Category Archives: Legal Technology

What Do You Need For A Paperless Law Office?

It’s easy to overlook the small things. I spent two years designing and improving on my paper-less firm. Yet…..just last week, I purchased a low tech piece of equipment that makes a big difference. A power cord.

Taking notes on my laptop is great. However, until battery life significantly improves or wireless charging hits the market – power will always be an issue. While you are busy deciding on hardware and software it is easy to forget about power on the road.

Watch the video below for a $4.99 low-tech must buy tool for your paper-less law office. I carry one of these with me when I know laptop battery may be an issue. Great for your practice, cheap, and it may help you make friends at a conference, coffee shop, in an airport, or at court.

Can Lawyers Advertise With Yodle?

This lawyer won’t.

Yodle is an online advertiser. They “provide local businesses with a simple and affordable way to promote their services and generate new leads using internet marketing.”

I find buying keywords from Google to be complicated. Am I buying the right ones? How many should I buy?  How much should I spend? I went to law school not marketing school. I have no idea what’s a good approach with Google. Yodle attempts to solve this problem buy doing it for you.

For example, if I were interested in marketing a real estate practice, I tell Yodle this, we set a budget, they create a website for me and buy keywords. In theory, it is a great service for a small business – I have no idea whether or not it works but the concept is good.

The problem for lawyers is in the details. Yodle sets up a phone number for you and then records your calls. Yodle monitors the calls.

Here are Yodle’s terms of service:

6. Call Recording and Monitoring
For quality assurance, Yodle records and/or monitors calls between Customer (including the Locations) and Yodle agents, employees and/or its affiliates regarding the Services (the “Service Calls”). If the Services include call recording or monitoring, Yodle will record and/or monitor incoming calls and e-mails between the Location, or the Location’s agents, employees, and/or its affiliates and people who contact the Location through the tracking telephone numbers or contact forms Yodle provides (the “Inbound Calls” and, collectively with Service Calls, “Call Recording and Monitoring”). By this Agreement, Customer, on behalf of itself and each Location, consents to any and all Call Recording and Monitoring performed by Yodle or its agents, employees and/or its affiliates.

In speaking with Yodle, they advised me that the call monitoring service could be dropped. However, when I pressed the sales representative to remove the above clause from the contract they refused to do so. I then refused to hire Yodle.

Why?

Rule 1.6 of the ABA Code of Professional Conduct requires lawyers to protect the confidentiality of client information. The relevant comment reads as follows:

Paragraph (c) requires a lawyer to act competently to safeguard information relating to the representation of a client against unauthorized access by third parties and against inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure by the lawyer or other persons who are participating in the representation of the client or who are subject to the lawyer’s supervision. See Rules 1.1, 5.1 and 5.3.  The unauthorized access to, or the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, information relating to the representation of a client does not constitute a violation of paragraph (c) if the lawyer has made reasonable efforts to prevent the access or disclosure.  Factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s efforts include, but are not limited to, the sensitivity of the information, the likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed, the cost of employing additional safeguards, the difficulty of implementing the safeguards, and the extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients (e.g., by making a device or important piece of software excessively difficult to use). A client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this Rule or may give informed consent to forgo security measures that would otherwise be required by this Rule.  Whether a lawyer may be required to take additional steps to safeguard a client’s information in order to comply with other law, such as state and federal laws that govern data privacy or that impose notification requirements upon the loss of, or unauthorized access to, electronic information, is beyond the scope of these Rules.  For a lawyer’s duties when sharing information with nonlawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm, see Rule 5.3, Comments [3]-[4].

Yodle’s promise to “turn off call monitoring” while insisting on maintaining it in their terms and conditions presents an interesting problem for any lawyer seeking their services.

Any lawyer can tell you clients leave all sorts of highly personal information on voicemails. Especially, calls for initial consultations. Lawyers never know what they are going to find when they check their morning voicemails.

Any lawyer looking to advertise with Yodle should at the very least contact their malpractice carrier. My carrier provides free advice on such matters. Lawyers should also consider seeking an advisory opinion with State ethics counsel.

In the meantime, this lawyer will not be advertising with Yodle.

How To Print A Single Check From Quickbooks

Opening an office requires overcoming challenges. One of the challenges that I faced was printing a single check from QuickBooks. I buy checks, three to a page. Printing that “third” and single check was a problem.

