Seamless Client Intake Webinar

  • Ever wish you could streamline your solo or small firm practice to easily track contacts, client leads, tasks, and reminders?
  • Or send out client intake forms with a few clicks of your mouse, set a due date for clients to complete forms, and automate client reminders?
  • Maybe you’ve been longing to implement eSigning of fee agreement and engagement letters, but you’re not quite certain how to get started.

On January 12, 2016 we offered a free Webinar with Lexicata – the all-in-one client relationship management and client intake solution exclusively for lawyers.

Did You Miss the Program?

No worries!  We recorded it.  It will be available in the next few weeks on the Past CLE page of our Website, free of charge.

We are pleased to make this CLE available to all Oregon lawyers, as Lexicata is really the only product on the market that can offer true client intake online – a feature many lawyers want to incorporate into their practice, but find cost-prohibitive to develop on their own.

 

Happy New Year!

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

 

You don’t really have to choose, because in 2016 you’ll see posts on all these topics and more!

STREAMLINE YOUR PRACTICE IN THE NEW YEAR

We begin the year with a Fresh Start.  If you’ve ever felt disorganized or overwhelmed, this post is for you.  No habit or office system is written in stone.  You can make adjustments, update your practices, or create new procedures. For a kickstart, visit this blog tomorrow.

BETTER CLIENT MANAGEMENT

Recommitting to marketing and client retention begins with understanding how to control and relate to clients.  Watch for Turn Over a New Leaf with Better Client Management on January 11.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Collecting fees is a battle every lawyer fights. In 2016 we’ll revisit fees and fee collection with a look-back to these classics, updated for the new year:

  • The 7 Golden Rules of Collection
  • Can I Double My Fees if the Client Doesn’t Pay?
  • Bartering Legal Services
  • Four Sure-Fire Ways to Get Paid

Speaking of money, be sure to stay tuned on January 25th for Do Lawyers Have an Ethical Duty to Replace Hacked Funds?  Cyber crime is an ever-growing problem.  If you’re hacked and trust funds are taken, are you automatically obliged to make your clients whole?

BETTER TECH FOR EVERYONE

On January 19, we’ll revisit lessons learned at the PLF’s Seamless Client Intake Webinar featuring Lexicata. If you resolved to embrace the cloud or upgrade your tech for 2016, attending this FREE program is a good start.  Registration is closing soon, so if you haven’t signed up yet do so before January 6.  Visit the PLF Website and select CLE > Upcoming CLE.

Happy New Year!

FSRapids

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis [2016]

The Year in Review – Top Posts in 2015

Thank you loyal readers!  As 2015 comes to a close, here is a look back at the year’s top posts:

Working Effectively – Time Management, Staffing

File Management – What to Keep, What Not to Keep

Marketing, Business Development, and the Attorney-Client Relationship

eCourt

Fees – Getting Paid, Finances, Credit Cards, Trust Accounting

Security

Technology – Macs, TECHSHOW, Office 2016, Windows 10, Paperless, and More

Potpourri

[All Rights Reserved 2015 – Beverly Michaelis]

Editing Scanned PDFs in Acrobat XI or DC

There are two options for editing scanned PDFs in Acrobat.  Selecting an approach will depend on the extent of your edits.

Using Acrobat for Small Edits

If your edits are minimal – correcting a word here or there – Acrobat’s built-in content editing will do the job.

The first step is to make a copy of the document you want to edit.  This will protect the original, and if anything goes awry, you can start over.

Directions for Acrobat XI

  • Open the copy of your document in Acrobat.
  • Select Tools (top, right corner of the program).
  • This exposes the tools pane:

Tools pane

  • Choose ► Content Editing.
  • Select Edit Text & Images.

edit text and images

  • Select the text you want to edit.
  • Edit the text by doing one of the following:
    • Select a font, font size, or other formatting options under Format in the right hand pane.
    • You can also use the advanced format options, such as line spacing, character spacing, horizontal scaling, stroke width, and color.

font box dc

  • Click outside the selection to deselect it and start over.
  • When done editing, resave the file with your changes.

Directions for Acrobat DC

  • Open the copy of your document in Acrobat.
  • Choose Tools > Edit PDF > Edit.

Edit box

  • Select the text you want to edit.
  • Edit the text by doing one of the following:
    • Select a font, font size, or other formatting options under Format in the right hand pane.
    • You can also use the advanced format options, such as line spacing, character spacing, horizontal scaling, stroke width, and color.

font box dc

  • Click outside the selection to deselect it and start over.
  • When done editing, resave the file with your changes.

