Chrome: The Browser That Works

Google’s Chrome web browser is a stable, fast, and functional piece of software used to access the Internet.  For many years Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dominated the browser market, followed by Mozilla’s Firefox.  Google released Chrome in September 2008, and now its usage has surpassed Firefox and Internet Explorer globally.  However, Internet Explorer is still the leader in North America according to StatCounter Top 5 Browsers in North America from Sept. 2008 to Oct 2012. This especially holds true for U.S. lawyers, who according to the 2012 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report Vol. II,  primarily use Microsoft Internet Explorer at 85%, followed by Firefox at 30%, and finally Google Chrome at 22%. So, what does the rest of the world find so appealing in Google’s Chrome? Let’s take a look!

Read more: Google’s Chrome Browser

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


“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.”


“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.”

BYOD: iPad (Bring Your Own Device)

The iPad is quickly becoming a “must-have” for every lawyer. It’s more than a Smartphone but not quite a laptop…it’s more like an “electronic legal pad.” Lawyers are finding the iPad to be the perfect tool for reading books, annotating documents, taking notes, catching-up on news, surfing the Web, giving presentations, and a myriad of other tasks. Whether you’ve had an iPad for one week or one year, you’ll learn something new in this half day seminar. Bring your iPad for a hands-on environment as our expert and panelists walk you through the apps you need and how to use them.

Learn how the iPad can become an essential part of your daily workflow:

• Introduction and tour of the iPad
• Recommended settings for the iPad
• Uploading documents to the iPad
• The 10 “Must-Have” iPad apps for lawyers
• Presentations and the iPad in the courtroom
• iPad peripherals (case, keyboard, etc)
• And much more!

See demos of iPad apps for lawyers from sponsors:

TrialWorks Case Management Software app for litigators
Total Attorneys practice management app
Lexis Advance legal research app


Brett Burney, J.D., Burney Consultants LLC, Cleveland
Burney received his B.A. from the University of North Texas and his J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law. He is the founder of his firm and provides professional consulting services for electronic discovery, litigation support and trial technology to corporate executives and legal professionals. Prior to establishing his firm, Burney spent five years at Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland. He is a frequent speaker at numerous legal technology conferences and is a well-respected author on legal technology topics.

PLUS! ABA Law Practice Management Section will be on hand with the hugely popular “iPad in One Hour” book series including: iPad in One Hour (2nd edition), iPad Apps in One Hour and pre-sales of iPad in One Hour for Litigators.

This program will be at the Chicago Bar Association on Monday, November 19, 2013 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Sign up now before it fills up!

Asana vs. Trello: Checklist Collaboration Tools Compared

My new article in Attorney at Work: Asana vs. Trello: Checklist Collaboration Tools Compared

In his book The Checklist Manifesto, surgeon Atul Gawande asserts that checklists are a “cognitive net,” a mechanism that can help prevent experienced people from making errors due to flawed memory and attention, and ensure that teams work together. Or, as Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame put it, “the book’s main point is simple: no matter how expert you may be, well-designed checklists can improve outcomes.”

In a law office, checklists help reduce errors and increase efficiency. They ensure that work is done, and in an order that makes the most sense. They can also be used as part of a task management system, showing each person in the organization how her responsibilities on the checklist affect the entire procedure. Two collaboration tools that specifically focus on lists and tasks were recently launched online. One, Asana, created by former Facebook employees, provides a web-based “to do” list for up to 30 people to share. The other, Trello, lets users create shared boards with task cards. Both are free.

So which one is better for task and project management based on procedural checklists? Let’s compare.

Keep Feeding Your Tweets to LinkedIn

Recently LinkedIn announced that due to an updated Twitter policy users can no longer have their tweets automatically appear as updates in LinkedIn. LinkedIn suggests that you update your status in LinkedIn and send it to Twitter, rather than sending tweets to LinkedIn. However, for many, that may not be an optimal workflow.

