Dealing with email is a challenge for many business professionals. I actually intended to write this piece about something that was related, but I was inspired by a blog post by Erik Mazzone, Should Lawyers Use Encrypted Email? and something very interesting that one of our Oklahoma family lawyer practitioners said in a presentation at our OBA Solo and Small Firm Conference. You hear talk at technology conferences criticizing lawyers for using web-based email. But it is still widely used, at least by solo lawyers. I came up with four questions and some discussion about each, even if there are not clear cut answers sometimes. Many times a lawyer simply has to decide for himself or herself--at least until there is a consensus or some clear guidance from your jurisdiction. But there are some clear situations where the email that a client uses can be very problematic.
If anyone strongly disagrees with something in the column and sends me a link to an article, I might do a follow up with some links. I don't host comments on my blog. So to so that you will have to use ---- EMAIL!
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)
As I told a group of law students last week, the practice of law is an honored profession and an essential part of one of the three branches of government. But, at the same time, a law firm is a business. It has income and expenses. One goal is to make a profit for the owners (or partners.)
Arthur G. Greene is our guest on our new Digital Edge podcast "The New Normal." He discusses how to address today's economy by using existing resources, the importance of determining your firm's revenue capacity and the rise of alternative billing. Arthur is a soft-spoken individual with an immense store of knowledge. I will admit to being a bit skeptical when he discussed revenue capacity as it is somewhat of measure of perfection that cannot be reached. But he did convince me and he may prove convincing to you. We hope you enjoy the podcast.
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.
Earlier this year, I wrote a column for Lawyer's USA about Rethinking the roles of your law firm’s support staff. In many small or medium-sized law firms, the staff is divided between secretaries and legal assistants, with perhaps a receptionist or billing clerk. With the many complex tasks that are required in a law office today, having employees who gain deeper expertise in certain tasks may be a great benefit to the law firm. So read this article and see if your law firm should be rethinking some job descriptions and duties.
Lawyers USA also has a free resource available if you would like to read more about law firm staffing. As noted on the website:
"Brought to you by the editors of Lawyers USA, this FREE e-report contains the latest techniques for finding, motivating, keeping and developing your most valuable resource. We’ve consulted some of the most prominent experts in the field of law firm management including Nancy Byerly Jones, Jim Calloway and Ed Poll to bring you a comprehensive report on this hot topic." Signing up to receive that will also register you for Lawyers USA’s free daily email alert. (You can unsubscribe at any time.)
That headline must strike fear in the hearts of some lawyers, who already feel that they have to follow too many recent developments in the law. But this week the American Bar Association House of Delegates passed several Amendments to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct relating to lawyer's knowledge about technology. Yes, I remember when I was one of a small group of "teckies" scaring lawyers about the impact of metadata. Now the Model Rules have been amended to include references to metadata. A comment to Rule 1.1 regarding Competence added "including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology" to the requirements of basic lawyer competency. Here's a nice story from Sean Doherty of Law Technology News outlining the changes related to technology. The Model Rule proposed changes now go to the states to see if they will be adopted in the various jurisdictions.