September marks the beginning of Fall. Fall means football. From youth football to high school to college and the NFL, many nights and weekends this time of year revolve around the pigskin game. Passions run high when your favorite team is on the field.
We'd like to borrow some of that passion to make a few points about law office technology. Making decisions about hardware, software, and training may not be as fun as watching a kick return for a touchdown, but in the long run it will have a greater impact on how well you and your firm do - professionally and financially.
This month we tell you which law office technology ideas score a touchdown, how not to fumble important decisions, what mistakes could result in a penalty, and when to punt your old software for something better. We follow-up with a list of technology first downs to move your firm forward toward the goal line and a list of technology penalties that will send you back toward you own end zone.
We also bring you our regular newsletter features. Included is a Microsoft Word tip, the Green Corner on how to use your technology in a more environmentally friendly way, and our complete Affinity University schedule for September. As always, our newsletter concludes with a comprehensive list of the current versions of law office software we support.
Visit the Affinity Consulting Group Law Office Technology Blog
|The Affinity Consulting Group Law Office Technology Blog has up-to-date information on hardware, software, and tips for using technology in your practice. Click on the icon to your right to visit now. |
| Training is a Touchdown!|
A law firm with properly trained staff using decade-old technology will be more efficient than a law firm with the latest and greatest hardware and software, but an inadequately trained staff. One of the best pieces of advice we give to lawyers looking to maximize their firm's productivity is to learn to more effectively use the tools they already have rather than buy something new.
Of course, there will be times when existing hardware, software, peripherals, and network infrastructure are simply inadequate for the task or no longer compatible with modern operating systems or related software. When you reach that point, count on us to carefully analyze your needs and make cost-effective upgrade recommendations. But until that happens, focus your efforts on training yourself and your staff on how to squeeze the most value out of what you already own.Read more on why Training is a Touchdown, and how we can help
|Don't Fumble the Choice of a Law Office Document Scanner|
If you practice in federal court, electronic filing of your case documents has been a reality for several years. Many state courts are also implementing electronic filing. While many of the documents you file are created in your office and published directly to PDF format, client documents, information received from opposing counsel, etc., need to be scanned and converted to PDF before they can be filed. Of course, electronic filing is only one reason to have a quality document scanner in your office. Transactional lawyers have as great a need to scan documents as do litigators. Minimizing the flow of paper through your office is one of the most effective ways to increase productivity.
But how do you pick the right document scanner for your office? This month we give you some important recommendations.Read how not to fumble your choice of a law office document scanner
| When Should You Punt Old Software? |
The policies and protocols of many of
the software vendors we have come to know and love (and we use that term loosely....take
it for whatever you judge it to be worth) have changed drastically over the
last few years. Ten years ago, aging software was
never a drastic concern for customers as the software vendor would
support the old package for many years and was always happy to help and work
with you. But, that's no longer
true. The software companies usually
"sunset" support for an older product after three years (on average) and they
look at those that DON'T upgrade as naughty children and may even scold you for
not upgrading. But most importantly,
they won't help you (or us) with a sunsetted (i.e. unsupported) product
version. So when do you "punt" old software and upgrade to something new?Read about when you should punt your old software
|Top 5 First Downs and Worst 5 Penalties|Here is our list of top 5 "first downs" that will move your practice forward followed by the top 5 "penalties" that will set you back. First Downs:
- Converting your ten most-used forms to Word templates and sharing them with the entire firm over your network.
- Implementing a document management system (DMS).
- Using time/billing/accounting software designed for law firms.
- Learning to use the more advanced features of your practice management software, including document assembly/automation.
- Installing, and testing, redundant data backup systems that include both local and web-based backup.
- Continuing to use clunky old fax technology.
- Failing to install tracking and remote wipe software on your smart phone.
- Using a version of MS Word older than 2007.
- Buying a computer with only one monitor.
