Technological Incompetence – It’s Scary

Last night I lectured to the Barbieri Inn of Court – a specialty group of lawyers in the Philadelphia area who primarily handle workers’ compensation cases – about the requirement that lawyers be technologically competent. I discussed everything from cellphone security to ransomware.

But today I realized that for some lawyers the bar for technological competence is much, much lower, perhaps below ground level.

A lawyer contacted me and asked how to export a PDF to Microsoft Word format. I explained how to do it, assuming he had purchased Adobe Acrobat DC and wasn’t using the free Reader that has none of the features a lawyer needs. Boy was I wrong. He wrote back that “I have Acrobat Reader DC. I subscribed to the pay version, but I couldn’t make it work. I almost never need OCR. So now that I have converted the file, I am good to go.” He also explained it took an hour to find an online (and probably insecure) free PDF conversion tool. I screamed.

I screamed. and then I screamed some more.

First of all, Adobe Acrobat DC Professional is a necessary product for virtually every lawyer, certainly a personal injury attorney such as this gentleman. Second, Acrobat offers lots of free tools to learn how to use it. Third, our firm, Integrated Technology Services, LLC, offers custom Adobe Acrobat training. Fourth, along with Pamela Myers, we co-authored the first and now the second edition of the Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DCbooks that have received exceptional reviews. Fifth, I teach courses for bar associations, including the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the American Bar Association, ABA TECHSHOW (I’ll be speaking on PDFs at TECHSHOW in March 2022), the Michigan Bar Association, and more, many of which cost under $100 or are free. And finally, we offer our own CLE courses, including a recent one on Adobe Acrobat. Although this attorney has taken two of our CLE courses, and gave us rave reviews, he didn’t take the Acrobat course, which would have cost him $10 if he chose not to receive CLE credit.

Instead, he chose not to use Adobe Acrobat DC Professional, which costs as little as $15 per month, and to instead devote one hour to searching for a free and almost certainly non-confidential website to OCR one PDF, a process that takes seconds with Adobe Acrobat DC Professional. In fact, we sell and support Acrobat because it is a great product and essential to our law practice. We OCR all the time, literally all the time, because it makes us far better lawyers.

I want to scream. After all, this attorney attended our productivity program about how being more technology competent saves time and money. If his billable hourly rate is $250 (it’s likely far more), he could have purchased our book, bought the software and attended a few programs for the value of the time he wasted searching for a way to OCR online.


NSA Report Offers Practical, Plain Language Guidance About Securing VOIP Systems

The NSA has released a cybersecurity report on how to better secure Voice and Video Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) systems. These systems allows you to make calls using an Internet connection rather than a regular phone line and combine voice, video, and instant messaging.

The report is helpful and provides easy-to-understand guidance on how to protect these communications from vulnerabilities and hackers and limit the risk to data confidentiality.

Click here to visit the NSA website and to download the report, which presents (1) best practices for the secure use of these technologies, and (2) ways to prevent vulnerabilities.

At Integrated Technology Services, LLC , we provide guidance to law firms and small businesses about cybersecurity matters. Attorney Daniel J. Siegel, founder of Integrated Technology Services, LLC, also provides ethical and technoethical guidance to law firms through his law office, the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC. For more information, contact us at (610) 446-3467 or click here to send an email and learn how we can help you.

April Windows Update – Helpful – But Save Your Word File

Microsoft released its April update for Windows 10, and it fixes a lot of bugs, 113 of them to be exact – some of which are important. For more information, click here to visit the ZDNet story about the update.

Back Up Your Word File Before Doing the Update

Although we have been unable to confirm this with Microsoft, our office has experienced problems with the update – one in particular: our Microsoft Word file became corrupted. After installing the update, two users rebooted and discovered the Word had opened multiple times and that it wouldn’t close without overwriting the file. That file contains all of your customizations. As attendees at our programs and our training clients know, we customize Word with Quick Parts, templates, AutoText and a lot more to make it more user-friendly. All of that data is stored in the file. So, we recommend making a backup copy. If you don’t have the problem, it won’t matter, but if you don’t, you won’t be distraught at discovering that years of custom setup is suddenly gone.

Where is in Microsoft Office 365?

You can find the normal.dotm file in C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

At Integrated Technology Services, LLC, we sell, support and train the entire Microsoft Office 365 Suite. Give us a call at (610) 446-3467 or click here to email us.

Competence – A crucial requirement for lawyers during, and after, the pandemic

It is incompetent for a lawyer to believe, let alone say or write that “It is illegal [for a lawyer] to text or email anything of substance.” The statement is also completely wrong, legally and ethically.

Yet one lawyer, an ethics “maven” no loss, who writes a column for a major local legal newspaper, actually wrote those completely inaccurate words as part of his lament that – because of COVID-19 – he can no longer work in the same type of law office common in 1973, when he received his law license, you know, when Richard Nixon was President.

