Since technology has taken over law offices, there’s always been one data management task where most lawyers didn’t behave like the software developers wanted us to behave. That is managing tasks with software.

I’ll stand with my fellow lawyers and agree that they are just following precedent. Because before previous generations of lawyers had ever used the word “data” in a sentence, the profession had to deal with deadlines and due dates. So back when quill pens ruled the law office, if you had an important deadline or a task that was to be accomplished by a certain date, you put the reminder in the only appropriate data management tool you had available. You wrote it on that day in the calendar.

Even as computers and internet-based services became indispensable parts of the modern law office and software provide great task management tools, we kept putting those deadlines on the calendar. And even today, I’d be hard pressed to argue with a lawyer who tells me that she is preparing a plaintiff’s case with a possible seven-figure recovery and the statute of limitations running soon and thinks that date should be on the law firm calendar.

But as you know, that doesn’t work if a law firm has dozens of such deadlines every day. And there is often the awkwardness of having appointments on your calendar that are tasks, not appointments. Microsoft wants business users to use Teams all day, every day. The way Teams works makes it simpler to note the pending tasks. Suggested reading today: Microsoft Teams: This new Tasks feature rolls out to all Microsoft 365 users from ZDNet.

Sometimes law firms struggle to come up with relevant website content. The “traditional” FAQ page may be one area that they should address. After all, we know people come to lawyers with questions. It is likely the same with law firm websites. So, answer the web visitor’s questions. Why Your Law Firm’s Website Should Have A Great FAQ Page is a very nice informative post from Law Quill. I’d encourage everyone to read it.

There’s another lesson for law firms hidden in this post. Law Quill provides services to law firms, including helping them with their FAQ pages. But instead of a sales pitch, they shared great information which I am now sharing with a broader audience. That’s how you do marketing on the internet!

American Bar Association Formal Opinion 477R (May 2017), …. describes the current threat environment: “Cybersecurity recognizes a … world where law enforcement discusses hacking and data loss in terms of ‘when,’ and not ‘if’…” a company (or law firm) will be breached.

The above sentence is from Cybersecurity for Attorneys: The Ethics of Incident Response by David G. Ries in Law Practice Today.

If the threat of a cybersecurity breach happening to a law firm is “when” and not “if” you will have a cyber security breach, the question is whether your law firm has an incident response plan and does it comply with your ethical obligations? David’s useful article will assist you with that. Forms for incident response plans can be located online and some are better than others. But key provisions of an incident response plan for a law firm (or any of a firm’s business clients) are unique to the firm. Where are our insurance policies? Who does the firm notify at the insurance company to help it deal with a cybersecurity breach (assuming you have coverage)? Who is your IT support in such a disaster? Is the situation so major public relations help is required and has the firm identified who to contact, especially if it is after business hours? There are many questions to be answered and all are better answered in an advance planning session rather than in the middle of a cyber-mess!

After last week’s Tech Toys for the Holidays podcast and some links to other tech gift collections, one might assume I might have completed the tech gift suggestions for the season. But, not so fast! Lawyer Tech Tips: Technology Treats to Brighten Year’s End from Attorney at Work features an ensemble cast of technology tipsters including me and some other people whose names you may recognize including Brett Burney, Anne Haag, Tom Lambotte, Reid Trautz, Sheila Blackford, Nerino Petro, Sharon D. Nelson and John W. Simek. This is certainly a diverse collection of ideas.

Happy holiday shopping!

Completing this week’s holiday shopping tips trilogy is the ZDNet Holiday Gift Guide 2020. Another reputable product review website, ZDNet began as a subscription-based digital service called “ZiffNet” that offered computing information to users of CompuServ. (Some will recall that first version of OBA-NET was also hosted on CompuServ.) It has a long online history, spanning most of the major online services and is now a part of C|Net and CBS. According to Wikipedia, ZDNet currently operates a network of about 50 blogs loosely aligned by its major verticals: companies, hardware, software, mobile, security and IT research.

C|Net is one of my go-to websites for ethical and quality tech product reviews. So C|Net always has a massive holiday gift guide and its Holiday Gift Guide 2020 is no exception. For those shopping for gifts on a budget, it has sections for gifts under $30 and under $50. If you know what you want but are not sure of features, brands or what additional features you receive when you pay a bit more, C|Net is a great resource.

Jim Calloway and Sharon Nelson invite you to listen to our annual ‘Tis the Season Tech Toys for the Holidays podcast on the Digital Edge podcast. We were particularly happy with this year’s edition. Every year we highlight some practical and not-so practical tech toys with some remote work and COVID-related gift ideas in the mix. Pick up some wish list inspiration for yourself and your favorite lawyer-nerds – a handy UVC sterilizer, the latest LegalBoard Wireless, ideas for your home workspace, a portable scanner and much more!

We hope you enjoy the podcast and enjoy the holidays with your family in this most unusual and remarkable year.