or E5 subscription level because there are e-discovery tools on the back end that allow us to search email and collect it and also search and collect documents from what we call OneDrive for Business or it’s basically SharePoint on the back end that we can pull from that.
So I do believe they are keeping that branding for the enterprise-level, but for most of what we work with Adriana, like there is the home and family subscriptions, mostly for educational and for homes; in fact, I have one of those because it’s for my entire family. I can share it with like up to five members of my family.
But then we have the small business things, which I just know the price; it used to be like Business Premium I think or something like that, it was $12.50 per user per month. I think that’s going to the Microsoft 365 branding, I don’t think that’s switching, but I could be a little bit wrong. We just got the announcement not too long ago so we will see how Microsoft does this exactly.
Adriana Linares: Well, cool. Well, I am a big fan of both, I subscribe to G Suite and they host my email and manage, because I really love Gmail, but I cannot stand working in Gmail, so I am happy to pay for Office 365. Of course I need Word and PowerPoint and all that, but I am happy to have Outlook, so I just bring Gmail into Outlook because of their GSSMO, Google Sync Service Microsoft Outlook, yeah.
That’s a tip for everyone out there, if you are like me and you have G suite and Office 365, Gmail a while ago put out a little plug-in or an add-in called GSSMO, Google Sync Service Microsoft Outlook, the thing is it doesn’t work with free Gmail. So you have to be a paid subscriber to G Suite and then you can download that little tool and it not only synchronizes your email, it also synchronizes Calendar and Contacts into Outlook, so I love that.
But your tip that you had was going to be about Microsoft To Do, which the reason I am picking that one out of your list is because on that Microsoft Central podcast that I listen to, they were also touting some new features that it has and they liked.
Brett Burney: So let me just say quickly, you don’t have to have a subscription to Office 365 or Microsoft 365, you do have to have a Microsoft account, which can be a free account. In fact, if you have an Xbox, you have signed up for a free Microsoft account and maybe many of us even have a free Microsoft account, so you just have to have a Microsoft account. Now, but if you do have a subscription to Office 365, then you can combine this To Do app with your Outlook.
So quickly a little bit of history, there was a fantastic to do or task management app from several years ago called Wunderlist or since it was from Germany and it was spelled Wun, I always said, Wunderlist.
Adriana Linares: Yes, definitely, Wunderlist.
Brett Burney: Yeah, absolutely. There are so many tasks and to do management applications out there, Adriana. You and I have been talking about these for so long. There are some really, really great ones like Things and OmniFocus and so many things. Like our friend David Sparks, he loves OmniFocus and I just — I sit and just watch him use it and what he can do with something like that.
But I don’t always need quite that much control I guess. I have always thought I just need to start with something simple, maybe I can work up to that. And I love Things, I have seen it; I love OmniFocus, but many times I just need to make a simple list, whether it’s a shopping list or today’s to-do list or books that I want to read, just something simple and Wunderlist helped me to do that when it came out. I loved it.
In fact, it was so good that Microsoft purchased Wunderlist and basically they — in fact, they just sent out an email I think two weeks ago that they are now going to kill out that entire brand. They have basically taken the best of that application and turned it into Microsoft To Do.
Adriana Linares: Cool.
Brett Burney: So this is a free app that anybody can download. You do have to have a free Microsoft account or if you have a subscription to Office 365, you can use that account on there as well. But it’s just a beautifully streamlined interface that lets you create a list and inside the list you can put individual tasks in there.
So I have one, literally like I will even just pull it up right here that I have like books that I want to read or follow-ups after a conference that I wanted that I went to, which was several months ago now, but like these are the people that I wanted to follow up, I just wanted to capture that somewhere. I even have ideas, like home quarantine ideas, like things I want to do with the kids, like just anything that I just want to capture, get out of my head so that I know it’s captured.
Because David talks about this, David Sparks talks about this quite a bit too, just you want to get it out of your head, or even David Allen, right, ‘Getting Things Done’, get it out of your head so that you just capture it somewhere so you are not stressed about forgetting it at some point, and that’s what I find with Microsoft To Do. Now, that’s the very simplest.
Adriana Linares: And it’s an app on your iPhone, but also do they have a desktop app or how do you use it on your Mac?
Brett Burney: Yeah, desktop app. Yeah, they have just come out with this. So now with Microsoft To Do you can get an app for Windows, an app for Mac, an app for Android, an app for an iPad and iPhone, it’s all there. And what’s great about it is because you are doing it through Microsoft, all of these lists synchronize to all of your devices and it’s just brilliant.
Adriana Linares: It’s so beautiful when that happens. Yes, I love synchronization, especially for someone like me who I just use everything.
Brett Burney: Right.
Adriana Linares: Before we go to our break I do want to get one more tip in so we can do a handful at a time. On your list you also have Field Notes. What is that?
Brett Burney: So as much as I am a technology nerd, this was my one analog tip I was going to throw in.
Adriana Linares: Oh, funny, okay.
Brett Burney: I will just put a quick plug-in; I know you follow the Attorney at Work site as well.
Adriana Linares: Sure, yeah.
