Jets, Jewelry and the Law

What do jets, jewelry and the law have to do with each other?

Taking your in-flight experience to a whole new level recently became possible via the new Delta Glass Bottom Jet feature on the Fly Delta app.  The app offers the typical features you’d expect: booking trips, destination information, and live in-flight information during your trip.  One unique aspect of the app is the Glass Bottom Jet feature, that along with other data, gives you a graphical overview of your current flight thus providing virtually real-time information about the landmarks the plane is flying over.

Imagine how cool it would be if a similar glass bottom legal developments app existed, thereby allowing for immediate response to what’s happening in the legal profession and to developments potentially affecting your clients. A real time view of these things would result in immediate calls to action for helping clients resolve legal issues resulting in quicker resolution.  Instant knowledge could also lead to faster additions of new matters for existing clients and garnering a new client based on the real-time instant information gleaned.

Speaking of instant results, the latest wearable tech to hit the market which also makes a fashion statement, is an 18K gold-plated ladies ring.  Ringly takes instant notification to a new level. Business Insider has an article  detailing how it connects to your smart phone via an app and discreetly notifies you when you receive a call or text. Now you can be certain not miss important meetings, news, texts, phone calls even if you don’t have your phone in close proximity by wearing this ring that lights up and buzzes to alert you of any number of notifications you set-up which could include legal and client news alerts.

The short answer to the question of what do jets and jewelry have to do with the law is absolutely nothing. But the bigger idea of applying technology to stay on top of game in the legal industry has everything to do with it.




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Potholes, Technology, and Preparing for the Future

Having emerged a few short months ago from one of the harshest winters in recent years, potholes have been plentiful this spring in Indiana. So what do potholes have to do with the legal profession?

Having recently read How Should Seasoned Lawyers Prepare for the Future of Law? which provides advice on what attorneys should do now so they are not caught unprepared in the future, I was reminded of a recent Indy Star news article titled Report-a-pothole app wins Indy hack competition . It discussed how 4 college students collaborated to develop an app, entered it in a contest, and subsequently won the first Indy Civic Hack Day competition with their novel interactive pothole reporting app. Thereafter, an “aha!” moment seized me.

Now onto my aha! moment to illustrate what potholes and preparing for the future of the legal profession have in common. Big data, the cloud, security are certainly on the minds of business leaders. Lawyers young and old alike must embrace the fast and furious technological changes that continue to rock the legal profession. Technology can be, and indeed is continually being put to good use to further enhance the changes we face. Witness the teamwork of the creative and resourceful college students who created an app for electronically detecting and reporting potholes that will result in quicker repair times.

Likewise, attorneys preparing for the future of legal services need to embrace a team approach that pairs resourcefulness with creativity to solve the business challenges law firms face now and will continue to face in the future. Much like the development of the pothole app, collaborating on finding novel technology applications to assist in solving legal issues and business tasks will result in quicker results for the client and a more streamlined way of  doing business.

Legal professionals need to capitalize on the opportunities new technologies offer and thereby be in charge of  transforming the way law firms do business and hopefully avoid a few potholes in the years to come.

Always one to embrace technology, I’ll be downloading the pothole app ahead of this years winter season, so to be prepared for the future potholes that are sure to crop up.  What will you do to prepare for your future as a legal professional?

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Have you Snubbed or Embraced Ned Ludd?

Are you a luddite? Have you embraced or snubbed Ned Ludd?

A recent post Lawyers Finally Forced to Embrace Technology (& Snub Ned Ludd) on the Law Practice Management Advisor blog coupled with recent changes to Comment 8 of the Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1 on Competence regarding technology which states (bold text is new)”To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject,”got me thinking a great deal about the intersection of technology and law; and thus what actions might be necessary with respect to the new Competence rule comment as it relates to a few current trends in technology. How one responds to these trends may  indeed determine if you are a luddite, and thus in danger of running afoul of the competence rule.

