Marketing was the theme of the March/April 2023 American Bar Association Law Practice Magazine. While there are many articles of interest in that issue, let me direct you to Marketing Tips For Young And Not So Young Lawyers by Stephen Embry, Chair of the ABA’s Law Practice Division. This is a short piece with ten important tips about marketing for lawyers. Yes, marketing for lawyers is different, and not just because of our ethics rules.

If you are an ABA member, you can log in to see a more attractive HTML version of this information. Additionally, if you are an ABA member, you can sign up to receive the digital versions of every issue of Law Practice Magazine going forward. As someone who has served on the editorial board for Law Practice Magazine for several years, I encourage you to sign up for this great content. If you aren’t an ABA member, after you read Mr. Embry’s article, take note of the black navigation arrows on the right and left sides of the pages. Those will allow you to navigate to all of the other marketing articles in this issue.

Even as we endure the chilly winds of March, it is time to look forward to this summer’s Solo & Small Firm Conference, held June 22-24 at the Osage Casino Hotel in Tulsa. The conference website is

I  know some of my fellow bar executives from other states follow my blog. I’d encourage you to check out the schedule for our conference. We think there are many good ideas for lawyer programming.


From the conference kickoff with the ever-popular “60 Tips in 60 Minutes” to the closing session of “What’s Hot and What’s Not in Law Office Management & Technology,” the Solo & Small Firm Conference combines fun social events with 12 hours of MCLE credit, including two hours of ethics. This means attendees can satisfy all the year’s MCLE requirements at this event. Also, look forward to a poolside cookout Thursday evening, and make sure to join us Friday night for the primary social event. Did I mention there will be door prizes at the final session, too?

The conference coincides with the Young Lawyers Division Midyear Meeting, so this year, we focused on offering more selections for young lawyers. There will be a young lawyer/new lawyer track offering each hour, including the session “How to Get the Most Out of Your Bar Association” with OBA President Brian Hermanson and OBA Executive Director Janet Johnson. Other sessions include “How I Manage My Small Firm Criminal Defense Practice” with Oklahoma City attorney Ed Blau and “Estate Planning – Help Your Clients Leave a Fortune and Not a Fight” with Tulsa attorney Mark Darrah. We expect to see many veteran lawyers in the young lawyer track; young lawyers may also find an educational opportunity in one of the other two sessions offered at the time.


Stanley Tate, an entertaining and dynamic speaker who has previously presented at ABA TECHSHOW, will be our special featured guest this year. Mr. Tate will present “Carving Your Path: Developing a Successful Law Practice in a Niche Area of Law” (Friday) and “Everything You Need to Know About Student Loans in 2023” (Saturday). He will also join us for 60 Tips in 60 Minutes to open the conference. Check out his website,, for a look at a lawyer site focused on answering potential clients’ questions

Kenton Brice will be joining us again this year, presenting “Microsoft Word Add-Ins for Law Practice” and “Document Automation to Build an Unbundled Legal Product.” Mr. Brice is the director of technology innovation and the interim director of the Donald E. Pray Law Library at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

OBA General Counsel Gina Hendryx will speak during a plenary session on “The Attorney/Client Relationship: Good, Bad & Questionable.” The Office of the General Counsel will also present an ethics program titled “So, You Just Received Your First, Second or Tenth Grievance: What Happens Next?” on Saturday afternoon. Another ethics presentation involves something many practicing lawyers have already encountered: “Ethical Considerations of Using Cash Apps” with OBA Ethics Counsel Richard Stevens and OBA Practice Management Advisor Julie Bays. This program will discuss what happens the next time a client wants to Venmo you the retainer.

There are many more educational sessions offered during the conference. “I Didn’t Know PDFs Could Do That” will be presented by Darla Jackson, director of the TU College of Law Mabee Legal Information Center. Robert Spector, Glenn R. Watson chair and esteemed centennial professor of law emeritus at the OU College of Law, will also provide an update on “Recent Developments in Family Law.”


Check out the conference website at for more information, registration and the schedule. You don’t want to miss out on this year’s great programs and events, so we encourage you to make an early decision and register before the June 5 early-bird deadline. We are going to have a lot of fun, and we hope to see you there!

Law practice is a service, not a product, right? Decades ago that would have been universally considered to be correct by practicing lawyers.

Dorna Moini, CEO of Gavel

Today, however, many believe that some legal services may be better delivered as legal products. The latest episode of the Digital Edge Podcast Legal Service Productization for Lawyers features Dorna Moini, CEO and founder of Gavel (formerly Documate). Sharon Nelson and I interviewed Dorna as she discussed turning your legal service into a product that’s both profitable and accessible to more people.  Dorna shares her insights on building a legal product for your target market, pricing recommendations, and the future of legal products in the profession.

