Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jureeka! Legal Research Add-On For Web Browsers

Reading an article on the web that references a legal opinion. Want t jump to that opinion right then and there without leaving the article to log in to your research account? Well now you can! Jureeka! is a browser add-on/extension for Firefox and Chrome turns legal citations into hyperlinks to open access versions of the material cited. It partners with Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute (LII)

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Kindle Tablet Taking On The iPad

I was a big fan of the Amazon Kindle when it came out. I still think it is a great, easy to use device! However, I have transitioned to the iPad because it can do more. From The Boy Genius Report we learn that Amazon is going beyond the Kindle, and releasing a tablet computer.
Amazon’s upcoming Android tablet will soon launch for “hundreds less” than Apple’s $499 entry-level iPad 2 tablet, the New York Post reported on Thursday. According to the report, which cites an anonymous source, Amazon will launch its first Android tablet in September or October and aggressive pricing is seen as crucial to Amazon’s success in the space. BGR exclusively reported back in May that Amazon is working on two tablet devices — the entry-level dual-core “Coyote” and the high-end quad-core “Hollywood” — and at least one of them is expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Amazon’s tablet offerings will reportedly feature the Android operating system, perhaps heavily customized, along with deep integration of several Amazon services such as the Amazon Appstore, the Kindle eBook store, Amazon’s Cloud Drive service and others.
Given Amazon's positive track record with the Kindle, I am really looking forward to its tabLet product. Please click here for the original article from BGR.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why I Blog

I am an inveterate internet surfer. Every day I go online to the California Courts website to review published and unpublished opinions from California's appellate courts. I also frequently Google keywords like "divorce" and "family law" to find online content relevant to my practice. I have been doing this for years, and have amassed quite a knowledge base. However my original practice of printing out interesting websites or blog articles became unruly. I had the epiphany to start a blog to which I could post my treasure trove of case law finds, websites, blog posts, articles, etc. Thus was born the California Divorce Blawg. Now I have a paperless repository for all my finds. I reference it frequently to remember old cases I have read. I do keyword searches to recall information. It serves my original purpose wonderfully.

I am also a voracious net surfer when it comes to technology. I am always looking for the latest greatest software, gadgets, and hardware that I can incorporate into my law practice. I also surf for information and articles on law practice management, law firm marketing, etc. I figure no point reinventing the wheel if I do not have to. Free, proven information is all over the internet. Again, the problem became what to do with all the information when I found it. And again, a blog proved to be the perfect medium. This Family Law Lawyer Tech & Practice blog was born.

But there is more to it. Writing on my blogs about what I read on the internet helps me to absorb and recall the information better. I am able to process and understand the court opinions more. It makes me a better lawyer.

There is another benefit I identified from blogging. That is the promotion of my practice. Blogging gets content from me out on the web. It creates publicity for me, and draws people to my practice. I track viewer statistics for my two blogs, and I find them to be productive. Each averages about 40 to 60 viewers per day. Each is also a productive source of clicks to to my law firm website.

I also am able to share the information that I come across with others. A type of volunteer work if you will. It is very satisfying to read a comment, or receive an e-mail, thanking me for the information I post to my blogs.

Finally, blogging is fun. I get to indulge in blogging technology, I get to learn, and I get to write and teach. These are all things that I enjoy.

I was going to be investing the time and compiling the information no matter what. If I can get a plethora of other benefits by transferring that effort to my blogs, then why not? It makes perfect sense!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adobe Acrobat X and Microsoft Office 2010

I was visiting Rick Borstein's Acrobat For Legal Professionals blog, as I often do, and I came across another great post. According to Rick, Acrobat X is the only version of Acrobat that is fully compatible with Office 2010. I also learned that my old school was of creating pdf's is not the bet way. What I have always done is to go to file>print>Adobe. According to Rick my old habit needs to be broken, and instead I should be using the create Adobe icons that X installs on to the Office toolbars. Only by this process are my Office files fully converted to pdf.

There is much more to learn. Click here to read the entire article.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Virtual Assistants To The Rescue

Ever been overwhelmed with "the little things"? Need some typing done. Need some administrative spreadsheets prepared? Needs some updates to your website? Need your facebook page maintained? From time to time we all suffer the burden of getting behind on the little things. There is help for you and your staff: the virtual assistant. I use one. She is in the Philippines. She has a college degree. She is computer and internet savvy. She has a sophisticated aire about her. And she is very, very affordable.

A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is an entrepreneur who provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients from a home office. Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for any employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits. Clients also avoid the logistical problem of providing extra office space, equipment or supplies. With a full range of options to choose from, clients can customize their remote receptionist service to meet their exact needs. Calls can be screened, announced and seamlessly connected to clients or their employees anywhere. They usually work for other small businesses, brokers and consultancy groups. It is estimated that there are as few as 5,000-8,000 or as many as 25,000 virtual assistants worldwide; the profession is growing in centralized economies with "fly-in, fly-out" staffing practices. Common modes of communication and data delivery include the Internet, e-mail and phonecall conferences, online work spaces, and fax machine.

In recent years Virtual Assistants have also worked their way into many mainstream businesses and with the advent of VOIP or other services such as skype it has been possible to have a Virtual Assistant who can answer your phone remotely without the end user's knowledge. This allows many businesses to add a personal touch in the form of a receptionist without the additional cost of hiring someone. [Thank you Wikipedia].

There are American companies that can provide virtual assistants. There are also oodles of English speaking VA's oversees (think Philippines, India, and Eastern Europe). Just type "virtual assistant" into Google.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

AbacusLaw Extortion

So, AbacusLaw case management is releasing a new feature. The new feature allows your AbacusLaw software to synchronize contacts and calendar with your iPhone. Nothing really unique about that. In fact last time I checked all of the premier programs provided that functionality?

