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    Archive for June, 2013
    2013 Pacific Legal Technology Conference goes National
    Monday, June 24th, 2013

    ♫ Innovate and stimulate minds
    Travel the world and penetrate the times
    Innovate and stimulate minds
    For now I appreciate this moment in time…♫

    Lyrics, music and recorded by Hard Driver.

    PLTC 2013

    The 2013 edition of The Pacific Legal Technology Conference, Canada’s first and foremost conference on all aspects of legal technology, will feature two major new developments this year!

    First: This year’s conference will be webcast….all three concurrent tracks in the morning and in the afternoon…making this conference fully available across Canada and the web (all except for the lunchtime presentations -we are still seeing if we can make this work from a logistical standpoint. But the lunch presentations will be recorded as will the other presentations for viewing on the web afterwards).  We will be seeking Professional Development credit from as many jurisdictions as possible that allow for on-line PD credit.

    Second: The conference will feature Primafact’s 2013 ground breaking native iPad app! 

    Join us (in person or over the web) as Primafact and other exhibitors such as our Platinum sponsor Dye & Durham return to the PLTC Conference Friday October 4th, 2013 at the Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre.

    The best part: You can have a hand in helping design this year’s conference!  As in all past years, attendees and interested parties can have a hand in helping to design the conference sessions that you would like to see.

    Our Advisory Board [Simon Chester (Toronto) (, Richard Ferguson (Edmonton) (, Joe Kashi (Alaska) (, David Paul (Kamloops) ( ), Darin Thompson (Victoria) ( ), Ron Usher (Vancouver) ( , Dan Parlow (Vancouver) (, S. Ester Chung (Vancouver) ( ), Nicole Garton-Jones (Vancouver) ( and your humble scribe (Vancouver) (] has been hard at work narrowing the range of possible topics to the short list that is the subject of this survey. Now it is your turn to tell us which issues and courses are the MOST important ones to you!

    Our Theme this year is “Lawyers, Leadership and Technology”. Steve Jobs once said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” (“The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs,” 2001).

    This year we are seeking new ways to help lawyers and others innovate and become true leaders. We want to explore ways to help legal professionals take their practices to levels they couldn’t imagine.

    By completing our survey, you help us by selecting the best sessions for lawyers, legal administrators, paralegals, notaries and staff like you. And all of us will benefit by becoming an innovator within a practice empowered through technology.

    This is the only legal technology conference in the world where you, the past attendees, have a direct hand in designing the Conference to suit your needs!

    Click here: This survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

    At the end you will be eligible for a draw for 2 free admissions to the 2013 Conference as our way of saying thanks for completing this survey as well as a special rate for attending the 2013 Conference (available only to those who complete this survey) (the two winners will each  receive a free admission only..transportation costs are not included). *(survey must be completed by June 30, 2013 to be eligible for the draw).

    You must complete the survey by Sunday June 30th in order to be entitled to this special rate and to be eligible for the draw (for attendance in person or online).

    Help us Innovate and stimulate minds by completing our survey  – and see you at the Conference!


    Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, I'm a Mac, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Protect Your Data (from Snoops and others…)
    Thursday, June 20th, 2013

    ♫ Got a secret
    Can you keep it?
    Swear this one you’ll save
    Better lock it in your pocket…♫

    Music, lyrics and recorded by The Pierces.



    (This post was just posted to and I thought it fit here as well).

    Prism, the National Security Electronic Surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) has caught a great deal of press lately.  This surveillance program has raised questions as to how individuals can protect their data from being snooped upon.  These revelations have led to discussions on ways that allow people to use encryption for protection.

    I have been advising lawyers to use encryption technology for some time. When contacted by a lawyer who has had a laptop stolen from a car or elsewhere my first question to them is:  “Did you have the laptop encrypted or just password protected?”  I have yet to encounter a yes to encryption.  Unfortunately it is all-too-easy to break a Windows password or otherwise gain access  to the data on the laptop – for example, see: How to Break Into a Windows PC (and Prevent it from Happening to You).

