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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.

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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.

Attorney/Legal Technologist Dan Siegel Named Technical Editor of New LISI Newsletter

Havertown Attorney & Legal Technology Dan Siegel has agreed to serve as Technical Editor and contributor to Leimberg Services’ newest newsletter, focusing on Practice Management. Dan is a practicing attorney, who also operated Integrated Technology Services, LLC, which provides workflow solutions for law firms and small businesses. Dan is the author of a number of best-selling books (The Ultimate Guide to LexisNexis Case Map, Checklists for Lawyers) and through ITS regularly consults with law firms about ways they can leverage technology to improve their practices. Dan also is a nationally recognized speaker and delivers 30+ CLE presentations a year.

Leimberg Information Services, Inc. (LISI) provides Estate Planning, Employee Benefits and Retirement Planning, Business Entities, Asset Protection Planning, Financial Planning and Charitable Planning Newsletters. LIS also provides LawThreads®, Actual Text, State Laws, US Code Searcher, and the Supersearcher tools.

 

 

No wonder people hate computers – and dread tech support

People know that I love technology, and use it every chance I get, but sometimes I run into circumstances when something happens and I understand the frustration. That happened to me recently. Oh, and by the way, I later learned that the problem that the support line couldn’t fix was really my fault because I should have known what the company’s trained (?) support people didn’t seem to know.

Here’s the scoop. We upgraded our office’s online/cloud backup, using Carbonite, the same product we used successfully for years. This upgrade, we were told, would be easy and seamless. Unfortunately not. And complaints received a consistent response of dead air.

First, we learned in October that the server backup we purchased would need its own “space” in the cloud, meaning that our data would be stored twice. Since we hadn’t purchased the space for double the data, we had to do that  – no accommodations were possible. Oh, and they promised a refund once the new backup completed, but within 30 days. That money is gone.

Second, because of the amount of data, the server backup was slow, and kept failing. Repeated calls to support got us nowhere, no one had an answer.

Finally, we learned this week (after finally getting escalated to second and then (wow) third tier support) that we were the reason why the backups weren’t working. That’s a new concept, the customer was wrong.

Why were we wrong? We were rebooting our server, as you are supposed to do, after doing Microsoft updates weekly, but if the backup was still going, it wouldn’t stop or reset and ended up in an endless loop.

I was told that was our fault, even though no one on first or second level support told us this, and there was no documentation for us to know that. And, in my experience, as a reseller of Retrospect (which does primarily local backups) and my experience with Carbonite previously, those products reset if there was a reboot. That apparently isn’t the case with the new fancier server software – but then again if support didn’t know that this was the cause, that didn’t matter, the customer should have.

I realize why our clients like our support and training, because we explain what they need to know, and do what we can to avoid return calls. In the case of Carbonite, their support finally acknowledged that our case should have been escalated far sooner, and they had no answer for why first line support did not know about this apparently obvious type of situation (somehow I doubt we’re the only customer of theirs that does updates and reboots without first consulting the status of Carbonite).

So now we’re waiting to see if the backup completes, having started it after this week’s latest updates and reboot.

In the meantime, we have devoted hours and hours and hours to the situation, and in response to complaints about our wasted time, and the money for the unnecessary extra cloud space we had to purchase, the response was dead air. Lots of dead air.

It’s times like these that I realize why some people hate technology and why they dread calling tech support.

Friday, Sept. 28th – Live CLE in Media: Using Technology to Prepare For Hearings, Depositions & Trial

One of Attorney Dan Siegel’s most popular programs, recent attendees called this a “must” program for all litigators. 

Learn how easy-to-use technology can help you prepare more effectively and more efficiently for depositions, hearings, and trials, with better results in less time. This webinar will demonstrate:

  • The various technologies used by lawyers today vs. the pen-and-paper methods;
  • How to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of cases using litigation software;
  • How to prepare for proceedings with confidence that you have the documents or other evidence needed; and,
  • How to create chronologies that also serve as an outline for opening statements and other trial-related matters.

The program is on Friday, September 28th from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Delaware County Bar Association in Media; registration begins at noon. Registration (including CLE credit) is just $35 for DCBA members, and $45 for non-members.