- Using an ISP-provided or free web-based email address instead of a custom address with your firm's name or practice area.
| Affinity University|
Classes in September
Affinity University is the leading source for web based training sessions for the legal community. All of our classes are one hour, making it easy and affordable for lawyers, paralegals and support staff to take time from their day to improve their efficiency and productivity. No software is required and sign up is simple. View all of this month's classes here.9/2 - Dragon NaturallySpeaking Productivity
9/8 - PCLaw Trust Accounting
9/9 - PCLaw Front Office
9/10 - Tabs3 Billing
9/10 - Tabs3 Reporting
9/15 - Microsoft Outlook Contacts, Calendars And Tasks
9/17 - Microsoft PowerPoint for the Law Office
9/17 - Adobe Acrobat for the Law Office
9/20 - Worldox Productivity
9/21 - Microsoft Outlook Email Management
9/22 - PCLaw Advanced Billing
9/23 - PCLaw Time, Fees And Costs
| Events in September
|Word 2007 and 2010 Tip of the Month - Multilevel Paragraph Numbering
Automatic paragraph numbering in Word is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing because it can greatly simplify the creation of documents containing numbered paragraphs. That, of course, includes nearly ever legal document except the simplest correspondence.
It is also a curse because, if not done correctly, automatic paragraph numbering can complicate the document creation and editing process, especially for those documents requiring multilevel paragraph numbering. This month we show you how to set up multilevel paragraph numbering the right way. Read the Word tip of the month.
| Check for Office 2010 Compatibility Before Upgrading|
Although we think Microsoft Office 2010 is a worthwhile upgrade, especially for users of Office 2003 or earlier versions, not all law office software vendors have upgraded their products to work with Office 2010. If you use practice management, document management, or other software that requires a link to Outlook, Word, or another Office application, check with that software vendor or contact us to determine if your software will work properly with Office 2010.
| Bar Association Discounts for New LexisNexis Time Matters and PCLaw Customers
New Time Matters
customers who are members of participating Bar Associations
are eligible to receive a 15% off discount off
the cost of the software licenses. Only new Time Matters/PCLaw
customers are eligible and the LexisNexis Annual Maintenance Plan
must be purchased with the software. The discount doesn't
apply to the purchase of additional licenses or AMP renewals. The
offer expires December 31, 2010.
Firms interested in learning about
implementing Time Matters/PCLaw should contact
their respective ACG office. If you need more information on the promotion, visit the LN website for PCLaw
or Time Matters
| Discounted AMP Renewals
PCLaw/Time Matters clients with Annual Maintenance Plans
(AMPs) expiring in September are eligible for a 10% discount when they renew their current AMP
by September 15. The discount drops to 5% for plans expiring in October when renewed by October 15. It is easy to renew your AMP by contacting your ACG office
However, if you wish to renew directly with LexisNexis, please mention
your Affinity Consulting Group office and the name of your consultant.
|Green Corner - Don't Print That!
| Often you will create a letter or other document that may require your signature, but will be transmitted only by email (or perhaps by fax) rather than by regular mail or hand-delivery. Indeed, the number of documents that never need to exist as an actual paper document has grown significantly. E-filing of court documents and electronic transmission of business and regulatory documents is partly responsible for this change. Why, then, do so many lawyers print a paper copy of a document just to sign it, then discard it after scanning/emailing or faxing? This process wastes resources, takes time, and costs money. The solution is to add the signature to your document from within your word processing application, eliminating the need to print a paper copy solely to sign it. This month we show you how to do it.
Read this month's Green Corner tip.
| Mindjet Releases MindManager 9
Mindjet announced the release of MindManager 9
for Windows, the latest version of their outstanding mind mapping
software. Version 9 debuts with impressive new speed. It not only
opens faster and loads large maps faster, but it does so using
drastically fewer system resources - something we can all appreciate.
There is a new Outlook
Dashboard, allowing you to see related Outlook items, emails, contacts,
notes, tasks or meetings without having to switch applications. MindManager 9 also has improved printing capabilities, allowing you to
print as much (or as little) as you need, something that was much more
restrictive in previous versions. Read the details about MindManager 9
| Current Versions of Law Office Software