Opening or Converting Old Forms – Tips for Mac Users

As Mac users know, not all legal forms are Mac-friendly (especially older forms).  For untitledexample, what if a colleague sends you a document created in Microsoft Word 97/Windows?

If you have Pages, you should be able to open a Word 97 document without a file converter. Try these steps.

If you have Microsoft Office for Mac, you can search the Download Center for a file converter, but the only one I could spot was the Microsoft Word 97, 98, and 2000 Converter for the Macintosh.  Office for Mac 2011 users report there is no converter for newer versions of office and old files created on the Windows platform do not open.  If you’re an Office user, what should you do?

  • Open the old form in Pages first, then resave it.
  • Try the Insert > File or Insert > Object > Text from File… command.  Launch Word, select Insert > File or Insert > Object > Text from File… browse and find the old form, click Insert.  Inserting a text file into a blank document in Word strips out formatting.  It often works better than using File > Open to access a document created in a non-compatible word processing program.
  • Ask the colleague who provided the form if he or she can resave it for you.  Options include: a newer version of Word for Windows, Word for the Mac, Rich text format (.rtf file), or PDF.  If a PDF is created electronically or scanned then OCRd, you should be able to copy and paste text from the body of the PDF into Word 2011 for the Mac or Pages.  You can also save a PDF as a Word document in Acrobat.
  • Try an online file converter, such as ZamzarOnline-ConvertCloud Convert, or Convert Files.

Final Words of Wisdom

Old forms may be “old” and not converted to a newer platform or software version for a reason – they are old and shouldn’t be used.  Before going to all this effort, be certain this is a form worth converting, meaning it is valid and still legally viable.

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis

 

 

The Evolution of Online Marketing for Lawyers: Don’t Get Left Behind

beverlym:

Marketing online means beefing up your LinkedIn
profile, getting the right headshots, developing a logo and more – read all about it in yet another excellent post from NW Sidebar.

Originally posted on NWSidebar:

Now is the time to ask how you can get started implementing online marketing tools to help grow your business!

View original 820 more words

Cyber Security and Data Breach Response

lock“Cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.”  Barack Obama, President of the United States

The Identity Theft Resource Center has documented over 500 data breaches in 2014 through early September.  This represents a 26.2% increase over the same time period last year. The news isn’t any better for the legal profession.

The latest ABA Legal Technology Survey Report notes that “Nearly half of law firms were infected with viruses, spyware or malware last year.”  Fourteen percent of law firms “experienced a security breach last year in the form of a lost or stolen computer or smartphone, a hacker, a break-in or a website exploit.”

Where to Start

With such staggering numbers, it is easy to become overwhelmed.  If you are concerned about cyber security but don’t know where to start, begin here at the ABA Web site. If you are a prolific user of mobile devices, be sure to check out the ABA’s suggestions for Security on the Go.  To understand the state of security in US law firms, read this post by Bob Ambrogi.

Make Encryption Your Best Friend

Encryption is a powerful way to protect sensitive data belonging to you and your clients. The ABA post Playing it Safe provides a good overview.  Since TrueCyrpt is no longer available, check out the following reviews of encryption software: LIfehacker, GFI, PC World, and Gizmo.

You’ve Heard it Before: Use Strong Passwords

It seems we are reminding lawyers every other day about the importance of using strong passwords unique to each account or Web site.  See these recent posts on the ABA Law Technology Today blog:

Firewalls, Anti-Spam, Anti-Virus, Malware Protection

The best protection is comprehensive.  This excerpt from The 2014 Solo and Small Firm Technology Guide provides guidance.  Don’t be afraid to hire an IT expert to help.

Purchase Cyber Liability and Data Breach Coverage

The Professional Liability Fund (PLF) Excess Claims Made Plan automatically includes a cyber liability and data breach response endorsement with these features:

  • Forensic and legal assistance to determine compliance with applicable law
  • Notifications to individuals as required by law
  • 12 months credit monitoring to each notified client
  • Loss mitigation resources for law firms

If you aren’t eligible or don’t wish to purchase excess coverage through the PLF, contact a commercial carrier.

Protect Yourself Against Scams

The security measures outlined above are a good start toward protecting your firm and your clients from scams.  For more complete protection, get educated.  Order the free PLF CLE: “Protecting Your Firm and Your Client from Scams, Fraud, and Financial Loss,” and talk to your bank about fraud protection services.