Looking at Your PDF in Content Editing Mode

When you are editing a PDF in Acrobat, your text will look like the image below – Acrobat surrounds each segment (headings, subheadings, paragraphs, numbers, and footer) with a text box.  Each text box must be edited separately.

page

Problems You Might Encounter Using Acrobat’s Content Editor

Making small edits with Acrobat works well because document formatting is rarely affected.  Making extensive edits can be a nightmare.  Here are some of the problems you might run into trying to edit a PDF in Acrobat:

  • Inserted text doesn’t match the font style in the document.  If the document font isn’t in your system there is nothing you can do about the mismatch.  However, before you give up, check the list of available fonts in Acrobat. Matching the document font may be as easy as changing the default font style and size in Acrobat’s Content Editing box.
  • Edits cause the text boxes to shrink or grow in undesirable ways, affecting formatting.  [Tips on how to fix this appear below.]
  • PDF can’t be edited/error messages appear. This occurs when your PDF does not have “recognizable” or “renderable” text – meaning it hasn’t been OCR’d yet.  When a PDF is created directly from a software application [like Word, WordPerfect, or another program], the resulting PDF file automatically has “recognizable” or “renderable” text.  This attribute makes the PDF searchable and editable.  If a PDF is created by scanning, it must be OCR’d before editing so the text is “recognizable.” To OCR a PDF using Acrobat XI, see this tutorial.  To OCR a PDF using Acrobat DC, follow this link. Running text recognition (OCRing) a scanned PDF isn’t a big deal, but it is one more step in the process of using Acrobat as a content editor.

Addressing Text Box Issues

You can fix issues with text boxes by understanding how they work.

When you click inside a text box, Acrobat places handles around the box.  The handles look like solid squares: ■  Here is an example:

example of a text box

You can grab any handle (solid square) by clicking it with your mouse.  Grabbing one of the handles allows you to make the box taller, shorter, wider, or narrower.   I can shrink the text box in the last example and make it narrower and taller like this:

shrunken text box

This is important, because as I said, if you delete or insert too much text, the formatting of your document will be affected.  Therefore, you need to master the skill of manipulating text boxes or your text edits won’t look right.

Using Word’s Editing Power for PDFs

If you have more than a few edits, consider saving the PDF as a Word document.  You’ll have more control over the editing, and will likely save yourself some frustration.

Saving a PDF as a Word Document in Acrobat XI

  • Open the document in Acrobat.
  • Select File, Save as Other … ►.
  • Choose Microsoft Word, then select “Word Document” if you have Word 2007 or later or “Word 97-2003” if you have an earlier version of Word.
  • Give the document a name.
  • Browse to a location where you want to save the document.
  • Select Save.
  • Open the document in Word and start editing.

Saving a PDF as a Word Document in Acrobat DC

  • Open the document in Acrobat.
  • Choose File > Export To > Microsoft Word, then select “Word Document” if you have Word 2007 later or “Word 97-2003” if you have an earlier version of Word.
  • Click Export. The Export dialog box is displayed.
  • In the Export dialog box, give the document a name and browse to the location where you want to save the file.
  • Click Save to export the PDF.
  • Open the document in Word and start editing.

Converting Your Edited Word Document Back to PDF

To save a PDF of the edited Word document:

  • Click on the Microsoft Office Button.
  • Choose Print ► Print.
  • In the printer list, click the down arrow and choose the “Adobe PDF” printer:

pdf printer

  • Click OK.

Alternatively, you can save a PDF of the edited Word document using File, Save As:

  • Click on the Microsoft Office Button, choose Save As ►and select PDF or XPS.
  • Give the document a name.
  • Browse to the location where you want to save the document.
  • Select Save.

Conclusion

Changing a word or two?  Use Content Editing in Acrobat.  To revise entire sentences or paragraphs, convert the PDF to Word first (or obtain a copy of the document in its native application).  For a video demo of how text editing is done in Acrobat, watch this tutorial.

All Rights Reserved 2016. Beverly Michaelis

Seamless Client Intake Online – Free Webinar!

  • Ever wish you could streamline your solo or small firm practice to easily track contacts, client leads, tasks, and reminders?
  • Or send out client intake forms with a few clicks of your mouse, set a due date for clients to complete forms, and automate client reminders?
  • Maybe you’ve been longing to implement eSigning of fee agreement and engagement letters, but you’re not quite certain how to get started.

Free Webinar – January 12, 2016

Learn how to do all the above at our free webinar on January 12, 2016 with Lexicata – the all-in-one client relationship management and client intake solution exclusively for lawyers.