Brett Burney: There is a columnist there; I think his name is Bull Garlington; he is called the Analog Attorney, and as much as I love the technology, I love his columns because he talks about like the best pencil or the best pen, the best notebook. Well, I don’t do a lot of paper anymore, but there is something at like the end of the day, especially these days, just sitting down and just taking a few notes, like what happened in the day. I don’t go into all this bullet journaling or any kind of fanciness; just what are some of the things that I thought about today or I am grateful for, something like that.
Well, these little Field Notes, it’s a small company out of Chicago; in fact, I just went and visited their headquarters when we were at ABA TECHSHOW at the end of February before the world imploded upon itself.
Adriana Linares: So what am I googling here to find this?
Brett Burney: Yeah, so it’s a —
Adriana Linares: Because I can’t just google Field Notes, who knows what I will get.
Brett Burney: No, Field Notes Brand is the website, fieldnotesbrand.com. They are just — they are small, they fit in my pocket. I use this —
Adriana Linares: They are little notebooks?
Brett Burney: They are little tiny paper notebooks, 48 pages.
Adriana Linares: Oh, cute.
Brett Burney: And the thing is I even — I don’t subscribe to a lot of things outside of the technology world, but I subscribe to this. I think it’s $120 a year, that four times a year they send me a new packet in the mail. They don’t tell you what the new notebook is going to be, but they are just beautiful. I don’t have a lot of notebooks, I don’t do the whole, what is it, Moleskine, I don’t do a whole lot of fancy stuff, but this is one of my guilty pleasures that every three months I get a new packet of Field Notes and the kids know now that, it’s like well, there is dad’s Field Notes again coming in.
Adriana Linares: That’s really cute. So it’s kind of like Moleskine would be, how some people — like I know Sam Glover is a big fan of Moleskine and I know Ernie also likes their notepads and stuff. So cool, no, these are really cute.
Brett Burney: Yeah. This is my analog pleasure.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. And it’s funny about that, I am not a big note taker either, I have very, very little paper, but I do like a little notebook just like this to jot things on to, mostly to keep shopping lists or just very ephemeral pieces of information that I have no other place to put because I won’t need it for very long. So okay, I like that.
Brett Burney: I do have to tell you, I have to purposely make myself like at the end of the day pull this out, because again, with something like the Notes App on my iPhone or Microsoft To Do, that’s where I capture everything. In fact, I just have she who shall not be-named, because otherwise all my devices will turn off, I just have her like record a note, but I love that now.
But at the end of the day having a glass of wine or something, I just sit there and I have got a pen and it’s just — I don’t know if it’s just the nostalgic aspect of it, but just writing something down and having a picture, it is fun to kind of go back over the last couple of months and just kind of look, especially these days, just reminding yourself what you were thinking about at a time and this is just the way that I do it.
Adriana Linares: That’s neat. That’s kind of meditative and very cool. I write very little as well, but I do love a good pen and I have to say I still like good old-fashioned like Bic pens in various colors and if I see a cool notebook; I found one in Palm Springs not that long ago, that’s like kind of brown newspaper and it’s this big pad, man, there is really something soothing about writing and creating a list. So I think that’s a great analog tip.
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Adriana Linares: We are back. I am talking to Brett Burney. We are going through some of our favorite tips and tools and services; we have talked about TextExpander, we talked about Microsoft To-Do app, mentioned Field Notes for those of you who like to take notes, these cool little notebooks.
I want to ask you too, from a litigation perspective, which you had started to tell us that a big part of your life is e-discovery and helping litigators, Brett, you are a lawyer, right, or you were a practicing lawyer?
Brett Burney: I was.
Adriana Linares: Yeah. So you have really good experience. By the way everyone, if you are looking for an e-discovery consultant, Brett is one of my go-to, so make sure you reach out to him if you need some help.
I am curious about PST Viewer from GoldFynch because I often have attorneys say to me, I have got some discovery, what do I do with this PST file, and maybe they don’t have Outlook or they don’t know what to do with it. So one, I want to know why you recommend GoldFynch and is it platform agnostic and how much does it cost and tell us what it does other than it’s called PST Viewer?
Brett Burney: Yeah, yeah, okay.
Adriana Linares: So I am going to guess that you can load a PST into it and see all of the emails.
Brett Burney: All right, so I am going to geek out on the e-discovery side Adriana for just like a minute, you need to stop me and rein me in, but just quickly, this is one of my — so just let me — I am going to go through this quickly, PST is what we know as Personal Storage Table, it’s really what it actually stands for, but it is the default file that comes out of Microsoft Outlook or Exchange.
Why is that important, because today, still today the predominant source for potentially relevant electronically stored information is email. It’s amazing what people will say in an email message, although I used to say that until social media came along, it’s amazing what people will share. They would never pick up the phone and say to somebody or say to somebody face-to-face, which would never get recorded typically by the way, but they will say it in an email, which means that it never gets erased. That said, that’s why we always go to email.
So predominantly people use Microsoft Outlook as a way to check their email, just like what you are saying, even from Gmail for example. So when I am putting in a production request from the other side to supply all of the relevant conversations about this particular matter, where there is a construction case or a real estate matter or a trade secret issue, whatever the case may be, email is typically always the first place we go.
