One of your greatest digital security weaknesses is everyone who answers email in the law firm. So basically, that’s everyone.

Lawyers need to ensure there is constant staff training and reminders on how to avoid being caught in a phishing net. The required use of two factor authentication will limit the damage from a successful phishing attempt. But that’s a topic for another day.

Today’s tip is simple. Take some time to carefully read How to Identify a Phishing Attempt and Thwart It by the North Carolina Bar Association’s resident expert Catherine Sanders Reach. Then share the article with the appropriate co-workers and anyone else you fear may get caught by scammers,.

Practicing law during a pandemic is both challenging and exhausting.

The OBA Management Assistance program began posting daily tips on practicing in a crisis in March. Like so many things in 2020, this has gone on much longer than we anticipated. Some readers may have missed some of our most popular tips, so we decided to feature some of our top tips so far for 2020. We hope readers will take the opportunity to review the collection for any tips you may have missed. The index to the crisis tips is at www.okbar.org/lpt_category/jcdt-crisis-tips. You can also go to Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips blog at www.lawpracticetipsblog.com and enter your email address to receive the tips via email.

TODAY’S TIMES DEMONSTRATE THAT LAWYERS MUST ACCEPT ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS

As shelter-in-place took hold, the most common questions we received from lawyers had to do with electronic payments. So, we recorded a short video for this tip with a rep from OBA member benefit LawPay. If you don’t know when you can use ACH processing to save on processing fees or how to easily incorporate client payment links into your billing and website, this is the video for you. There are more processing tools today than a few years ago so this video is worth the time investment. (May 12)

www.okbar.org/lpt_articles/todays-times-demonstrate-that-lawyers-must-accept-electronic-payments

A PASSWORD MANAGER IS A GREAT SECURITY TOOL AND A TIME-SAVING CONVENIENCE

After former ABA TECHSHOW Chair Tom Mighell did a comprehensive set of blog posts on how to select the best password manager, I invited him for a video interview to discuss his findings, and the result was “Take the Pain Out of Selecting a Password Manager with Tips from Tom Mighell.” (May 26)

www.okbar.org/lpt articles/take-the-pain-out-of-selecting-a-password-manager-with-tips-from-tom-mighell

LEARN FROM YOUNGER LAWYERS

I’m a baby boomer. Maybe that is why I found the millennial take on lessons learned so far in the crisis so interesting – “Navigating the Pandemic by Embracing the Wisdom of Millennials.” (June 22)

www.okbar.org/lpt_articles/navigating-the-pandemic-by-embracing-the-wisdom-of-millennials

A SCREEN CAPTURE UTILITY TRILOGY

Capturing an image or video from your computer screen has many uses for lawyers. We provided three tips on this subject featuring 1) A free utility included in Windows – the Snipping Tool, 2) An inexpensive and more powerful tool – SnagIt and 3) A shopper’s guide to video recording utilities.

GET MORE OUT OF FASTCASE AND ‘UPGRADE’ TO VERSION 7

Fastcase is a member benefit for OBA members. In this video Fastcase CEO Ed Walters gives us a brief tour of Fastcase features, some research tips and covers free training options. OBA members are currently defaulted to Fastcase 6. Ed also shows us how to toggle to Fastcase 7 for a more modern interface and improved tools. “Improve Your Legal Research with Fastcase Tips from Ed Walters” (April 22)

www.okbar.org/lpt_articles/improve-your-legal-research-with-fastcase-tips-from-ed-walters

AUTOMATE KEYBOARDING OPERATIONS WITH ACTIVEWORDS

ActiveWords is a piece of software that automates keystrokes. It is inexpensive and has a generous free trial period. Many automation tools work within Microsoft Word, but ActiveWords works across all platforms, allowing one to create automation tools for any situation that allows the entry of text. This short video demonstrates the different ways you can use ActiveWords for a variety of functions, including creating signature blocks, opening your favorite websites or inserting pages of formatted text into the document you are creating. (June 15)

www.okbar.org/lpt_articles/automating-keyboarding-operations-is-easy-with-activewords

WORKING FROM HOME

Many lawyers and other law firm employees found themselves working from home this spring. Between uncertainty over whether school classes will be virtual and the fact that everyone waking up with cold or fever symptoms this fall means that people should be working remotely, it seems working from home is not over for this year. One of our early tips was “The Burneys: Bears & Boundaries & Conference Calls.”

