I’m certain the majority of lawyers would say they don’t print anything on the back of their business cards. That is fine.

A lawyer from southeastern Oklahoma showed me what she prints on the back of her business cards. This is another instance of where people law practice has different approaches than corporate law. People law involves court hearings where the primary tangible result is another court date being scheduled. I often found myself writing the new date on the back of a business card so the client would have written confirmation of the new date (in addition to a notice we’d mail).

But there is something nice about having this “form” to complete. It also greatly increases the chance the client will save the card in purse or wallet, which, as we all appreciate, is good for both lawyer and client. Giving your client several of your business card during the representation isn’t marketing–exactly. But it does make it more likely they will have your business card in the future if legal services are needed again.

Approximately one year ago, it became more challenging to record phone calls on Android phones. In April 2022, Google announced Android apps in the Play Store could no longer use Android’s accessibility APIs for non-accessibility purposes. Since that was how most third-party call recording apps operated, they were effectively killed when the policy went into effect in May 2022.

How to Record a Phone Call on Android by How-To Geek is a comprehensive article on every available way to record a conversation now on your Android phone. Of particular interest is a Google Voice setup where you can push the 4 button to record a call, Google Voice notifies the parties that a recording is underway. But that only works on incoming calls, not ones the caller has placed. Items like that are why this post is so useful. Android users should review this post and set up their preferred method to record calls now, so it will be available if needed. For example, recording a client authorizing you to settle a case might not be the preferred method of documentation, but it works if you preserve the audio file.

I would imagine most lawyers by now have a Gmail account, although many do not use it for their professional email account. Catherine Reach, Director, North Carolina Bar Association Center for Practice Management recently published Gmail Tricks You Can Use. There are some handy tips included in this post.

My Gmail tip is one you may have heard from me before. If you are using standard free Gmail for client business (or if your personal Gmail account has a lot of financial or other important information,) you should probably consider upgrading to a paid Google Workspace account. You can review the pricing on the workspace site. Even at the least expensive level ($6.00 per month), you receive greater email security with security controls you are provided. Another major feature is with these paid accounts, even the inexpensive basic version, you can send and receive mail using your professional address, e.g. your law firm domain name. So every email you send provides the address of your website.

For much of my time in legal tech, I’ve had one primary recommendation on desktop scanners: “Buy whatever the latest Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner model is.” There are simply great scanners. They are great for small firm lawyers because they are simple to use, durable and come with great software. At ABA TECHSHOW it was always surprising what a high percentage of legal tech speakers and influencers in different practice settings, all used the SnanSnap scanners.

On a personal note, I cannot tell you how many times I have had to spell Fujitsu during a telephone call with an Oklahoma lawyer.

To those who are concerned, the announcement is a rebrand, not a cancellation of the line. See PFU Rebrands Industry-Leading Document Scanners from Fujitsu to Ricoh. The company was not going to sunset such a popular line of scanners. Meanwhile, I will have to retrain myself to spell Ricoh to those I am consulting with by telephone.

ScanSnap scanners were first launched in 2001. Here is a great 20th anniversary feature showing the release date of each ScanSnap scanner. For some of us, that was a fun walk down memory lane. In any event, since they are keeping the ScanSnap brand, it won’t be hard to find the scanners online when you need a replacement. I know lots of lawyers who have been using the same ScanSnap 500 series for over 10 years.

As I have noted before, in a world of digital client files, the scanner is the new hole punch, which is why you need a scanner you can operate from your workstation, not one you need to get up and go down the hall to use.

 

Every year we attend ABA TECHSHOW and share our thoughts about the conference. But since we wait for the Oklahoma Bar Journal print deadline, our review is published later than all the other bloggers. So while there have now been many reviews of ABA TECHSHOW 2003 written by now, including by well-known attendees like Bob Ambrogi and Stephen Embry, here is our contribution:

Takeaways from ABA TECHSHOW 2023

By Jim Calloway and Julie Bays

ABA TECHSHOW was held March 1 in Chicago. After 2021 resulted in a virtual TECHSHOW and 2022 was a hybrid show, the consensus among attendees was that it was great to be 100% in person again.

