LawBizCOO – Events and Blog Posts
You’ve heard and read many times about the importance of communication and managing client expectations to ensure a successful and profitable engagement. The legal business is essentially relationship based and no relationship survives, let alone thrives, without good communication. The clients may care more about the communication/relationship than your ability or the quality of your work product. So if at that initial client meeting, you can put yourself in their shoes and see the experience through your client’s eyes and anticipate their needs and questions, you are one step ahead of your competitors.
A well designed new client packet can create a client experience that will be memorable, differentiate you from other attorneys in town and build the foundation for a successful and profitable engagement. A New Client Welcome Package assures your new client is properly welcomed into your practice. In this article, I want to layout items that should be part of a new client welcome packet.
First impressions matter. So invest in getting nice quality folders designed. On the cover, include your logo, address, website, and phone number. List practice areas on the back of the folder. A welcome package in a folder also provides a place for clients to keep important documents or information throughout the engagement.
Include the following items in your welcome packet: (more…)
- Identifying Embezzlement: The warning signs
- Reaction: Preserve and prepare all relevant evidence when you have reasonable suspicion
- Litigation: Some prosecutors will not permit concurrent civil and criminal litigation to be conducted.
- Causes of Action
Sponsored By: Clio Your solution for practice management software. LawBizCOO is now a Certified Clio Consultant. Contact Peggy to set-up a hands-on live demo.
While I’m still digesting all the great new products, there were a few vendors making announcements about new products, features and integrations. So here is a summary of some of their announcements. And then there’s the ever popular LegalTypist – home to the SuperPass for TechShow. Plan on going to 2014 TechShow and save $150 with the SuperPass – only available through LegalTypist.
LegalTypist – Your legal virtual assistant and legal transcription service for firms of all sizes, but fills a great need for the solo/small firm attorney. And one exciting thing for me was I actually got to meet Ms. LegalTypist - Andrea Cannavina. Until TechShow, for me, just a friendly and engaging Tweeter. Andrea has created a product for law firms of all sizes – a scalable digital workflow accessible from any telephone or internet connection that is as easy for the staff to use as it is on the firm to implement. Try it for free - you just may free yourself up to do more tweeting with Andrea.
Clio announced 2 new integrations with Xero and NetDocuments. After 5 years in business providing small firms an affordable solution, this opens the door for Clio to be ready for larger law firms. NetDocuments is a popular document management system for mid to large size firms. A cloud-based document management system, every time you open or save a document, you now have the option to be doing it with NetDocuments. So this integration gives larger firms, not using DropBox or Box, a reason to look closer at Clio for their practice management solution. Xero is a cloud-based accounting package that many had never heard of until Clio announced its integration. For current clients using QuickBooks, a conversion guide is available.
Building upon a well recognized brand in the legal community, Rocket Matter announced at TechShow it’s new comprehensive Internet marketing platform – RocketX1. Rocket X1 consolidates online marketing services offered by multiple agencies, eliminating the need to individually hire separate expertise – it’s a one-stop shop approach. The feature I was most impressed was the systems in place to measure progress and ROI: checklists, deadlines, analytics, and milestones to keep the firm on track. The cost, well it’s not cheap but it is comparable to what other vendors might charge and RocketX1 customers get a website, a blog, SEO optimization, PR, graphic design, strategic consulting and more in a single package. Still in beta, results won’t be out for a few months.
Hope you find the time to check out these products and see how you can use them in your practice. Free demos are always available. And if I may add a shameless plug – I am now certified in both Clio and RocketMatter. So consider contacting me for more information about these 2 great cloud based law practice management solutions.
Peggy Gruenke, LawBizCOO
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Here is a summary of my favorite vendors and products from ABA TechShow 2013. I hope next year I can get a few Cincinnati attorneys to attend with me. Mark your calendars – March 27th – 29th. It would be such a pleasure showing you around the TechShow. While reading through my list of Top Picks, have an open mind and be willing to spend a little to realize the potential you have to make your practice more efficient. And more efficiency leads to happier clients and more revenue.
Three days of the ABA TechShow just may not be quite enough when there are so many great presentations, authors to meet and products to experience first-hand. But I did my best to make it around to most of the 100 vendors in the exhibit area. I wanted to visit and test drive products that I thought would add value to a solo/small firm practice. So here are my top picks. If there are any products you want to try, let me know. I have access to discounts for some of the products.