If Lexicata is new to you, check out their website and blog.  Bob Ambrogi of the popular LawSites blog posted this review in May.

We are excited to offer this webinar in the new year, as Lexicata is really the only product on the market that can offer true client intake online – a feature many lawyers want to incorporate into their practice, but find cost-prohibitive to develop on their own.

Register Now!

Register now for this free program. This will be an accredited CLE touching on client intake and engagement practices folded into a Lexicata demonstration.  Even if you aren’t ready to make the move to online client intake and engagement, this is an event worth attending.  Topics include:

  • The Current Client Intake Landscape
  • Pitfalls of Client Intake
  • Overview of the Intake Process – Identifying what is needed from the client, getting organized, reviewing ethical considerations, assigning roles
  • Breaking Down Intake – Responding to the initial inquiry, consulting by phone or in-person, following up post-consultation
  • Social Media and Client Intake
  • Managing Initial Contact – Identifying referral sources, setting the tone, applying the Rule of 7, managing expectations, client tracking
  • The Role of Technology – streamlining intake, collecting information, balancing the need to screen v. wasting client time or damaging rapport
  • Client Engagement – signing clients, managing workflow, removing barriers to engagement, using eSigning as a tool, communicating next steps
  • Evaluating Your Intake Process – Asking for feedback to improve procedures

 

 

Clear paragraph and font formatting in Word

From Jan Berinstein, the expert behind Compusavvy:

Even if you have been using Word for a long time, you might not realize how easy it is to remove paragraph and/or font formatting from text. This post highlights a few different methods for stripping formatting, all of which work in recent versions up through and including Word 2016. You can clear paragraph and/or font […]
https://compusavvy.wordpress.com/2015/10/26/clear-paragraph-and-font-formatting-in-word/

Three Features to Customize in Windows 10

More advice on how to make Windows 10 work best for you – this time from the incomparable CompuSavvy.  If you aren’t already following this blog, you should be.

Source: Three features to customize in Windows 10

Office 2016 Incompatible with Acrobat XI (for now)

Did you upgrade to Office 2016 only to find that your Acrobat XI toolbar disappeared? You are not alone.

It seems that each time Microsoft pushes out a new version of Office, Adobe lags behind. This was true for Office 2013 and Office 2010.

Responses posted on Acrobat User Forums are indicating that Adobe will push out a release to fix the compatibility issues between Office 2016 and Acrobat XI “soon.” According to Microsoft, the problem is with the PDFMOfficeAddin.dll file.

Assuming Adobe follows through, XI users will not be forced to buy Acrobat DC. Can users count on Adobe keeping its promise?

Based on past experience, the odds are 50/50.  In the case of Office 2010, Adobe never did release a fix.  Instead, version 9 users who wanted Acrobat functionality within Office were required to purchase Acrobat 10. Thankfully that was not the experience with Office 2013, as Adobe did release a free update to fix the compatibility issues.

Sincere thanks to a Portland-metro attorney for bringing this compatibility problem to my attention.

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

 

 

Windows 7 and 8 Updates Include Data Mining Features

Should you install the latest Windows update?  Depends how you feel about data mining.

Similar to Windows 10, the most recent updates for Windows 7 and 8 will collect data on users.  Unfortunately, the features that gather data on users seem to be somewhat unavoidable once installed.
Read more about the privacy concerns of installing these updates on Techlicious.

Getting Your Head into the Cloud

Whether you’re setting up a practice for the first time or upgrading existing technology, odds are you’re taking a long, hard look at the cloud. Here is a checklist to help you through the process.

Getting Started

Moving your data to the cloud is all about vetting the cloud provider – will they or won’t they keep your client information secure?  Here are your marching orders:

Research the Provider

  1. What is their reputation?
  2. How many years have they been in business?
  3. Are bloggers and news outlets critical or supportive?
  4. Can the provider give you a list of other lawyers who use their product?  (If so, check the provider’s references.)
  5. Talk to friends and colleagues: are they familiar with the product or provider?  What are their thoughts?
  6. If you belong to a listserv, poll the members of the listserv.
  7. Use the power of Google to reveal problems.  A general search using the product or provider name is a good start.  To uncover security issues, Google the product or provider name followed by the words “security concerns” or “data breach.”  To reveal if outages are a problem, search the product or provider name followed by the words “downtime statistics.”

Evaluate Speed and Reliability

Uptime, bandwidth, and general reliability of the Internet matter.