Collect that information; how do we collect it, we export it out of Outlook as a PST file or we collect it from the back end, there are various ways.
Once you have that PST file, how then do you as counsel, as the attorney review it, because of course you don’t want to produce anything to the other side that is confidential or not relevant, right? The idea is we want to only produce what’s relevant or responsive to the matter, but not privileged or confidential in some way. So that means you have to read through these emails or there is lots of technology today that allow you to kind of automatically read through that.
So how then do you as the attorney read through those emails and make those determinations? Well, most people say if this is a PST file that came from Outlook, I have got Outlook on my computer, I will just be able to view the PST file in Outlook.
Now, that is absolutely correct, Microsoft Outlook will let you view a PST file; however, when you open that PST file that you have got from your client that by the way is evidence, electronic evidence, you are basically —
Adriana Linares: You don’t put that on your computer?
Brett Burney: You are basically opening that PST file in your own Outlook, and this — I purposely use this word, Adriana, I say, “You are then commingling electronic evidence with your work product” because when you load that PST file in your Outlook, first of all, you are changing the metadata, which we call spoliation of the data —
Adriana Linares: No spoliation.
Brett Burney: — but it’s live email. If you just negligently hit the Reply or the Forward button, guess what?
Adriana Linares: They are live.
Brett Burney: You are working in live email.
Adriana Linares: You are detonating an email time-bomb.
Brett Burney: So then beyond that quickly and I am going to try to wrap it up, how then do you determine or navigate, if it’s a relevant message how do you determine that you need to preserve that? Well, most people say, that’s easy, I just make a new folder in my Outlook and I drag the message into that new folder. Okay, I understand that, but then how do you produce it?
I will tell you I have worked with a law firm in the past that this is exactly how the litigation team reviewed the email and they literally printed it from Outlook.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, I knew it, I knew there was a printing story coming.
Brett Burney: Now when you print an email message from Microsoft Outlook whose name appears at the top of the printout?
Adriana Linares: Yeah, in the banner.
Brett Burney: The client’s name?
Adriana Linares: No.
Brett Burney: No, your name. Basically the way I put it is, you have now put your digital fingerprints on that email message. I always tell people when I am explaining this like, what do you do? I say, well, we all know that if a lawyer or even a law enforcement officer goes to the scene of a crime, you don’t just pick up the bloody knife with your bare hands and then take it back to your office and throw it in your desk drawer, do you? Why? Because everybody knows you don’t spoil the evidence.
Well, we are doing exactly that with PST. Okay, so that’s a long-winded explanation as to why, but I am always looking for good tools that allows lawyers to do what they need to do, which is, look at that email but without changing the metadata, without editing anything, without putting their digital fingerprints on that, and this is one of the greatest tools. So GoldFynch it’s a very small eDiscovery company, in fact it was three people that they were graduates I think from the University of Iowa, which is not typically an eDiscovery hotbed but I met these — I met these three gentlemen at a Legal Technology Conference for, I think it was maybe here in Ohio at the Bar Association and I was very impressed with what they were doing sort of bootstrapping things, right? There’s a lot of great tools out there like Logikcull and Everlaw and DISCO and Lexbe and Nextpoint and all of these will upload a PST file, but these folks, Anith is the gentleman, the CEO of GoldFynch and he said we get this request all the time. We are going to put a free PST viewer based under GoldFynch, if you go to Goldfynch.com or just google PST viewer from GoldFynch and GoldFynch is spelled G-O-L-D-F-Y-N-C-H, it was based on Atticus Finch that whole thing, that’s where they came from, but it’s in the browser, it’s a browser-based tool, Adriana, so that you can go to a PST file, you can upload it, everything stays secure, you’re not uploading anything to their server. It’s all scripted so that everything stays on your computer, and it doesn’t let you go through and do everything with it, but it will give you at least an insight into what the message says, who replied to who, where it was forwarded, what different subfolders that they have in there.
So you’re not going to be able to do all the review. If you want to do that, you need to pay to actually load it into the full GoldFynch review platform, but I tell people, at least use this free viewer to get an idea in a sense of what is contained in this PST file because many times the clients just say, here it is, you look at it, you deal with it. So at least you can get an idea so that you as the lawyer can make a better strategy at what the next steps are going to be. All right, I get too crazy and passionate about talking about this but —
Adriana Linares: No, that’s great.
Brett Burney: — that’s what the GoldFynch is.
Adriana Linares: That’s one of those tools that people ask me about all the time attorneys, I don’t do litigation support which is why I send them to you. But that’s one of those tools —
Brett Burney: No one wants to do that, it’s okay.
Adriana Linares: No, nobody does, so that’s great, that’s very, very helpful. Okay, next one I am going to ask you about. I watched your very cool video on podcast with your wife about TunnelBear.
Brett Burney: Yes.
Adriana Linares: But before I forget you also do and is this where I saw it appsinlaw.com, right?
Brett Burney: Yes, well, thank you, Adriana, yes.
Adriana Linares: appsinlaw.com, well, I send people there all the time and I actually post a lot of your reviews to the San Diego County Bar where I work part time as their Technology Advisor for their members, but you do great reviews at appsinlaw.com.
Brett Burney: That’s my fun site, that’s my fun website. I love it. In fact I would just — I will say quickly I just posted a video that is going nuts right now because this is what everybody is asking about but we already talked about Zoom. So I had seven tips on how to use Zoom on your iPhone and iPad —
Adriana Linares: Oh great, oh good.
Brett Burney: — specifically, because everybody is using their Mac and their computer, which is great, but there are some really nifty little tips that you can incorporate on the iPhone and the iPad specifically, which is great, in fact somebody just posted a comment on my — the LinkedIn post like this frees up your computer, right, if you want to do some other work while you are on a Zoom call you could just have the Zoom sitting there on your iPhone or on your iPad.
Like for example there’s a little nifty tip on the iPhone called Safe Driving Mode, so you could switch over there. So, anyways, thank you again for mentioning that appsinlaw.com is my website.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, I love that site.
Brett Burney: You can go there and I have a podcast on that as well as doing these little videos or just YouTube videos, but anyway, this Zoom iOS tips is really pretty hot right now, and knew that it would and I wanted just to give some good tips for people that were using it on their iPhone or iPad.
Adriana Linares: That’s great. So freaking helpful. I don’t know how you have time to do all this stuff, because I wish I could do —
Brett Burney: We are always working, that’s it.
Adriana Linares: I know, always working. Is that where I saw the TunnelBear video?
Brett Burney: Yes, yep.
Adriana Linares: Tell us about TunnelBear because that’s another thing that a lot of people have been asking about now as, do I need a VPN, what is a VPN, so give us the breakdown real simple like you did with the other tools which — what is a VPN and why do I need it and why would I use something called TunnelBear, which is super cute name?
Brett Burney: Yea, absolutely. So this is one of the things and hopefully one other thing we can quickly talk about also is Password Managers —
Adriana Linares: Oh, I can’t, if everyone would just give me freaking password manager —
Brett Burney: You have time now to spend 15 to 20 minutes studying up on Password Managers and VPNs, just so that you know what they do. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, it’s a very fancy like matrix sounding term, but basically all it means or what I typically describe it as is when you are using a public Wi-Fi, like one that doesn’t require a password of some kind, and immediately, Adriana, you jump into. I am thinking of Starbucks and everybody jumps on the same Wi-Fi, you can use a VPN to basically add an additional layer of security on those open public Wi-Fis. So I use open public Wi-Fis all the time, nothing specifically wrong with them. If I am surfing Facebook or just getting on a website, I don’t really have that much of a concern of what somebody may be sniffing data packets out of the air or knowing what I am going into, that’s perfectly fine, but if I know that I am going to connect into a secure portal from a client, for example, I need you to download some documents or I basically want to send email, I will typically trigger the VPN to be turned on at that point before I do something that I want to just have that extra layer of security. Now —
Adriana Linares: So you are creating sort of a security envelope around your existing Internet connection that creates this basically a private tunnel between your computer and whatever you are sending the information to —
Brett Burney: Yeah.
Adriana Linares: Over this free Wi-Fi, do I need a VPN if I am going to my bank? So let’s say I am at the airport and I want to check my balance but my bank provides HTTPS, right, so it’s a secure connection, do I need a VPN for that?
Brett Burney: I would typically not say you need one, but I would tell you just like I am sure you run into, Adriana, a lot of people, if once they understand how important a VPN is and what it can do, I find most people are just to be extra safe. But if I know I am going to a site that uses HTTPS just like I think where you are going with that, I don’t worry about that quite as much because I know that I am secure, that means — that S means that I am encrypted in that connection.
Adriana Linares: But let’s talk about email, which is the example that you gave because email is one of the least secure methods of sending a communication except for — and correct me if I am wrong, that here’s the explanation I give, if you are a G Suite user and you are emailing another G Suite user that connection between the Gmail and the G Suite servers is actually encrypted. So if you are G Suite to G Suite, you have got a secure encrypted connection because the two endpoints are in the same family.
If you are a Microsoft Office 365 user sending to another Office 365 user who is getting their services directly from Microsoft also encrypted and secure because it’s in the same ecosystem and family, right?
Brett Burney: Right, yeah, the key that you are saying there quickly, those are paid versions of that —
Adriana Linares: Yes.
Brett Burney: Not the free Gmail, not the free Outlook.com.
Adriana Linares: No. Now, here’s the other thing. How many of you have ever asked your clients, are you an Office 365 user or are you a G Suite user? So the point here is, we have no idea because we just email wildly. We don’t take an inventory of what our clients are using. So in that case if you are emailing a client I could actually — here let me give you an example. I was emailing with attorneys last week I had two — you are not going to even believe this when I tell you, two attorneys using pacbell.net email addresses —
Brett Burney: Oh my — wow.
Adriana Linares: I had one with an AOL, I had another one still using EarthLink.
Brett Burney: This is 1987 calling.
Adriana Linares: And by the way these are lawyers. So the point there being, obviously, if that is the domain name, you know that it’s a different service than what you are using but lawtechpartners.com is provided through Gmail.