The video below provides you with a no cost (other than a piece of paper that can be reused) solution.

YouTube Preview Image

_________

Ryan McKeen is an Attorney at McKeen Law Firm, LLC in Glastonbury, CT.

Starting A Law Firm? Find A Bank Near Your Office

As an associate at a 5 lawyer firm, I never dealt with the firm’s bank – we had a bookkeeper. She went to the bank.

Opening a law firm means spending time in the bank. Initially, you will spend hours setting up the right accounts. I have an operating account and two IOLTA accounts. The bank also extends me a line of credit. Lawyers trust accounts are highly regulated and are time consuming to open.

My bank is a half mile from my office. Even in the age of online banking being able to scan checks – I can’t convey the convenience of having my office close to my bank.

I can only wire money from my bank. When I have a real estate closing, I need to deposit certified funds at my bank. Almost always, I’m pressed for time.

Your relationship with your bank is important. I always go in to deposit checks. This allows me to build relationships. This helps when I have an emergency and need quick assistance. It has also earned me cases and referrals.

If you are opening shop, be sure to know what banks are within 2 miles of your office. Locating near the right bank is smart business.

What is the Best Way of Hiding Cords, Wires and Cables in An Office?

What is the best way to hide cords, wires and cables in an office?

Coming up with a solution for problems of cable and chord management in my new office took hours. My desk is a simple table top desk. It does not have drawers or a front that runs to the floor. Having my desk against a wall wasn’t an option.

Here’s the $10 solution to my problem:

YouTube Preview Image

www.mckeenlawfirm.com

Using A Mac? Use FireFox To e-file Documents With Connecticut Courts

Converting from using PCs to Macs has been great. The only problem that I’ve encountered is e-filing documents with the Connecticut Judicial Branch.

My default browser is Chrome. My Mac comes preinstalled with Safari. I can’t obtain a viable version of Internet Explorer.

The Connecticut judicial branch website does not play nice with either Chrome or Safari. Some judicial Branch forms won’t download while others will download but won’t allow you to save information in fields. Forget trying to upload documents.

If you are e-filing documents and wish to preserve your sanity – download Firefox.

What Is The Return On Investment From A Law Blog?

“We are systematically creating races out of things that ought to be a journey.” – Charles Wheelan, WSJ, 04.27.12

Yesterday, I was a presenter at the CT Bar Association’s annual meeting. I spoke about blogging.

One of the questions that I was asked, and am often asked at such events, was: “what is the return on investment from a blog?”

I think that question misses the point. It is an attempt to quantify the unknowable.

It’s similar to asking: “What is the return on investment from attending the Ct Bar Association’s annual meeting?” It’s really hard to say. It’s possible you run into some old friends and get a referral. It’s possible you learn something that adds value to a case and/or your practice. Or perhaps the value is simply a day out of the office with the time to contemplate larger professional issues. It’s simply unquantifiable.

The answer for me, is that this blog is worth doing. It is a labor of love. I’m proud of it.

Having a law blog ought to be a journey and not a race.

Is Paperwell.com A Threat To Legal Zoom?

There has been much interest on the blogosphere surrounding Legal Zoom’s IPO.  Plenty of the discussion focuses on Legal Zoom as a disruptive force in the delivery of legal services.

Technology has the ability to change quickly disrupt and destroy disruptive forces.  Here today, gone tomorrow is the story of many tech companies.

Yesterday, I received the following email:

I found out about your law blog in the ABA directory and was wondering if you’d be interested in showcasing your services on my website.

It’s called www.Paperwell.com, and I’m trying to create a resource where consumers can get free legal documents.  It’s like Wikipedia but for law.

What I had in mind was that I can show samples of your legal agreements on my site and right alongside the agreement will be your phone and email info.  That way, you get leads for anyone who finds your agreement on www.Paperwell.com.

What I ask for in exchange is not money but rather: 1. some legal documents you use and 2. posting the link www.Paperwell.com on your website/blog.

It’s hard for anyone to compete with free. Nothing in this post should be seen as an endorsement of this or like services. The problems created by using the wrong language or wrong documents can cause great harm. Figuring out which provisions and documents are right for a client can only be done by an attorney.