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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.

 

Now Available – The Ultimate Guide to LexisNexis CaseMap

The Ultimate Guide to LexisNexis CaseMap is now available for purchase. Authored by Attorney Daniel J. Siegel, the book is the definitive guide to users of CaseMap, the premier litigation analysis software. LexisNexis CaseMap makes analyzing cases easier and allows lawyers to do a better job for their clients – in less time. Click here to buy the book, which is available in .epub or .mobi formats.

With material (including step-by-step instructions and numerous screenshots) for everyone from new users to advanced CaseMap users, the book explains how to use every feature in CaseMap, and also provides Dan Siegel’s unique insights into the program. Many consider Siegel to be the most advanced CaseMap user in the country; he often devises undocumented ways that allow users to get even more results from the software.

If you are interested in learning more about LexisNexis CaseMap, this book will help you:

  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your cases quickly and easily;
  • Learn how to create files for people, organizations and issues, while avoiding duplication;
  • Customize CaseMap so that you can get the most out of your data;
  • Enter data so that you can easily prepare for trial, hearings, depositions, and motions for summary judgment;
  • Import data from a wide range of programs, including Microsoft Outlook;
  • Understand CaseMap’s many Reports and ReportBooks;
  • Learn how to work with CaseMap’s newest features, including Fact Cards;
  • Use the Adobe DocPreviewer to import PDFs and quickly create facts and objects;
  • Use CaseMap’s DocManager; and
  • Learn how to perform advanced searches, plus how to save and update your results instantly.

Sometimes called the “Geek lawyer,” or the “high tech lawyer,” Attorney Dan Siegel is a practicing attorney (at the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC) and the founder of Integrated Technology Services, LLC, a consulting firm that helps law firms and small businesses improve their workflows with technology.

Integrated Technology Services, LLC provides training, consulting and case review services for CaseMap, as well as consulting services for law firms.

Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DC Is Now Available!

The Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DC is now available on both the ABA bookstore as well as Amazon! With 285 screenshots and easy to understand, jargon-free, step-by-step instructions, Dan and I have written what we believe is the most comprehensive book available on the software.

As PDFs have become the standard in the legal and business communities for creating, analyzing, storing, and exchanging digital documents, and for filing documents in courts with electronic filing systems, you need our tutorial!

The book will introduce you to the product’s many benefits, including:

  • Sharing PDF files
  • Sending PDF files electronically
  • Redacting and Bates numbering documents
  • Allowing users with the free version of the Adobe Reader program to add comments and suggest revisions
  • Reducing the risk of malpractice claims
  • Inserting notes and comments
  • Storing e-mail
  • Securing documents of all types to prevent the disclosure of confidential information
  • Improving workflow
  • Increasing productivity
  • Reducing the use of paper
  • Improving client results

The Ultimate Guide to Adobe  Acrobat DC discusses and demonstrates the features that law offices and businesses use, and explains what the features are, why they are important, and how to use them.

To order it on Amazon, click here.

Click here to order a copy of the book from the American Bar Association (also available as an e-book).

Coming Soon: The Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DC

Pamela Myers and Daniel Siegel’s new book, The Ultimate Guide to Adobe Acrobat DC, has gone into production. Published by the American Bar Association, the book is a comprehensive guide for anyone who uses the software. Every chapter contains step-by-step instructions and illustrations showing how to use the program so that users can quickly maximize the power of this software. The book, which contains nearly 300 screenshots, covers virtually every feature, including:

  • Getting to Know the Acrobat Workspace
  • Navigating PDF Documents
  • Working with Toolbars and Task Panes
  • Changing User Preferences
  • Creating and Saving PDFs
  • Converting Web Pages to PDF
  • Creating PDFs from Microsoft Outlook Emails
  • Saving/Exporting PDF Files to Other Formats
  • Arranging and Manipulating PDFs
  • Combining Files
  • Editing and Displaying PDF Content
  • Numbering Pages and Adding Backgrounds
  • Using Headers and Footers, Watermarks and Other Background Features
  • Commenting
  • OCRing (Making Text Searchable) and Searching PDFs
  • Creating, Modifying, and Working With Forms
  • Redacting Text
  • Bates Numbering
  • Adding Security Settings to a PDF
  • Using Electronic and Digital Signatures
  • Using Actions and Custom Commands
  • Using Acrobat’s Accessibility Features 

The book is expected to go on sale in the fall.

