All the Tech Tips You’ll Ever Need

Well… that may be a bit of a stretch, but this is still a goodie.

If you enjoy the ABA TECHSHOW format of 60 TechTips in 60 Minutes, you will certainly appreciate the lead-off presentation from this year’s inaugural Oregon State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference.

Featuring Paul Unger and Barron Henley, “60 Legal Tech Tips, Gadgets, Apps and Websites” was a technology whirlwind.  I can honestly say I’ve saved the best post for last.  [If you missed out on prior posts, just time travel back to July 13 to see the beginning and work your way forward.]

Here are a few of the jewels Paul and Barron shared:

For the complete compilation, see this post on Storify.

All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis

Postscript

Also see the related story featuring Barron’s tips on “Superior Methods for Drafting Complex Legal Documents.”

Mac Users! Save Client Email in Five Easy Steps

If you follow this blog or read my articles in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin, you know I’m a big proponent of capturing email as part of the client file.

Read on if you believe, as I do, that email communications should be stored with the rest of your client documents to ensure a fully integrated, complete record of your work.

I Know You Love Gmail

Many lawyers are ardent users of Gmail. If you believe in saving email to your client file, this poses a problem.  Google doesn’t provide a tool to let users save multiple messages in one step.  You can print one message at a time to PDF or paper, but that’s about it.

Zapier

One workaround is to use Zapier, a web automation app.  [See my upcoming blog post on April 11.]

Outlook + Acrobat

Another approach [and my personal favorite] requires a combination of Outlook and Adobe Acrobat.  These two programs work together seamlessly, allowing the user to create searchable email portfolios that are automatically indexed and hyperlinked. When the Acrobat ribbon is installed in Outlook, you are only a few mouse clicks away from converting a single message, group of messages, or an entire folder of messages to PDF.  No need to worry about attachments, as these are automatically captured during the conversion process.  [Beware that Office 2016 requires an upgrade to Acrobat DC.]

What If Zapier, Outlook, or Acrobat Aren’t For You?

There are other options, but if you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck.  I can show you how to save client email in 5 simple steps without buying any new software.  All you need is the Mail App built into Mac OS.

Mac Users: Save Client Email in 5 Easy Steps

OK, I actually fibbed a bit.  First you need to set up your email account in Mail.  Macs are configured to help you automatically pull down email from Yahoo!, Gmail, and AOL, so this is very easy.  Your Web account stays intact.  All you’re doing is bringing your email messages into the Mail app.  Once you’ve set up Mail to pull messages down from your Web-based account, follow these five easy steps:

  1. Select the messages you wish to save [Use Command A to select all messages in a folder].
  2. Choose File, Save As.
  3. Verify the File Type is set to “RTF” [Rich Text Format].
  4. Verify that the box marked “Include Attachments” has a checkmark.
  5. Give the message string a name and save it to the desired location.

RTF [Rich Text Format] documents can be opened in Word, WordPerfect, Open Office, or any text utility [WordPad, NotePad].  This method will save your messages in a single thread which includes attachments.  The result is a searchable document that can be saved with all your other client documents.

Once the RTF file is created, you can delete the messages from Gmail, freeing up space.

Best Practices for Mac Users

IMHO, I would perform this maneuver as part of the file closing process.  Go ahead and leave messages in Gmail while your file is open.  When the work is complete, and your file is ready to close, make it part of your file closing ritual to “File, Save As” email messages to RTF.  Then delete the messages from Gmail.  This creates an integrated, complete client file.

Personally, I file as I go – an easy thing to do if you’re using Outlook+Acrobat, but I understand why lawyers prefer to leave emails in a folder while a file is open.  Many people find it easier to search email and use existing messages to send a new message. I get it.  My only caution:  If you do this, carefully review the original recipients of the message before you hit Reply All.  Clients, in particular, may have included someone else in an original email thread.  If you don’t notice this, and hit Reply All, you are sending confidential client communications to your client and someone else.

[All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2016]

[Note: no promises here that original attachment formatting will be preserved, but since most lawyers automatically save attachments as separate documents in the client file, I wouldn’t lose sleep over the fact that they aren’t perfect in appearance in your RTF email thread.]

Correcting OCR Errors in Acrobat

If you’re an Acrobat user, the following is a must-read post from Rick Borstein at Acrolaw:  Correcting OCR Errors.

As Rick explains, OCR is the “magic” that transforms a scanned document from a mere image into content that can be searched, edited, manipulated, or saved to a different format [Microsoft Word].

Understanding OCR is critical, since all documents eFiled in Oregon must be text searchable.  OCR is what makes this happen.  Rick’s blog explains the common issues that arise when OCRing text and how to fix them.

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

POSTSCRIPT: 

It appears Adobe is not going to release an update to Acrobat  XI. Therefore, if you have Office 2016, you will need to purchase Acrobat DC.