Hot off the Presses: Acrobat XI – What Can it Do for Lawyers?

On Monday Adobe announced the release of Acrobat XI.  According to Rick Borstein, author of the Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog, “the latest version of Acrobat offers many new features that will be valuable to legal professionals.”  Rick will post more in the coming weeks, but for now, here is his top 10 list of new features for lawyers:

  1. PDF editing
  2. Easier PDF/A conformance
  3. Save PDF to PowerPoint
  4. Redesigned Combine Panel (for combining PDFs)
  5. Forms Central (stand alone tool for creating forms)
  6. Webmail Support
  7. Create PDF and Run Action (e.g. Macros)
  8. Improved eSigning
  9. Editing Restrictions
  10. Customized Toolset (create your own Quick Tools toolbar or panels)

To understand what these changes mean and how they will enhance your use of Acrobat, read Rick’s full blog post here.

The Best Scanner for a Small Law Office

A very kind reader of this blog pointed out recently that while I have written about paperless offices many times, I have never recommended a specific scanner (at least in this forum).  So let me offer my far from original opinion:  If you are looking for a stout, reliable, fast, sheetfed duplex color scanner, you would be hard pressed to do better than the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500.  Just check out these reviews from CNet and PC Magazine, if you don’t believe me.  Many legal technology writers have recommended this champ of a scanner, which comes bundled with Acrobat X Standard.

How much, you ask?  The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $495.  This includes the scanner and the software valued at just under $300.  (A full copy of Acrobat X Standard is $299.  A full copy of Acrobat X Pro is $449, but if you buy the Scansnap which comes bundled with Standard you qualify for the Pro upgrade price at a cost of $199.  For a total investment of $694, you can own Acrobat X Pro and one of the best scanners on the market for a small law office.)

If you acquire a Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500 and upgrade to Acrobat X Pro, learn how to install it and learn how to use Acrobat.  By visiting the Acrobat X Pro page, you can find links to the Acrobat blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page, YouTube channel, Adobe TV, Acrobat User Community, and more.  Training is available here and be sure to check out the tutorials.  All these resources are free.  Of course my favorite resource for Acrobat users in the law office is the Acrobat for Legal Professionals Blog where, among other things, you can learn how to use your ScanSnap.

Ready to Buy?

Simply Googling the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500 brought up the following ads:

All are less than Fujitsu’s retail price of $495.  Why might that be?  There are legitimate bargains out there, but be careful.  A savings of $50-150 can sometimes be explained by:

  • Hidden shipping costs (your bargain disappears as you go through the ordering process and realize how expensive shipping will be.)
  • Fine print (the scanner is refurbished, not new.)
  • Old stock (the retailer is trying to move a prior iteration of the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500, which came bundled with Acrobat 9 Standard.)

If you don’t mind buying refurbished or getting a bundle with older software because you intend to upgrade regardless, then forge ahead – just be an informed buyer.  I like to use Google Shopper or Pricegrabber to price compare.  There are mobile apps for both or just go to the Pricegrabber Web site.  The same caveats apply, however.

Happy scanning!

Copyright 2012 Beverly Michaelis

Law Office Paper Reduction

On Friday, April 20 the PLF is offering two stellar CLE programs featuring Barron Henley, lawyer and nationally recognized legal technologist.  The morning session, PDFing: A Lawyer’s Guide to Adobe Acrobat, will be held from 8:45 am to 12:00 pm.  In the afternoon, Barron will present Law Office Paper Reduction and document Management: Strategies that Work.  Here are the details:


OSB Center, Columbia Rooms A & B, 16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd, Tigard, Oregon.


1:15 – 4:30 pm.


$10 for live seminar or Webcast.  (Please note that registration for Law Office Paper Reduction and document Management: Strategies that Work is separate from PDFing: A Lawyer’s Guide to Adobe Acrobat.  If you wish to attend both programs, mark your registration form accordingly or sign up using each program’s Webcast link.)

