Since the topic of lawyers marketing with Twitter has been discussed a lot lately in various forums, I couldn't resist giving my opinions with "Can a Lawyer Really Use Twitter to Market a Law Practice?" in the Oklahoma Bar Journal this month. I outline one plan to try to do so that a solo or small firm lawyer could use. I'm not saying this is the only plan and those lawyers who already love Twitter will find their own ways. I still believe most lawyers are too busy to use Twitter just for marketing. But lawyers who enjoy playing around with Twitter may find that they get business from it, as is true with many other activities.
UPDATE: Nearly one in five (19%) online Americans now uses Twitter or a similar service to post and share updates about themselves, or to see updates about others, according to the latest survey data from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
"Why is my email broken?" was the title of a blog post today by my friend, Ernie the Attorney. He begins, "Almost everyone I know who uses email extensively for work is overwhelmed by email....Some people declare 'email bankruptcy,' which means that they delete all the emails in their inbox and then start from scratch. And these are the optimists!"
Today, I'm going to give you the step by step instructions on how to declare e-mail bankruptcy in a more positive and less drastic way. Let's call it an E-mail Chapter 13 Reorganization instead of a "straight bankruptcy."
Let's restate the problem first. It is important for all of us to recognize that we are essentially powerless over e-mail. Yes, for most lawyers, it is and will remain a problem. The reason is simple. We could probably deal with processing the e-mail we receive if all we had to do was read it and then delete it or file it. But much e-mail comes with a task-- an assignment, even if the only task is replying to the e-mail. People e-mail us trying to get us to do all sorts of things from important work assignments to watch funny YouTube videos to meeting after work for a beer. You cannot do it all! You have to triage.
But today we will discuss how to do a reasonable e-mail bankruptcy. This isn't for those of you who are a little behind in your reading. This is for those of you who have over10,000 e-mails in your inbox, those who are receiving threats from the IT Department that they will delete them for you if you cannot handle it and those who are being blamed by everyone in the office when Outlook crashes or the system is just slow.
This is not a good system for filing e-mails. But it will clear out your inbox and it is something lawyers can live with because we all have the fear of deleting that critically important e-mail. The solution requires either Adobe Acrobat (not the free Reader) or Nuance's PDF Converter Pro. The details below are for Microsoft Outlook.
Depending on your backlog and personal level of paranoia, this could take a hour hour or two.
The next step is the hardest. You need to come up with an improved plan to review, delete and file e-mails so you don't have to file bankruptcy again. But if not, you now know how to mass-archive.
Mitch Jackson has been really turning out some nice tips on his Trial Lawyer Tips blog. I don't do jury trials any more, but I wanted to pass along this nice resource to my readers and encourage Mitch and co-blogger Lisa Wilson to keep up the good work.
I'm a member of the American Bar Association, but many lawyers are not.
I want to mention two magazines from the ABA that many of you might find useful. You can subscribe to even if you are not an ABA member. One is Law Practice, published by the ABA Law Practice Management Section. You can subscribe to it for $64 per year. Here’s the link to subscribe: https://www.abanet.org/lpm/magazine/mag_subscribe.shtml
The other is GPSolo magazine from the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division. You can subscribe to it for $48 per year. Here’s the link to subscribe: http://new.abanet.org/divisions/genpractice/Pages/GPSoloMagazine.aspxYou can also review the articles from past issues of the magazines online. The online versions are posted some time after the physical magazines are mailed to subscribers. You can find links to the archived or past issues at the above locations. But, I'm still a little old fashioned and like the physical subscription. I can read it when waiting for a meeting to start or other times when I am away from my computer.
So many things to do, so little time. For a profession with a long tradition of recording time task-by-task as the day goes on, we still seem to lose time during the workday. Every lawyer has had the experience of working hard all day and noticing completed time sheets total far less than hours worked.
David Whelan does a review of three time-tracking products in his "Lost in Time" piece in Law Technology News. I've been hearing a lot lately about Chrometa, one of a class of these programs that can record everything you do on your computer for help in recovering lost billable time. It was good to learn more about Chrometa, along with Nestersoft's Worktime and Black Hill Software's TimeSprite.
Sure it will take you some more time to review the data from these, but if you just capture an additional half hour of billable time (or a single completed task under an alternative billing mode) each day, it would be a nice return on the review time.
I got a chance to meet Gerry Riskin and hear him speak last week. As many of you know, Gerry is a principal of Edge International and shares his wisdom with us through his Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices blog.
Gerry discussed Social Media as it related to the legal profession. Social Media suffers in our legal community by its name. It sounds more like a dating service or chat service than something a hard-nosed lawyer would have time to deal with. Gerry showed us a video that I'd like to share with you. Please trust me not to waste your 4 minutes and 33 seconds. It is a great video with good production values. But it is full of the kind of statistics that a good lawyer would use to prove a case. Be sure and view it in full screen mode.
Every now and then you get backed up. In my world right now, it is having too many things you would like to blog about when I have three or four major papers due in the next few days. My friend Dennis Kennedy dealt with that problem by starting a Dennis Kennedy Microblog. Well, I'm not ready to go there yet. But today I am going to try a microblogging exercise as I clean out my "to blog about" box and also pass along several interesting things that I learned about today. So hang on for today's tech news and tips with a load of links for you to follow, if you desire.Technology Enables New Work-Life Norms
ABA TECHSHOW Blog: 5 Great Feature Enhancements to Expect in PowerPoint 2010
As courts move more toward e-filing and greater use of digital documents, lawyers will want to be able to use electronic exhibit stamps instead of more cumbersome methods. Rick Borstein of Adobe Systems Incoporated has created some nice exhibits stamps for you to download and use in Adobe Acrobat. They are really easy to use. Earlier this year he provided the simple exhibit stamps here and just a couple of weeks ago he provided these fancy two-line exhibit stamps here for those states that require a case style on the exhibit stamp (or lawyers who just think that looks better.) There are detailed explanations at the links above.
Once you download and install both sets of stamps from the links in the posts noted above, then you just use the stamp feature of Adobe to place them on a document and you are prompted for the exhibit number (and case style on the two line version.)
If you've never done this type of download before, the download actually opens in a browser window with the instructions on where to save it and you use "File - Save as" to save it in the right place on your system. If you cannot see said "right place," you may have to go to Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) to make all folder settings visible, including those that Microsoft says by default most mere mortals should not see.
Thanks, Rick Borstein, for this free tool. And, let me note again that the law firm that wants to better use Adobe Acrobat in the office should make use of Rick's free Adobe Acrobat training videos focused on law office operations.