Trend 1 – App use is outpacing mobile Web and PC use and this trend is not expected to abate; rather it will continue to accelerate. A recent Nielsen report found that “89 percent of our time browsing the Internet on our mobile phones (and 81 percent of our time on tablets) takes place in apps.”

Response to trend 1 – Get on board or at very minimum investigate the benefits and risks associated with apps. I expect you will find them a worthy technology to embrace.

Trend 2 – Delivering an excellent digital experience across all platforms is critical to business success, and in light of trend 1, the experience must also be accessible via an app since that is the environment in which most of your customers likely reside.

Response to trend 2 - Familiarize yourself with the benefits and risks of the multitude of technology platforms available and make sure your business’ website is available and functions well on all of them! Undoubtedly your existing and potential clients are no all using the same Web platform and you risk missing them if your business is not scattered across most of the available electronic platforms.

Trend 3 – The disconnect of traditional IT versus consumerization of technology will continue to grow at breakneck speed leading to a greater need for IT to catch up and work to create security measures around employees use of their own mobile devices.

Response to trend 3 - Investigate the benefits and risks associated with security or lack thereof for mobile devices, and then take steps to increase the security of your own mobile devices. At minimum don’t be among the estimated 44% who don’t have a pass code for accessing their mobile devices.  Take it a step further – if your IT department hasn’t already done so encourage it to promote greater security of employees mobile devices – trust me they likely want to and probably have been trying to do so anyway, thus they will appreciate your suggestion.

But most importantly, answer the opening question of this post. If the answer is yes, then do whatever it takes to turn that answer into a resounding no, and snub Ned Ludd sooner rather than later!

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4 Unique Websites for Research

In late January, my post titled 8 Great Legal Research and Writing Resources and Blogs generated a lot of interest. This post profiles 4 additional must-have unique resources to add to your  legal research arsenal.

For many years Zimmerman’s Research Guide has been my favorite go-to resource for information on unfamiliar legal topics or when recall of the best resources to consult for a research project escape me. Sponsored by LexisNexis and created and maintained by Andrew Zimmerman, it is a treasure trove of encyclopedic type articles on a wide variety of legal topics with hyperlinks to the resources it discusses. Zimmerman’s guide is definitely a must have resource.

Dealing with a slip and fall case and need to confirm if there was snow and ice on a date in the past? Let WolfRam Alpha do the hard work! It really delivers on its tagline as a “computational knowledge engine” as you can see via the snip below showing the result for the query indianapolis indiana weather>.

Capture Stumped as to what is the proper abbreviation for a law review or law journal? The Gallagher Law Library Bluebook Abbreviations of Law Reviews & Legal Periodicals Indexed in CILP is your go-to resource for this information. Browse alphabetically by name of journal and you will find the abbreviation listed beside the title.

Finally, if you are after a more common legal abbreviation is your best bet. A free online resource for defining common legal abbreviations, legal terminology and law terms, it will help you uncover the meanings of various legal acronyms and legal citation abbreviations via browsing the glossary list or searching the index.

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4 Tech Tools Worth Investigating

There are many technology tools on the market designed for a variety of purposes, but if you have not already invested your time into the following four technology tools you may want to give them a closer look.

  1. a long time legal directory staple is still going strong, albeit now mostly in an electronic environment. Best known as a great resource for finding attorneys and law firms, online features also include legal job postings and communities and groups for sharing best practices and discussing legal issues with other attorneys. According to the American Bar Association, there are 1.2 million practicing attorneys in the U.S., yet a keyword search of attorney or lawyer on LinkedIn yields only 82,513 profiles. Perhaps is the better source for finding an attorney and definitely a resource in which attorneys should be listed.
  2. LinkedIn, the best known professional social media site is still going strong and growing, with over 277,000,000 registered members. It may not be the best platform to find or connect with other attorneys, but it is a great place to connect with current and potential clients because, unlike, it is not limited to just attorney profiles. It’s also an excellent resource for tapping into discussions via its industry specific groups and for getting the pulse on what is happening worldwide via its many thought-provoking posts.
  3. QR Codes (aka Quick Response Codes) are tiny 2-D bar codes that can be scanned with a smart phone and can then direct users to a company website, mobile business card, online profile, biographical information and more. The codes can be placed on paper business cards, law firm brochures and other collateral materials that legal professionals can hand out at networking events. Free QR Code Generator websites are plentiful. Here is a list results for them on Google.
  4. Cloud Computing adoption is on the rise in law firms according to a recent LexisNexis survey. The legal industry has been slower to adopt this technology likely due to perceived security issues surrounding the confidential nature of legal documents. But as those and other concerns get ironed out, third party hosting of a firm’s documents will become more appealing and is likely to be less costly than current day in-house document storage methods.
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Are You Cut Out for Social Media?

