I have just come across a great blog called The Unteathered Lawyer. And on The Unteathered Lawyer Roger Glovsky has a great review of LogMeIn remote computing software.
There are thousands of new web applications available and many of them offer incredible functionality for free. However, it is not easy to know which tools to use or how to apply them to the legal profession. It reminds me of an old expression about trying to read all of the information published on the Internet – It’s like drinking from a fire hose. Even as an engineer (turned lawyer), I find it impossible to keep up with all the new technology related to the Internet. But that doesn’t keep me from trying
LogMeIn is the latest technology that I have adapted for use in my law practice. In many ways, it is the critical piece for working virtually. Why? Because you cannot always bring your computer with you. LogMeIn allows me to remotely access my computer from anywhere using a standard web browser. LogMeIn is similar to GoToMyPC, which I used in the past. The key distinguishing feature between GoToMyPC and LogMeIn is that LogMeIn is free. Although LogMeIn offers a number upgrade options that cost money, the basic remote control functionality is available for free.
What is nice about “free” is that it encourages you to use the software on more computers. If I had to pay for each copy, I would perhaps buy copies for one or two computers. Free means that I can put it on all of my computers, at work and at home. Every time I install the software, I find it more and more useful.
What can you do with LogMeIn?
Remote Control. After you download and install the program on your computer, you can control your computer from anywhere. Simply open a web browser and go to the LogMeIn website. Enter your email address and password to access your computer and then follow the instructions. After a few clicks, your web browser becomes the desktop of the remote computer. If you maximize the screen it feels almost like you are sitting at the remote computer.
Access Information. By taking control of the remote computer, you can access any information on the computer. So, if you happen to be traveling in another state and suddenly realize that the address or phone number you need to reach a client is embedded in a document on your computer hard drive, you can get it. Or, if a client has an emergency and needs to ask you a question about an agreement you prepared, you can get it. Or, if forget to copy a document you were drafting at the office, you can get it.
Run Applications. Between work and home, I use at least four computers. There are many applications that I install on only one computer, either because I only have one license or because I don’t need the application on every computer. For example, I occasionally use Adobe Acrobat Pro to create fillable forms. Adobe has very strict licensing terms and technology that prevents the user from installing the software on more computers than the license permits. So, if I happen to be away from my computer, I can still access and run the application without physically being in front of the computer. I’m sure that Adobe would prefer that I purchase extra copies, but that is neither practical nor fair. I can only use one copy at a time.
Group Demonstrations. I recently relocated to Boulder, Colorado. My partner and other lawyers in my firm still work in Massachusetts. Almost every day we have firm meetings, conversing over Skype or by telephone. Often we talk about firm marketing, which inevitably leads us to reviewing various marketing plans or legal websites. Rather than each of us separately looking at the documents or websites, we use LogMeIn to share the desktop of the computer in our conference room. That way, we can look at the same document or website at the same time. Also, LogMeIn has a cool “whiteboard” feature that allows us to mark up the document in red. It is just like sitting next to someone and pointing at the relevant part of a document. As soon as the whiteboard feature is turned off, the marks are erased.
Remote Presentations. Today, I used LogMeIn to give a slide presentation for the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts even though I was in Colorado. It was quite simple. I prearranged with another attorney to install Skype and LogMeIn on their computer prior to the meeting. Then, I made my appearance using Skype video and remotely controlled the slide presentation using LogMeIn. Not only could I see and hear the audience and their questions, I could also use the whiteboard feature like a laser pointer. From my perspective, it was better and easier than actually being at the event.
Upgrade Options. LogMeIn offers some valuable upgrade options that enable file transfer and print functions. These are worth paying for if you need them. However, there are other ways to accomplish these tasks. If you have access to an email program, you can simply email the file to yourself and print it locally. Alternatively, you can use other “free” tools like Dropbox to transfer files.
LogMeIn Isn’t Perfect.
For the price, LogMeIn work very well. My biggest complaints are that LogMeIn requires a few more steps than GoToMyPC to take control of the computer and it has a few more bugs (particularly when using Vista). If I had to pay for it, I would probably use GoToMyPC, but because it is free I am using LogMeIn much more than I would have expected.
Drinking from the fire hose can be a challenge, but if that is the best way to get water, you do it. Today, learning to use and incorporate technology in your law practice is a necessity. This is a great time to try out new web-based applications. What new applications do you use? How do they help your practice of law?
Roger Glovsky is co-manager of Indigo Venture Law Offices, a business law firm based in Massachusetts, which provides legal counsel to entrepreneurs and high-tech businesses. Mr. Glovsky is also the founder of LEXpertise.com, a collaboration and networking site for lawyers.
www.hardinglaw.com, the website for the law firm of Harding & Associates, for more information on California family law.