Review or Not To Review?

Does your firm have a Facebook page? If so, you should know what page type you selected when you set it up. Different features are available on your firm’s Facebook page depending on what category you select, and each has their own advantages. To find out what type you have, sign into your page, click on About, and then click Page Info on the left. Under category, it likely says either “Local Businesses” or “Companies & Organizations.”

Click to enlarge image

Selecting “Local Business” as your page type allows you to have a map and contact information displayed. It also allows you to enter your practice areas as subcategories and displays them prominently over your cover photo. These features are not available if you choose “Companies & Organizations”. The “Local Business” option also creates a Ratings and Reviews section, meaning that anyone can leave a review or give you star ratings. You may want to have this feature if you’re practicing consumer law since good reviews on Facebook mean more clients. If you’d rather not let clients be able to leave reviews, switch the category to Companies & Organizations.

You can change your page type category as often as you’d like. To do so go to your page and click the “About” section. Mouse over next to “Category” so the blue “Edit” pencil appears.

 

Click “Edit” and then change your category from the dropdown menu. In this example my page is currently a Local Business, and I want to change it to a Company & Organization.

Page Categories

 

When you’re finished, click “Save Changes” and your new page features will take effect.

How many days do I have again?

It’s hard to calculate how many days are between a certain day and another, especially if they are far apart. If your deadline to file a motion is 60 days before your hearing date on October 12th, 2015, what date is that? Luckily, there are several ways to determine that calculation. We’re going to cover Excel, Outlook, and a web tool called Timeanddate.com.

If you frequently need to keep track of court calendar deadlines, services like Deadlines.com (formerly Deadlines on Demand) or Juralaw (if you practice in Illinois) can keep the dates straight for a price. There are several ways to count how many days for free, however, and best of all you can use these tricks for all your deadlines—not just court specific ones.

 

The first is with Excel. In cell A1 type the date of your hearing: 10/12/2015. In cell B1 type “=A1-60” and hit enter. Excel will calculate the date automatically, changing the cell contents to say “8/13/2015.” If the date of your hearing changes, replace the date in cell A1 and the date of your filing deadline will automatically change with it.

excel screenshot

 

To find out if that date falls on a weekend, click cell B1, go to the cell formatting drop down menu under the Home tab and select “Long Date.”

long date excel spreadsheet

 

The cell data will change to tell you what day of the week 8/13/2015 is. In this example it is Thursday, but if it were on a weekend you could adjust your deadline as needed.

If you don’t have Excel handy, you can also add or subtract a date on the web. Timeanddate.com has several different calendaring calculators. Use their date calculator to add or subtract from a date. Still using the example of 60 days until your hearing date on 10/12/2015, enter 10/12/2015 as your start date. Select “(-) Subtract” from the dropdown menu, and enter “60” under “Days.”

subtractdateweb

Press “Calculate new date.” The result will be “Thursday, August 13, 2015.” Timeanddate.com also features calculators to determine the number of days between two dates, time duration between exact times and finding the week number of any date.

Finally, there’s Outlook.

Enter the October 12, 2015 hearing for your client on your calendar. After the appointment is on your schedule, bring up the Go To Date box by right clicking the date (or typing Ctrl – G if you’re a keyboard shortcuts person).

hearing for my client

In the box that appears, place your cursor before the date and type “60 days before”

60 days before

Press OK, and you will be brought to August 13, 2015, where you can now enter a new event for your motion filing deadline. You can also find out dates in the future by typing “x days after.”

Pick A Date

When you need to initiate a meeting, it can quickly turn into a mess of emails without a resolution. Scheduling tools can help take out some of the hassle, and one that really stands out is Doodle. Doodle creates meeting time polls you can send to recipients. Setting up an account is easy and free, and it’s available for mobile.

Simply fill out the details of your meeting and then propose dates off Doodle’s calendar:

doodle calendar

 

After you’ve selected the dates, choose time options:

doodle time

Users then will receive a poll via email where they can check every option that works for them. Once you’ve set up your basic poll, Doodle provides you additional settings: you can make the poll visible to only you; limit the choices down to one option; limit the number of participants per option (to create a registration form); or allow the respondent to say “If I need to be there.” There are similar products out there, such as Meeting Wizard and WeTime. See which one works best for you!

 

 

 

Get on Track (With Track Changes)

Microsoft Word provides a handy feature for document collaboration called “Track Changes”. Used by professionals the world over, this functionality has many benefits and a few pitfalls. For instance, when receiving a document that has Track Changes enabled it is often difficult to read because of all the markup. Did you know that you can make it much easier to focus on important text changes by going to “Show Markup” and uncheck “Formatting”?

