Visit Our 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 above to visit now. ||
It won't be long before we're carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns and hearing children shout "trick or treat!" Kids of all ages love Halloween. We get to dress up as someone - or something - else and briefly loosen our grip on reality. It is literally too much fun to be true.
What isn't too good to be true is the way technology can make your law practice more efficient and profitable. Many new technologies, such as speech recognition and remote access and control, are so good it's spooky - but in a good way. We take a look at these technologies in this month's newsletter
Spooky in a bad way is how law firms fail to effectively utilize the technology they already have. It is downright scary how inadequate training can cripple a firm's profitability. Every firm has, at a minimum, computers and office suite software. The efficiency gains realized from something as simple, yet as elusive, as becoming skilled in using Microsoft Word, Outlook, or Excel are impressive. Modern word processing (or practice management, time/billing, etc.) software is capable of great things - but only if you know how to use it.
Too often, training is inconvenient, expensive, and not focused on the specific needs of law firms. Our Affinity University (AU) classes solve all three of these problems. We come directly to your computer's desktop via the Internet. Our AU one-hour webinars are affordable. And they are geared specifically to lawyers and law firm staff. Plus, many of our webinars are now "on demand" if you are not available for the scheduled live session. Now there is no excuse for letting inadequate training affect your firm's efficiency. You will find our complete AU schedule in this newsletter or on the AU web site.
This month's newsletter also continues our popular series of Microsoft Word tips, the Green Corner column, and the Current Versions list. The only thing scary about this newsletter is that if you miss it, you will miss some great technology tips and information.
| Feature Article - We Don't Need to Be In Your Neighborhood to Be Your Tech Company|
- The "Magic" of the Internet Extends Our Reach Globally
Affinity Consulting Group is in many places. We have offices in Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, and several in Florida. But our ability to help your firm with its technology needs is not limited by geography. We have clients in nearly every state and several other countries. For some of what we do, we like to come to your firm and work on-site. Several of our partners and senior consultants log tens of thousands of travel miles each year helping firms like yours wherever they are located. But most of what we can do for you does not require that we be on-site, or even in the same state or country as your firm. The "magic" of the Internet makes that possible.
Read this month's feature article on how remote access services let us be your tech company no matter where you are located
|Case Study - How Speech Recognition Makes a Small Firm More Efficient|
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking and Philips Speech Exec let one person handle dictation for four attorneys
The Law Office of J. Emory Wood, P.A. in St. Petersburg, FL, is a four-attorney firm with a civil trial practice in the Tampa Bay area. The firm contacted Affinity Consulting Group for help in making their dictation workflow more efficient. Working with Affinity consultant Phil Metcalf of our Roanoke, VA office, the firm was able to implement a system that allows staff member Julie Parmerlee to handle transcribed dictation from all four attorneys.
Read the full story of how speech recognition technology helped one staff member handle dictation from four attorneys.
| Affinity University - 18 Classes in October|
- AU adds On-Demand webinars
Affinity University is the go-to resource for online training on the legal software you and your team use every day. Focusing specifically on real world tips and tricks, our certified experts provide training on popular Practice Management, Time/Billing/Accounting, Document Management, Productivity Software and even Microsoft Office.
We are pleased to announce that many of our AU classes are now available "on-demand" for you to view as your schedule permits. On-demand topics include Adobe Acrobat for the Law Office, Microsoft Word Basics, Microsoft Word Advanced, and Outlook Email Management and many more. Plus, if you "attend" a live AU webinar, you can watch it again within 30 days of the original live date at no additional charge.
This month we offer 18 AU classes to help you better use your practice management, time and billing, document management, and office suite software. As always, our goal is to provide you with convenient and affordable web-based training on the software you use most.
Special Notice to Local Bar Leaders and Members: Contact us to learn more about our local bar program. Send an email to email@example.com.
- Microsoft Outlook 2010 - Email Management, Oct. 3, 11 a.m.
- Worldox - Basics, Oct. 3, 3 p.m.
- Amicus Attorney Premium Edition - Basics, Oct. 5, 11 a.m.
- Time Matters - Basics, Oct. 5, 1 p.m.
- Amicus Attorney Small Firm Edition - Basics, Oct. 5, 3 p.m.
- PCLaw - Front Office, Oct. 7, 11 a.m.
- PracticeMaster - Document Assembly Basics, Oct. 7, 1 p.m.
- Microsoft Outlook 2010 - Contacts, Calendars and Tasks, Oct. 10, 11 a.m.
- Microsoft Word 2010 - Basics, Oct. 11, 11 a.m.
- Cloud Computing, Oct. 11, 1 p.m.
- Microsoft Excel 2010 - Basics, Oct. 12, 11 a.m.
- Time Matters - Formattable Clipboard, Merge Templates and User Level Reporting, Oct. 12, 3 p.m.
- Microsoft Word 2010 - Advanced - Introduction to Styles, Oct. 18, 11 a.m.
