Practice Management Tips and Tricks

Law practice management and technology tips are a great way to get quick shots of information you can use immediately – or tuck away for when you need them. In January I presented a CLE for the CBA on “Tips for the New Year”. Did you miss it? Watch the archived webcast and download the materials for some ideas to keep moving forward this year.

The provenance of the “tips” format may be disputed, but ABA TECHSHOW provides some of the best of the best for lawyers in the form of 60 Sites in 60 Minutes and 60 Tips in 60 Minutes. For a taste of ABA TECHSHOW tips check out this wrap-up of  2012 60 Sites in 60 Minutes. Interested in going to ABA TECHSHOW? The Chicago Bar Association is putting together a SuperPass group for the absolute best rate until March 9 or take advantage of discounts through the Event Promoter registration.

Can’t wait? The March/April issue of Law Practice Magazine is the ABA TECHSHOW issue and the cover story is “13 Tech Tips for 2013″ including tips from past and current speakers – including me! Read the article for some instant gratification.

Chief Judge Evans Revises Mobile Computing Ban in Cook County Courts

General Administrative Order No. 2013-01 Revises and Supersedes General Administrative Order No. 2012-8

On December 12, 2012 General Administrative Order No. 2012-8 was released, declaring a ban against mobile computing and telecommunication devices for all Cook County courthouses except the Daley Center to begin on Monday, January 14, 2013.    A list of exempt persons was identified, including licensed attorneys, who would be permitted to bring the devices into the court. However, unless ordered by the trial judge presiding, these devices would only be allowable in public areas of the courtrooms, outside of the courtrooms.  This was troubling to some lawyers who use mobile computing devices in the courtroom to check calendars, read advance sheets, access legal research, and communicate with their offices.  Some domestic violence groups were also worried about a “chilling effect” on access to justice due to the ban.

Today Chief Judge Evans released a revised order,  General Administrative Order No. 2013-01 .  Revisions to the order include changing the language regarding exempted persons from the prohibition

from:

“The persons described above in section 2(a-h) may use the telephone, SMS (short message service) texting, instant messaging, email, and word processing functions of a cell phone or other electronic device only in the public areas of the courthouse outside the courtrooms, unless otherwise ordered by the trial judge presiding.”

to:

“The persons described above in section 2(a-o) may use the telephone, SMS (short message service) texting, instant messaging, email, and word processing functions of a cell phone or other electronic device only in the public areas of the courthouse outside the courtrooms, and said electronic devices must remain off when in courtrooms, unless otherwise expressly permitted by the judge presiding.

This amended statement is followed by new language:

“Nothing in this order should be construed to affect a judge’s authority to permit attorneys and pro se litigants with cases before the judge to use such devices in the courtroom for purposes such as making evidentiary and other presentations to the court, preparing orders and other court documents, making entries in a case management applications, or any other purpose the judge deems appropriate.”

Additional changes expand the list of those exempted from the prohibition to include domestic violence advocates or counselors, persons present to obtain orders of protection, participants in a domestic violence assistance program, and disabled persons whose disabilities necessitate the use of an electronic device to communicate.

The Office of the Chief Judge press release issued by the court notes that there will be a three month grace period after the start of the ban ending on Monday, April 15, 2013. In part it says:

“in an effort to aid those taking public transportation to various courthouses, the Circuit Court of Cook County is assigning a person to work with Cook County’s real estate and facilities department heads to quickly find a solution for storage of said devices – a claim check system or providing locker facilities as examples. During the grace period, if a person cannot leave the device in a car or with a companion outside the courtroom, the device can remain with the person inside the courtroom but in the off position. If a person is identified as powering on the device, the person may be held in contempt of court and possibly face penalties ordered by the judge.”

Layering Security: Two Factor Authentication

“In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.”

Thus starts the story of Mat Honan, a writer for Wired Magazine. Mat’s story should be a cautionary tale for all, especially lawyers whose duties to maintain the confidentiality of client data extend the need for added security beyond just personal inconvenience.  Mat admits that much of what happened could have been avoided by using two factor authentication on his Google account and other security measures.  So, why didn’t he do it? Because adding layers of security means adding a layer of complication, and sometimes inconvenience. However, to unravel from a firm security breach or hack would be even more inconvenient.

Google’s Gmail, Google Chrome, LastPass, Dropbox, WordPress and many other popular services have added an extra layer of security that a user must enable called “two factor authentication”.  The concept of this security is that a person cannot access another user’s account without something she knows and something she has. In the case of these popular services the solution is a strong password plus a secondary code that is sent via text to a smartphone or mobile device.  Both are required to access the account. For two factor access to laptops there are devices like USB tokens and smart cards that must be plugged in for the machine to boot up. Likewise you can buy external biometric security devices, such as a fingerprint reader, which is a substitution for what the user has to what the user is.

The SANS Institute OUCH! newsletter this month provides further information and links on two factor authentication for popular online services. When enabling two factor authentication make sure to read all the instructions carefully. Matt Cuts blogs for Google on how the two factor authentication works with Gmail, and dispels some myths about any perceived difficulties this may add to accessing your email.

