♫ 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.
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.
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) ( SChester@heenan.ca), Richard Ferguson (Edmonton) (email@example.com), Joe Kashi (Alaska) (firstname.lastname@example.org), David Paul (Kamloops) (email@example.com ), Darin Thompson (Victoria) (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Ron Usher (Vancouver) (email@example.com) , Dan Parlow (Vancouver) (firstname.lastname@example.org), S. Ester Chung (Vancouver) (email@example.com ), Nicole Garton-Jones (Vancouver) (Nicole@bcheritagelaw.com) and your humble scribe (Vancouver) (firstname.lastname@example.org)] 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!
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 »
♫ 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 Slawtips.ca 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).
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.
What about the endpoint security that Edward Snowden was speaking about as being so terrifically weak that it poses a problem for encryption?
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 »
♫ Make a list baby, of the things I’ll do for you…♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Ambrosia.
STRATEGIC PLANNING IS AGAIN HIGH ON FIRMS’ AGENDAS
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: email@example.com • web site: www.robertdenney.com
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 »
♫ Don’t you know they change
Oh, things change
As long as this world is turning
Things are gonna change
Gonna keep on changing
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:
- Build trust
- Create a unified spearhead team
- Establish a pressing need for the change to be implemented
- Formulate a clear unifying vision
- Build and implement a specific strategy
- Share the vision often
- Enable and equip all shareholders to implement change effort as top priority
- Create and recognize improvement, big and small.
- Deepen change, making sure all systems, policies, and training promote the change
- 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.
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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 »
♫ 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.
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. Read the rest of this entry »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 »
When I’m lost and need to find myself
Where this road will lead
no one can tell…♫
– Lyrics and music by Simon Finn and Errol Reid, recorded by China Black.
It is hard to imagine but no search engine existed for the web until 1993. Of course, when it comes to doing research on the web, the one search site that everyone knows today is Google. But Google itself didn’t become prominent until 2000. Furthermore, Google is by no means the only or perhaps even the best search engine to use in every context. Compounding the problem, a web page of search hits may not display the research results that you are seeking – simply because so many websites are using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to try to land their website within the first two pages of results. Accordingly, you need to know what other search engines are out there along with their attributes in order to carry out any real research over the Internet.
These sites vary from searching websites to travel sites to medical information, books and scholarly articles. You can search to see what people are saying or search news services. You can even search sites that will post your question to live people (gasp!) and get back real answers. You can search items for sale, either by suppliers or by individuals. You can search for specialized knowledge (such as science information), or even people.
There are websites such as FactBites [www.factbites.com] which search encyclopedias and Wikipedia to provide you with factual information (not search results based on popularity, which is what Google and Bing do). In terms of real research, this is a great starting point.
There are search engines that don’t just display lists of results but also display a “Tag Cloud” with the size of a word (search term) being larger or smaller by the number of hits relative to that term. You can see the results by “hovering” over the words in the tag cloud. Example: Quintura.
There are sites such as Biography.com that allow you to search 25,000+ biographies by name, keyword and profession. Or search LinkedIn for current information on 100 million people.
You can even search out search engines from other countries.
When you are searching and lost and can’t seem to find yourself, there are any number of roads that you can take… who knows where they will lead you.
This article originally appeared in the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia branch’s publication BarTalk.Posted in Change Management, I'm a Mac, Issues facing Law Firms, personal focus and renewal, Technology, Tips, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ Every time you’re near
I get creative…♫
This is another great guest post by Beth Flynn of the Ohio State University Leadership Center. This time Beth is looking at Creativity (and leadership).
- Myth 1: Creativity is only needed at the top.
- TRUTH: In today’s business environment, creativity applies to everyone.
- Myth 2: People are creative (or not) depending on their job or role.
- TRUTH: You role has nothing to do with your creativity.
- Myth 3: Creativity is “born:” it can’t be developed.
- TRUTH: Yes it absolutely can.
- MYTH 4: Creativity isn’t my responsibility.
- TRUTH: Today, creativity is everyone’s responsibility.
- MYTH 5: Creativity can’t be managed or harnessed.
- TRUTH: Developing creativity is the primary role you will play as a leader in the twenty-first-century business world.
- Myth 6: My technical skills and experience are enough.
- TRUTH: Creative problem solving, original thought, and imagination have become the currency for success in the new world of business…and life (Linkner, 2011, p. 207-209).
From: Linkner, J (2011). Disciplined dreaming: a proven system to drive breakthrough creativity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Disciplined dreaming is available from the OSU Leadership Center. Click here to borrow this resource.
Learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world at http://leadershipcenter.osu.edu . To begin receiving Leadership Moments, or to update your information, please click here to access OSU’s Mailing List.
Thanks Beth for another great leadership post on how all of us can move past the myths in becoming more creative. I can say ..every time you are near I get creative!
Posted in Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, personal focus and renewal, Tips, Trends | Permalink | 1 Comment »
♫ You can count on me
I’m gonna get it done, get it done…♫
Lyrics, music and recorded by Sandwich.
Over on Small Firm Innovation, Gwynne Monahan has posed the following challenge:
Write a post that describes what quick, uncomplicated, untechnological habits or practices make all the difference to your practice, in 100 words or less.
OK…nothing like a challenge. So here goes:
Stop procrastinating. Now. Or as Nike says, “Just Do It!”. Deadlines and to-do’s and such don’t get better with age. Enter them in your Outlook calendar with associated alarms, flags and ‘Due Dates’. Use ‘Categories’ to classify them as “Limitation Dates” and such. Follow up on them regularly or even better, use shared calendars and have one person in the firm designated to review all important dates weekly and ensure that they are all met.
