It is the holiday season, which means it is time for the annual Tech Toys for the Holidays edition of the Digital Edge podcast. Sharon Nelson and I have searched far and wide for some fun and interesting technology toys for the lawyer or lawyer's spouse. We hope you enjoy the 2012 edition.
Our friend and colleague Reid Trautz has also just posted his 8th Annual Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers on his blog. He does not limit himself to tech items and this year he has interesting features like rock star wannabe shirts and chocolate covered bacon candy. MMMMMM!
For those who are looking for a more traditional gift for the lawyer in their life, maybe the kind of gift that doesn't plug in and has pages that turn, ABA Publishing has a very interesting collection of books that would make fine gifts for lawyers. Included among these is The Little Book of Cowboy Law.
So saddle up and round up some of these gift ideas, folks.
Equipping the Law Office 2012 is an article I was asked to put together for the Oklahoma Bar Journal. I try to cover generally everything that a lawyer might want to purchase to set up a solo practice or small firm. I tried to be comprehensive and hope this is valualbe for readers of my blog. Feel free to read this article and share it with anyone starting a practice or a law student who might be considering doing it after graduation.
Podcasts are a great way to learn while you are doing something else, like commuting or just relaxing. The complete archives of the Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology podcast are now available online at the American Bar Association Law Practice Management Section website. We just posted the 57th Edition where Sharon Nelson and I talk to Dan Pinnington, Vice President of Claims Prevention and Stakeholder Relations for the Lawyers Professional Indemnity Company in Ontario, about how lawyers can avoid bad check frauds. Dan has allowed us to post lots of examples of fraudulent documents on the page for that podcast.
But Sharon and I have had a lot of fun podcasts over the years, (for us at least) like our recent one on the future of law practice. Check out the Digital Edge podcast archive page. You may find some useful information you missed when they were first posted. Sharon and I invite you to join us.
ABA TECHSHOW is my best learning experience every year. No other legal technology conference has so many of the Who's Who of legal technologists because of the number of presentations that are offered. The Early Bird deadline is February 17, 2012 and the savings are significant. You can register and get more information at www.techshow.com. Just take a look at this great lineup of timely presentations. Many of you may be a member of a bar association that is an ABA TECHSHOW Event Promoter and provides you with another discount.
I am extremely excited about my two presentations at ABA TECHSHOW 2012. My first presentation is with Diane Ebersole, who is a practice management advisor for the Michigan Bar Association. Our topic is “Magic in Minutes: Effective Use of Document Assembly." This is truly a hot topic. With three cloud-based practice management systems announcing new document assembly tools in the last several weeks and a new generation of tools that operate as Microsoft Word plug-ins, there have been a lot of recent developments in this area.
“The Future of Law Practice: Dark Clouds or Silver Linings?” is the title of the plenary session that I will do to kick off the final day of ABA TECHSHOW. Doing a solo plenary session at ABA TECHSHOW is a great honor and responsibility. I will not claim to have the reputation and expertise of Richard Susskind, who addressed ABA TECHSHOW 2009 on a similar topic, but I have a list of ideas to share about preparing for your next decades in law practice. Here is an article I wrote for the Oklahoma Bar Journal that you can download to give you a preview. Download OBJ 2012 Jan14 - Preparing for ABA TECHSHOW
The world is changing. Attend ABA TECHSHOW to master these changes, As a tweet from @emyth observed recently, "If you're waiting for change to happen to you, it will, but probably not the change you want." I hope to see you at ABA TECHSHOW.
Last week at the ABA/GPSolo National Solo & Small Firm Conference I sat in on some great CLE sessions, did a presentation with Colorado Bar's Reba Nance on Keeping Them Happy: Secrets of Client Satisfaction and was drafted for a non-singing bit part in the Oklahoma Bar Family Law Singers Ethics Musical The Perils of Pauline, which was presented at the Conference.
The folks from Attorney at Work asked me to do a brief essay on my five takeaways from the 2011 National Solo & Small Firm Conference and it was published today as a part of their Friday Five series. It contains some nice technology tips. So read it at this link.
Last week I wrote about using a Windows 7 keystroke shortcut to make your two monitors appear as four. (Yes, you can do the same split screen thing with one monitor.)
I have to say that I am a big Windows 7 fan. So I want to direct your attention to The Wonders of Windows 7: Is It Time to Upgrade? which was written by Jim Calloway and Catherine Sanders Reach, Director of the ABA's Legal Technology Resource Center for the March/April 2011 edition of Law Practice Magazine. There are many reasons to upgrade to Windows 7, but I urge you to consider this strongly. Many lawyers have agreed with my comment that I never really cared that much about operating systems, but this one makes a difference in my day-to-day activites.
I recently was a co-panelist on a webinar and I had four different items I needed to have in my view on my monitors. These included my e-mail to receive questions from the attendees, the browser showing the actual program being broadcast, our joint notes on who was doing what portion and the actual PowerPoint so I could see the upcoming slides. Four items to view on only two monitors! Well, I could have printed part out or manually resized the windows to split the monitors. But that wouldn't make for a good blog post.
The week before I had been at ABA TECHSHOW where I presented a program called Getting the Most from Windows 7 with Ivan Hemmans. Since I use a Windows 7 machine, handling this was a Snap--literally. This is because Windows 7 has a feature called Snap. You can snap a window to half the screen size simply by dragging it to the left or right of the screen. But the dragging method doesn't work as easily with dual monitors. The best way is to use the keybpard shortcut, which is holding down the Windows key while tapping on the right or left arrow key. So I grabbed one screen, held the Windows key and tapped the right arrow. Grabbed Outlook and did the same but used the left arrow. Then repeated on the other monitor. (Tapping the arrow repeatedly allows one to toggle between half-screen right, half-screen left or full screen view.)
In just a few seconds I had the equivalent of four almost equal sized monitors with the four items I needed to see. Features like this are why you need to consider getting a new computer with Windows 7.
(UPDATE: After my original post, I received this tweet from Shawnee, Oklahoma lawyer Edward Terry, "Used my iPad in an all-day custody trial for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I love it." I also learned of another iPad for lawyers blog, Walking Office, and added it to the list below.)
The 2011 ABA TECHSHOW was a great experience. I'll be writing more about that later. But one of the really remarkable things about the ABA TECHSHOW this year was the number of iPads in evidence. In some sessions there were more iPads than laptops being used for note-taking. But of course, the iPad is perfect for a conference or convention when you might be changing rooms every hour and the light weight really makes a difference.
It seems pretty clear at this point to most anyone paying attention that the iPad is a real game-changer in the same way that the iPhone was. Certainly other manufacturers are now attempting to catch up and produce similar devices. But for now, the iPad rules.
Tom Mighell just released his new book, the iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, published by the ABA Law Practice Management Section. It is a short read and at a great price $34.95 (even less for section members.) He also launched a new blog, iPad 4 Lawyers.
Sharon Nelson and I are both iPad owners. So we decided to have Tom as our guest for this month's Digital Edge Podcast and our topic is... you guessed it ... iPads for Lawyers. You can listen here and hopefully the podcast is also available on iTunes again after some technical problems. Our show notes include some of Tom's favorite apps.
Speaking of apps, a great session that I had to miss at ABA TECHSHOW due to speaking at the same time was 60 Apps in 60 Minutes. Reid Trautz, Josh Barrett and Jeff Richardson highlighted many great apps for attorneys using an iPhone or an iPad. They had an overflowing crowd, as you can see. And readers, you can see the entire list of apps right here via iPhoneJD.
I've now been to a couple of presentations about using the iPad in the courtroom and have done a presentation myself with another slated for later this week. In my opinion, the reason why iPad's are rapidly catching on with trial lawyers is that a laptop, netbook or even the “traditional” convertible tablet PCs are useful at counsel table, but cannot be carried in the courtroom easily when the lawyer is standing at the podium or addressing the jury. Essentially, the iPad is just a little heavier than a paper legal pad in a holder and not nearly as heavy as the lightest netbook or laptop.
I just had one of many "Aha" moments when I wanted to make comments and notes on a PDF file and realized that the easiest way for me to do that (since the comments needed to be e-mailed back) was to put the file in Dropbox, open it on my iPad make make the notes using iAnnotate PDF ($9.99 at the iTunes App Store.)
I got to spend a good amount of time with Ian from TrialPad at ABA TECHSHOW. At first I was a bit put off by the $89.99 price tag, but TrialPad certainly makes courtroom presentations of documents and photos on the iPad simple and easy. When version 2 comes out in a few weeks and adds the ability to do "call-outs" from documents on the fly and other features, it will certainly be a contender. (See this review comparing TrialPad and iAnnotate with lots of reader comments.)
The iPad is elegant and fun to use. It is not a desktop replacement, nor is it intended to be. As one critic noted, if your practice is being tied to your desktop generating documents all day, it is not the tool for that purpose. But most lawyers I know are "on the go" quite a bit and to have your e-mail, the web, dozens of useful apps and much more all at the ready in an instant is a great tool for efficiency, whether you are waiting for your case to be called or waiting in a doctor's office. And if at the end of a long day, you blow off some steam with Angry Birds, that is fine too.
I'll make one prediction. In the next few years, you will be seeing a lot more iPads and other tablets in public places than laptops. I'll still take my laptop on road trips and it will sit in the hotel room if I need to work on a document or tweak a PowerPoint. But when I head out of the room to meetings or classes, my iPad will be in my hand.
If you want a list of blogs focusing on the many ways a lawyer can use an iPad, here's a list for you:
This month in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, my column is Speech Tools for Lawyers in 2011. I covered many ways that lawyers can use their computers and their smart phones to prepare documents and do other tasks with their voices working with their computers and smart phones. I have tried to keep up in this area, but I am sure I have probably missed something. You may find some great new ways that you didn't know existed to use your voice to accomplish things faster. Who knows? You might even find a special bargain. Download SpeechTools4Lawyers2011.Calloway.OklaBarJ
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