  1. Check on provider uptime statistics as part of your general research – see the discussion above.
  2. Make sure your technology is up to the task.  To use the cloud effectively you must have a fast, reliable Internet connection. If you don’t, contact your ISP.  If there is a remedy (and you can afford it), great.  If not, taking your practice into the cloud is likely not a good choice.

Read the Fine Print

  1. Dig into the provider’s website and follow any links that reference Terms of Service, Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, Security, or Service Agreements.
  2. Contact customer service for clarification of terms if needed.

Educate Yourself about Encryption

Every cloud provider encrypts your data.  The devil is in the details:

  1. Is your data encrypted at all times (in transit and at rest)?
  2. Does the provider hold a master encryption key?  (If so the provider can access your data at any time, thus defeating client confidentiality.)
  3. Is third-party encryption an option?  If the answer is yes, you can lock out the cloud provider.  A master key only permits the provider to unlock their encryption, not yours.  With third-party (AKA client-side) encryption, you – the user – apply your own encryption software before uploading any content to the cloud provider’s site.  Here’s the rub:  encrypting your own content isn’t always an option for compatibility reasons, so check with the provider.

Learn about Data Access Policies – “Authorized” and “Unauthorized”

Getting an answer to the master encryption key question will resolve whether the provider’s employees can freely access your information.  Now you need to ask:

  1. Will the provider notify you if authorities seek access to your account information?  (Some providers comply with subpoenas first and tell you about it later.)
  2. What is the provider’s procedure if a data breach occurs?

Know Before You Go: Security, Backups, Redundancy, and Local Copies of Your Data

  1. Find out what the provider has to say about the physical security of its facilities.  Features like fire suppression, redundant electrical systems, temperature controlled environments, video surveillance, and 24/7 monitoring by security personnel are standard.
  2. Learn everything you can about how your data is backed up. Where, when, and how.  A decent cloud provider has multiple servers that are geographically dispersed.
  3. Consider it a deal breaker if you can’t download a local copy of your own data. Keeping a local copy just makes sense.  First, it protects you if the provider goes out of business (some have).  Second, if the provider suffers a catastrophic breach you’ll still have a pristine copy of your information.  [Caveat: ability to download a local copy of your data does not mean you can work with it offline.  This is simply a way to protect yourself in a worst case scenario.]

Nail down the Details: Support, Training, Data Migration, and Data Integration

Cloud products are generally pretty easy to use, but at some point you’ll need help – maybe at the outset when you import your data – or later when you start using more advanced features of the program.  Either way, ask:

  1. Does the provider offer live telephone support?  Live chat?  Email?  What are the hours?  Is it free or is there a support contract?
  2. What resources does the provider have on its website?  Searchable knowledge base?  User forums?  Blog?  Training videos?  Webinars?
  3. Will the provider help you migrate your existing data?  Are you on your own?  If there is a fee for data migration, get an estimate.
  4. What about product compatibility and integration?  Some users need the cloud product to communicate with an existing piece of software, like QuickBooks or Outlook.  [Tip: don’t just take the cloud provider’s word for it.  Run another Google search: Is (cloud product name) compatible with (existing program)? If the blogosphere has spotted issues, you’ll uncover them quickly enough.

Product Cost and Licensing

Most cloud products are sold on a monthly subscription basis.  Do a bit of research:

  1. What is the current fee per user?  Any price breaks for multiple licenses?
  2. Research historic costs.  If monthly fees have jumped significantly in the recent past, factor this into your choice.
  3. Are product upgrades or new features included in existing subscriptions or is there an additional fee?
  4. What does a single license or a single user account include? Some providers are strict: one user/one license/one device.  Others are more flexible: one user/one license/multiple downloads: desktop, laptop, tablet.

Choose the Right Version

If your cloud provider offers multiple packages or products, proceed cautiously.

  1. Look for a Web page on the provider’s site that will compare the features of each version side by side.
  2. Call customer service when in doubt.
  3. Take advantage of free trials, which are almost universally available. A trial run is the best way to know whether you’re really going to like something.

Cyber Liability and Data Breach – What if the Worst Happens?

If you’ve decided to store your data in the cloud, it might be a good idea to have cyber liability and data breach coverage.

The Professional Liability Fund 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.

This is Too Much Work – Can’t You Just Tell Me What to Do or Give Me a List of Recommended Products?

No.  I can’t make this decision for you.  You and I have different likes, dislikes, needs, skill levels, and preferences.  (Think: Windows vs. Mac, Word vs. WordPerfect, or Mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip.)

If you want to be happy with your choice, you have to make it.  We can talk, I can point you toward resources, or send you comparison charts.  But in the end you are the decider.

[All Rights Reserved 2015 Beverly Michaelis]