Turn off formatting markup in Track Changes

Turn off formatting markup in Track Changes

Track Changes with no format tracking is much easier to read

Track Changes with no format tracking is much easier to read

When you send out a document with Track Changes enabled you can click on the arrow in the Track Changes button and select “Change Tracking Options” to toggle off “Track Formatting” so your collaborator can have a cleaner copy of the changes too!

Turn off formatting in Track Changes when sending a tracked document

Turn off formatting in Track Changes when sending a tracked document

What if you forgot to turn on “Track Changes” when you sent out a document and now you want to see if there are changes in the returned document? No problem! In the Review tab, Compare group click Compare and choose “Compare” to do a side by side blackline of your document versus the one you’ve just received. In the options you can toggle off all formatting differences so you will have a clean comparison of the differences in the text, without formatting adding an unnecessary layer of complexity.

Options for Document Comparison

Options for Document Comparison

Compare feature show blackline, plus original and updated document in three panes

Compare feature show blackline, plus original and updated document in three panes

Want to learn more about using Track Changes? Check out this useful article from PC World article “How to track changes in Microsoft Word without going insane”.

How To Re-Open a Recently Closed Tab

Have you ever closed out of a browser window you didn’t mean to? Don’t panic. There’s several ways to get back to that page. Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, and Chrome all allow you to retrieve the tab easily. Press Ctrl+Shift+T or right-click on the tab bar and select “Reopen closed tab.” Viola! The page is back open. If you press Ctrl+Shift+T again, it will open the second last closed tab.

 

Firefox and Chrome also have methods of retrieving closed tabs via their settings menus.

 

In Chrome, simply click the “hamburger” menu symbol. Near the top, you’ll see the option for “Recent Tabs.” Mouse over that and select the tabs that were recently closed.

ChromeHamburger

Click to enlarge.

 

In Firefox, it’s only slightly different. Click the “hamburger” menu and then select History (the clock icon). This will pull up a menu that allows you to see and restore the closed tabs.

FirefoxHamburger

Click to enlarge.

That’s all there is to it! Never fear a slip of the mouse again.

Note-taking Tips with Attorney at Work

The folks at Attorney at Work invited Catherine and I to join a team of legal technology experts and weigh in on our favorite tip for taking notes in meetings and making them actually usable. Here’s what we had to say:

Catherine Sanders Reach:  I try on note-taking apps like a little girl trying on Easter dresses. I might stick with one for a while, but soon enough I’ll want another.

The one note-taking tactic that has never let me down is pen and paper. I can write faster with a pen, paper lets me free-hand in the margins, and I can doodle (because doodling makes you think better — it has been proven). Yes, I’ve tried Penultimate and many other iPad apps with a stylus but it just doesn’t feel the same. However, I have learned that to organize and share the notes, or refer to them again, I can scan the notes with my Android phone with Evernote Premium and annotate them further with Skitch or use the new iOS scanner app from Evernote. Since my initial notes are hardly ever in a state to share them with someone else, when I need to email them out, I retype the notes first, then save the email in the folder with the scanned original. That activity takes extra time but helps me solidify the information and organize my thoughts.

However, even though I may walk into a meeting with trusty pen and paper, I always have my phone out to check my calendar and add events, tasks and important items as the need arises in the meeting.

 

Nora Regis: I swear by my Livescribe 3 smartpen. It’s a ballpoint pen with a computer and audio-recorder embedded. The pen’s microphone records audio of your meeting or deposition while also recording what you write on its special Anoto digital paper, and it syncs and indexes them together. After a meeting, tap your notes and the audio will begin to play to the exact moment you wrote your note.

The secret is the special Anoto paper that features an imperceptible dot design the pen reads. Livescribe sells notebooks with this paper, but you can also print it out with a laser printer capable of at least 600 dpi. The notebooks feature calculator cards so the pen works as a calculator as well. You can share your notes with others in a “pencast” via email, Facebook, Google Docs or Evernote. Your notes can be saved as an interactive PDF with Adobe Reader (version 10 and higher), too. Never miss a word again!

 

Visit http://www.attorneyatwork.com/tech-tips-note-taking-digital-dictation-apps/ to see what the other experts had to say. We’ll be contributing to this series each month, so be sure to check back!

How to unshorten and shorten links

unshortmeYou might be familiar with shortened links from social media or email. They’re handy for keeping things tidy and within a character limit, but you can’t see what you’re clicking on. What if the link is malicious or just a waste of time? Turn that short link into a long link with unshort.me and see where you’re going. Copy and paste the short URL into the text box, and the site will expand it for you. A Chrome extension is available, allowing you to right-click and unshorten any short link you see on the web.