For us, the ABA TECHSHOW began on Wednesday. We attended a day-long retreat with practice management advisors from across the U.S. and Canada. This year, there were at least 22 PMAs attending our retreat. We spent the day learning about new technologies available on the market. Julie demonstrated Descript, an all-in-one video editor. If you haven’t heard of this product, she wrote about it in the January/February issue of the ABA’s Law Practice magazine. Videos are a great way to connect with people, and this text-based editor for videos is a good way to create them.

There seemed to be more Oklahomans than usual attending this year. Although, that could be because Kenton Brice of the University of Oklahoma College of Law and the ABA TECHSHOW Planning Board had red Oklahoma ribbons printed so that he could add them to our badges. Surprisingly, they turned out to be quite the conversation starters.

All three of Oklahoma’s law schools had faculty attending the ABA TECHSHOW, with two of them represented on the organization’s planning board: Kenton Brice and Darla Jackson from the TU College of Law. Ms. Jackson will reprise her TECHSHOW program “I Didn’t Know PDFs Could do That” for our OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference this summer. Mr. Brice will speak on several programs at the conference, including one Jim will co-present with him about lawyers’ use of ChatGPT.

Julie’s focus at ABA TECHSHOW was on the marketing track. As we frequently point out, people law requires a constant flow of new business, and active marketing is required to accomplish this. She will teach “Legal Marketing Design: Crafting a Standout Strategy” at the OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference and wanted to hear what experts in the field are saying today.

Tulsa attorney Trevor Riddle was a co-presenter on two TECHSHOW sessions on optimizing your law firm efficiency through automation, discussing the tools he uses in his estate planning practice. Texas attorney and veteran legal technologist Mark Unger said of one of his sessions:

In what I previously termed a “mind-bending creation” of spreadsheet backups while pulling via keywords from Gmail using Chat GPT, Alex and Trevor walked the entire audience through a how-to workshop; they combined the use of Zapier with Gmail and Chat GPT to create a Zap in this fashion. While much was above some of our heads, the concept was analogous to all kinds of use-case workflows and its practicality after the front-end work was illuminating. While Alex focused on the Google steps, Trevor complemented [sic] the same workflow on the Microsoft side.
Mr. Riddle will also be speaking at the OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference. His presentation is titled “Law Firm Efficiency Overhaul: Optimize Your Technology for Maximum Performance.”

Artificial intelligence and ChatGPT were on the mind of many speakers and attendees, given the explosion of ChatGPT in recent months. Many vendors’ displays had a ChatGPT reference on their booth background. We were impressed with how they got those items printed so quickly.

Chatbot Chat with AI, Artificial Intelligence. man using technology smart robot AI, artificial intelligence by enter command prompt for generates something, Futuristic technology transformation. Our thought is that they should have named ChatGPT “First Drafts.” If you know how to do something, ChatGPT lets you do it faster and sometimes better. But if you don’t understand something well, you need to carefully proof the ChatGPT output since it has been known to “hallucinate” nonexistent legal citations.

We agree with the prevailing TECHSHOW wisdom that these large language model AI tools, like ChatGPT, will be a significant disruptor for many soon. One thought repeated so many times at TECHSHOW it seemed like a cliché was, “AI won’t replace lawyers, but lawyers using AI may replace lawyers who don’t.”

In fact, there was an interesting preconference event: Casetext announced what it describes as “the first AI legal assistant,” CoCounsel, on a national network morning show. The company representatives noted it differed from the commercially available version of ChatGPT because it was trained on Casetext’s legal information database. The service was discussed in a TECHSHOW session the ABA Journal covered in “How Can Lawyers Use AI to Improve Their Practice?”

Premier legal technology journalist Bob Ambrogi has posted his review of ABA TECHSHOW. Mr. Ambrogi was surprised with an unexpected lifetime achievement award that made him speechless. His blog, Law Sites at www.lawnext.com, is an important source of legal technology news. As the acquisitions and mergers of legal technology companies heated up greatly, it was one place we could go to remember which company now owned what tool.

Some presenters talked about how they were running their operations in a way most would believe to be impossible – a family law or consumer bankruptcy practice where they do not answer the phone. Regina Edwards and Jen Lee gave a compelling presentation titled “Early and Often: Better Client Communication through Automation.” Ms. Edwards has been practicing family law in Georgia since 2001 and just added an estate planning division to her practice. Ms. Lee is a bankruptcy attorney (or, as she likes to call it, a debt and credit strategy attorney) and is licensed in California and North Dakota.