So I guess my point is, when you are not sure if you have a secure and encrypted connection and especially with something like just emailing a client or someone else, a VPN is a good idea.
Brett Burney: Absolutely, and there are several VPN options out there, many of us have probably heard of or seen ads for NordVPN, or ExpressVPN, I find those at least of the two that come up a lot.
Adriana Linares: Yeah.
Brett Burney: Both of those are fantastic, they are great and sometimes there’s good deals on them, and if you want to get one of those, that’s fine, but for people that are just if you are going to take 15-20 minutes in your downtime as it were —
Adriana Linares: Downtime.
Brett Burney: — to learn about VPN, this is one service that I have loved and I just tell people, this is a good place to start to get your head wrapped around what it does. And it’s TunnelBear, just like it sounds TunnelBear.com, it’s so cute, Adriana, I love it, literally if you go to TunnelBear.com —
Adriana Linares: I am going.
Brett Burney: — the graphics that they use, it’s just — it feels like you are hugging a teddy bear, it’s just fantastic. And what’s great about —
Adriana Linares: And it’s a secure private teddy bear, it’s so cute.
Brett Burney: Exactly, exactly, once you get to the website, you will see what I am talking about, but it has apps available for the iPad and the iPhone and your Mac and Windows, and so what’s great about the app on the iPhone and iPad because I typically find I work with a lot of people using the iPad, you don’t have to have it turned on all the time, but you can actually go into the settings and your iOS and create a profile for the VPN. Some people can do that but to me I find most users just don’t want to deal with it. If you download the app for TunnelBear you can get it for free you can try this out for free. They give you up to 500 megabytes each month for free, plenty of space and bandwidth to let you test this out, but you simply just open the little app on your iPad or iPhone.
And at the very top there’s an Off and On button, you turn it on and you actually watch the little bear dig into the ground, dig a tunnel and he comes out and pops out of the tunnel, that he’s dug and you know then that it’s turned on. And by the way on iOS, on the iPhone and the iPad you know that you are protected by the VPN because very helpfully in the upper right corner of the iPad, or iPhone, it says VPN. So you know it’s turned on and you know it’s running.
I had a client, I worked with her, she traveled to Argentina for, well, several months ago, she was travelling around, but she was just nervous about the fact she was checking email while she was at this hotel in Argentina, I think it was a conference or something. Well, she subscribed I think it was $56 a year for full subscription to TunnelBear —
Adriana Linares: Yeah, it’s $3 a month.
Brett Burney: Yeah, exactly.
Adriana Linares: Come on.
Adriana Linares: And so now she just had it turned on all the time, so she knew anytime that she went into her email and checked it on the iPad or surfed to — she had to upload I think a document to a court website while she was there, all of that has been doubly and additionally protected now by the VPN. And when you are ready to turn it off if you don’t want to use all 500 megabytes for free each month, you just go back into the TunnelBear app and hit Off and it just stops for you on there, and then you can surf.
I have found this is just a very nice way to introduce yourself to the concept of what a VPN does because in my mind, Adriana, every legal professional should know this, the competency aspect is at least having an understanding of it, you don’t have to be an expert on it, you don’t need to know all the ins and outs, but once you get familiar with and comfortable with TunnelBear, you could upgrade to something like Express or NordVPN, that’s fine or any of the others, but this is a good place to start.
Adriana Linares: It’s your gateway VPN, no pun indented.
Brett Burney: It’s so cute, it’s a teddy bear.
Adriana Linares: Let’s take another break for just a couple of minutes, listen to some messages from some sponsors and we will wrap things up with a couple more of our favorite tools, tips and services.
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Adriana Linares: It’s so cute when a guy says, that is so cute. So Brett Burney is my guest today and we just got finished talking about TunnelBear. It’s got very cute graphics. It’s a good VPN that Brett recommends. Thanks Brett for hanging in there with me.
Brett Burney: Absolutely.
Adriana Linares: Couple of more tips I want to grab from you. From that eDiscovery litigation, support side, you gave us GoldFynch as a great PST viewer option and then also as it a pretty decent doc review tool, but when you have got a small firm comes to you and says, oh man, we have been pitted up against Goliath, weird David down here, what’s an affordable cloud base, like what are your two or three top favorite eDiscovery tools if you don’t mind sharing?
Brett Burney: Not at all, in fact I will humbly push another quick website but —
Adriana Linares: Great, please do.
Brett Burney: — I won’t get anything from it. It’s a free download, but for exactly this question, Adriana, we didn’t even set this up, which is great and I appreciate it, but for folks that are asking this is a specific question. There is a guide that Chelsey Lambert and I worked together, you know Chelsey —
Adriana Linares: Oh yes, of course.
Brett Burney: It’s called literally the eDiscovery Buyers Guide, so ediscoverybuyersguide.com, it’s a free download you can go to now, we are going to update it later this year but it is going to cover all of these companies, and I am just going quickly mention “and more” on there, but this would be a great place for folks to go and check out some of these.
Adriana Linares: Excellent resource.