In addition, Pam and Dan lecture frequently about how to use Acrobat (in addition to providing on-site training to law firms and business about Acrobat).  Their next two programs (on behalf of the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education) are (1) May 24, 2017 in Woodbridge, New Jersey and (2) June 16, 2017 in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

Click here for information about the May 24th Woodbridge program.

Click here for information about the June 16th Mount Laurel program.

You can learn more about Dan and Pam’s training and other services by clicking here and visiting the Integrated Technology Services website or clicking here and sending an email.

 

 

New Pennsylvania Policy Will Require Litigants to Remove Confidential Information From Filed Documents

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has adopted a new public access policy for court records that will dramatically change how lawyers file and access documents in all courts in the state. Attorney Daniel J. Siegel, President of Integrated Technology Services, LLC, was a member of the working group whose proposal the Court adopted. The policy, which goes into effect on January 8, 2018, will require litigants to remove confidential and sensitive information from documents filed with the courts in civil, criminal and family law cases. Click here to read the policy.

The policy outlines how requests for access are to be handled, establishes a limit on copying fees and delineates what information will be safeguarded. The policy will dramatically impact how attorneys practice, in particular, how they safeguard sensitive information in court filings The policy provides four different ways of safeguarding sensitive information, but will require litigants and parties to redact information, which has not been consistently done to date.

Parties and their attorneys will be responsible for safeguarding information in the documents they file with the courts. Courts may impose appropriate sanctions upon a party or attorney for failing to comply with the new policy. Integrated Technology Services, LLC is intimately familiar with the guidelines and regularly works with law firms to implement policies and procedures that will allow them to comply with the new policy.

The policy is the result of a multi-year review by a working group led by Commonwealth Court Judge Renée Cohn Jubelirer and Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Lois E. Murphy. The work group included judges, court administrators, appellate court prothonotaries, county filing office personnel, the Supreme Court’s rules committees, the staff of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, and Attorney Dan Siegel, who represented the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Siegel and his office administrator Pamela A. Myers are the authors of the upcoming ABA book, Adobe Acrobat for Lawyers, which will be of particular relevance to all Pennsylvania attorneys as they prepare for the new requirements.

 

Coming Soon – The CaseMap Book (Second Edition)

We are pleased to announce that the second edition of the CaseMap book by attorney Daniel J. Siegel will be going to press shortly. Two years in the making, this book is a major revision of the first edition, The Lawyer’s Guide to LexisNexis CaseMap, and focuses not only on how to use CaseMap, but also includes numerous tips to get better results. The book covers CaseMap 12, the latest version of the litigation/case analysis program, and will be published by LexisNexis as an e-book.

The manuscript is in LexisNexis’ hands, and includes 155 illustrations/screenshots as well as more than 50 sidebars/productivity tips, all designed to assure that every user can benefit from all the product offers. In fact, the book covers every feature of the software and is designed to be used either as a cover-to-cover read, or as a reference for when you need help using a feature or figuring out how to take CaseMap to a new level. If you want to be placed on the mailing list to be notified when the book is published, click here to send Dan an email, or sign up for his technology consulting firm’s newsletters, which will keep you up to date on CaseMap, the book, and much more.

Lawyers – even those who aren’t techie – can make some changes to their software – and save time

When Allison Shields and I authored How to Do More in Less Time: The Complete Guide to Increasing Your Productivity and Improving Your Bottom Line, we included tips for being more productive in how lawyers manage our days, and our staff, etc. We also included tips for improving a lawyer’s (and really anyone’s) use of technology. After all to be productive, we all must manage our time. While we’re at it, saving time with technology also means that if you learn to use your computer (and the many programs on it) more efficiently, you save time on each step. Just saving one minute a day saves you over four hours a year. And when computer users learn multiple efficiency techniques, the time savings increase.