WordRake – I have tried this product and it is one of the best Word add-in products for editing I have seen. WordRake helps you write better by instantly editing Microsoft Word documents and suggesting changes you can accept or reject to create clear and concise documents by eliminated useless words and phrases. It’s an editor that identifies extra language to remove for brevity and clarity. With WordRake legal editor, you’ll edit your legal documents quickly, professionally, and all within Microsoft Word! Once you step back and realize the amount of time you spend composing documents, this product is just a no-brainer. $99 for one year. You can download a 3-day trial, which is what I did. You’ll be hooked. Just do it…
E-Typist, Inc. – This is a small company right here in Ohio. I liked the simplicity of this product – you dictate, transfer you audio files, E-Typist transcribes, proofreads and sends them back to you – for as little as 1¢ per word. Really, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. There are 4 options for submitting your audio file – Just do it…
- Dial in your dictation on a toll-free line OR
- Upload files from your digital voice recorder or PC to a secure server OR
- Email your voice files OR
- Dictate on your iPhone, Smartphone or Blackberry and send your files (you will need to download an app – $14.99). Dictate directly into your iPhone, utilizing the Dictamus app or DictaDroid for Androids. Then save your dictation and “share” it. You can record up to 90 minutes of dictation. The apps have all the recording features of a digital voice recorder – and won’t use your cell phone minutes.
Chrometa – Even with the trend towards flat fees and other alternative billing arrangements, the billable hour is not dead yet. I started using this product day I got home. I love it. It tracks everything I do on my computer – every email written, every document I produce and every phone call I make from my mobile device. The web interface is easy to use and it has not affected anything else running on my PC. You can sync your time entries right into Clio, Rocket Matter or export to an Excel file or .iff file for QuickBooks. It’s a beautifully seamless product for capturing your time, applying time to the correct matter and producing more accurate invoices. Since you are capturing more time, you just might make more money. And it’s priced right – $19/mn. Give it a try. It really is simple. Just do it…
Another simple product, focused on one thing – capturing time spent on phone calls. A few minutes here or a half-hour there adds up quickly, and before you know it, you’ve lost billable hours and left sizable revenue on the table. With this product you can capture time not only on your mobile phone but also on your office phone (if you have a VoIP system). You can record or type a quick memo about the call, as it happens, for quicker reconciliation and more descriptive billing records. All call records are accessed via a web portal and can be exported to a .csv file for integration with your billing system. I tried it and saw first-hand how simple and quick this application worked. It is currently in beta mode. If you would like to participate as a beta user, let me know. Just do it…
Finally, a simple and affordable document automation application that integrates seamlessly with Outlook and Word. And it has a cool name. This tool sits within Microsoft Word to assist you in generating forms and letters for your matters. But the really amazing part is it comes with thousands of Court Forms at no extra charge. They maintain the forms making sure they are always up-to-date and they are stored as Word documents so you can easily modify them. Smokeball stores the details of all clients and matters as you work, so it is automatically building your database for future access. For $29/mn you get a document automation system that includes automation of letters and forms, document management and version control, and email management with Outlook plus 1000s of court forms. At this time, not all states are available. But they are committed to adding court forms as requested and the tool is simple enough for you to convert any current Word document into a form. Just do it…
E-discovery products were a the largest product category represented in the exhibit hall. One of the newcomers in this growing arena is Logikcull. Here is a nice article by Brett Burney about this great e-discovery software. No gigabyte fees – you are charged by month for the amount of documents you need to upload. It’s a very robust product, well designed to work on mobile devices, recognizing that legal professionals also use mobile phones and tablets to get work done. Go mobile with your e-discovery, when you upload your documents into Logikcull, they get converted into web-viewable formats so you can access them without the constraints of original software. You can try it for free. If you do, let me know how you like it. Just do it…
Hope you find the time to check out these products and see how you can use them in your practice.