Barron Henley, of Affinity Consulting, spoke at ABA TECHSHOW on mastering Microsoft Word (my title, not his). Barron has done similar programs for the OBA before. His program is part great tips and improved efficiency and part voicing all the frustrations we have experienced with Word. You know these, e.g. “How can deleting one word change the font in an entire sentence or paragraph?” Barron’s Answer: Fonts in Word can be tricky. When you think you have changed the font, you may have actually placed one font on top of another. So, when you delete you may delete the font insertion, revealing the original font that was hiding below. If you have a Word document form that has been used for years, there could be dozens of fonts piled on top of each other, especially if it was converted from WordPerfect years ago.

When you are spending more time fighting with formatting (and reformatting) a document than writing the document, here is a pro tip to get you back on track. On the Home tab, in the Font Group, click the Clear All Formatting button. This leaves only the text. Then apply any needed formatting or Style. PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote also have this feature.


I’m back from ABA TECHSHOW 2023 with lots of ideas and inspiration.

Providing Limited Scope Legal Services is one way lawyers can provide legal services more inexpensively. Of course, to be profitable, it is important to make great use of automation to produce the work and online marketing to acquire the clients.

Our OBA MAP Oklahoma Limited Scope Legal Services Resources page is designed to help Oklahoma lawyers better deliver these services in a profitable manner. All forms are sample starting points for Oklahoma lawyers to edit into their own forms. But if you practice in a state that doesn’t have provisions for LSR, our District Court Rule 33 is simple and straightforward. It also addresses many courts’ concerns with limited scope legal services because if there is a problem with one of the documents presented pro se, the responsible lawyer’s name is on the documents so the judge can send the party back to that lawyer in the unlikely event changes need to be made. So this might be a good plan for your jurisdiction to consider as well.

The courthouse can be quite the maze for uninitiated. Remember that the instructions you provide to the pro se litigant as just as important –to them– as the legal documents.

Gavel inside labyrinth maze. 3D rendering

When lawyers leave private practice to take an in-house counsel or government position, they are often asked about the differences in their new roles. Many of them say they are pleased not to have to complete timesheets anymore – it is a relief not to have to look at the day in six-minute increments. As most of you know, I’ve long been a proponent of employing flat fees or task-based billing when possible, particularly when representing consumers. But hourly billing is still used for many types of representation.

Before we get to timesheets, let’s discuss artificial intelligence. Over the last several weeks, an AI drafting program called ChatGPT from OpenAI has been garnering a lot of attention. It offers a conversational interface, so you can have the AI create something for you without understanding anything about how it works. It accepts conversational input and then applies its massive data collection to complete the assignment. OBA Practice Management Advisor Julie Bays asked it to write a short story about law practice management software. The results were amusing and amazing; the story is included in this blog post. Other generative AI tools include DALL-E/Stable Diffusion for image creation and VALL-E for mimicking voice. VALL-E can apparently mimic any voice after hearing a short sample. The implications of that are concerning.

ChatGPT represents a significant step forward for innovation in applying data. But it is a step, not a destination. One lawyer posted on social media that a case cited by ChatGPT in a legal memo apparently did not exist. So this tool should be considered a tool for first drafts rather than final drafts at this point. Developments will continue.

This demonstrates the power of using data. If client information in our law firms only exists on paper, it cannot be a part of any automation – until someone enters the information into a computer.

For lawyers, one area of data use is related to automatic document assembly. Many law firms are dealing with how to better capture and use their data. In the early days of computers in law offices, we first reused data by the process of copying and pasting. You won’t misspell the client’s difficult name when you copy from a document with it correctly spelled. And once someone has properly designed a case style in a litigation matter, everyone will be copying and pasting the style into their pleadings rather than recreating it. But one can make errors using copy and paste.

There are two traditional ways to use automated document assembly. One is the interview method, where the document drafter responds to questions and those answers are used to complete the document. Another method is to have your form set up to import data from a client information database to assemble the document. We are moving closer to the day when the first drafts of many legal documents will be generated by combining client data from the client file with forms and clauses selected by the attorney. Even tools using the interview method ask if you want to save the answers to the questions so that when you get ready to create the next document on the same matter, you won’t have to reenter that data.

What does that have to do with timesheets and hourly billing? First, greater use of document assembly will save lawyers a great deal of time. But given the investment of upgrades, skill and programming invested to accomplish this result as well as the potential liability all lawyers assume to properly represent their clients, hourly billing may not be the best method to charge for those highly automated tasks.

