♫ Make it easy (easy)
Easy to be with you…♫
I had the honour to meet with the Solo and Small Practice Section of the Washington State Bar Association this weekend and participate in their annual strategic planning retreat and renew my contact with friends such as Pete Roberts, the Practice Management Advisor for the WSBA, the Solo and Small Firm Section Chair Dirk Bartram, and the rest of the Executive Committee.
During the meeting, Julie Fowler introduced me to Constant Contact, a newsletter and survey website that is quite simply, a wonderful service for any lawyer looking at developing and sending out an electronic newsletter. Not only is the interface straightforward and easy to use, it is also very powerful and cost-effective. It has many tools that makes the entire process of creating, editing, uploading of images and the creation of links, the sending of the emails and the collection of data following the sending of the email newsletter very straightforward.
These days lawyers need to develop methods to reach out to their clients and potential clients in ways that are user-friendly. While blogs and Web 2.0 tools are receiving a lot of attention lately, there are many clients for whom email is about as far as they wish to go with technology. RSS feeds and such may be too overly complex for many clients. However, meeting these client’s needs by sending out an electronic newsletter is a great way to push out information on you and your practice in a form that is easily understood and read by most clients. I believe that tax, estate planning, wills and estates practices would be a natural for this type of marketing, along with other practice areas.
Tools that makes it easy for clients to be in constant contact with you are always welcome!
♫What’s new pussycat? Woah, Woah♫
I gave a TIPS presentation at a CLE in December. During the question period when I asked for TIPS from the audience, a lawyer came up to the mic and said that the *best* piece of technology that he has acquired was a Tablet PC combined with an Aircard for internet access. He stated that he takes it to court and while waiting for his case, he can call up his email and write his replies (that are recognized by the tablet PC’s handwriting recognition software) and draft notes etc. And since it is a a Tablet PC and he is handwriting, he isn’t disturbing the court and the judges leave him be. The Aircard gives him access to the Internet from virtually anywhere.
This is a great adaptation of three different technologies – the Aircard, the Tablet PC and handwriting recognition software – that allows this lawyer to be more effective and efficient wherever he may find himself. And it is also a great example of how we all can benefit by occasionally asking each other: “What’s New, Pussycat?”
♫ How do I feel by the end of the day
Are you sad because you’re on your own ..
No, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends…♫
Words and music by Lennon-McCartney
It seems I am on a roll lately with The Beatles…and with a little help from my friends Allison Wolf and Doug Jasinski. It seems we are sharing a 2007 CLawBie award in the area of Practice Management Blogs! In addition I seemed to have snagged a runner-up award for Best New Law Blog along with Donna Seale’s Human Rights in the Workplace and Dan Michaluk’s All About Information.
I am humbled by this recognition. Blogging seems a solitary affair and it is gratifying to find your work recognized. I also wish to thank Steve Matthews and his work in developing the CLawBies …he is indeed a leader in the whole area of Canadian Legal Blogs and moving law into the world of Web 2.0. Steve deserves the most recognition of all!
And in reflection, you realize that as a blogger, you are not alone…you are part of a community of like-minded individuals – and we all get by with a little help from our friends.
♫ Been away so long I hardly knew the place
Gee, it’s good to be back home
Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
Honey disconnect the phone
I’m back in the USSR…♫
Words and music by Lennon-McCartney.
I have just returned from speaking for the Law Society of Manitoba on Friday Jan. 18, where I not only had the chance to chat with fellow blogger Donna Seale (Human Rights in the Workplace), but also to present with fellow Practice Management Advisor Barney Christianson Q.C. , Robert McCulloch and Martin Gutnik on the program entitled: “Minding Your Own Business, 2nd Annual Forum on Solo & Small Firm Practice”. While originally a Winnipeg boy, I have been away so long I hardly recognized the place…or at least, parts of it anyway. It was wonderful for the ‘peggers to arrange the -43 (with wind chill) weather to remind me that I was back in the USSR..ahh…no …Winnipeg…but it was truly *good* to be back home…
This trip gave me the opportunity to use a hot new web site: TripIt.
TripIt works as follows: You register with TripIt (supplying the usual information) and establish an email address and password. From there, you make your plane, hotel, car etc reservations – and email a copy of your confirmations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is where the magic starts.
TripIt starts a new itinerary for you – and as you add in your hotel to your plane reservations, car etc…it automatically builds your trip itinerary for you. This is truly magic..you do *not* have to rekey in anything – TripIt scrapes or discerns your travel plans automatically – and adds in links to “online checkin”, “check flight status”, “get seating advice” as well as necessary info such as departure and arrival information.
Hotel information is similarly organized…and includes a summary of the hotel room’s details (such as free internet). It also includes check out times, maps and directions from the airport to the hotel, weather information and such. You can invite in collaborators, add notes to the trip and much more. This is one cool travel site and one that will have me coming back time after time. Hat tip to Tom Mighell and his blog Inter Alia who also is the Chair of ABA TECHSHOW this year for putting me onto this site!
♫Tell him “no”, oh-oh-oh, Tell him “no”..♫
Words and music by Travis Pritchett, recorded by Travis & Bob.
A posting on InfoWorld’s web site today reports that British Schools have been advised not to upgrade to Microsoft’s Vista operating system and the Office 2007 productivity suite. The reasons are telling:
“We have not had sight of any evidence to support the argument that the costs of upgrading to Vista in educational establishments would be offset by appropriate benefit,” it said.
Furthermore, it continues:
“As for Office 2007, “there remains no compelling case for deployment,” the agency said in its full report, published this week.”
InfoWorld states that the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) advised that ‘the added value of Vista’s new features was not sufficient to justify the cost of deployment, while Office 2007 contained no “must-have” features.‘
In a telling move away from proprietary file formats: ‘the agency also recommended setting up desktops to make it easy to use such open-source applications, and advised schools to insist their suppliers deliver office productivity software that can open and save ODF documents, setting it as the default file format.’
This may be an early sign for organizations generally, including law firms, to move toward greater standardization around ODF formats. And if file formats become open and standard, that leads to questions as to why one would need a proprietary word processor, if Open Source software can easily meet the needs of a business organization.
This means that when the automatic request comes to purchase the next upgrade from Microsoft, the answer may be, to tell him no…
♫ Come together right now over me ♫
Words and Music by Lennon-McCartney
I have been remiss in making a new post due to my scrambling to finish my papers for two presentations at ABA TECSHOW 2008 in Chicago in March. Papers are due this Friday!
This year’s rendition of the Worlds Premier Legal Technology Conference promises to be as good, if not better, than all past Conferences. I find the quality of the discussions between presenters and attendees, the first-class presentations and the ideas that crackle in the air to be a fairly heady mix! For anyone looking for new approaches, concepts, applications and inspiration, this conference is an extremely nutrient-rich environment!
I also hope to again co-host one of the Taste of Techshow dinners…so if you are coming to Techshow, sign up for my dinner and we can chat in person at one of the fine restaurants in Chicago!
Check out the schedule and hotel and travel information on the Techshow web site. Oh and come to my sessions: Records Management Technology: It’s a Small World After All and Drafting Bills Your Clients Will Rush to Pay.
See you there – March 13-15, 2008.
Come together..right now….over me!