The Paperless Court

Apropos my last post about the Paperless Office, I was reading the March/April 2010 issue of Baseline Magazine, which ran a terrific article, “Disaster-Proofing IT After Katrina,” about how the Gulfport Municipal Court in Louisiana was devastated by Katrina and, as a result, the Court secured a grant from the Department of Justice and digitized the entire office (after the hurricane, they actually tried using Rubbermaid containers for filing). Now — after training — the Court runs efficiently – electronically, with everything scanned, calendars/dockets electronic, etc. No more paper files. As the article concluded: By streamlining its infrastructure, investing in a digital imaging solution and storing data in multiple sites, […]

When Tech & Ethics Collide

The latest issue of Lawyers USA has a interesting (albeit brief) summary of an ABA program, Dangerous Curves Ahead: When Legal Ethics and Technology Collide,” presented by Catherine Sanders Reach, Director of the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. Knowing Catherine, I am sure that the program was interesting and thoguht-provoking. It covered issues, including the Model Rules, Metadata, Email, Social Networking, and Data Security. The topic paralleled a PBI in which I participated, “How Your Computer Can Get You Into Trouble;” it’s also the topic of an article I’m writing for Trial magazine (journal of the American Association for Justice) this fall. Of greatest importance, the article (and Catherine’s program) […]

Lexis for Microsoft Office

Admittedly, I’m skeptical about new software, and have always been leery of new developments in legal research, most of which has been more fluff than stuff. At ABA Techshow in Chicago yesterday, however, I drank the Kool Aid and saw the beta of Lexis for Microsoft Office, a very impressive product for conducting research within Word or Outlook. The software really does streamline the work, such as instantly compiling all the documents in a brief for download. I’ve even volunteered to do a beta test, and I traditionally hate being a guinea pig. Let’s hope that I picked a winner.

Windows 7 – Part I

It’s here – Windows 7 – the latest, greatest operating system from Microsoft. I’ve upgraded all the PCs at home and in my office. Generally, the transition went smoothly, but not completely. First, if you do an inplace upgrade (from Windows XP to Windows 7), you’ll need the Laplink Upgrade Assistant software. In every instance, it worked well – although some programs (including all media type programs) needed to be re-registered. But overall, the transfer went smoothly. On the other hand, I don’t recommend migrating your programs from an old PC to a new one with Windows 7. The reality is that the migration process is fraught with problems, and […]

Never Read a Paper Deposition or Other Transcript Again

For years I have argued that lawyers who read paper transcripts are “wasting” time. I don’t mean they aren’t working. I mean they could be working better faster, with improved results, merely by using transcript/deposition review software. In my case, I haven’t read a paper transcript since 2001 and my staff is forbidden from doing so. The problem, however, is that many lawyers were leery of putting down the paper. Then, when one of the legal software giants purchased the industry leader, the best software became very expensive, and was sold on a subscription basis that tied you to the company (literally) forever. Plus, much of the competition was not very good. […]

I Love Microsoft Outlook – I Hate Microsoft Outlook

It’s everywhere – not quite Chicken Man (for those old enough to remember) – but Microsoft Outlook is used, it seems, in virtually every law office — and the 2007 Version is excellent. The small tweaks Microsoft made really helped improve the product overall (even though some actions remain counterintuitive). I recommend clients upgrade to it, especially any clients who are using Outlook 2000 or (yes) earlier versions. But… But… But… I hate Mircrosoft Outlook 2007. Not the whole product, just the absolutely infuriatingly outrageous Junk E-mail Filter.  Why, you say? If you don’t like it, turn it off. Sorry, Microsoft has decided that even if you don’t want to use […]

Proposed Summary Judgment Rule

The Federal Rules Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States is considering rule changes that would make it easier for defendants to have summary judgment granted. Plaintiff attorneys have opposed the proposed Rule because it would require the moving party to identify purportedly non-contested facts, and require the non-moving party to demonstrate, by citation to the record, that those facts are contested. This can be a daunting task. However, this need not be overwhelming. In fact, some federal court judges in Philadelphia have already begun requiring litigants to include a Statement of Uncontested Facts with motions for summary judgment. How do my clients and I handle them? Using […]

Never Train on Live Data (The Data You Actually Use)!

I always say, “Never train on live data” because if something happens, it’s a “problem,” to say the least. Today I failed to abide by my own words. Guess what, something happened. The database with 98,542 records shrunk a bit — to 6 records. So did my stomach. Having never seen this before, I called Tech Support. The rep hadn’t seen it either. He put me on hold and found out a couple of the other reps had heard of this. What did it mean? That the database had crashed and I needed to restore it from a backup. And, of course, the firm didn’t think there was a backup! […]

Travel Tips — And My Kindle

I recently traveled to Los Angeles to give my presentation, “How to Do 90 Minutes of Work in 60,” in conjunction with the meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives and the American Bar Association Midyear Meeting. The presentation went well, but I learned some lessons on my way to LA. Among them: Bring a paper clip and a book. Before I boarded the plane, I turned on my Kindle, Amazon’s really neat (but expensive)  book reader, audiobook reader, music player, etc. It gave me a black screen and was dead. I removed the battery and reinstalled — still the black screen. Then I realized the Kindle had a […]

Backup – Yes I’m Beating That Same Drum!

Remember, it’s not if, but when in terms of hard drive crashes. My new Dell computer is an ideal example – new, high tech, etc. And the hard drive died in less than 2 months. Dell immediately shipped a replacement. Fortunately, I use Retrospect for daily complete backups. Once the replacement hard drive was in place, I merely re-installed Retrospect and restored my entire system. It took about 3 hours to recreate the index of files, and about an hour to restore my system. But every program, every document and setting were there, as if I just turned the computer on from the day before. I sighed a huge sigh […]

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