Posted on March 6, 2014 by Laura Calloway
If you’re like me, you can only absorb and assimilate so much change at one time. I think that’s one reason lawyers often stick with old – or even completely outdated – software. Even more than we dislike the “unnecessary” expense of the upgrade we hate the disruption having to learn something new causes in our already over-full days. But if your firm is still using an older version of Microsoft Office (and by older I mean 2007 or its predecessors) it really is time you thought about upgrading. While the number of Office permutations available has made deciding how to proceed a little daunting, the flexibility those options offer – especially to solos and small firms – makes it worth your while to sort out the options.
Catherine Sanders Reach of the Chicago Bar Association has written an excellent article entitled Office 365: Big-Firm Function, Small Firm Budget that sorts out what’s available and what it costs, and will help you decide what combination of downloaded software and cloud-based services is right for you. The article also covers Hosted Exchange options that will allow small firms to reap the benefits while avoiding the expense of hosting their own Exchange Server, and it even points out potential problems, such as the need to keep your Office and Adobe Acrobat versions in line in order to avoid interoperability issues.
If you’re considering an upgrade, Catherine’s article as well as this How to Geek comparison of Office 365 and Office 2013 will help you see your way forward.
Filed under: Technology | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 3, 2014 by Laura Calloway
Despite the need to carefully manage cash flow, some lawyers are still making it hard for their clients to pay them. They do this by failing to accept debit and credit cards. However, for most individuals and smaller businesses, paying by credit card is a preferred method – they get up to another 30 days interest-free from the credit card company along with travel points, cash back or other benefits. Accepting credit cards is also advantageous to the law firm because it directs the client to a lender who is more skilled in assessing credit risk than you are, and puts the risk of non-payment on that lender. For those who are moving into the virtual practice of law, taking credit card payments is practically required.
LawPay is the Alabama State Bar’s approved provider for credit card merchant services and through March 14th they are offering a special incentive for ASB members who join. The contract is month to month, and they’ll even waive the $150 virtual terminal fee and the first three months of program fees. Participating law firms save 20-25% off standard credit and debit card fees. If you are already accepting credit and debit cards, you should compare your current processor with the ASB member benefit.
Call 866-276-0950 or visit the LawPay/Alabar by March 14th to take advantage of this offer.
Filed under: Announcements, ASB Member Benefits, Finance | Tagged: ASB Member Benefits, credit card merchant services for lawyers, law firm finances, LawPay, risk management | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 11, 2014 by Laura Calloway
As you may have noticed based on the web address, this blog is hosted as a free WordPress site, so I was very happy to receive my copy of WordPress® in One Hour for Lawyers: How to Create a Website for Your Law Firm this morning. This new addition to the ABA Law Practice Management Division’s One Hour series, written by Philadelphia lawyer Jennifer Ellis will quickly tell you everything you need to know to use WordPress to easily get your own blog or firm website up and running.
Like all the One Hour series books, this one has a few short “lesson” chapters that provide you with the broad overview of topics such as choosing a web host, selecting and setting up a domain name, installing and setting up WordPress software, choosing the look of your website, adding content and functionality and optimizing your site for web search, along with the quick steps needed to speed you through the process. There’s also a chapter on the ethics issues of online legal marketing and several appendixes that cover the author’s experiences with various web hosting companies, additional installation instructions for particular hosts and, for the truly brave, info on how to access a theme’s coding. If that means nothing to you, don’t worry – you don’t have to be a tech genius to get great value from this book.
WordPress in One Hour for Lawyers: How to Create a Website for Your Law Firm is specifically designed for the lawyer who wants to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday getting a blog or simple web site up and running and then get back to the business of practicing law. Alabama State Bar members can check this book out from the Practice Management Assistance Program’s checkout library or log in to the members only area of the bar’s website to order their own copy at a discount.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Web Resources | Tagged: ABA Law Practice Management Division, How to Create a Website, Jennifer Ellis, legal blogs, legal marketing, legal technology, legal web sites, WordPress, WordPress in One Hour for Lawyers | Comments Off
Posted on January 14, 2014 by Laura Calloway
The advisory opinions issued by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission are now available through Casemaker, the Alabama State Bar’s free legal research service. Alabama lawyers can browse the opinions by date or perform word-searches as needed.
If you have any questions about how to access Casemaker or about finding the JIC opinions, please contact the Practice Management Assistance Program at (334) 517-2242.
Filed under: Announcements, Casemaker, Ethics & Professionalism, Legal Research, Web Resources | Tagged: Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission, JIC, judicial advisory opinions, judicial ethics | Comments Off
Posted on January 9, 2014 by Laura Calloway
The January/February issue of Law Practice just rolled off the e-presses and, as the topic is Management, it’s chock full of good ideas that you can put to work to take your practice to new levels in 2014.
The magazine includes six feature articles that are right on point for the issues that attorneys are facing as changes in the economy and technology continue to squeeze the profit margins of law firms, small and large. Of particular interest are The Changing Role of Legal Support Staff and Flying Solo: How Technology Has Leveled the Playing Field. You’ll also find my Simple Steps column on Budgeting: It’s Not as Hard As It Looks, a Product Watch review of ITimeKeep, the Coolest Timkeeping Tool Yet, and a really interesting piece on What NSA Surveillance Means to Law Firms.
Law Practice is a benefit of membership in the ABA Law Practice Division, but it’s most recent issue is available to non-members as well. Check it out while you can.
Filed under: Announcements, Management, Most Interesting Thing..., Technology, Tips & Tricks | Comments Off