    Edward Snowden, the whistleblower of Prism, was interviewed by The Guardian.  His advice?

    Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on. Unfortunately, endpoint security is so terrifically weak that NSA can frequently find ways around it.

    So what is encryption and how do you use it?

    Wikipedia states: “In cryptography, encryption is the process of encoding messages (or information) in such a way that eavesdroppers or hackers cannot read it, but that authorized parties can.”

    Encryption can be used to encode messages as well as encrypt files or folders on a hard drive (or the entire drive itself).

    From a management perspective (for this column is intended to be about management tips) it behooves a law firm to ensure that there is as much protection around their and their client’s data as possible.  After all, wouldn’t you prefer to say to a client that the firm had  a laptop stolen but all the data on it was encrypted with a state-of-the-art algorithm over saying that you had a laptop stolen or lost that only had a Windows password….

    Let’s look at disk encryption.  Windows version 7 in the Ultimate and Enterprise editions comes with Bitlocker.  Bitlocker can encrypt the entire drive and any file that you create.

    Macs come with FileVault that is built into OSX. Once you turn it on, it encrypts everything – all disk contents and actively encrypts and decrypts data on the fly. Techhive has a blog post on how to encrypt a hard drive.

    Now what about email? has a blog post on how to encrypt your email.  Microsoft has posted on how to encrypt e-mail messages in Outlook 2007.

    What about the endpoint security that Edward Snowden was speaking about as being so terrifically weak that it poses a problem for encryption?

    Webopedia states:

    In network security, endpoint security refers to a methodology of protecting the corporate network when accessed via remote devices such as laptops or other wireless and mobile devices. Each device with a remote connecting to the network creates a potential entry point for security threats. Endpoint security is designed to secure each endpoint on the network created by these devices.

    Usually, endpoint security is a security system that consists of security software, located on a centrally managed and accessible server or gateway within the network, in addition to client software being installed on each of the endpoints (or devices).  The server authenticates logins from the endpoints and also updates the device software when needed. While endpoint security software differs by vendor, you can expect most software offerings to provide antivirus, antispyware, firewall and also a host intrusion prevention system (HIPS).

    Endpoint security is becoming a more common IT security function and concern as more employees bring consumer mobile devices to work and companies allow its mobile workforce to use these devices on the corporate network.

    Accordingly, management must be concerned with both encryption as well as possible access to the network via wireless devices and laptops to ensure high IT security and prevent ways to get around that highly secure encryption.

    After all, we all want to keep our secrets now, don’t we?

    Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »
    What’s Hot: Strategic Planning
    Monday, June 17th, 2013

    ♫  Make a list baby, of the things I’ll do for you…♫

    Lyrics, music and recorded by Ambrosia.



    This is another guest post from my friend Bob Denney.  It is of particular interest since my MBA was in the area of the strategic application of technology to the practice of law.  So to see a renewed growing interest in the area of strategic planning is a gratifying one – and one that I truly endorse.

    So without further ado – here are Bob’s insights into this area:

    Several recently published surveys confirm that a large percentage of firms, regardless of size, have put many of the same issues high on their agendas for this year. In no particular order, these are some of them:

    • The need to grow in order to survive
    • Seeking a merger if they can’t grow
    • Clients insistence on receiving value for their legal spend
    • The need to obtain regular client feedback
    • Dealing with under-performing partners
    • Succession planning
    • Continued lateral hiring in lieu of associate recruiting
    • Decreasing leverage because of fewer associates
    • Practice group organization and management
    • Increased competition from online sources and alternative legal service providers
    • Strategic Planning

    None of these issues are surprising but the return of Strategic Planning to firms’ agendas is a healthy sign because many firms had abandoned planning during the recession, Yet, as most businesses and organizations have long recognized, it is essential. Now law firms are recognizing it is more essential than ever because of the many changes in the legal profession.

    Integrated Strategic Planning, as we define it, has always been one of our largest areas of practice and now the number of these projects we are working on has increased over 300% in the past six months. For firms that have not yet put Strategic Planning on their agendas, we attach a discussion of the benefits, misconceptions and application of the process.

