Thursday, January 30, 2014

Net neutrality ruling has uncertain consequences

Recently, the DC Circuit struck down what many see as the essential bed-rock of the modern internet: net neutrality.

Put simply, net neutrality is the idea that service providers can't favor one type of traffic or one type of website over another.  After this decision (which, of course, will likely go before the Supreme Court in the not-so-distant future), this may change, so providers might charge content producers (and thus, ultimately, consumers) more to stream a movie or play an online game.

More disturbing, to at least some watchers, is that service providers could, in theory at least, deny or redirect traffic to websites of its choosing.

For attorneys, especially smaller firms, this could be significant - what if, say, a competitor paid service providers to direct traffic meant for your website to theirs?  Or a service provider forced attorneys to pay more to access sites like PACER?

It will be very interesting to see how things play out in this case and if consumer expectations will curtail the worse potential consequences if the decision is not overturned by SCOTUS.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Another example that times are a-changin'

Most attorneys have heard of Martindale Hubbell, once the end-all-be-all of legal directories and issuer of the once coveted AV rating.

Now, of course, it is no more; rendered obsolete by the proliferation of the web and new, more "democratic" ratings systems, from AVVO to Yelp.

The lesson for any attorney and law firm, especially those who fancy themselves the established players in any given market, should be clear.  Young upstarts, new technologies, can render you as obsolete as M-H.

The trick, of course, is not remaining static.  Even successful firms should always be seeking new and fresh ways to solve old problems and embrace a willingness to change for the better.  Technology, like online legal software, can be part of this solution.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Going beyond the stock image

How many of you have seen (or own) webpages with the standard stock images common to all lawyer webpages - you know, random courthouses, papers and/or files, the scales of justice, etc., etc.

Well, there's a nice way to stand out from the crowd a bit, by using images in the commons to illustrate your webpage(s) and blogs.  Sure, you might have to hunt a bit for the right pictures (and don't forgot, of course, to include pictures of yourself), but by personalizing your page a little, perhaps you can give that potential client some method to separate you from the myriad of other lawyers out there, which very well could positively impact your chances of turning a potential client into a real one.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The right tech makes your life easier

Technologist had a recent article discussing 5 tech items lawyers aren't going to need in 2014.

It's not a bad list.  Landline phones (at least non-VOIP landline phones) and fax machines are definitely technological relics - in that you can do the same things (and much more) with internet phones and internet faxes, which give you the ability to receive calls or faxes from anywhere and are often more economical to boot.

When it comes to desktop PCs though, we still have our doubts.  Lawyers do a lot of word processing and desktops are still the best tool for that - at least for a few more years.

Same with physical storage media - sure, we're big on the cloud, after all, we're in the cloud, but lawyers, being a conservative bunch, should have multiple back-ups.  Physical media is still good for that - although don't use flash drives for long-term storage considering they have an annoying habit to just stop working without warning.

Smart technology use isn't about the technology as an end-all-be-all, at least it shouldn't.  It's about making your life and practice easier and more flexible.  At least it should be.