The Rules of Ethics require lawyers to provide “competent” representation, which means that they must possess the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. The same Rules of Ethics also say that, in order to be competent, ALL lawyers must “keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”

The Rules do not prohibit lawyers from texting or emailing “anything of substance.” Instead, the Rules say that when communicating with or about a client, a “lawyer must take reasonable precautions to prevent the information from coming into the hands of unintended recipients.” This phrase is generally interpreted to mean that, when necessary, lawyers must secure email or other communications with a password, or use encryption or other security measures.

The lawyer who wrote the column proudly quoted Winston Churchill, who said “never let a good crisis go to waste.” That quote should tell lawyers who weren’t prepared to work remotely from home that the time has come to become competent. The author chose not to glean that lesson and instead proved another quote, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Lawyers, don’t worry, you can email and text information “of substance,” you just have to do it in a way that protect confidential and sensitive information. That’s why, the lawyers at the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC and the legal technologists at Integrated Technology Services, LLC provide techno-ethical and cybersecurity guidance to lawyers and their entire staff. Give us a call. We are practicing lawyers and paralegals, who actually know and understand our ethical obligations.

Survey Finds Lawyer Satisfaction With Remote Work – Not Necessarily What We Hear

A National Survey on the New Normal of Working Remotely

A study by the Red Bee Group found that lawyers working remotely were somewhat or very satisfied with the systems in place to allow them to work remotely. That’s not what we are hearing at Integrated Technology Services, LLC, where we hear that many solo and small firm attorneys weren’t ready for the dramatic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its forced closure of firms.

In particular, lawyers are recognizing that they needed more training to setup and use technology at home.

A lawyer contacted us today because he didn’t understand how to use videoconferencing software he had purchased, but didn’t think he needed to be trained on. He realizes now that an hour of training would have saved him hours of times “figuring things out.”

The Red Bee report, while anecdotal in nature, did reach some conclusions that are consistent with our clients’ beliefs as to best practices when working remotely (but don’t address technology issues):

  1. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others around you.
  2. Specify responsibilities.
  3. Separate work areas and time.
  4. Try to create a daily schedule and routine.
  5. Ask for support.
  6. Connect with clients.
  7. Have Self-Care: Ensure your physical and mental well-being during this enormously stressful and difficult time.

Working Remotely – You NEED Adobe Acrobat DC

In our office, we use four software tools more than any others: Microsoft Outlook, Legal Files case management software, Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat DC. In addition, at Integrated Technology Services, LLC, Pam Myers and Dan Siegel sell, support and train users of these and numerous other software products, including the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite of products. These products are even more essential now that we, like everyone else, must work remotely for an indefinite period of time.

Pam and Dan also wrote the book, The Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DC, which has received exceptional reviews.

For a Limited Time, Adobe is offering a free trial of Adobe Acrobat DC.

When you’re working remote, Acrobat Pro DC keeps work flowing quickly across desktop, mobile, and web. Begin collecting feedback, signing documents, and sharing PDFs today with a free trial.

Click here for information about a free trial of Acrobat DC.

And remember, when you need advise and training about a paperless office, working remotely, and anything else that can improve your office’s workflow, call Pam Myers and Dan Siegel, the technologists at Integrated Technology Services.

Did You Know You May Already Have Video Chat? Our Clients Know!

One of the things Pamela A. Myers, Christa Frank High and Dan Siegel (at Integrated Technology Services LLC) repeatedly explain to clients is that the software they already own can usually meet their needs – because the products have many more features than they realize. A great example is Microsoft 365 Office, which has many apps and features users don’t know exist.

For example, if you have Office 365, you have Teams, known for its Chat feature. But Teams also has video chat. Here are Microsoft’s instructions for setting up a group video chat:

Start a call from a chat in Teams

You can make one-on-one or group calls with anyone in your organization directly from a chat without having to host a team meeting. These calls are private and won’t appear in any team conversation. Entries for the calls will appear in your chat, though.

Go to your chat list, and click New chat New chat button to start a new conversation.

Type the name or names into the To field at the top of your new chat.

Then click Video call Video call button or Audio call Calls button to start a call.

Up to 20 people can be on the same video call.

Note: If a group chat includes more than 20 people, calling buttons will be disabled.

Video call, Audio call, and Add people buttons

If you’re not currently in a chat with the person you want to call, you can start a new call from a command. Go to the command box at the top of your screen and type /call, then type or select the name of the person you want to reach.

You can also start a one-on-one call from someone’s profile card. Open it by clicking their picture in a channel or from a search.

Our Clients Were Prepared for COVID-19 (Well, the remote access part of it)

Not the pandemic itself, of course.

None of us is prepared for a pandemic.

But our clients at Integrated Technology Services, LLC all knew that to prepare for a catastrophe, they needed to transform their offices into a paperless environment. And we tell clients of our law firm, the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC, that we have cutting edge technology, which will allow us to operate remotely even when the Governor has ordered us to close our physical office.