But do not think that you can stop answering your phone and have good results. Both of these lawyers have sophisticated automation systems and virtual receptionists in place who have been well-trained to triage incoming calls, e.g., “Your honor, when is a good time for her to call you back today?” Existing clients may be asked if they have posted their questions to the client portal. Potential new client inquiries are prioritized appropriately. Onboarding new clients involves detailed explanations of the process and obtaining the new client’s agreement with this communication system. But clients generally seem accepting. Isn’t a scheduled call better than waiting for a phone call to be returned whenever?

The lawyers then have their days arranged with blocks of time for uninterrupted work and scheduled blocks of time to handle the phone appointments. Ms. Edwards quipped, “I’m divorced. If you have spent 20 years building up the anger, you can wait 20 minutes to talk to me.” The speakers acknowledged that some practice areas, like criminal defense and personal injury plaintiffs work, may require traditional immediate office phone availability.

One excellent presentation was “Creating Content That Earns Clients” by Annette Choti, the founder of Law Quill, a digital marketing agency for law firms. Her presentation focused on (e)xpertise, (a)uthority and (t)rustworthiness, or EAT for the acronym. It’s a good way to remember what your focus should be when trying to engage with new clients. She explained that websites shouldn’t showcase lawyers’ academic experience or awards, but the focus should be on what you can do for them as a lawyer. Videos are a good way to convey your EAT. Stanley Tate will teach about video marketing at our Solo & Small Firm Conference.

Another interesting discussion took place in a workshop titled “Designing an A+ Client Experience” and presented by Jessica Bednarz, director of legal services and the profession at the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, and Catherine Sanders Reach, director of the Center for Practice Management at the North Carolina Bar Association. They used examples from a new ABA book, Design Your Law Practice, Creating Exceptional Customer Service, to reimagine new and improved ways of interacting with clients.

Legal Talk Network was at TECHSHOW, and they interviewed many of the presenters right after their presentations. Their posted collection of audio interviews provides highlights of several presentations.

Next year, ABA TECHSHOW will be held Feb. 14-17. Doesn’t attending ABA TECHSHOW sound like the perfect Valentine’s Day date? In the past, we’ve had OBA discount codes available and hope to have them again.

Mr. Calloway is the OBA Management Assistance Program director.

Ms. Bays is the OBA Rractice Management Advisor, aiding attorneys in using technology and other tools to efficiently manage their offices.

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal — April, 2023 — Vol. 94, No. 4

As we have seen the explosion of ChatGPT and other LLM AI tools, I’m sure I am not the only one who has wondered if designing all of these new tools with scant regulation and maximizing profit as a primary goal is perhaps a bit short-sighted.

So I decided to ask ChatGPT4 what it thought about applying Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, a fiction set of rules for governing inappropriate robotic behavior and programming, to tools like itself. It responded:

“Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, first introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround,” are a set of fictional ethical guidelines for robots. Although they were not initially intended for real-world applications, these laws have inspired discussions about the ethics and safety of artificial intelligence (AI) systems, including AI services. Here’s a brief overview of the Three Laws and their possible application to AI services:

“A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
For AI services, this could be interpreted as designing AI systems to prioritize human safety and well-being. AI developers should consider potential risks and harms associated with AI applications and implement safeguards to prevent or mitigate those risks.

“A robot must obey orders given by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
In the context of AI services, this could mean that AI systems should be designed to be user-centric and follow human instructions as long as they don’t result in harm to humans. However, it’s essential to consider the challenges that arise from ambiguous or harmful instructions and the need for AI systems to have some level of autonomy to avoid blindly following harmful orders.

“A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
This law suggests that AI systems should be robust and secure, but not at the expense of human safety or well-being. In practical terms, this could mean implementing measures to ensure AI system resilience while prioritizing the safety and interests of human users.

“It’s important to note that Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are a fictional framework and not a comprehensive set of rules for AI systems. Nevertheless, they provide a starting point for considering the ethical implications of AI development and use. AI researchers, developers, and policymakers should work together to establish comprehensive guidelines and regulations that address the complexities of real-world AI applications and prioritize the safety, well-being, and autonomy of human users.”

So that’s one nonhuman’s opinion.

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 www.okbar.org/solo

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.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

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.

GREAT SPEAKERS AND PROGRAMS

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, www.tateesq.com, 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.”

DON’T MISS OUT!

Check out the conference website at www.okbar.org/solo 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.