Here is what is unique about the new AbacusLaw feature. AbacusLaw is going to charge extra for it! That's right. There will be a $250 installation fee, and then an annual maintenance fee of $97! Can you believe it? What are they thinking? In this day and age smartphone synchronization should be an automatic, standard feature. Maybe a one-time charge of $97 to upgrade. That I could live with. But $250 to upgrade and then $97 per year to maintain it? Absurd!

Now I have always been pretty happy with AbacusLaw. We use it in our firm, and I have written positively about it in this blog. But this is outright robbery. Looks like the folks in San Diego are headed down the same path as Amicus Attorney. If you are an Abacus user I suggest to get in touch with your account rep and lodge a complaint.

NOTE: To all of the other case management vendors that read this blog (I know there are a number of you), please post your comments regarding your company's synchronization capabilities and whether you charge extra for them.

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Westlaw App For iPad

I have mentioned elsewhere that I am really impressed with Westlaw Next. It is a cloud based legal research product from Thomson West. The price point is reasonable and the technology is excellent. I subscribe for all my state codes and cases, as well as The Rutter Group Practice Guides, which are indispensable in California (particularly the Family Law Practice Guide) That same impressive technology is also available for the iPad through the Westlaw Next app.

I have been using the about for months, and I love it. The graphics are great, the user interface is friendly, and it doesn't cost anything more to use. I just log in via my regular WN account, and off I go.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Looking To Get Mentioned By The Press?

Media appearances can be a great boost to your practice promotion. Entire books have been written on the subject. Where do the journalists look to find expert opinions, such as though from us lawyers? According to an article written by Larry Bodine, "LinkedIn is the most popular social network among business journalists, with 92% having a LinkedIn account." "Facebook follows with 85% of journalists using the world’s most popular social media site. Journalists use Twitter at almost the same rate (84%) they use Facebook." And, "almost half of all journalists surveyed say they read blogs regularly."

The article goes on to include Larry's tips for attracting media attention in light of these statistics. Please click here to read the original article.

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blackberry Isn't Dead

Blackberry has definitely fallen behind the iPhone and Android smartphones on the popularity curve. That doesn't mean that RIM isn't trying. One of its new products is the Blackberry 9900, and the new phone is getting some rave reviews. For example, click here to review a detailed, and positive review from the Boy Genius Report.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

facebook messenger

On Tuesday facebook announced its latest technology: facebook Messenger.

A standalone app for smartphones facebook expects that messaging with friends will be faster than ever. Messages are delivered instantly, and they're always just a click away. Messages are delivered through notifications and texts, so your friends are more likely to get them right away. You can use Messenger to reach all of your friends -- whether they're on facebook or in your phone contacts. All you have to do is type the person's name.

Tech observers are jumping on board with gusto, even going so far as to suggest that facebook messenger could replace SMS texting. Click here to visit the Messenger website to learn more.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

The Schmooze Is Still In

Sure social media is all the rage. Regardless of how hot it is though, social media will not be the business generation tool to end all other business generation tools. The Schmooze (good old fashioned personal networking) is still around, and it is as important as ever.

Please click here for a great article from Real Lawyers Have Blogs.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Using Stamps In Adobe Acrobat

Acrobat has a stamping function that I use quite often. "Draft," "Confidential," etc. On the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog there is a great overview of the stamping function, including instructions on how to add a stamp shortcut to your Acrobat toolbar. Click here to check it out.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Google+ Primer

Google+ is the latest buzzword in social media. Currently in beta testing, Google+ is rumored to be a real competitor against facebook and twitter. But what is Google+? The Above and Beyond KM blog has a great preview to help you start understanding Google's new product. In particular check out the video from cnettv. Click here to check it out.

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Flat Fee Webinar

Attorney Lee Rosen will be conducting a free webinar on Flat Fees in a Family Law Practice on Thursday, August 18 at 2 PM Eastern. He’ll talk for about an hour. You’ll get lots of information, ideas, and tips. There will be time for questions. Please click here for more information.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

iPad 3 Rumors Beginning To Swirl

The holiday shopping season begin in a few short months. Apple is expected to launch the iPad 3 ahead of the holiday season this year. Rumor on the street is that the new iPad model will feature a high-resolution Retina Display like the current iPhone 4. The new Retina Display-equipped iPad will apparently be dubbed “iPad Pro,” rather than a replacement for the current iPad 2 (not exactly sure what that means?). Other rumors hold that the 3 will launch at the same price point as the current iPad 2. Stay tuned for more.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Make Your Practice A Positive Adventure

A couple of weeks ago I headed up to Lake Tahoe for our daughter's softball tournament. We arrived on Thursday, and headed back home on Monday. It was a great trip! The lake was her usual, stunningly beautiful self. The weather was awesome. Heavenly Village at Stateline had plenty to offer (although the casinos were not nice to me). I do believe the best part of the adventure was playing hooky from work. Sitting at the cafes socializing with friends when I could have been at my desk at work was a lot of fun! We family law lawyers lead stressful professional lives. Checking out once in a while can be a real refresher.

But how about when we cannot get away? How do we stay fresh and excited about our work? John Jantsch has published a great article on his Duct Tape Marketing blog about business as the ultimate adventure. According to John "we can either choose to look at this business we’ve created as an awesome adventure or a remarkable imposition, but make no mistake, it’s simply a choice in how we view our life. . . You can make your business fully alive by stuffing it with adventure and life or you can let it suck the life out of you – because, frankly, it’s capable of either or both."

It is a great article, with great ideas for staying enthusiastic at work! Please click here to read the original article.

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Solo nets Supreme Court win!

I know this has nothing to do with technology, but I think it is pretty cool. Andrew Simpson is a sole practitioner in the U.S. Virgin Is...