So did the thousands of attorneys who have listened to our webinars, attended our CLE programs or read one of the many articles (and a couple of the books by) Technologist/Attorney Dan Siegel and Technologist/Paralegal Pam Myers. Just last month, Dan spoke on Paperless 3.0 at ABA TECHSHOW and attendees learned how to build upon a paperless office, and do more. And Dan received rave reviews. Plus, Dan and Pam’s books were huge sellers. Everyone raves about The Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DCTheir other book, Checklists for Lawyerssold out quickly, as did Dan’s book (co-authored by Allison Shields), How to Do More in Less Time

Yet it’s still amazing how many law firms of every size have lamented how unprepared they were for a pandemic. Dan has been warning lawyers forever that they need to be prepared for a catastrophe, not necessarily a pandemic, but some major event that would prevent them from going to their offices and working.

Dan was right. No, he never imagined a pandemic but knew that events would force firms to work remotely. Most ignored him. And many said they wanted to go paperless to allow them to work remotely, but that was often talk, not action.

Now the time has come, and it’s more surreal than any of could have contemplated.

Lawyers are lamenting that they weren’t prepared to work remotely, or worse – they have remote access to their offices but nothing, or almost nothing, has been scanned, so they login and can’t see or review or work on anything they need.


Having remote access without being paperless is like wanting cake or cookies and looking through the plate glass windows of a closed bakery. The cakes and the cookies are there, you want them, but you can’t have them. They are beyond your reach and you can’t do anything to change it.

That’s what it’s like not being paperless. The “stuff” is in your office, you know, you need it, but you can’t have it. And now, no one else can too – because of the most incomprehensible event – a pandemic. Dan Siegel has warned for years that stuff happens, but never thought it would be this.

Yet at Dan’s law office, during the pandemic lockdown, he and his staff can do everything that they did in the office. Well almost. The only thing we can’t do outside the office is print checks, a situation that arises only for IOLTA account checks and when we need to send a check with a HIPAA authorization, both of which are rare.

Otherwise, while we miss each other’s company, our office will continue to operate. We don’t have deadlines right now, but we have work to do. And lots of things to catch up on.

We can do all of that easily because we are paperless.

But like learning to ride a bike, or learning how to take a deposition, or anything else, it takes a time, a bit of training, and a bit of commitment.

At Integrated Technology Services, we are practicing lawyers and paralegals, who practice what we teach, and teach what we practice. While we can’t come to your office, we can consult and teach online, properly socially distanced. Give Pam or Dan a call at 610-446-3467 or click here to send them an email. We promise to prepare you for the next pandemic, or even something as mundane as a blizzard.

Photo by Jan Baborák on Unsplash

PDF Hell – Where Users Discover That a PDF Is Not Just a Picture

PDF users beware: If you don’t know how to redact, or how redaction and PDF editing work, you may have problems. Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer has an article that highlights how easy it to “edit” PDFs. The article spotlights how documents containing Pennsylvania State Senate expense records appear to have “changed” over time. For those who don’t understand PDFs, it may be confounding. On the other hand, if you have been trained how to use Adobe Acrobat software by Pam Myers and Dan Siegel of Integrated Technology Services, LLC, then you know how easy it is.

The example shown was likely “created” in one of two ways. The “author” could have simply edited the PDF, which is no different from editing a document created in Word or another similar program. Alternatively, the “author” could have redacted (removed) text and then rearranged the remaining text to “fit.” But the key here is that the redaction was clear, that is, invisible, and it’s easy to redact that way.

Fortunately for lawyers in Pennsylvania, Dan Siegel was a member of the Working Group that created the Public Access Policy and he was the driving force behind the requirement that redactions in all Court documents must be “visibly evident,” that is, you can look at a page and see the redactions. No hocus pocus needed.

Dan and Pam train lawyers and other Adobe Acrobat users all the time how to use the software. They also wrote the highly popular book, The Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DC, which includes instructions and screenshots of most of the features businesses and law offices use all the time. They also provide onsite and remote training. They’re the Acrobat experts who understand the software, and can teach you about it in a jargon-free manner.

Jargon-Free Software Training for Lawyers & Paralegals – By Lawyers & Paralegals

Software trainers may know about the products they support, but they may not know what you do. Legal software is the perfect example. Trainers often know their products, but couldn’t explain the difference between a pleading, discovery, or a contract, let alone the nuances that are so critical to successful lawyering. We do, we are practicing lawyers and practicing paralegals, who not only speak the language of law, we use it every day. What we don’t use is techno-geek-babble and other terms that trainers often use to show off their product knowledge, while also displaying a disconnect between what they train and their clients.

At Integrated Technology Services, LLC, we train and support a wide range of software used in law offices – and we often have written the book on it. Pamela Myers and Dan Siegel wrote The Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DC, and Dan Siegel is the author of The Ultimate Guide to LexisNexis CaseMap so users could learn how to use these products, and many more, including Microsoft Office 365, Time Matters, Legal Files, and even software likes Windows 10. We do so avoiding techno-babble.

Don’t take our word for it. Here is the unsolicited comment from a recent CaseMap training session: “I just wanted to offer our sincere thanks to you for Saturday’s session. You have breathed new life into our appreciation of CaseMap. We look forward to working with you in successfully implementing CaseMap into our practice. Please be so kind as to send me your invoice for Saturday’s session…. Thanks again for all of your assistance.”

The key to successful training is understanding the client – we look forward to working with you.

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