[All Rights Reserved - 2014 - Beverly Michaelis]

 

 

The State of Law Firm Security

Viruses are More Common at Law Firms than Encryption, ABA Survey Shows

Firms-with-virus

“Nearly half of law firms were infected with viruses, spyware or malware last year, according to the latest ABA Legal Technology Survey Report. At the same time, only a quarter of law firms had any kind of email encryption available for their lawyers to use, the survey found.

Also, 14% of law firms experienced a security breach last year in the form of a lost or stolen computer or smartphone, a hacker, a break-in or a website exploit.”

Bob Ambrogi

Read the full post here.

Leaving Your Firm

Parting isn’t always such sweet sorrow.  In fact, it can be downright contentious.

If you are contemplating leaving your firm, do your research. Meeting your ethical obligations fulfills only part of your responsibilities.

IF YOU ARE A PARTNER

Conduct your partnership withdrawal in a manner that honors the contractual and fiduciary responsibilities owed to your fellow partners.  Contractual duties are controlled by your written partnership agreement.  Fiduciary duties are described in case law and codified by statute in Oregon’s Revised Partnership Act.

IF YOU ARE NOT A PARTNER

Review your employment contract, employment letter, office policies, office procedures, or any other applicable terms that may control the process for terminating your relationship with your current firm or your obligations upon departure.

ARE ISSUES LIKELY TO ARISE?

Consult outside counsel experienced in the areas of lawyer mobility, partnerships, fiduciary duties, lawyer separation, and law firm dissolution.

PUT CLIENTS ABOVE ALL ELSE

If you are making a lateral move to another firm or setting up your own practice, remember that the client’s freedom of choice in selection of counsel is paramount.  Always put the interests of your clients first.  Keep the transition as amicable, professional, and stress-free as possible.  Contentious withdrawals alienate clients and damage relationships.

GIVE NOTICE TO YOUR FIRM BEFORE YOU CONTACT CLIENTS

Inform the firm of your decision to leave before contacting any clients.  Failing to give adequate and timely notice to your firm or partners before you contact clients is a violation of the duty of loyalty owed by a lawyer to his or her firm based on their contractual or agency relationship.  It may also constitute conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation in violation of Oregon RPC 8.4(a)(3).

RESOURCES

The Professional Liability Fund has extensive resources for Oregon lawyers who are departing a firm, withdrawing from a partnership, or dissolving a firm.  Visit our Web site for more information.

All rights reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis.

 

 

More Business Plan Magic: Part Two

beverlym:

“To grow and thrive, you should be continually addressing and solving the problems you encounter with a plan of action.” More great advice from NWSideBar in Part II of “More Business Plan Magic.”

Originally posted on NWSidebar:

Form a plan of action to continually address new challenges so your practice can grow and thrive!

View original 734 more words

eCourt Mandatory in Oregon Effective December 1

The following announcement was posted yesterday on the Oregon Judicial Department Web site:

Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer, Oregon Supreme Court, has approved a plan for the move to a mandatory eFiling requirement for attorneys filing cases in Oregon’s circuit and appellate courts. The Oregon Judicial department will circulate proposed court rules in the upcoming months for comment. The plan calls for a mandatory date of December 1, 2014 for the eleven circuit courts that currently have the Oregon eCourt system, including the eFiling component (File and Serve), and includes a transition plan for those courts that implement later. [Emphasis supplied.]

Prior to the implementation of mandatory eCourt, OJD will publish the final version of the mandatory UTCR eFiling rules. The current UTCRs are available here, but expect changes in October.

If you are not already familiar with the eFile and Serve system, get training.  Yesterday’s OJD announcement included the following:

Webinars and other eFiling trainings are available for Bar members. The trainings are designed for people with varied levels of experience with Oregon’s eFiling system. CLE credit has been approved for some of the sessions, and additional trainings will be added as needed.

The attached Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) document has additional information, including a link to training dates and registration information. Additional information about eFiling and mandatory eFiling is on the OJD Web site.

You should also review the resources available from the Professional Liability Fund, including our collection of eCourt practice aids and our June 15 CLE: Survival Tips for Practicing in eCourt and Organizing Your E-Mail.  You may also search this blog for 10 posts on eCourt that served as inspiration for the PLF practice aids.

All Rights Reserved [2014] Beverly Michaelis