Brett Burney: We even have not only just the written reviews but we have little three-minute video reviews of them as well, so you can kind of get a flavor for these different platforms.
Just like anything else, Adriana, the cloud has definitely changed this industry, and so today for most firms that come to me, unless they have some very, very specific requirements on certain data that they are dealing with, that has to be stored and not in the cloud of some kind although those are becoming less and less every day, but most of the time for any firm that comes to me I am going to be recommending some kind of a cloud-based tool today. And in fact I work with a lot of firms just like you do, but specifically on litigation support they come to me, they ask for like, can you do an assessment of here’s what we are getting ready to do, this is some of the matters that we deal with, year-to-year, what are the best tools that we can look for along with the right workflows and everything on that.
And so, typically today I look at what they have used in the past because in the past, just like everything else in technology, it used to be a big server and client, software, they would have to update and everything, no more today, there’s so many great tools that you can use. Probably the top that come to mind, I think I have already mentioned them as Logikcull is one that has been around from the — almost the dawn of the cloud at least in the legal world. Along those lines Everlaw is another great one, Lexbe and then another one from Chicago is Nextpoint, nextpoint.com, they have been around for a very long time as well.
Adriana Linares: Excellent.
Brett Burney: DISCO is out there and GoldFynch and then — now that’s many — again you can go to that eDiscovery Buyers Guide and you can get a little more in-depth about that because I don’t know how everybody does the eDiscovery or the litigation side, but one more quickly, I will just say, I always find out if your firm is using Lexis or Thomson Reuters and the main reason again specifically for the eDiscovery site, Thomson Reuters has done a very good job of creating their own cloud-based document review platform which I like for a couple of good reasons, you can read the review on there, but they have a pre-review site and a review site, which is great because you can load a lot of stuff into the pre-review without getting charged for it. So that you can do some basic searches, some basic filtering, I say you only want to know — I want to see emails from John to Sarah in 2012, and that’s it, right? I don’t want to see all the others on there, but then you can move that into the review site and you only get charged for what you put into the review site.
Now I find some firms put too much over there but that’s where a lot of times I try to help them and understand why is it important to filter out some of that information on there. So those are — I know that’s a lot of names there, but if you go to that guide you will get a lot more details about each one, you can compare them for yourself.
Adriana Linares: I think that’s great. Are summation and concordance still the thing?
Brett Burney: That’s a great question, see, this is how — this is why I like you so much because it’s like you and I have been doing this for so long. The short answer, no. In fact summation — so that’s when I talk about that server client like I worked with summation back of the day just like I know it’s crossed — in front of you several times, Adriana. Summation was actually acquired by a company called AccessData which is great, but they have kept the name Summation but it’s a completely cloud-based tool now that they offer there.
Concordance was actually purchased by Lexis and then about a year-and-a-half ago maybe actually two years ago they sold it to a company in Texas called CloudNine, so they are continuing that. The only reason I think some of that still around is because there are many firms that have been using this for 20 years plus, and they didn’t want to move off of it or they have cases that that’s still required to be on there, but both of those platforms are still around in some form or fashion, but just not the same and for today’s matters like they just didn’t do email very well in the past, I mean, they do it, but it was sort of, not when they were developed. So anyway today some of these cloud-based tools are much better at handling the data that we come in contact with today.
Adriana Linares: I love it. Okay, another question for you, on your iPad – well, let me ask you this, which iPad do you have?
Brett Burney: I am still rocking — let’s see this is the 2018 iPad Pro.
Adriana Linares: The big one? Is that the big, big one?
Brett Burney: Not the big, big one.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Brett Burney: I am actually waiting till what next month hopefully if things — if shipping is still a thing, I want to get the newest one with that new keyboard that Apple just announced, it sort of had a silent rollout. Every March, they typically announce new hardware iPads, it was kind of a silent rollout because they didn’t do a big to do and announcement and everything because with everything going on, but yeah, I am going to wait till — hopefully next month I want to get the whole kit and caboodle. The new keyboard that costs $350 just by itself.
Adriana Linares: What?
Brett Burney: Yeah, it’s a sickness.
Adriana Linares: It’s a critical business tool, Brett. I just told you about all my babies, you have got to have your own set of babies.
Brett Burney: These are babies.
Adriana Linares: These are your babies. Do you have the pen?
Brett Burney: Of course, yeah.
Adriana Linares: What do you use for PDF manipulation and annotation with your iPad and your pen, give me your one or two favorites?
Brett Burney: Well, of course, I am going to give you four, but break it out in two different things, I promise. So quickly just for writing notes if people do want to go to appsinlaw.com, I just talked with Jeff Richardson.
Adriana Linares: He is on my shortlist here, I was going to ask you, yup.
Brett Burney: Oh, you got to talk with him, so about two or three months ago we had this host show where he was literally telling me exactly how he uses GoodNotes on the iPad. So that is his go-to note-taking application. So in other words, instead of using a yellow legal pad, this is what he uses for everything. It’s fantastic, yeah, you will have to talk with him about it.