Are you skeptical? Well, here are two ways to help you see if your skepticism is unjustified. First, I will provide you with one tip that saves time and makes your documents look better when using Word. Then I’ll tell you about me a bit. And this will be the first of many productivity tips from our book, as well as new ones relating to Windows 10 and other computer techniques. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter and/or these blog posts (to the right). Don’t worry, there is no commission due on all the time you save.

Microsoft Word Tip – Get Rid of the Default Paragraph and Font Settings

Change Paragraph Settings – No one, except possibly some geeks at Microsoft, use 1.08 line spacing and adds 8 points of space after a paragraph. Heck, most users have no clue what 1.08 line spacing is (it’s not single, 1.5 or double spacing, that’s for sure). So change it to what you want your standard/default to be – probably double space only. It’s really easy.

First, click the expansion arrow on the Paragraph section of the Home tab. That brings up the Paragraph dialog.

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Next, change the settings to 0 pt under Spacing After, and change Line spacing to Double (or Single).

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Next, click the Set As Default dialog at the bottom of the box.

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Finally, select All documents based on the Normal.dotm template, and you’re done.

Change Font Settings – Guess what, it’s the same process. Just click the Font expansion arrow.

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Then, go into the dialog and choose your default/primary font type and color.

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Next, click the Set As Default dialog at the bottom of the box.

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Finally, select All documents based on the Normal.dotm template, and you’re done.

See, just by reading this post, you’re an expert on setting default specifications in Microsoft Word. And think how much time you save by not having to reformat the fonts and  paragraph spacing in all of your documents.

 

 

Dan Siegel to Discuss Social Media & Ethics in Pittsburgh & Philadelphia

Need a CLE credit? Or perhaps you have a concern about your use and your clients’ use of social media? Then Dan Siegel’s upcoming program, “Current Issues in Technology, Social Media & Ethics” is for you.

Dan will present this one-hour program at PBI’s Pittsburgh center on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 3 p.m. Click here for registration and other information.

Dan will also present this one-hour program at PBI’s Philadelphia center on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 3 p.m. Click here for registration and other information.

These programs are part of PBI’s Ethics Potpourri program, a full day of ethics continuing legal education. For more information, go to www.pbi.org.

Of course, you can also contact Dan directly to arrange an onsite program customized for your firm. In addition, Dan continues to assist law firms with technology, including software, workflow, paperless office technology, Adobe Acrobat and more through Integrated Technology Services, his tech consulting firm. Click here to visit Integrated Technology Services’ website, or click here to send Dan an email.

Social Media Matters! And thank you to SEPTA!

Just this morning, I was speaking with an attorney whose firm consults with us about technology. He insisted that social media really wasn’t relevant and that people really don’t pay attention to it. No matter what I said, he simply was in denial mode.

Sorry, but social media matters, and law firms and all businesses need to be aware of its impact and the need to actively use sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Fast forward to lunchtime. We were on our way to a meeting at the Philadelphia Bar Association. As usual, we boarded a Market-Frankford El train at the Milbourne station. The heat hit us like we were walking into a brick wall. The car we were on had no air conditioning. Nothing. Nada. Zip. And today was supposed to be the second hottest day of the year. Other riders were complaining to others, to themselves, to anyone around.

I took out my phone, opened the Twitter app, and tweeted to Septa: “ no air conditioning on market el train 1123 #stifling #hot.” Within a minute, SEPTA replied, “No air at all or blowing hot air? What was the last stop? Direction?” I replied “no air at all, going toward Frankford, next stop 40th street.”

Guess what? When the El arrived at the 13th Street stop a couple of minutes later, they stopped the train, and took it out of service. Now that’s customer service! Thanks SEPTA!

So if you think social media doesn’t matter, think again. And businesses need to recognize how important it can be. Thanks again SEPTA for not only having a Twitter feed, but for addressing problems in real time!

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