Program Description:

Technology has fundamentally changed the way lawyers draft documents, gather and manage case infor­mation, conduct research, communicate, and render services. In spite of these changes, many of us still man­age paper today the same way it was done 50 years ago. It’s time to upgrade that approach. This seminar covers everything you need to create your own digital filing system, get your paper under control, and take full advantage of Adobe Acrobat and PDFs. Going digital means collecting all documents you’ve created and received – plus all related faxes, email messages and attachments – into one electronic system, organized by client and matter. It sounds complicated and expensive, but you’ll see that the tools you need are easy to use and inexpensive. We’ll explain and demonstrate how scanners can be used in the law office to reduce paper, lower operating costs, and significantly improve efficiency. We will also discuss document organization and storage techniques that will allow you to locate any document (sent or received) in seconds.

How to Register:

Visit the PLF Web site and select “Upcoming Seminars” under the CLE/Loss Prevention heading.

As I noted in yesterday’s post, I’ve heard Barron speak many times at the annual ABATECHSHOW.  He is one of my favorite presenters, and I am confident he will become one of your favorites too.  Space is limited for the live program, so if you prefer to attend in person, register early!

What Happens to the Paper in Paperless Offices?

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and go “paperless.”  Great idea!  I’m all for it.  But have you thought through what will become of the paper?  Can you truly kick it to the curb?  (Or at least run it through your shredder before disposing of it?)  Not so fast!  It’s a little more complicated than that.

  • First, satisfy yourself that the scanning process has integrity (no missing documents or incomplete PDFs).
  • Next, make sure clients are on board.  Communicate file retention policies in your initial fee agreement and again at the time of file closing.
  • If you are scanning files at the end of representation, review the paper file carefully before shredding:
    • Does the file contain any client property?  Documents, photographs, receipts, bills, cancelled checks, diaries?  Materials provided by the client are generally considered the property of the client and should be returned to the client.
    • Does the file contain any original documents whose authenticity could be disputed?  If so, keep the paper!
    • Does the file contain any documents of legal importance?  Items that are enforceable only in paper form?  Examples include: Wills, Powers of Attorney, Directives to Physicians, Deeds, Car Titles, Promissory Notes, Contracts, and Fee Agreements.  (You may need your original signed contract with the client if you pursue a collection action.)
    • Does your practice area require that you retain certain original documents such as the Affidavit of a Custodian in a guardianship (see ORS 126.725) or the original signed bankruptcy Petition filed on behalf of a debtor?  Know the rules and statutory requirements that apply to your practice area.
  • Disposition of paper files must comply with applicable laws and the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct.  The Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) Disposal Rule (the Rule) requires any person who maintains or possesses “consumer information” for a business purpose to properly dispose of such information by taking “reasonable measures” to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the information in connection with its disposal.  The Rule defines “consumer information” as any information about an individual that is in or derived from a consumer report.  Although the Rule doesn’t specifically refer to lawyers, it may be interpreted to apply to lawyers, and the practices specified in the Rule would safeguard clients’ confidential information. “Reasonable measures” for disposal under the Rule are
    (1) burning, pulverizing, or shredding physical documents; (2) erasing or physically destroying electronic media; and (3) entering into a contract with a document disposal service.  FACTA took effect June 1, 2005.  Also see Oregon State Bar Legal Ethics Op 2005-141.
  • The responsible lawyer on the file should sign-off before the client’s paper file is destroyed.

The Professional Liability Fund recommends that lawyers refrain from accepting original client property, or at a minimum, return client property at the time of file closing.  For more information, see “Closing Files,” a chapter in A Guide to Setting Up and Running Your Law Office, published by the PLF and available on the PLF Web site.  The PLF also offers a File Closing Checklist.  From the PLF Web site, select Practice Aids and Forms, then File Management.

If you currently keep original client Wills, you may want to re-think that decision.
ORS 112.815 provides:

“An attorney who has custody of a will may dispose of the will in accordance with ORS 112.820 if:  (1) The attorney is licensed to practice law in the state of Oregon;  (2) At least 40 years has elapsed since execution of the will; (3) The attorney does not know and after diligent inquiry cannot ascertain the address of the testator; and (4) The will is not subject to a contract to make a will or devise or not to revoke a will or devise.”

For a complete Checklist for Imaging Client Files and Disposing of Original Documents, visit the PLF Web site, select Practice Aids and Forms, then Technology.

Copyright 2011 Beverly Michaelis