Today, hourly billing is still the standard in many law firms. It is objective. Business clients are accustomed to it. In larger firms, it provides one objective measure of associate attorneys’ progress and value to the firm. Firms have the infrastructure in place to do hourly billing every month. So let’s examine making hourly billing more efficient. 


The primary functions in legal billing are time capture, expense capture and invoicing. It has long been a “truism” of law practice management that lawyers who contemporaneously record their time spent on client matters make more money than those who do not. But is that actually true, or could it be related to other aspects of their behavior? Maybe lawyers who contemporaneously record their time are more disciplined? Of course, many successful contingency fee lawyers never or rarely keep time records. But what is certainly true is that any lawyer who has tried to reconstruct their timekeeping records after a busy week when they “didn’t have time” knows there is a significant likelihood they will omit to capture part of their time.

So the first simple step is to record time contemporaneously, and then at the end of the day check to make certain you have recorded your time before you leave work. It will just take a few moments. Certainly events will sometimes keep you from doing that. Then you either catch up on billing entries the next morning, or you can use a mobile app.

The second and most important step is to only do digital time capture. Time capture and invoicing are a primary feature of all practice management software solutions and often a primary motivation for subscribing to such a solution.

Handwritten billing sheets are a long-standing tradition in law firms. But in today’s world, this practice limits efficiency. As noted, handwritten billing sheets for time capture are not data but represent paper documents that must be processed to create useful data, i.e., billing entries to be included in an invoice. But this data-conversion process is hobbled by the fact that handwriting, particularly hurried handwriting of busy professionals like doctors and lawyers, can sometimes be hard to interpret. So it is necessary to have the timekeeper review all entries after they are included in the invoice to catch any errors. That causes a delay. If that lawyer has a trial or personal emergency at the wrong time, many invoices could be delayed waiting on the lawyer’s proofreading (and if the lawyer does find a correction or edit, the process is restarted for the billing to be edited).

If you want your firm to streamline the billing and invoicing process, it is time to stop using handwritten timesheets. The more quickly bookkeeping receives the time capture in digital format, the more efficient the process will become. So it is best just to begin with timesheets completed digitally. Today, you do not even have to be a great typist to accomplish this. There are several paths to success:

  • Capture your time in your practice management solution’s time capture feature. This is the most efficient way, as you are likely already working in the practice management solution when you finish a task, and the feature locates the data where the invoices will ultimately be prepared. If you quickly want to review all billing entries on a single client file, this can be easily done. You should also do some research to determine what app or other tools your solution provides to do a proper billing entry through your smartphone when you are out of the office and not returning that day.
  • Invest in a stand-alone time capture and billing tool to do this. I generally caution against this approach because a subscription to these tools is not much cheaper than a subscription to practice management software, which includes these tools and much, much more. But it may be right for some smaller firms.
  • Build some simple digital timesheets. These can be either Word documents with tables included that look like a paper, carbonless billing sheet or in Excel. Make sure your computer has a quality microphone. Save the billing sheet template on the timekeeper’s desktop and make the document read only. That way, every time the timesheet template is opened, the user will be forced to save it with a name like “[date] timesheet from JAC.” Then even a non-typing lawyer can use the built-in dictation features of Word or Excel to quickly dictate their time entries. It is probably also useful to note that Windows Key + H provides speech recognition dictation in other Windows data entry locations. At the end of each billing day, the document should be forwarded to the billing department.

This may not sound like a game changer, but taking the handwritten entries out of the billing process will save time and reduce errors.


Thinking of your billing entries as data and determining how to get rid of almost all handwritten timesheets shouldn’t be a major project. (Of course, I’m not the one who has to convince the senior partner to change.) But it will pay dividends in the months ahead.

With the speech recognition tools included in Microsoft Word and Windows, even a non-typing lawyer can contemporaneously record their time into a document to send to the billing department. Less time spent deciphering handwriting is a win for everyone.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal — February, 2023 — Vol. 94, No. 2

Our new Digital Edge podcast, The Ten Most Popular Office 365 Tips For Lawyers, is really quite special.  I can almost guarantee you will learn at least one thing that you will immediately start to use. Our guest is Danielle DavisRoe, who is a senior consultant at Affinity Consulting Group. She has co-authored legal-specific manuals on Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and Teams and has produced digital courses on Microsoft Word and Outlook. She is knowledgeable and engaging.

One tip that saves you several minutes each day will quickly compensate for the 22 minutes spent listening to this podcast. There is a transcript posted there for those who prefer to read instead of listen. I doubt I’ve said this before, but this may be a good podcast to print out the transcript for reference.

