Monday, February 17, 2014

Document security

FutureLawyer had an interesting blurb on the security of Dropbox and similar services for attorney documents; coming to the same conclusion that we often say to our customers: don't.

Dropbox and the like are fine for stuff that's not sensitive, but its' very size and ubiquity make it an inviting target for hackers.  While that is theoretically a concern for any website, services for attorneys, like Online Legal Software, are specifically designed to host attorney documents safely and securely.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Understanding the business of law is critical

Good article recently from JDSupra discussing the knowledge new lawyers need regarding the business of law.

We certainly agree with Ms. Ames that knowing the business of law is important for new lawyers, but we would go further - in fact, it's critical for all lawyers.  Too many associates, be they at BigLaw or in smaller settings, are content to simply bill their hours and that's it.

The problem, for them, at least, is that without a book of business of one's own, an attorney is expendable.  Yes, that's not something most attorneys want to think about, that, in the end, they are virtually interchangeable, but from a practical business standpoint, it's true.

Building business - rainmaking, may not be what you went to law school to do, but in the real world of most law firms, with complex questions of law being few and far between and a glut of attorneys who are generally all capable of handling the grunt work, it's the only way to ensure long-term success.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Don't overlook the power of appearances

A recent article by Keith Lee, over at Above the Law reminded us about some of the silly things we remember from practice and the impression it gave.

While we can't recall seeing a pleading using comic sans font, it wasn't uncommon to see pleadings and papers that were horribly formatted (spacing was often a big problem); that used multiple fonts (clearly indicating a cut and paste job); that referred to non-existent paragraphs or had the wrong party names (we still remember once receiving discovery requests for another case, but with our case's caption).

While these things are good for a laugh and admittedly, no-one is perfect, so the occasional typo or error is going to happen, these types of things happening more than once in a blue moon give the impression of your firm and your practice as a two-bit hack.  Certainly not the impression you want to give to the judge or to opposing counsel.

Take the time to proof-read (and leave yourself sufficient time to do so) and you will almost certainly find the rewards to be more respect for you and your work product.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Don't overlook the simple

Attorneys are often worried about security when it comes to cloud computing, but as this recent article from TechVibes point out, often the weakest link, to borrow a phrase, is the simplest.

How many of you have passwords written down on a post-it note stuck on your computer screen or under a desk blotter?  We've lost track of how many customers have laughingly admitted to the same or that we've seen on-site in an attorney's office.

Unless you have a photographic memory, however, this is a common problem - it sometimes seems every site requires a slightly different variation on a password, or requires you to change it often, or otherwise makes it easy to forget - thus creating the situation described above.

What's the solution?  Password managers can be useful, but at a minimum, try keeping the post-its out of plain sight.  Still not ideal, but at least then every Tom, Dick & Harry who wanders into your office doesn't have to even look to see them.