Want to learn more about security best practices for your law firm? Sign up for the CBA CLE (1.5 IL PR Credit)  “Lighting the Corners: Security Best Practices”  in person or webcast on November 20 at 12 CT.

CBA’s Law Firm Start-up Boot Camp is one week away – register today!

Whether you are going solo, opening a small firm, or just need a refresher, the CBA’s new “Law Firm Start Up Boot Camp” is a day long event that will provide essential information on getting a successful law practice up and running.

The program will be held on Thursday, October 4, 2012, from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the CBA Building, 321 S. Plymouth Ct., Chicago. The program has been approved for 4.25 IL Professional Responsibility Credit and 1.75 IL MCLE Credit.

Our panelists include some of the most experienced practice management advisors in the country: Jim Calloway, J.D., Director, Management Assistance Program at the Oklahoma Bar Association; Natalie Kelly, Director, Law Practice Management Program, State Bar of Georgia; Catherine Sanders Reach, Director, CBA Law Practice Management & Technology Division; and Reid Trautz, J.D., Director, Practice and Professionalism Center, American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The presentation will provide practical and proven guidance to lawyers in various settings to create effective, ethical and efficient solo and small firm practices. In this economy you have to give yourself the best chance for success. Invest in yourself. Invest a day to learn the best practices for your law practice. Invest in your future. Whether you are just starting out or looking to inject new ideas and energy into your existing firm, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

Topics include:

  • Becoming a Law Practice Entrepreneur
  • Budgeting and Financing
  • Building a Client Base
  • Using the Web/Social Media for Practice Development
  • Money Talks
  • All About Clients
  • Managing the Matter
  • Risk Management
  • The Life of the Lawyer

PLUS a networking lunch with the speakers, sponsored by CBA Administrators

Register to attend in person, or online (am and pm sessions are separate registrations) or call 312-554-2056

Security Simplified

The folks at the SANS Institute want to make it easier for small businesses and individuals to keep up with security risks. They offer two proactive and useful free resources to help keep up with new security threats, best practices, and security education.

  1. OUCH is a monthly newsletter in PDF that provides an overview of a security issue, followed by a more detailed article, then resources to learn more. The newsletter is written in plain language and recently has covered issues such as identifying counterfeit websites, using the cloud safely, disposing your mobile devices safely, and metadata. Subscribe for free to receive these short, well written topical security overviews. OUCH is “distributed under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. You are encouraged to distribute OUCH! within your organization or share with anyone you like as long as it is not used for commercial purposes.”
  2. For a daily dose of security tips, subscribe to the Security Awareness Tip of the Day.  You can subscribe via RSS feed, follow them on Twitter, or visit the site.

If you are interested in learning more about security for your law practice, LPMT will be offering a CLE course on November 20 from 12-1:30 with guest speaker Kevin Thompson.  Watch the CLE announcements for registration and course description.

Upcoming LPMT Programs and Training

Don’t miss upcoming CLE programs and free training sessions:

Coming up in August:

  • How to… Take Control of Social Media with Hootsuite
  • How Lawyers Can Use Collaboration Tools

Coming up in September:

  • How to… Use MS OneNote for Project Management
  • How to… Automate Functions in MS Word
  • Smarter, Better, Faster: Document Assembly

Coming up in October:

  • How to…  Get the Most Out of LinkedIn
  • How to…  Manage Complex Tasks in Basecamp
  • How to…  Use MS Outlook Add-ons
  • Intersection of Ethics and Technology

PLUS Law Firm Startup Bootcamp on Oct. 4 – everything you need to know to start (or update) your law firm!

Register online at the Chicago Bar Association – CLE - CLE Seminars  and check the LPMT “Upcoming Programs” calendar for program descriptions, dates and times.

New How to… and CLE Archives Available

New archives available:

Did you know that if you registered for a CBA LPMT CLE program or training class you can go back and watch the recording any time?  Simply log in to the Chicago Bar Association website and look under “Webcasts” and then select “My Seminars” from the drop down menu.  If you missed a session, the links to the recordings will be available on the LPMT site listed in the Program Archives link under “Upcoming Programs”. Just register to watch.

Also, all Chicago Bar Association members have access to previous progam materials, as well as white papers and other information.  Click on the “Articles (CBA Members Only)”  tab in the site header.

New CLE and How To materials and webcasts available

New archives available:

Did you know that if you registered for a CBA LPMT CLE program or training class you can go back and watch the recording any time?  Simply log in to the Chicago Bar Association website and look under “Webcasts” and then select “My Seminars” from the drop down menu.  If you missed a session, the links to the recordings will be available on the LPMT site listed in the Program Archives link under “Upcoming Programs”. Just register to watch.

Also, all Chicago Bar Association members have access to previous progam materials, as well as white papers and other information.  Click on the “Articles (CBA Members Only)”  tab in the site header.