Most lawyers have little time to maintain a steady stream of updates in multiple social media channels, and connecting them – the “post once, update many” approach – often works well. While there are social media dashboards like Hootsuite (How To… training August 21!) to get the job done, the seamless “set it and forget it” approach of sending tweets directly to LinkedIn was a nice feature. So, what to do?

Thanks to @mikemcbride, who reminded me of IFTTT (If This Then That).  IFTTT gives users the ability to write “recipes” to combine  tasks on the internet based on a trigger.  For instance, if someone retweets or mentions you on Twitter you set up IFTTT to automatically thank them for the mention.  Or, if the weather forecast calls for rain send an email reminder to take an umbrella.  How about if someone mentions one of your clients in a tweet send it to a shared Evernote folder?   IFTTT works with many channels, including email, most social networks, DropBox,  SMS, ReaditLater, Evernote, and hundreds more.  You choose which channels to turn on.  The possibilities are endless.   In response to Twitter’s new policy there are a number of “recipes” already written to keep your Twitter stream flowing to LinkedIn. Remember to keep it clean, as Twitter characters and hashtags can detract from the update in LinkedIn. There are recipes including ones with limitations like no replies or retweets sent to LI or only post those with the #in hashtag.  As is often the case, when one door closes…

Fastcase Releases App for Android

In the news for lawyers using the Android operating system on their mobile devices, the much anticipated Fastcase app for Android is now available.  Read my quick review at AttorneyatWork:

For lawyers who do not have a Fastcase account at all, this app—like the Fastcase iPhone app—allows you to search, browse, read and save statutes and cases from a national library for free. If you already have a Fastcase account, then related activities on your Android, such as search queries and saved documents, automatically synchronize to your desktop subscription.

Interested in other legal research apps and add-ons? Check out the Apps for Legal Research list from the UCLA School of Law library  and check out the materials from “Mining the Web for Information” from the CBA archives.

Google Places is now Google+ Local

Google has incorporated Google Profiles and Google Places into Google+. In the past lawyers could boost their online presence by filling out a free Google Profile, which created a publicly available profile that included pictures, hobbies, personal and professional interests. You could link to your webpage, blog, LinkedIn profile or anything else you’d like to share.  Profiles are no longer standalone,  but rather serve as the “About” information in your Google+ profile. Since lawyers can now create business pages in Google+, you can choose to create a personal and/or professional profile in Google+ now.

More recently Google+ incorporated Google Places,  which let you add your firm to Google Maps and create a local business listing. Ultimately this means that people will have more ways to discover your Google+ business listing, as the information will appear in general search results, as well as Google+, maps, mobile search, etc. It will also make local search results more social, enticing user comments and “indeed, it gives Google a local vehicle with functionality equivalent to Facebook and Twitter.”  Google reminds you: “It’s a good idea to create a Google Places account using an email address that you don’t mind sharing with others or passing along, in case you wish to transfer ownership of your listings.”

If you already had a Google Places page you will find that it has been moved for you to Google+ Local. Google has a support page for FAQ about Google Places content migration if you have questions, or if you information didn’t completely transfer. If you are interested in doing more with a Google+ business page for your firm, see the CBA LPMT “How to… Create a Google+ Business Page” archived webcast and materials.

Additionally you can take advantage of similar local profile listings from Yahoo! Local Search, Bing Business Portal, and Yelp.

Fog Bank: When the Cloud Is Down

Read my Attorney At Work article on how lawyers who are dependent on the cloud can be productive even when offline:

Sometimes you just don’t have access to the Internet. Whether you’re traveling in a plane, or in a remote (or sometimes not so remote) area that has no WiFi, 3G or 4G coverage, or simply because your cable or T1 line is down due to weather or some other outage, on occasion you will have some forced downtime because you can’t access your cloud-based documents, send emails, or pull up a client’s contact information from a cloud-based provider. In fact, it is likely to happen at the most inopportune moment. Fortunately, there are ways to access online information locally.