Are you considering jumping on the social media bandwagon? Are you interested in blogging? If a majority of the following 10 traits describe you, then you just may be cut out for social media.

  1. Excellent writing skills –  an absolute must if blogging is to be a part of your social media plan.
  2. Experience in, or at least a reasonable knowledge of, the big three social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. If you’ve never heard of any of them you may want to postpone joining the social media craze and familiarize yourself with them first.
  3. Tenacity – it will take sustained time and effort to see the fruits of your social media efforts.
  4. Ability to infuse some creativity and fun into your blog posts and social media updates, so people will follow you and like or comment on your posts.
  5. Up to date on what is trending in your niche area of expertise for blogging.
  6. Knowledge of resources to use for blog topic generators – writers block will set in and awareness of Web resources for help on generating post ideas is a big plus. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator is one such resource.
  7. Strong in-person and virtual networking skills – networking know how and a desire to network are necessary for social media success!
  8. Excellent time management skills – managing your social media presence is time-consuming, but very important, otherwise you may become overwhelmed and ineffective.
  9. Ability to focus on tasks – getting a blog post written and published, responding to comments on LinkedIn updates and commenting on other people’s posts are necessary tasks that require attention and focus, and are key to successfully growing your social media footprint.
  10. Ability to craft attention-getting headlines for blog posts and status updates so people will read your blog posts, like or comment on your updates, and share your content.

Getting involved with social media can be fun and can generate business, but being mindful of what it entails to be even moderately successful will go a long way toward helping cement your decision before jumping into the fray.

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5 Quality Business Development Blogs

Let’s face it: some blogs are better than others. Quality, relevancy, and frequency of posts  in my view are key indicators of a great blog. Today’s rapidly evolving legal environment requires that business development bloggers publish quality and relevant articles with great frequency.

While you may find the client development side of practicing law onerous, it is a necessity in order for your practice to grow and thrive. Consider these 5 active blogs to help fuel you with tips, ideas and best practices to grow your business.

  1. The Mike Ames Business Development Blog uses a conversational style of writing and is chock full of practical posts that cover a wide range of topics including sales ideas, marketing techniques, stories and tools that you can utilize to win and keep clients.
  2. LegalBizDev selected by TechnoLawyer as “one of the most influential legal blogs” is geared to law firms and designed to provide best practices for your legal business development needs. Fresh content is guaranteed with new posts every Wednesday. I especially like its first Wednesday “Tip of the Month” feature which is “devoted to a short and simple tip to help lawyers increase efficiency, provide greater value to their clients and/or develop new business.”
  3. Legal Marketing Blog delivers on its tag line as a blog “dedicated to lawyer marketing in any size law firm” with regular posts on a wide range of topics such as client communications, tips for handling unhappy clients, networking, tips on public speaking and controversial but important topics such as fixed fees.
  4. AttorneyAtWork delivers daily law practice tips and offers monthly posts on productivity, online marketing, solo practice, business development and power tech tips. A unique feature is the “Ask the Experts” series that draws on advice from members of the Association of Legal Administrators and Legal Marketing Association.
  5. Avvo Lawyernomics tagline “succeeding in the business of law” says it all. Regular posts on everything from relevant webinars to the best use of technology and social media are sure to help you in your marketing efforts.
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