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]

Get Organized for Year End

Wthith all the demands on our time during the holiday season it’s easy to push aside the
task of getting records organized for year-end.  But doing so is an absolute necessity – especially for the sole practitioner.  Here is some solid advice from the experts:

Get started today. By beginning the process before year-end you will have a better sense of where you stand financially.  You may find it makes sense to pre-pay 2016 expenses [bar dues, professional liability coverage, rent] or make a contribution to your IRA or other retirement fund.  Wait until January 1 and it will be too late for some of these tax-saving steps.

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis [2015]

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

 

 

Reassigning Ctrl O to “File Open” in Word 2013 and Word 2016

From Jan Berinstein at CompuSavvy:

In a recent blog post, I provided instructions for bypassing the so-called Backstage view (i.e., the File tab’s Open screen / menu) when opening a file with Word 2013 or Word 2016.  I suggested using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl F12, which takes you directly to the Open dialog in Windows.  That keyboard shortcut comes in […]
https://compusavvy.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/reassigning-ctrl-o-to-file-open-in-word-2013-and-word-2016/

Coping with Mistakes

Mistakes happen.  The practice of law is complex, clients don’t always follow through as directed, and sometimes we commit errors.

The emotion of being caught up in a legal malpractice claim can be overwhelming:

A significant measure of a person is not whether he or she avoids trouble, but how he or she meets it when they find each other…. I have developed immense respect for many of our covered parties, not because of their perfection as lawyers (they weren’t perfect), but because of how they coped with the claim.
Bruce Schafer, PLF Director of Claims – Parting Thoughts: Lawyers are like other people.

Help is here if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed

Take this advice from the Professional Liability Fund:

We recognize that having a legal malpractice claim filed against you is often very upsetting. Lawyers react in many different ways, including anger, loss of confidence, anxiety, avoidance, and inability to focus.  If you would like assistance coping with the stress or other challenges associated with a legal malpractice claim, the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program offers free and confidential support and assistance. Information you provide to OAAP Attorney Counselors is not shared with the PLF Claims staff, your defense counsel, or any other person. In fact, no information is disclosed to any person, agency, or organization outside the OAAP without your consent. For free and completely confidential assistance call 503.226.1057 or 1.800.321.6227 (OAAP).  NOTE:  We ask that you do not discuss the facts or merits of the case with anyone other than the PLF, defense counsel, or others with whom you maintain a legally confidential relationship.

Putting claims into context

One of the most important roles we fulfill at the PLF or OAAP is helping you put a claim in context:

  • You are not alone.  The PLF receives approximately one claim for every nine lawyers it covers.  More than 80% of lawyers in practice 20 years or more have had a claim.
  • Having a strong reaction to an allegation of malpractice is very common.
  • There is never a downside to contacting the PLF or OAAP.  Our services are confidential and we are here to help.
  • The PLF has two claims attorneys on call every day to talk to Oregon lawyers. You should contact the PLF if you are served with a summons and/or complaint; you are concerned that you may have made a mistake; a client indicates that you have made a mistake; someone threatens you with a claim or makes a demand for damages against you; you receive a subpoena, or someone requests information, documentation, and/or testimony about your representation of a client.  Call the PLF even if you are concerned that the claim may not be covered.
  • At least one Attorney Counselor is on call daily at the OAAP office.  The OAAP is available to assist with any issue that affects the ability of a lawyer to function effectively.
  • The PLF has four practice management advisors on staff who are available to help you take action and constructively move forward with office system improvements.

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

 

Oregon Supreme Court Tosses Out 40 Year Precedent

Anytime the Oregon Supreme Court throws out a 40 year precedent, it qualifies as news. Here is a pertinent excerpt from the The NW Policyholder:

Good news for policyholders today from the Oregon Supreme Court: the court overruled the 42-year-old Stubblefield decision, making it much easier for defendants in litigation to protect themselves if their insurance company fails to reach a reasonable settlement with the plaintiff. Today’s decision in Brownstone
Homes Condo Ass’n v. Brownstone Forest Heights LLC means that a policyholder may more easily reach an agreement with the plaintiff to resolve the litigation and allow the plaintiff to go after insurance assets. Oregon has now joined the majority of states that allow policyholders to enter into these “covenant judgment” agreements without jumping through a series of hoops that are fraught with peril.

Read more here.