And finally, keeping with the theme, I’ll end this post with one of my favorite motivational speeches – “Just Do It”, a speech by Art Williams . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y86o1snrC-I
Peggy Gruenke, LawBizCOO
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$25 CLE Program Friday April 25, 2013
“Criminal Practice in the Hamilton County Municipal Court” OH, KY & IN 1hr Gen Credit
Presented by: Michael K. Allen, Esq., Michael K. Allen & AssociatesHYDE PARK COUNTRY CLUB – 3740 Erie Ave Cincinnati OH 45209 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CLE Seminar 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch
- History and Jurisdiction of the Hamilton County
- Municipal Court
- Perceptions and Make up of Municipal Court
- Duties of Trial Counsel
- (Ham. Co. Municipal Court Rule 2)
- What Municipal Court Judges Expect from Trial Counsel
- Resources & Forms
- The top notch speakers who are experts in their topic;
- The attendees (solo/small firm lawyers, IT folks and law firm administrators) are all there in collaboration mode to share and learn from each other;
- The vendors with great products to add efficiency and productivity to your practice, and
- You get to meet, in person, all the people you have been following on social media.
As follow-up to the iPad CLE seminar on Friday, I wanted to give you a list of iPads apps talked about at the TechShow, particularly, apps for litigators. The below summary comes from presentations by Jeff Richardson, Ben Stevens, Paul Unger, and Tom Mighell (author of book, iPad Apps in One Hour for Lawyers) and additional research I conducted. With apps being so cheap, if you are curious, just buy it. You may also want to use an app that your co-workers or friends are using so they can help you better use and learn the app.
Why has the iPad become such a useful tool for lawyers? It is one of the biggest innovations in legal technology in the past 3 years. The design is simple, lightweight and the functionality is equally as nice with new legal-specific apps constantly being developed. So if you carry around your legal pad and Redwell to the courtroom, this summary of apps will have you thinking about dumping all that paper and using the iPad as your legal pad and digital folder. For courtroom work, the iPad can be used to access exhibits, pleadings, legal research, depositions, and other documents you may need in a hearing or at a trial. And it’s so easy to carry.
First, worth mentioning, when purchasing an iPad, do you spend the extra $100 or so for a model that supports 3G and 4G LTE on AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. Or do you purchase the less expensive Wi-Fi only model where you can use the hotspot feature on your iPhone, a hotspot device or the readily available free Wi-Fi. I will mention the risk of being on an unsecured, free Wi-Fi internet – if you are using your iPad as a tool for your practice, you should invest in secured access via a data plan from your cellular provider.
- Court Days Pro ($2.99) This program turns your iPhone, iPad, or other iOS device into a court date calculating machine. By inputting rules for various “trigger” events, Court Days Pro will be able to instantly create all the deadlines that accompany it. It’s a handy piece of software. However, the biggest problem is that the set-up process can be pretty time-consuming. The app requires a lot of initial input on the user’s part. Once you do get it up and running though, Court Days Pro can easily become a lawyer’s best friend.
- Lawyer’s Professional Assistant ($4.99) This app from Wolfram Apha, is a reference tool to help lawyers with a number of calculations that may be relevant in your practice. Such as calendar computations, legal dictionary, statute of limitations for each state, financial computations including settlement and fees calculator, real estate law calculations, plus more. Here is a good article written by Gyi Tsakalakis reviewing this app:
Document Review and Organizers:
- Circus Ponies Notebook ($29.99) is a powerful tool for organizing notes, research, and even full case files. Besides it has a name that has to make you wonder. Some attorneys use Circus Ponies Notebook as their trial notebook in the courtroom, enabling a lawyer merely to carry an iPad around rather than be weighed down with boxes of transcripts, file folders, and all of the other piles of paperwork created in preparing for trial. This app has great search functions, ability to take notes, and even a voice annotation feature.
- ReaddleDocs (FREE) is a document manager for the iPad which saves documents so they can be accessed anywhere. ReaddleDocs can access PDFs, MS Office documents (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint), Apple iWork files, and any other document converted to PDF. PDFs in ReaddleDocs can be highlighted using multiple colors, and notes can be added directly to the files. Files can be uploaded or downloaded using many file sharing services. As an iPad app for lawyers, ReaddleDocs is a great tool for reading and marking depositions and trial transcripts. Important pages can be tabbed, significant passages can be highlighted, and reference notes can be added from the iPad without having to open the file on the computer.