GoodNotes, which is the one that he has used, but the other one that I use specifically for handwriting notes as in replacing my yellow legal pad is Notability. So GoodNotes and Notability are the two by far the best. As long as your handwriting is mostly legible, it will even let you search your handwriting, it’s astounding to me how good these apps are becoming.
So for handwriting notes which by the way it’s not just handwriting, I use Notability and GoodNotes, not only do I hand-write but I type-in there, I take pictures and insert them, I take pictures of documents and insert sections in there, just crazy what you can do with some of these note-taking applications.
On the PDF, I get — I call it, I sort of call it file management apps on there. The two that I typically still use today are PDF Expert, by number one by far. There’s one called Goodreader, not associated with GoodNotes but Goodreader has been around for a long time. PDF Expert is from a company called Readdle, to me that’s still by far one of the best.
I tell it to folks this way that in the past I used to print out articles or download law review articles and before I jumped on a plane or wanted to go sit somewhere and I would have this little pencil case of different colored highlighters because each color meant something different to me or pens, different colored pens and I would sit there and painstakingly organize my entire notes and what I wrote in the margin. Today I use PDF Expert for all of that. I pull up a PDF.
I can highlight the text in whatever color I want, underline it, write in the margins, I can zoom in on sections, copy and paste, just amazing from doing all the annotation tools on there. But PDF Expert to me is so great because since I use Dropbox and OneDrive and Google Drive and Box, I can connect —
Adriana Linares: All your babies.
Brett Burney: I can connect PDF Expert directly to those services. So I don’t have to like jump back and forth between different apps and I can synchronize a folder from Dropbox into PDF Expert. So just like we do, Adriana, on our Macs, right, we synchronize folders from Dropbox down to the Mac on the hard drive; well, we don’t have that completely on the iPad, but I do it through PDF Expert and it’s great because I can then go out of the office, highlight, mark up a PDF file and since it synchronizes back to Dropbox, guess what, when I get back to the office, all of those changes in those edits are right there.
And PDF Expert will also will let me handle Word documents. I can’t edit Word documents in PDF Expert, but I can view it. It’s almost like that’s my Manila folder, if you will, like before I leave the office I am going to go to a meeting or used to go to a meeting, I will just make sure that I have that entire folder synchronized to my iPad in PDF Expert, and then I know that I have everything local and available right there.
And so quickly, Goodreader is another good one and iAnnotate is another one that a lot of people like as well. I have done up some videos on that on my website. iAnnotate is another good one. So those are the three; PDF Expert, Goodreader and iAnnotate.
Adriana Linares: And can you — because this is coming up a lot too — can you sign a PDF and sort of flatten it using those tools or do you use something else for something like that?
Brett Burney: Yeah, that’s great. So there’s different ways to do this. The simplest way is exactly what you are talking about. PDF Expert does this brilliantly. I can pull up a PDF. In fact, I could even fill in a form. So I can download a form from a court website and I can tap the little field and type-in the information, just like if you were on Adobe Acrobat on your computer, and then at the end I can use the pen, the Apple pencil on my iPad and I can create my signature and stamp it right in there, and of course, you know this, because you do — you teach people, but listening to you teach this for so long now, which is great, but you can go in and flatten that PDF so that when you send it to somebody they can see your signature but they can’t click it and delete it or something along those lines.
Adriana Linares: Right, and normally I say, look, if somebody is going to steal your signature, they are going to steal your signature, that’s not what you are worried about. You are more worried about someone is flipping through either using their — a surface or their tablet and they are going to accidentally flick your signature off to the right, and that’s not only embarrassing, but I mean, you don’t want that to happen. So I encourage the flattening of annotations on a PDF file more than anything just to keep it intact. So you said PDF Reader does that?
Brett Burney: PDF Expert.
Adriana Linares: Expert. PDF Expert, sorry. And the Acrobat app does too.
Brett Burney: Well, I was just going to — when you talk about like the Adobe Reader, there’s several services that are available for e-signatures, right? Now that’s — some call it e-signature versus digital signature and there’s ways that you can add some additional technology again to ensure that who is signing it is actually who they say is signing it, but like is it Adobe sign or e-sign and there’s DocuSign and HelloSign —
Adriana Linares: And HelloSign, there’s so many of them.
Brett Burney: Yeah, so those are services that you can use, but I liked what you were going with what you were saying because in my mind —
Adriana Linares: Right, something more simple.
Brett Burney: It’s the easiest way to do it, just make sure that you flatten that PDF before you send it off to somebody, right?
Adriana Linares: Yup, I think that’s a great tip. Well, Brett, I feel like I need to have you back every once in awhile so we can go through our lists and share —
Brett Burney: Too fun.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, it is too fun, but before I forget I do want to go back and visit a couple of names that you have dropped which are great resources for lawyers and legal professionals, and I just want to make sure we give a shout out to them because you did but I want to make it proper. So, David Sparks is an attorney in LA, one of the sweetest, kindest, nicest people, actually I am going to say that about Jeff Richardson too, but David Sparks has been an attorney who’s focused very much on Macs for lawyers, and I think is it MacSparky.com, is his website?
Brett Burney: Yes, you got it, MacSparky.com, that’s right.