Click here for more information and to register for the program.

The Allegory of Septa Tokens & Law Office Technology

An old Ziploc bag sits on my desk, worn, a bit dirty, and empty. For over 12 years, the bag housed my Septa tokens. I loved my tokens, my quick way of getting through the turnstiles of the El.

When I heard that Septa was discontinuing tokens, and replacing them with the Key, a new hi-tech substitute for tokens, I continued to buy tokens, hoping they would stay on sale forever. Hoping – despite recognizing the futility of my hopes.

Then came the announcement. Septa stopped selling tokens. And I had to buy a Key card. I dreaded it. Not for any logical reason, it’s just that I loved my tokens – and didn’t want to change.

So I bought the Key card.

My life didn’t end. In fact, I discovered that the Key card was easier than tokens, not that I wanted to admit it. I just kept it in my wallet, and now I don’t have to remember to put tokens in my pocket before going into Center City. All I do is hold the card over the scanner. Voila, I’m through the turnstiles, including the wide one when I’m bringing along my large briefcase.

Even better, I no longer have to stand in line to buy tokens, I just go online or refill it at a kiosk.

The reality: The Key is better than tokens. (I just don’t want to admit it.)

What does this have to do with legal technology? My attachment to tokens wasn’t rational, as I discovered. Neither is the attachment of attorneys to paper, or to reading paper transcripts, or to doing so many things the way we did them years, if not decades ago. I just wanted to believe they were. And I didn’t want to change.

Neither do lawyers. But if they did, they would discover that having a paperless office actually improves their lives, makes them more efficient. And they would learn that using software would actually make them better lawyers. I have worked with numerous lawyers, and every one who has adopted the use of LexisNexis TextMap agrees that it improves their analysis and saves them time. So do lawyers who use other technology solutions. Whether it is Adobe Acrobat, Legal Files or Time Matters case/matter management software, LexisNexis CaseMap, or one of the other products/solutions we use in our office (and help them adopt and learn), lawyers agree.

They agree that once they overcome their fears, most of which are tied to their irrational love of paper (the way they have done things forever), the new way of doing things is better.

I have always encouraged lawyers to consider change, to consider new ways of handling their cases.

Then I looked at my empty token bag. That’s when I realized that my clients and I have more in common than I realized.  I changed, when will they?

When you stick your head in the sand, you get a lousy tasting “sand”wich

The almost overly stale cliché that it is not good to stick your head in the sand applies to so many topics. But for lawyers, or at least a large number of them, mention technology and they want to scream “na na na na na” and ignore you. But more and more, sticking their heads in the sand won’t help lawyers. Lawyers are now bigger targets for cyberattacks, which is the point I highlight in my column in the May 1st issue of The Legal Intelligencer/Pennsylvania Law Weekly. The column, “Law Firms Must Be Proactive to Prevent Cyberattacks,” begins with a quiz, asking whether the readers know what these items are:

  • Back door/trap door
  • Cracks
  • DNS poisoning
  • Eavesdropping
  • Hackers
  • IP spoofing
  • Malware
  • Man-in-the-middle spoofing
  • Network sniffing
  • Password cracking
  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Replay attacks
  • Social engineering
  • Spam
  • Spyware
  • System penetration
  • System tampering
  • TCP/IP hijacking
  • Trojan
  • Tunneling
  • Viruses
  • Website defacement
  • Worms

I bet most of us fail the test, unless we cheat and look on our smartphones.

That’s my point, technology is moving forward, and lawyers and their firms must also do so to avoid becoming the next victims of cyberattacks.

My law firm, the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC, and my consulting firm, Integrated Technology Services, LLC, help lawyers prepare for and to address the practical, legal and ethical issues they face. Even attacks on those smartphones.

But if what I say doesn’t scare you, consider the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which has again amended the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, to highlight that lawyers have an ethical duty to preserve confidentiality, which includes (obviously) preventing cyberattacks. Take a look at my article, and you’ll see exactly what lawyers (and all businesses) face. But if you just stick your head in the sand, keep your mouth closed tight, or you are likely to swallow an untasty “sand”wich.

 

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