Conversely, you may want to shorten links, either to make a character limit or clean up an email. For instance, the URL or link for the 2012 Law Practice Management & Tech Tips for Lawyers program is http://www.chicagobar.org/source/Meetings/cMeetingFunctionDetail.cfm?section=Calendar&product_major=C8215W&functionstartdisplayrow=1. Instead, to get to the same webpage you can shorten the link with Bit.ly to: http://bit.ly/1EaKaU7.  The first link is long, can’t really be read to someone, it breaks onto a new line, and is cumbersome. Bit.ly neatens it up.

bitly

There are many URL shorteners available for free on the web, such as ow.ly, goo.gl, and the originator of this technology, tinyurl.com, but Bit.ly has some really useful features. It has browser plugins for all major browsers so it is always available in one click.  You can also add notes to the link, create link bundles (see: http://bitly.com/bundles/catherinereach/3), create private links, share via email in one click, and also track whether people have clicked on the link. Finally, you can customize the link so the above Bit.ly link (http://bit.ly/1EaKaU7) can be: http://bit.ly/2015techtips.

Check it out and get your free account at http://bitly.com

Know What You Are Sending (With A Little Help) in MS Word

Microsoft can warn you  before sending, saving or printing a document with comments or tracked changes

Microsoft can warn you before sending, saving or printing a document with comments or tracked changes

Eighteen jurisdictions have ethics opinions on metadata.  All of them suggest that a lawyer who is sending an electronic document should take reasonable precautions to prevent disclosure of confidential information. While technically not metadata, the comments and tracked changes in a Microsoft Word document do present a significant opportunity to unintentionally expose  confidential information.  There are many ways to remove and reduce exposure of metadata, but one very important aspect is that the sender is aware of what is being sent. In some cases you may fully intend to send a document with comments and tracked changes.

Whether intentional or not, a notification that a document you are saving, sending, or printing has tracked changes or comments could be useful.  Fortunately you can do exactly that with a setting in MS Word.  In Word 2010-13 go to File – Options – Trust Center – Trust Center Settings – Privacy Options and check the box that says “Warn before printing, saving, or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments”.

Once this option is checked if you click to save or save as, print to a physical printer or to PDF,  save to PDF or use a PDF conversion tool like Acrobat or Nuance, or use any command under the “Save and Send” menu you will get a warning that the document has either comments and/or tracked changes and asks you to click yes to continue.  However, the warning system is fallible because if you attach the file from an email program, such as MS Outlook you will get no notice.

Review or Not To Review?

Does your firm have a Facebook page? If so, you should know what page type you selected when you set it up. Different features are available on your firm’s Facebook page depending on what category you select, and each has their own advantages. To … [Read more]

How many days do I have again?

It's hard to calculate how many days are between a certain day and another, especially if they are far apart. If your deadline to file a motion is 60 days before your hearing date on October 12th, 2015, what date is that? Luckily, there are several … [Read more]

Pick A Date

When you need to initiate a meeting, it can quickly turn into a mess of emails without a resolution. Scheduling tools can help take out some of the hassle, and one that really stands out is Doodle. Doodle creates meeting time polls you can send to … [Read more]

Get on Track (With Track Changes)

Microsoft Word provides a handy feature for document collaboration called “Track Changes”. Used by professionals the world over, this functionality has many benefits and a few pitfalls. For instance, when receiving a document that has Track Changes … [Read more]

How To Re-Open a Recently Closed Tab

Have you ever closed out of a browser window you didn't mean to? Don’t panic. There’s several ways to get back to that page. Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, and Chrome all allow you to retrieve the tab easily. Press Ctrl+Shift+T or right-click on the … [Read more]

Note-taking Tips with Attorney at Work

The folks at Attorney at Work invited Catherine and I to join a team of legal technology experts and weigh in on our favorite tip for taking notes in meetings and making them actually usable. Here’s what we had to say: Catherine Sanders Reach:  I … [Read more]

How to unshorten and shorten links

You might be familiar with shortened links from social media or email. They’re handy for keeping things tidy and within a character limit, but you can’t see what you’re clicking on. What if the link is malicious or just a waste of time? Turn that … [Read more]

Know What You Are Sending (With A Little Help) in MS Word

Eighteen jurisdictions have ethics opinions on metadata.  All of them suggest that a lawyer who is sending an electronic document should take reasonable precautions to prevent disclosure of confidential information. While technically not metadata, … [Read more]

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