- Hot Docs Tips & Tricks, Oct 18, 2 p.m.
- Amicus Attorney - Premium Edition Productivity, Profitability!, Oct. 19, 11 a.m.
- Time Matters - Productivity, Profitability!, Oct. 19, 1 p.m.
- Amicus Attorney - Small Firm Edition Productivity, Profitability!, Oct. 19, 3 p.m.
- Fujitsu Scan Snap, Oct. 20, 11 a.m.
|PCLaw Training in Columbus, OH, October 25-26|
- Learn how to maximize PCLaw in your practice!
When it comes to technology, simply having it and knowing the best ways to use it in your day to day business can be two different things. Join instructors Steve Best and Alex Macdonald, in Columbus, Ohio, on October 25th and 26th for our upcoming workshop where we'll teach you the ins and outs of PCLaw.
For more information, or to register, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614.340.3444.
If you can't make it to Columbus in October for this outstanding program (not to mention Fall colors, apple cider, and Buckeye football), enroll in one of our Affinity University PCLaw classes
|Events in October |
|Affinity Honored at LexisNexis Practice Management Annual Conference (PMAC)
At this year's LexisNexis PMAC at Universal Orlando, Affinity Consulting Group received two key awards. Affinity was honored for having Top Sales for PCLaw and for Most CIC (Certified Independent Consultant) Originated Sales.
Read Affinity Partner Steve Best's blog post about this year's PMAC.
| Erick Anderson Receives Microsoft Certification |Senior Network Engineer at Affinity's Roanoke office, Erick Anderson, received his MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) certifications in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 Enterprise.
Erick's MCITP credentials provide widely recognized and objective confirmation of his ability to complete critical, current IT projects using Microsoft technologies. We are incredibly proud of all that Erick has accomplished and look forward to the new and exciting ways he will be able to support Affinity's client base with his superior knowledge.
|Microsoft Word Tip of the Month - Sharing is Good |
Before bringing you this month's Word tip, we need to bring you some exciting news. Many of our Affinity University (AU) classes, including three MS Word classes, are now available "on demand" for viewing whenever you have an hour to spare. Given the central role Word plays in document production at nearly every law firm, this is the most effective hour you can spend to improve your firm's productivity.
Another highly effective way to improve your firm's productivity is to create and use Word templates. Converting your ten most-used Word documents into Word templates to avoid the nightmare of accidentally overwriting an important form is a great start. You will eliminate errors and save time. But this tip isn't about creating templates (for that, view Microsoft's free video), it is about sharing the templates you create with others in your firm.
Read our Microsoft Word Tip of the Month to learn how to share your Word templates across your firm's network. Learn more Word tips by registering to attend our Affinity University Word 2010 Basics and Word 2010 Advanced on-line classes.
| Review - 7Notes HD Premium for Note Taking and Handwriting Recognition on the iPad |
There are dozen of note taking apps for the iPad. Most require that you enter your text in to the app using either the iPad's on-screen keyboard or an external Bluetooth keyboard. For short note taking sessions, the iPad's on-screen keyboard works well, but it is not easy to use for longer typing sessions such as trials, depositions, and lengthy meetings or negotiations.
An external keyboard works great for text input, but it is something extra you have to carry with you, somewhat defeating the purpose of a slim tablet like the iPad. There is an app that gives you a third way to take notes on your iPad.Read the complete 7Notes HD Premium review
|Visit Affinity at ALL of the ALA Regional Conferences
As the newest Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) VIP Partner, Affinity is proud to be attending all of the ALA regional conferences this year. So come by our booth - you'll have a chance to meet our team in person, see Affinity University in action, win some cool stuff, and much more!
- October 13-15 - Pittsburgh
- October 20-22 - Las Vegas
- October 27-29 - Seattle
- November 3 - 5 - Charlotte
| Affinity Offers Managed IT Services
In addition to our expert consulting services in the area of law office software, Affinity Consulting Group offers a full range of Managed IT services.
Small and medium-sized law firms can rarely afford a full-time IT staff. Let Affinity serve as your IT staff - we can manage your technology resources for you and correct any problems, often before you know anything is wrong.
For information on the many IT services we can offer your firm, contact your Affinity Consulting Group office.
| Green Corner - Don't Print That!|
Many of our Green Corner columns, including last month's, urge you to save paper. We are going to keep hitting on that theme because, despite the increase in electronic communication, business-related paper usage in the U.S. continues to rise. It is also a global problem. According to the Worldwatch Institute, in the past fifty years, the global production of paper has increased by 600%.
Keep in mind that paper is just a "container" for information. Compared with digital containers such as PDF files, it is less durable and portable while also being more expensive to produce and store. If you have information that exists only on paper, scan it and place it in a digital container such as a PDF file If the information is already digital, don't print it. Access it in its digital form whenever and wherever possible. Fortunately, thanks to portable reading devices like iPads and Kindles, doing so is easier than ever.
| Current Versions of Law Office Software |