Adriana Linares: M-A-C, Sparky because his last name is Sparks. It’s a great website not always geared specifically toward lawyers, he’s just a great contributor to the betterment of the use of technology in general, but because he’s a lawyer he does focus on that. Does he still have his podcast? Mac Power Users?
Brett Burney: He does. Yeah, Mac Power Users.
Adriana Linares: Okay.
Brett Burney: I will just put it in a quick plug, he’s done several great little, he calls them Field Guides, if you go to MacSparky.com inexpensive, one that I would love is Siri shortcuts. If you have an iPad and an iPhone that you haven’t explored what Siri shortcuts, not just she is who should not be named, but the shortcuts aspect of it there because that can really automate some fantastic things on your iOS world.
Adriana Linares: Okay, so Jeff Richardson is someone else that you mentioned. I have had both of these guys on my show years ago. I should have them come back, but Jeff Richardson writes at iPhoneJD.com. He’s a fellow New Orleanian, although he’s a real New Orleanian and he’s from here, and he also does great reviews and tips and tricks for attorneys using iOS devices. So that’s another great website. And we should definitely give it a bigger shout-out to Chelsey and all the hard work she does Chelsey Lambert runs LexTechReview.com, and is that where your guide goes through or is that a separate site?
Brett Burney: Yeah, actually we have even expanded a little bit more on that, she has a media group now that she’s working with and I work with her on the publishing division. We just actually released a document management guide, Buyer’s Guide in a similar fashion. In fact, we are getting ready to do a virtual law firm guide as well because well, everybody’s doing that right now, but it’s helpful, and useful.
But, yeah, we are doing that, when she and I started she did a legal technology buyer’s guide many years ago. When I saw that in fact Ernie Svenson put us together, which I had known Chelsey many years ago when she was in the Chicago Bar Association, but I saw what she did and I am like, that’s exactly what I want to do to answer the question from the eDiscovery side, just like we talked about earlier. So, yes, that’s where she and I started working together and it’s been fantastic.
Adriana Linares: Great, that’s another great resource. Chelsey does a lot of reviews on all kinds of software and services. So it’s another great resource for you. And, you just mentioned Ernie, which I will also mention.
Brett Burney: Good.
Adriana Linares: I had Ernie on a couple weeks ago because he’s also here in New Orleans and Ernie Svenson runs Law Firm Autopilot, it’s a great program for helping lawyers run their businesses better. Brett, you and I are both participating in his now virtual conference, which is going to happen in May. And, I will give a shout out to that, which is, if you are interested in learning more about how to better use technology go to lawfirmautopilot.com and spend some time with me, Brett, and a bunch of other smart legal technologists online.
Brett, before I let you go, please remind everyone what your main points of contact are, although I think we have gotten so many good ones from you, you are hard to hide.
Brett Burney: Well, I will say right now my favorite is — and by the way thank you, Adriana, you are so generous in making sure that people can hear about all these great resources, in fact, I will just quickly say, Jeff Richardson just recently, I think last Thursday put up this long post on using Microsoft Teams on an iPhone and an iPad —
Adriana Linares: Okay, oh cool.
Brett Burney: We were talking about Zoon and that’s what I did, but that is a great post, especially for a lot of lawyers that are using Teams instead of Zoom which everybody’s upset about Zoom security. I just tweeted out by the way. There’s a story. Zoom is not end-to-end decrypted and I tweeted out guess what else isn’t end-to-end decrypted, email.
Adriana Linares: Yeah, exactly.
Brett Burney: But fortunately lawyers never use email to send confidential information. So we are okay with that, okay, anyway just a little tongue-in-cheek there.
Adriana Linares: Well, you don’t need one. When they started to asking me about that, I said, are you on Facebook? Do you use Gmail? Do you have a Dropbox? Do you email with your clients? Do you text with your clients? Please don’t come at me about Zoom right now.
Brett Burney: Right, right, that’s what everybody is using. So I’ll just say thank you again for all that you do, Adriana in just putting this out because it’s just such great, you are tireless at making sure that people get notified and informed about where to go. So thank you.
Adriana Linares: Sure.
Brett Burney: The main website I did – the one that’s most fun right now is appsinlaw.com. So that’s where right now I am posting the little videos and talking to folks about what they are doing. I have got several shows coming out that talk to attorneys right now and like how are they doing everything virtually, and of course everybody just kind of wants to know what’s other people doing right now. So appsinlaw.com, that’s probably the best place to go and find me.
Adriana Linares: Awesome, thanks Brett. This has been so fun, I always enjoy talking and hanging out with you and hope that I actually get to see you in-person sometime soon. So thank you.
Brett Burney: I know we are going to come to New Orleans like you said next month but —
Adriana Linares: I know.
Brett Burney: — hey, this is the new norm, it’s just — it’s great to talk with you, Adriana.
Adriana Linares: I appreciate your time very, very much. I hope you all found this episode helpful, I sure did, I always enjoy talking to Brett.
So thank you for listening to another episode of New Solo on Legal Talk Network. If you like what you have heard, I would love for you to subscribe, share, rate and give us a good review on iTunes.
We will see you next time, and remember, you are not alone, you are a 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.
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