I hope to see you this year at ABA TECHSHOW! The Early Bird deadline for lower registration fees ends Wednesday January 18. If you are an Oklahoma Bar Association member, the OBA Member Discount Code is EP2306 and that will give you a discount equal to the ABA member discount. After attending over 20 years of this event, I can tell you it is a great option for a small- to mid-sized law firm to get a lot of information to plan for the decade ahead. Whether it is using technology for marketing, client management or electronic discovery, there is likely to be a session of CLE taught on the subject and several vendors in the Expo Hall, who would love to visit with you about their solutions.

Presentations scheduled include “Legal Marketing Trends: Where Should You Spend Your Marketing Resources?,” “I Didn’t Know PDFs Could Do That,”  “What’s up with Word,” and “The Future of Law is Hybrid: How to Leverage Videoconferencing Technology in Your Law Practice.” You can review the entire schedule online.

You can also check out our Digital Edge podcast ABA TECHSHOW 2023: An Interview with Co-Chairs Jeannine Lambert and Gyi Tsakalakis for more information.

There is a greater Oklahoma influence this year with two Oklahomans serving on the 12-member planning board, Darla Jackson Director of Mabee Legal Information Center at the University of Tulsa College of Law and Kenton Brice, Interim Director of the Law Library at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

It is Early Bird Deadline time and that means it is time to register for ABA TECHSHOW now.

During the last couple of months of 2022, I taught several CLE programs on ethical issues with lawyers’ use of technology. Password managers are one key to ethical digital security because you can create extremely long passwords no one could guess, and you won’t be tempted to use the same password for many sites, which creates a security weakness. These tools typically make it easier to incorporate multifactor authentication, which provides even greater security.

Several times I was asked the question, “What if hackers breach the password manager? Won’t they have access to all my passwords?” In response, I explained how the passwords are stored in encrypted vaults under a “zero knowledge” scenario. That means the company does not have the password to access your vault, so it can’t be stolen from them. They protect encrypted vaults like the crown jewels. But even if one was stolen from the company, the only way they could access the file was through a brute force attack, trying thousands of possible passwords. This could take a long time – many years.

Even though LastPass reported a breach in August 2022, they assured the public that none of the encrypted vaults were downloaded. They kept up with that story for quite a while. Then, on Dec. 23, they publicly admitted that some vaults were stolen. Naked Security had very detailed coverage in its post “LastPass finally admits: Those crooks who got in? They did steal your password vaults, after all…

What does that mean for LastPass users?

Here’s what Naked Security says:

Back in August 2022, we said this: “If you want to change some or all of your passwords, we’re not going to talk you out of it. [… But] we don’t think you need to change your passwords. (For what it’s worth, neither does LastPass.)”

That was based on LastPass’s assertions not only that backed-up password vaults were encrypted with passwords known only to you, but also that those password vaults weren’t accessed anyway.

Given the change in LastPass’s story based on what it has discovered since then, we now suggest that you change your passwords if you reasonably can.

Note that you need to change the passwords that are stored inside your vault, as well as the master password for the vault itself.

That’s so that even if the crooks do crack your old master password in the future, the stash of password data they will uncover in your old vault will be stale and therefore useless – like a hidden pirate’s chest full of old banknotes that are no longer legal tender.

However, you should change your master password first, before changing any passwords inside the vault, as a way of ensuring that any crooks who may already have figured out your old master password can’t view any of the new passwords in your updated vault. [Emphasis added.]

But as Naked Security noted, some users’ personal information was stolen and can be accessed by the criminals:

Not literally on the night before Christmas, but perilously close to it, LastPass admitted that:

The threat actor copied information from backup that contained basic customer account information and related metadata including company names, end-user names, billing addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and the IP addresses from which customers were accessing the LastPass service.

Loosely speaking, the crooks now know who you are, where you live, which computers on the internet are yours, and how to contact you electronically.

So if you are a LastPass user, I think you should read the entire Naked Security article, immediately change your master password in LastPass and then, as soon as possible, change the passwords for any accounts with client or financial information, including those where your credit card information has been saved. Then you can make a decision on when and whether to subscribe to a different service.Ultimately, you will want to change every password that was stored in LastPass in 2022. I appreciate that will be time-consuming.

I use 1Password. Some may find this post from Tech Radar of interest: How to export LastPass passwords to 1Password. The data can be exported to a CSV file and then imported to a different manager. You also want to strongly consider implementing 2FA (two factor authentication) using a third party app like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator.

I won’t recommend LastPass as an appropriate solution any longer. You must trust your password manager and the way LastPass responded to the breach has revealed this isn’t a company many of us can afford to trust any longer.