20 tips in under 20 Minutes

Posted July 24, 2018 to Practice Management.

Tags: Chrome, Legal Office, Web

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Designed for lawyers and legal professionals to keep current on technology.

  1. Customize your desktop! Keep only what is needed such as programs you use all day every day. Uncheck Auto Arrange Icons and group icons by program type, the frequency of use, etc.

  2. Making the most of shortcuts- right click "Create Desktop Shortcut"

  3. Keyboard shortcuts- Previous Windows key + F for Find Dialogue Box. (Quick list of keyboard shortcuts? Explore how shortcuts can be used in different programs)

  4. Get Home (Desktop) Fast- Windows + M or desktop icon

  5. Client Facing Presentation- A firm that wants to impress existing clients and attract tech forward clients can do so with a PowerPoint slide show. This can also be used by support staff such as paralegals to explain the case process to a client.

  1. BACKUPS!- You can never be too safe. It's imperative to use a program such as Carbonite to back up data offsite/in the cloud.

  1. Print screen productivity- Using the print screen key will allow you to take a snapshot of your current screen which can be pasted into Word or an e-mail to document errors and keep track of troubleshooting steps. Every time I call a company for technical support, I take copious notes that I keep in a folder on my computer called Trouble. If I can’t take notes directly on the computer while I am troubleshooting a problem, I write a memo to my Trouble directory immediately after the call detailing the steps I was advised to take, along with the resolution.

  2. When installing new software or upgrading existing software be sure to write down your account number, serial number, version number, and important contact information such as ours. This gives you a shortcut to look back on if you have issues going forward. This can be quite helpful when you’re in a panic and can’t find the manual. Store this information in a consistent place in your office so you can find them in a hurry. If you are already using us for your software installs and upgrades rest assured we create this document for you as part of our software support procedures.

  3. Using the right browser- The big 3 browsers are Microsoft Edge (formerly Internet Explorer), Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox. Make sure you are using only one browser and are able to use it to the fullest extent. In the future, we will have blog posts on extensions to improve your browsers performance and browsers shortcuts to you get places faster.

  4. Customized program menus- In more recent versions of Windows, you can have icons live in your toolbar as well as customize your start menu to allow you to set up icons (some can even be live tiles) to get to your programs without scrolling your whole menu. For example, have a Word Icon shortcut at the top of start menu instead of scrolling down to W. Similarly, you can search your start menu by typing the name of program or folder you are looking for.

  5. Learn to use the Internet for research- Is your firm using Lexis Nexis or Westlaw for legal research? If so, try using a free option like FastCase, Revel Law, or Google Scholar. It can be very effective for getting background information about people and companies. You can also find articles and other information about prospective clients, witnesses, and opposing counsel.

  6. Email is the new Fax- while updating your client contact information be sure to ask your clients for an email address. This will determine how computer literate they are and make keeping in touch with them easier. This will also allow you to find your client's on social media.

  7. If your website goes to a generic email address such as info@Yourlawfirm.com or receptionist@yourlawfirm.com be sure someone is checking that email daily. You can also make sure those emails are (re)routed to you or multiple people to make sure you are responding in a timely fashion.

  8. If your firm sends a lot of certified mail, be sure to track your letters with email updates that you can save back to a Practice management or billing program. Litigators: this also helps you certify to what you send and when you send it so you can include same in a pleading.

  9. Be early to get your bills out to give yourself a cash flow buffer in case your clients pay late. If you normally get your bills out on the last day or the month or the first day of the following down you are leaving yourself and your cash flow no breathing room. By preparing your bills on the 25th of the month you leave yourself time to correct mistakes, troubleshoot issues in your billing program, have your bill seen (and paid) sooner than later as it will reach your client before it can get buried on their desk.

  10. Templates work if you work them. When possible consider customizing your practice management programs to flow the way you think or the way your cases progress. Alternatively, set up auto texts or hotkeys to allow you to type less and say more.

  11. Think earnestly about ergonomics and consider using a headset or wireless keyboard and mouse. This will allow you the freedom to walk and talk or talk and type at the same time. Using a wireless keyboard and mouse will also allow you to keep them close to you and put less strain on your neck and back.

  12. Password Panic- using a password manager such as LastPass or Dash Lane is a safe secure way to communicate login data to staff.

  13. Business card done better- Instead of exchanging business cards at a networking event. Save time and paper by asking for a person's card and then texting them your contact information so you stay top of mind and get their information saved right away. No more stacks of business cards that will never get entered where or when you need them. Bonus tip: Add a little note to their memo card to say when/where you met them to use it as a fact point to remind them of you.

  14. Paperless vs. Paper-less: Most firms will never have the luxury of going 100% paperless. With advances in NJ Courts Online, you can now reduce your paper use and be paperless. We recommend real estate firms use products such as Adobe PDF and DocuSign which will allow you to communicate documents for signatures, as well as updates to documents, without the need to print and mail or print and fax multiple copies of a document. This also saved time getting through the contract review and close to the closing table.