    Robert Denney Associates Inc. provides strategic management and marketing counsel to law firms, companies and non-profit organizations throughout the United States. Previous Communiques as well as information about our services may be viewed on our web site. P.O. Box 551, Wayne, PA 19087-0551 • 610-644-7020 • fax: 610-296-8726 email: • web site:

    Thanks Bob for highlighting how strategic planning and its components should be high on the list of things that management should be doing in law firms!

    Posted in Budgeting, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    10 Step Process for Instituting Lasting Change
    Monday, June 10th, 2013

    ♫ Don’t you know they change
    Oh, things change
    As long as this world is turning
    Things are gonna change
    Gonna keep on changing
    Gonna change…♫

    Music and lyrics by: W. Luther, A. Mayo, M. Green and C.M. Lindsey, recorded by Tim McGraw.



    This is another great guest post from Beth Flynn of the Ohio State University Leadership Center. Today Beth is providing us with a 10 step process for instituting lasting change:

    1. Build trust
    2. Create a unified spearhead team
    3. Establish a pressing need for the change to be implemented
    4. Formulate a clear unifying vision
    5. Build and implement a specific strategy
    6. Share the vision often
    7. Enable and equip all shareholders to implement change effort as top priority
    8. Create and recognize improvement, big and small.
    9. Deepen change, making sure all systems, policies, and training promote the change
    10. Keep and create systems that foster open communication, listening, reviewing, and adjusting (Horsager, 2010 p.267)

    From: Horsager, D. (2010). The trust edge: how top leaders gain faster results, deeper relationships, and a stronger bottom line. Minneapolis: Summerside Press.  The Trust Edge is available from the OSU Leadership Center. Click here to borrow this resource or any other resource. Once you are on the OSU website, click on the Spectrum icon.

    Click here to learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world.

    To begin receiving Beth’s Leadership Moments, please click here.

    21st Century Leadership Series: These professional development opportunities are open to current and aspiring leaders interested in increasing their leadership knowledge and skills. Held on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, this leadership series is designed with relevant solutions to current leadership issues. Certificates of participation are available for individuals seeking professional development hours.

    Thanks Beth for another great tip that will help us bring about change as long as this world keeps on turning!

    Posted in Change Management, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
    Is there an iPad in Your Future (if there isn’t one already)?
    Monday, June 3rd, 2013

    ♫  It’s all about the Apps Store and iTunes.
    They continue distribution of software media.
    iPad (do do do do do)
    iPad (do do do do)… 

    – Lyrics, music and recorded by Parry Gripp.

    ipad 5

    Gerry Purdy PHD, an expert on wireless technologies, has made a prediction. In the future, you will own three devices:

    • a smartphone (to make calls, check on email and messages and do light web browsing);
    • a tablet (to do more review of content, more serious web browsing and messaging); and
    • a desktop or notebook PC device (to create original content that is read on other devices).

    What is driving his prediction? For one, mobile device sales (smartphones, iPads) already exceed those of desktops/laptops. Secondly, mobile web traffic is about to exceed desk-based web use. We are a mobile, connected world and we want applications and devices that enable our lifestyle. Furthermore, iPads represent lawyers taking charge and gaining access to technology that does not involve having to deal with the law firm IT department and all their restrictive policies.

    The other factor is the ease of use of the iPad as compared to traditional PC-based technology. The iPad has exceeded everyone’s expectations on these criteria. Apps which traditionally run from free to $9.99 (and in some cases more) place incredible processing power in the hands of users. Games, book readers, word processing, presentation software, business apps – there are literally hundreds of thousands from which to choose. News apps from the NYT, BBC, AP and others place you in the center of the “what’s happening now” world. TweetDeck and Facebook allow you to comment and connect with the Twitterverse about what is happening now. Wi-Fi or cellular data plans connect your iPad to the world. Inexpensive online storage is available via Dropbox, iCloud and others. (more…)

    Posted in Business Development, Change Management, I'm a Mac, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »