Astonishing Admission from Amazon about your Data

Thanks to Delaware Senator Chris Coons we recently learned that Amazon keeps Alexa transcripts and voice recordings indefinitely and only removes them if they’re manually deleted by users. Maybe.

While the company is engaged in an “ongoing effort to ensure those transcripts do not remain in any of Alexa’s other storage systems,” there are still records from some conversations with Alexa that Amazon won’t delete, even if people remove the audio.

In addition, Alexa also retains all purchase requests, reminders, and alarms.


You, the user, must take the extra step to delete this data – and even if you do – Amazon doesn’t always follow through.

Despite reports by cnet and other tech sites, this news flew under the radar when reported last Tuesday – two days before Independence Day.

Smart Technology

As cnet points out, voice assistants aren’t the only cause for privacy concerns. Any smart home device – locks, doorbells, or appliances – can potentially collect and share your data. Be aware that the price you pay for convenience may mean sacrificing privacy.

All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis

Avoiding a #PrimeDayFail With Your Clients

Online retailer Amazon touted last week’s Prime Day as “Black Friday” in July.  Judging by the sales, it was a success.  At the same time, Prime Day was also a huge let-down, leaving many customers angry and frustrated.

The snark was running at full steam on Twitter and other social media sites, generating the trending hashtag: #PrimeDayFail.

What Lesson Can Lawyers Learn From #PrimeDayFail?

Amazon Prime customers were ticked because the sale didn’t match the hype.  Common complaints included:

The end result?  Amazon sold enough Tupperware to turn a profit but also damaged its reputation.

The lesson for lawyers can be summed up pretty simply: control expectations, keep your word – don’t offer a deal you can’t deliver, and remember that appearances matter.  Raising a price on Prime Day doesn’t make Amazon evil, but it doesn’t look good either.  Here are your marching orders:

Manage Client Expectations

  • Assess cases realistically and present them to clients that way.
  • Explain clearly, and confirm in writing, exactly what your legal services will consist of and exactly how the fee will be determined.
  • Confirm all advice in writing, particularly if the client chooses not to follow your advice.  Explain alternatives and their ramifications, and then let your client decide.

Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver

  • Complete work as promised, or let the client know why if it cannot be done.
  • Keep the client informed of the progress of his or her case by sending copies of pleadings, correspondence, etc., as well as occasional status reports.

Perception is King – Strive to be Responsive, Timely, Accurate, and Empathetic

  • Keep client appointments promptly.
  • Establish a standard time for returning client calls and responding to email.  Communicate your practices to clients and keep your promise.  The PLF offers administrative brochures and other client relation materials that describe these kinds of policies so clients know what to expect.  Visit our site, select Practice Management, then Forms, and choose the category Client Relations.  If you are unavailable for an extended period, let clients know.
  • Take measures to produce professional work product.  Clients are forgiving of the occasional mistake, but frequent billing errors, typos, and other clerical snafus can cause the client to question your fees, your work, and your integrity.
  • Treat clients with empathy and practice good listening skills.  Often the most important client need you can meet is the need to be heard and understood.  Clients who feel “well taken care of” rarely file a bar complaint or legal malpractice claim.

[All Rights Reserved 2015 Beverly Michaelis]

What You Can Do With a Law Degree

The New What Can You Do With a Law Degree: A Lawyer’s Guide to Career Satisfaction Inside, Outside & Around the Law is now available on Amazon.

For those who aren’t familiar with the predecessor editions, here is a description:

In this new, 6th edition of a law career classic, lawyers are introduced to a unique, five-part model for career satisfaction. It is based on a well-established principle that the better the fit between your career identity and your job, the greater your long-term satisfaction. The five-part model developed by Larry Richard JD/Ph.D. will help identify your career identity so that you can find lifelong satisfaction in the traditional practice of law, or through alternative work arrangements, or career choices. This book contains career exercises, practical career-finding techniques, and a compendium of 800+ ways to use your law degree inside, outside or around the law.

The co-author is our very own Tanya Hanson, Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund Loss Prevention Attorney.

I hope you will find this resource helpful. Please share it with others who might benefit from this guide.  At a mere $30 (free shipping) it is a bargain and then some!


It’s Here! Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2010

Jan Berinstein’s new book, Formatting Legal Documents with Microsoft Word 2010, is now available on Lulu and Amazon

You may know Jan from her blog, CompuSavvy’s Word & WordPerfect Tips or her computer classes for the legal profession.  She is a well-respected Word and WordPerfect expert. 

If you purchase Formatting Legal Documents with Microsoft Word 2010 here’s what you can expect:

“This book helps legal staff use Microsoft Word 2010 to prepare pleadings, contracts, and other complex documents.  The author, an expert legal word processor and computer trainer, starts by describing what’s new and different in this version of Word.  She then examines Word’s “logic,” the key to mastering the program.  She offers tips for making Word 2010 work more like older versions, customizing the Ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar, and using keyboard shortcuts.  She explains everyday features such as headers and footers, automatic numbering, indents, and footnotes and gives step-by-step instructions for working with case captions, inserting a pleading footer, aligning text with pleading line numbers, setting up a style for indented quotes, creating and generating a Table of Contents and a Table of Authorities, tracking changes, and comparing documents.  In addition, she touches on the issues of metadata removal and document corruption.  The book is filled with pragmatic tips, tricks, and workarounds.” (Lulu excerpt.)

At $41.95 this book is a bargain.  I’ve already ordered my copy from Lulu (Summer shipping is free.)

Still using Word 2007 with no immediate plans to upgrade?  Don’t fret.  Jan’s Formatting Legal Documents With Microsoft Word 2007 can still be found on Lulu and Amazon for $35.95.

Copyright 2010 Beverly Michaelis