Month: May 2016

Single Platform Seeks Smart Lawyer: The Case for the iPhone-Only Law Office, Part 1

When was the last time you checked your phone? Was it in the last hour? The last 15 minutes? The last 5? Are you reading this article on your phone right now? Chances are, if you’re a Boomer or a Millennial, you check your phone more than 20 times a day (even during meal times). In fact, according to a report based on a recent Nielsen Poll, the worst offenders aren’t teenagers, they’re people aged 25-54.

Now, I’m not here to cast aspersions, or to chastise you in front of your peers. Just the opposite, in fact. I know that none of us are likely to untether from the grid. We use our phones to respond to clients, take notes at depositions, videochat with remote business associates. We have good reasons to be on our phones, and we’re not going to stop using them. So we must create business practices that adhere to the current reality. And for this reality, I postulate that we create iPhone Only law offices. Why?

  1. Lawyers use mobile devices, and ignoring the implications of working on a smartphone is irresponsible.
  2. Using a single platform is better for almost any business, including law firms.
  3. Security, Security and … Security.

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Here’s What Should Be Keeping You Up At Night

Here’s an actual email1 I received from a consulting client at the Center for Practice Management.

Dear Erik,

I think it is time for me to ramp up my firm’s online marketing efforts, but nothing I’ve done so far seems to work. It’s almost frustrating enough to make me miss the Yellow Pages.

Sincerely,

Sleepless in Search Engine Land2

And my reply3.

Dear Sleepless,

I’m sorry to hear about your frustration with online marketing. The place I would start with this is thinking about what keeps your clients up at night. To get your gears turning, here’s a list of things that keeps me up at night:

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By Popular Demand: A Little Help For The Legislative Drafter

I recently received an email from a reader who asked if I knew of any good resources on drafting legislation. At the time, nothing specific came to mind, and I made a note to myself to do some investigating when time permitted. This week, time finally permitted.

I always start these investigations by looking through the hundreds of books on my office shelves.1 I receive exam copies of legal writing books on a weekly basis, and often, if I look patiently, I can find one that meets a particular need. So yesterday, I began skimming titles, looking for something pertaining to legislative drafting. And lo and behold, right there it was: Plain English for Drafting Statutes and Rules.2

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Encrypt It, Restrict It, Firewall It: The Panama Papers’ Security Lessons for Lawyers

The leak of the Panama Papers has done more than reveal the underbelly of the international tax-dodger trade. This massive security breach, the biggest document leak in history, also serves as a wake-up call for lawyers and law firms about our responsibility to keep client information confidential.

The files, leaked to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, came from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama. Their contents are incredibly incriminating for several multinational organizations and many world leaders as they describe the ways powerful and knowledgeable people have gamed the financial system to create tax havens in off-shore accounts. It’s important that you understand the contents and repercussions of the documents, certainly, but even more important is that you understand what this leak means for law firm security in the future.

Here’s the takeaway:

  1. If you keep it, it can be stolen. Encrypt.
  2. If you send it, it can be misdirected. Encrypt.
  3. If you give access to it, it can be retained. Restrict Downloads.
  4. If your data is stored on your network, it can be accessed by anyone who has network permissions. Firewall it.

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