Turn yourself around from a procrastinator to a doer. Let people know that they can count on you.
Posted in Adding Value, Business Development, Change Management, Firm Governance, Issues facing Law Firms, Law Firm Strategy, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Make it Work!, personal focus and renewal, Tips | Permalink | 1 Comment »
♫ There’s a Law, there’s an Arm, there’s a Hand
There’s a Law, there’s an Arm, there’s a Hand… ♫
Words, music and lyrics by Leonard Cohen.
Lawrence Lessig wrote a very famous book called Code is Law (now in version 2 simply called Code v2). In these books, Lawrence (and here I am guilty of oversimplification but at least I can claim that this is Lawrence’s own oversimplification from his web site describing the books):
“More than any other social space, cyberspace would be controlled or not depending upon the architecture, or “code,” of that space. And that meant regulators, and those seeking to protect cyberspace from at least some forms of regulation, needed to focus not just upon the work of legislators, but also the work of technologists.”
I have been thinking of Lawrence’s ideas in a slightly different and I have to admit, less lofty context. It has to do with the fact that legislators, when they consider regulations and laws, need to focus not just on the law but also on how that legislation will be implemented into code. In other words, Law is Code.
Bill Gates once famously said:
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
Passing laws that enable existing ‘things and processes’ – such as efiling, billing etc to be done electronically may only end up magnifying the inefficiency of the existing analogue process if thought isn’t put in as to how that law will be implemented as Code.
Take billing for example. We are quite accustomed to receiving a paper bill and paying that bill by mailing a paper cheque. Now consider if you allow bills to be paid electronically – the paper bill comes to your door and instead of writing a cheque, you pay the bill by transferring funds online. So far, so good.
Now ..what if you allow a vendor (in this case a lawyer) to bill electronically? Well, most lawyers will simply email out a PDF version of a paper bill. You haven’t really improved the underlying process. What if you went the next step and allowed a vendor to issue bills in true electronic form that can be read directly by a purchaser’s accounting system (machine readable)? Now that is an improvement that utilizes the efficiency of the technology and truly changes the workflow.
Problem is – that most laws require lawyers to sign invoices. How do you sign a truly electronic invoice? You could apply a digital signature – but most accounting systems are not set up to either apply – or read – such signatures. What happens, at least in BC, is that the lawyer sends out a signed letter stating that they are submitting the electronic invoice (and keeping a signed copy of the pre-bill indicating that they approved the bill in human-readable form before it was sent).
In this case I submit what is required is a change in the law that reflects that legal billing may be capable of being implemented as Code in a truly electronic process.
A second example is filing documents in the Land Title Office. Now today, virtually all basic land registrations in BC can be done electronically (and in fact in most cases must be done so). The requisite electronic documents are prepared using various applications, typically cloud-based. They are submitted into the Land Title Office using digital signatures (in BC at least).
The problem is..the forms have not yet caught up with the fact that lawyers and law offices are automating (ie applying digital workflows) to the land title filing process. For example, if the information to be inserted into a particular form field is too long, then it has to be placed into a Schedule. The e-forms have been set up as if someone human is filling them in and determining if the text is too long. Problem is that law firms with large practices would like to set up the document assembly process so that the text is inserted into the forms without the need for the paralegal to stop the process if necessary and then complete the schedule as required when the text exceeds the form field length. In this case, the law which allows for e-filing (indeed, requires it) needs corresponding Code that fully implements the electronic filing process.
Law makers of all stripes now need to think in terms of systems and consult with technologists in terms of not only formulating the law but in considering how the law will be implemented. Where there is a law, that law should be given a hand by technologists in terms of how it will be coded so that it comes to terms with the (increasingly) digital world in which we all work.
Posted in Issues facing Law Firms, Leadership and Strategic Planning, Technology, Trends | Permalink | No Comments »
♫ Be prepared for indecision
It might make me disappear
But then again, my addiction
To indecision keeps me here…♫
This is another guest post from Beth Flynn of the Ohio State University Leadership Center.
To be a successful leader-manager, you have to be decisive. Probably the most frustrating thing to employees is working for a leader who can’t make a decision. The phrase “don’t be a definite maybe” is well known. The problem is that no one believes he or she is a definite maybe. The term itself is demeaning by what it implies. We all think we make decisions in a prompt or decisive manner, but I wonder if that is true and if it is what our employees think. I found that most leaders could make decisions about things quite easily. It’s making decisions about people that is difficult. In many cases, middle managers can’t make people decisions, or they will vacillate over them. When it becomes apparent to people in the organization that they are working for a definite maybe, they begin to lose confidence in that person’s leadership completely (Monastero, 2010, p. 75).
From: Monastero, S. (2010). Winning at leadership: how to become an effective leader. Bloomington, IN: IUNIVERSE, Inc. Winning at Leadership is available from the OSU Leadership Center. Click here to borrow this resource.
Learn how the Ohio State University Leadership Center is inspiring others to take a leadership role that empowers the world at http://leadershipcenter.osu.edu
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Thanks Beth for another great leadership post on how all of us can move towards being a better leader by leaving our addiction to indecision behind!Posted in Adding Value, Change Management, Dave's Top 10 Lists, Fraud and theft, I'm a Mac, personal focus and renewal, Technology | Permalink | No Comments »