While zero inbox is a great goal for e-mail management, it seems to be an unattainable goal for many of us. Even those who claim success at this usually do it by moving e-mail from the Inbox to other Outlook folders, some of which may be pretty full. So this video tip is very brief (just over three minutes) and it shows you how finding a particular e-mail or group of e-mails in Outlook folders is almost always more easily done by search rather than any other method. (Note: You will want to view this video with the full screen view to see the details)
We have now set up a YouTube Channel for the Oklahoma Bar Association Management Assistance Program and will be doing some regular Law Practice Tips in video format. One of our early offerings is Getting Started with the iPad2, featuring Dave Owen of ImageServe.com. If you just picked up an iPad and started using it without much training, you may not be aware of different techniques and shortcuts, like the "four finger swipe." The video is not short at over 14 minutes in length, but most every lawyer iPad user who has watched it has said that they picked up something useful.
I've heard several office workers say they they seem to "live" in Microsoft Outlook. While I encourage lawyers to use practice management software to organize their practices, I know many of them rely on Microsoft Outlook for day-to-day calendar management, as well as e-mail. It is installed on their computers already, so it seems free. Today's lawyer needs to have access to e-mail and calendar from their mobile phones. Because we have Exchange Server at my employment, that is pretty easy to set up. When I got my first iPhone, it only took a few minutes to sync my e-mail and calendar to it. Synchronizing a to-do or task list with MS Outlook was an entirely different matter. I tried several methods. But Paul Unger gave me the tip on the tool that works. it is the TaskTask app for the iPhone. (It costs $4.99 and there is a Windows phone version that costs less, too.) It does require Exchange Server and there are some technical specs to review on the site. It is not as fully functional as it could be. But when I rememebr something I need or want to do, I really like entering it in the TaskTask app on my phone so it will be in my Outlook tasks at work. And, of course, I can always check the "to do" list from my phone.
There are many ways to fail and sometimes few ways (or one) to succeed. Many lawyers tend to view the whole concept of legal project management with some suspicion and wariness. They view themselves as creative problem solvers and do not want their thought processes to be limited to following a flow chart. Besides, just how professional could following a flow chart be?
Every now I then I want to say PLEASE read this article everyone. Today is such a case. The anonymous curmudgeon Otto Sorts has posted an article on the AttorneyAtWork site titled Life Is Complex and Uncertain which contains an easy six point approach to project management. (Go ahead and read it now. I'll wait for you.) Great work, Otto. I have no idea why your editors called you "Strange" in the bio section.
But at the risk of incurring some curmudgeonly disapproval, let me suggest that this is only the first part of the roadmap for law firm success. I have mentioned before how I think lawyers would benefit from reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. Otto Sorts has outlined project management for a particular project. Atul Gawande encourages us to then take that work product and, at firm expense, build a template (aka checklist) to institutionalize this thinking process to benefit the firm and the next client for the next similar project. We should let the project plan/template/checklist evolve just the way our standard form documents are modified when the law changes or unexpected difficulties are encountered.
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.
My Sites for Sore Eyes column in the just-released GPSOLO eReport is Beyond the Basics of Google. Long time readers of my blog may have seen a lot of this information before. But if you have some colleagues who would benefit from this information, be sure and send them the link. I am always surprised by the number of people who have never heard of Google Advanced Search or think it is some advanced function that they are not qualified to operate.
Here's an additional related site that wasn't in the article. If you have grown tired of people asking you questions that they could answer themselves if they would just use Google, check out the site Let Me Google That for You. (http://lmgtfy.com) The site's motto is "For all those people that find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves." Go do a quick search there and click Preview to see the short animation you can send someone the next time they ask. It will bring a smile to your face. (But do not try this with your supervisor!)
For the December 2011 Oklahoma Bar Journal I decided to pass along some interesting add-ons for a PC user. It's not like the old days where you had to cobble things together yourself with lots of customizations and add-ons, but I think you will find these additions helpful. Oklahoma lawyers who read this in the Bar Journal may still find this version useful as the hyperlinks have all been enabled (and corrected from the entire PDF version of the Bar Journal on our website.) So download this file to more easily visit the sites mentioned and install some of these useful add-ons. Download Gadgets_Gizmos_and_Apps.Calloway.Oklabaj
My recent Lawyers USA column covered Ten essential classes of websites for lawyers. You may know many of these, but feel free to forward the link to a lawyer you know who is not as current on Internet tools. I'll let you in on a little behind the scene information. The concept was to cover ten websites, combining some useful old standbys with newer tools. But as I tried to narrow it down to ten, it became obvious that there were several contenders in some areas. I hope you enjoy this piece and learn of some new online tools.
Kudos to OCU's Legal Research Certificate program for its innovative first Cool Tools Café program. I was familiar with many, but not all, of their cool tools. Descriptions of some of the cool tools are available at the link above. You may want to review these. These young law students will soon be young lawyers, using these cool tools in their practices.