The Technology Committee has several publications available on counseling and advising clients on technology issues, and ways to use technology more effectively and efficiently in your practice.  On the Committee’s homepage, N. Kane Bennett has an article entitled Don’t Get Caught Operating Without a License.  Kane’s article focuses on software licensing issues, the consequences of business owners using unlicensed software or improper use of software, and guidance on advising clients on the best ways to prevent software compliance audits or enforcement actions for improper software use.

Robert Chapski has an article entitled Embracing New Technology and Avoiding Its Pitfalls.  Robert’s article offers several tips on how to both use technology in different areas of your practice, and how use technology to manage your work, rather than allowing the work to manage you.

The most recent edition of eNews, the Technology Committee’s newsletter, is also available.  You can access the full newsletter here.  The newsletter features several articles addressing the effective use of technology, including:

Lauren Bartlett’s article Using Technology to Maximize Productivity and Trim the Proverbial Fat.  In her article, Lauren takes a look at using nontraditional methods of communication and new approaches to capturing dead time to increase productivity and minimizing costs for law firms and clients.  The article includes a discussion of using Internet conferencing to meet with clients, expert witness, and local counsel in diverse locations, using mobile billing applications to track and capture billable time from your mobile phone, and using voice-to-text services to simplify written communication through your mobile phone.

In Two Tools for Improving the Efficiency of Your Legal Research, Craig Reid discusses two add-ons, or extensions, for the Firefox web browser that will help you to streamline your online research and the writing process.  The first, CiteGenie, is an extension that automatically creates citations to cases, statutes, regulations, and many secondary sources in the Westlaw and Lexis databases, and helps simplify the process of online legal research and writing.  The second, Zotero, is an extension that allows you to capture and organize webpage images to simplify online research.

Finally, Kevin Reynolds has written The Effective Use of PowerPoint or CorelPresentations During Opening Statement and Closing Argument.  Kevin offers practical tips for using these presentation tools in trial, including strategy tips on when to disclose the use of the presentation, and advice on executing the presentation in trial, when it matters most.

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The Technology Committee is presenting a webcast entitled “Expanding Your Reach – How to Use Technology to Increase Productivity Outside of the Traditional Office.”  The webcast is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22, beginning at 1:30 p.m. CST.  Registration and Continuing Legal Education information will be available soon. 

New technology presents the opportunity to have access to more information from more locations more quickly.  The benefits of this technology are wide-ranging, from allowing attorneys who frequently travel to stay connected with their clients, to having a virtual office outside a courtroom during trial, to allowing firms to offer non-traditional work arrangements to both keep good employees and reduce their office overhead.  This webcast will give you the opportunity to learn how to maximize your IT dollar and to leverage the technology you have for purposes beyond merely the traditional.  Whether you are thinking about maternity leave, a lawyer with a heavy travel schedule, or just about to take that much needed vacation, this webcast will teach you what you need to know to stay "in the know" while you are away from your desk.  

This webcast is designed for lawyers who want to maximize productivity within their firm and use technology to help retain talented employees, for lawyers who frequently travel as a part of their practice, for lawyers who are contemplating non-traditional work arrangements, such as telecommuting, and anyone else who is interested in learning different ways to use new technology to work more efficiently.


The webcast will be presented by Cynthia P. Arends and Courtney E. Ward-Richard of Halleland Lewis Nilan & Johnson, P.A., in Minneapolis, and will address:


·        How the use of PDAs and other devices can assist in managing work away from the office.

·        The role home offices and telecommuting can play in increasing the efficiency of time and improving work/life balance.

·        How to use technology to set up a virtual office during out-of-town trials.

·        The emergence of new technologies, such as videoconferencing, to increase productivity when outside of the office. 

·        How to attract and keep valuable women attorneys without sacrificing client service.


Registration and CLE information will be available soon at DRI’s Webcasts page.

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Smartphone Etiquette

Posted on August 6, 2009 09:35 by Chad L. Hobbs

As a follow up to Monday’s post on Blackberries and iPhones, you should also see David Zizik’s earlier post here on smartphone etiquette.  David’s post includes a link to Allison Shield’s article “Blackberry Behaviour:  Is it Ruining Your Reputation?

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In the most recent ABA Technology Survey, 77% of the responding lawyers reported using a smartphone in their practice.  (Source: Inside Legal.)  According to the survey results, Blackberry continues to be the most popular choice: 64% of lawyers reporting the brand names of their smartphones reported using Blackberries.  Even though Blackberry continues to be the overwhelming choice among lawyers, the iPhone’s popularity has increased, and 14% of the survey's respondents reported using the iPhone, making it the second most popular smartphone in the survey.

As the iPhone's popularity continues to increase, it will almost certainly continue to gain market share among lawyers and law firms.  And, as this happens, more and more lawyers will face the choice about which of these products is better for their practice.  Galen Gruman has published a comprehensive comparison of the Blackberry Bold to the iPhone at InfoWorld.  Several bloggers have also published commentaries on the pros and cons of each of these devices for lawyers, and a sampling of some these can be found here, here, and here.