Legal technology consultant Brett Burney and his wife, Stephanie, already had years of experience with a lawyer working from home and the potential conflicts with online schooling and other activities happening there. It is a cute video. We hope you enjoy it. (March 30)

www.okbar.org/lpt_articles/the-burneys-bears-boundaries-conference-calls

WORKING FROM HOME 2

Here’s another post that’s exactly what the title says – “Some More Great Tips on Working from Home.” (July 21)

www.okbar.org/lpt_articles/some-more-great-tips-on-working-from-home

IF YOU ARE DEALING WITH WI-FI DEAD ZONES, YOU NEED MESH WI-FI

This goes double for larger homes where work from home and online schooling is happening simultaneously. In this post, we link to articles explaining how mesh Wi-Fi works and reviews of many popular systems. My personal purchasing decision was based on ease-of-installation and knowing several who had used a previous model of the product. “Consider Upgrading Your WiFi to a Mesh System.” (July 20)

www.okbar.org/lpt_articles/consider-upgrading-your-wifi-to-a-mesh-system

WRAP-UP

So that’s it for our self-selected, top pandemic crisis practice tips, but there will be new tips posted each weekday.

Originally published in August 2020 Oklahoma Bar Journal.

There was big news in lawyer regulation in August. I think it is fair to say that many lawyers would disapprove of many of these developments. Lawyers who have been studying Access to Justice issues for years will likely have a different point of view.

Bob Ambrogi has been covering the legal profession and Access to Justice issues for years on his LawSites blog and so, as is true for so many current issues, I recommend his analysis of these significant changes. I almost added “if you are interested” to that sentence. But if you are a lawyer serving individual consumer clients, you should be interested. Nothing similar is under consideration in Oklahoma, to my knowledge. All of these supreme court orders were the result of significant fact-finding processes that heard from many stakeholders and interested parties. We note that these are orders from state supreme courts. They obviously heard something persuasive.

First the Utah Supreme: In Historic Vote, Utah Supreme Court Approves Sweeping Changes in Legal Services Regulation

That lead to a Guest Column response: Utah, We are Going to Need a Bigger Sandbox.

But some of Utah’s changes were upstaged by Arizona: Arizona Is First State To Eliminate Ban On Nonlawyer Ownership Of Law Firms I haven’t digested the massive attachment to the 2 page opinion. But here’s an attention-grabber. Beginning in 2021, “The order also approves the licensing of nonlawyers as ‘legal paraprofessionals’ with authority to provide limited legal services to the public, including representing clients in court.” Lawyers will also be allowed to form entities with those who are not lawyers to provide legal services. That is a lot of change happening fast in Arizona.

Skeptics will say this will lead to law offices under Walmart, Costco or Big Four accounting firm branding providing standardized “cookie cutter” legal services. Proponents would say there is a lack of providers of simple, basic and affordable legal services. I’ll just say it is good to pay attention to these types of trends, especially with California also considering similar changes. We will keep looking to the west, it seems.

A tipster told me tales of a device described as almost magical for working online from home. This device allowed you to stay connected even when the home WiFi was down. It allowed you to bypass the home WiFi when others in the house were in peak bandwidth hogging mode. This modestly priced device could be a great improvement for many working from home whose WiFi setup doesn’t work perfectly, often because of home construction issues.

This device doesn’t work for everyone, but it is a great way to avoid internet interruptions for many.  I won’t be a customer because I purchased an Eero mesh WiFi system a few weeks ago which made a big difference. (See my prior tip on mesh WiFi systems.)

These devices are ethernet over powerline adapters.

I reached out to John Simek, Vice President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a managed IT service provider, digital forensics and managed cybersecurity firm located in Fairfax, VA for an explanation

“Basically, an ethernet over powerline adapter uses the electrical wiring in your house as if it were ethernet cabling,” said Simek. “Using ethernet over powerline adapters totally bypasses the WiFi network so you are not fighting for bandwidth with other WiFi devices or family members. There is no guarantee that ethernet over powerline adapters will solve all your connectivity problems or be a faster connection than Wi-Fi. There are rare cases where the adapters do not connect or have significantly slower speeds, primarily because of the way the electrical power cables were installed in your residence. Even though there is no guarantee, the majority of users will see speed and stability improvements.”

“For $50, you can’t go wrong and can always return the device if there is no improvement,” Simek noted.

Online searching will locate many options like this one used by some friends: TP-Link AV1000 Powerline Ethernet Adapter.

The devices come with instructions and you will likely need an extra couple of ethernet patch cords.

“You plug one unit into an electrical outlet near your router and use an ethernet patch cord to connect the adapter to an Ethernet port on your router. Plug the other ethernet over powerline adapter in an electric outlet near your computer and use another cord between the ethernet port on the computer and the adapter,” said Simek.