- Quickoffice Pro HD ($19.99) Another office suite option that can perform the core features found in Microsoft Office on your desktop. This app is one of the top choices for legal professionals because of its robust functionality in viewing and editing Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.
- The Deponent App ($9.99) – With this deposition questions and exhibits outline application, attorneys can select from over 150 deposition questions by customizable categories, including admonitions or expert qualifications; organize the order of questions; and customize the questions for their witnesses. Questions can be linked to an exhibit. Exhibits can be loaded into the app from DropBox in PDF, Word and other file formats, so you can view the exhibits while you are asking questions and even show the witness during the deposition. Very cool.
- TranscriptPad ($49.99) – Once depositions have been taken, load them into TranscriptPad to review and create designations. Simple issue coding, highlighting and flagging are the backbone of TranscriptPad. TranscriptPad has a powerful search tool that allows you to find key words. Your search results will display the number of times your search term was used per transcript, and also the page and line. And once your designations are done, you can create a report and email them to co-counsel, judges or clients. When you import your transcripts, at the same time you can import your exhibits into a folder which is automatically created in your case, and then access them easily as you read.
- JuryTracker ($4.99) – JuryTracker is a unique jury observation tool that allows the trial attorney, paralegal, jury consultant and client to observe and report on juror behavior in a consistent, concise and effective way.
- iJuror ($9.99) – Developed with the help of many attorneys, iJuror is juror selection for the 21st century. Simply tap the seats to add juror information, add notes, and drag-and-drop to choose jurors and alternates, and to dismiss jurors. Configurable for seating arrangements of up to 60 jurors.
- Jury Duty ($29.99) – Jury Duty is an innovative app that will give you the control you need to take voir dire to the next level. During voir dire, you have a limited amount of time to get to know the potential jurors. This app helps speed the process, with tools to customize voir dire and capture critical information with seating charts and question lists.
- TrialPad ($89.99) – TrialPad for the iPad is a powerful tool for organizing case presentations for the courtroom. Unlike many apps which have merely been adapted by lawyers to use in their practices, TrialPad was specifically designed by lawyers for use in the courtroom. TrialPad enables attorneys to organize, annotate, and manage their case files for court hearings, jury trials, mediation presentations, and other settings. To use a document or photo in TrialPad, it merely needs to be converted to a format compatible with Adobe PDF. Along with tools such as highlight, redline, and redact, TrialPad allows you to display images and exhibits using a projector or a monitor.
- Exhibit A ($9.99) – Present your key documents, photos and videos in the courtroom or boardroom in a beautiful fullscreen HD display. Presentation tools let you highlight, mark and call-out key sections of your exhibit instantly, in real time. A virtual laser pointer improves visibility as you emphasize your points.
- MagicPlan (Free) - This app lets you measure rooms and draws a floor plan just by taking pictures. You can then get the floor plan for exhibits and presentations in PDF, JPG and DXF format, or publish an interactive floor plan on the web. MagicPlan CSI (Free) measures crime scenes with menus that allow you to position and document evidence and create PDFs and graphics to use in reports.
- Fastcase (Free) – The Fastcase app allows subscribers to the legal reference service to search its growing virtual law library on the go, in the palm of their hand —including cases and statutes from all 50 states and the federal government. Search by citation or keyword (in Boolean or natural language), or browse statute collections.
- Black’s Law Dictionary ($54.99) – For more than a century Black’s Law Dictionary® has been the standard for the language of law. Today it’s the most widely cited law book in the world. The 9th Edition contains more than 45,000 terms, alternate spellings or equivalent expressions for more than 5,300 terms, and West key numbers.
- Law Stack (Free) – A “legal library for your pocket,” Law Stack comes preloaded with the U.S. Constitution, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and much more. Plus, state codes can be added to your “stack” from the apps embedded collections.
- LawBox (Free) – Provides free access to all federal law – rules, codes and rhe Constitution. You can also purchase rules for certain jurisdictions at $4.99 each.
- FedCtRecords ($9.99) – this is an iPhone app but completely worth the purchase for your iPad. The app provides access to your Pacer account.
I hope this summary, although not short, was helpful. Here are some additional links about top apps for lawyers.
Peggy Gruenke, LawBizCOO