A few months ago, the ABA’s webzine Law Practice Today published a pair of commentaries from Jeff Richardson and Lee Rosen weighing in on the debate.  Rosen reported that he ultimately rejected both the Blackberry Storm and the iPhone in favor of his Blackberry 8830:

Why didn’t I like the iPhone? I did like it in many respects; in fact I loved it as a web browser, music player and game machine. It was wonderful at running applications like OmniFocus (my task manager) and others. It failed me, however, as a telephone. I found it difficult to use in the car (while driving) due to the touch screen and ineffective voice dialing. I found out how much I rely on the buttons on the Blackberry to do things without looking. I was also frustrated by call quality on AT&T.

Why didn’t I keep the Storm? It’s not nearly as cool as the iPhone. It doesn’t support many applications and it has a much clunkier web browser. It also suffers from the touch screen and issues with dialing, although it has great voice dialing capability.

Bottom line, I need a phone. The applications, the touch screen, the cool factor are all terrific but if the device doesn’t make it really easy to make a call then it has to go back to the store. One day I hope to have something that fills my need for cool and makes it easy to place a call with a decent connection. Until that day comes, I will be keeping my traditional Blackberry with a keyboard.

Richardson, on the other hand, easily chose the iPhone over the Blackberry.  While Blackberry has long been the industry leader in email functionality, Richardson noted that the iPhone has made strides to catch up, while offering some benefits of its own:

I wish the iPhone had some of the Blackberry’s advanced e-mail features such as macros and other shortcuts. But Apple can easily add these with software updates, and indeed iPhone e-mail today is already much better than it was a year ago. As things stand today, although you give up a few e-mail features with the iPhone, you also gain other features such as readability and ease of use. This is why I say that if the one and only reason that you want a smartphone is for e-mail, the Blackberry and the iPhone are both good options.

Ultimately, though, it was the features that the iPhone offers over and above email that convinced Richardson:

…The Safari web browser is far better than any other mobile phone browser because you can quickly (thanks to WiFi and 3G) see a whole web page the way it was designed to be displayed and use multi-touch to easily zoom in and out to better read any small text. Accessing the Internet on the go is such a key feature nowadays that this alone is enough reason to get an iPhone.

The iPhone also does a great job displaying Google maps and the built-in GPS quickly finds where you are and helps you get to where you want to go and, using Street View, show you what it will look like when you get there. With the iPod app you can enjoy music, podcasts and videos, and with the iTunes app you can download content directly on the iPhone. The camera is decent for a cell phone, especially for outdoor shots.

While those built-in apps are great, the iPhone’s real flexibility comes from the over 10,000 (and growing) third-party applications. If you can dream it, there is bound to be an app you can add to do it. You can carry around copies of statutes and rules, check the weather, stream Internet music, play amazing games, etc., and these apps almost always cost just a few dollars and can even be downloaded and installed directly on the iPhone.

Following up on Richardson’s last point about the flexibility of the iPhone apps, he has also blogged about the best iPhone apps for lawyers.

Ultimately, Rosen and Richardson seem to carve out the main dividing line for lawyers choosing between the Blackberry and iPhone.  For a reliable phone and email functionality, Blackberry is likely to remain the smartphone of choice for lawyers.  But for lawyers who are looking for better mobile access to the Internet, media functionality, and application flexibility, the iPhone may offer a better option.  Any lawyer trying to choose between a Blackberry and an iPhone would do well to read the full articles by both Rosen and Richardson.

Of course, the Blackberry and iPhone are not the only smartphone choices available for lawyers.  Palm was the third most popular choice among lawyers in the ABA survey, and its new Palm Pre is bound to be popular among many lawyers.  Google also continues to try to become a major player in the smartphone market with its Android operating system and GPhones.  And there are many other devices available from manufacturers that haven’t been mentioned here.

The most interesting question, though, may be, Which device are you using in your practice?  What experience have you had with the device, and would you recommend it to other lawyers?

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DRI's Technology Committee just released its biannual newsletter, which can be downloaded from the DRI website. The newsletter contains alot of useful information for practitioners trying to streamline their practices and incorporate today's ever changing technological advancements into their practice. This most recent issue contains informative articles about using technology to maximize productivity and reduce overhead expenditures, innovative ways to improve the efficiency of your legal research, and increasing the effectiveness of your opening statement and closing argument through the use of Microsoft PowerPoint or Corel Presentations. These articles will educate you on new software that is available to capture billable time out of the office and minimize expenses by utilizing free or inexpensive online collaboration services; teach you about Firefox, CiteGenie and Zotero as research tools; and give you a new perspective on tools you may already use when it comes to visual presentations.

We are also pleased to announce that the Technology Committee will be presenting Using Technology To Your Advantage At Trial: A Case Study In A Hurricane Katrina Insurance Case at this year's Annual Meeting in Chicago. Our newsletter has an inside look at that presentation as well. This is a can't miss presentation that you will find both informative and entertaining!

If you find the information in our newsletter useful, we encourage you to join our committee and stay informed of the cutting edge in legal technology.

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Categories: Annual Meeting | Technology

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