Legal Media Matters » Twitter Tips You Might Have Missed | Legal Media Matters http://legalmediamatters.com Public Relations & Web Content Writing Tue, 06 Jan 2015 04:17:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Twitter Tips You Might Have Missed http://legalmediamatters.com/twitter-tips-you-might-have-missed/ http://legalmediamatters.com/twitter-tips-you-might-have-missed/#comments Sun, 12 Aug 2012 11:07:37 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=2600 Twitter tips for businessLegal publication sued, how to make professional videos, best LinkedIn groups for lawyers and more

Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

I’ve sifted through last week’s Twitter feeds from Legal Media Matters (@legalmediamtrs) and Lawyer Tech Review (@lawyertechrvw). Here are 12 Twitter tips covering legal news, practice management, technology and social media that you might have missed.

Legal News

Practice Management

Technology

Social Media

Upcoming CLEs

Whether you’re interested in live, audio or on-demand CLEs, Lorman Education Services has several upcoming seminars that may be of interest to you such as:

  • Practical Implications of Metadata: To Scrub or Not to Scrub. . . To Mine or Not to Mine
  • Protecting Attorney Work Product in Communications With Experts Under the Amended Federal Rules
  • Boilerplate Terms in Marital Agreements
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Apple iPad Review for Lawyers http://legalmediamatters.com/apple-ipad-review-for-lawyers/ http://legalmediamatters.com/apple-ipad-review-for-lawyers/#comments Tue, 09 Nov 2010 17:50:38 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1893 iPad with wireless Bluetooth keyboard

iPad and roll-up Bluetooth keyboard courtesy of Spencer Farris

A trial lawyer and self-professed gadgetoholic reviews the latest lawyer accessory

I will admit it. I’ve been skeptical of claims that the iPad is a useful accessory, rather than a toy, for lawyers. But I have noticed that more and more  of our clients at Legal Media Matters, technophiles and technophobes alike, are sending me notes from Apple’s new tablet and toting it to meetings, to depositions and to court — and recently a trial judge told me that he was considering purchasing an iPad for use on the bench. With so many attorneys turning to the iPad, I decided that it was time for a Legal Media Matters review of Apple’s new tablet. I’m sure many lawyers are asking themselves: “Should I buy an iPad? And why?”

In this guest post, Spencer Farris, a St. Louis personal injury lawyer, humor columnist with the Levison Group and Legal Media Matters client, reviews the pros and cons of the iPad for lawyers.

Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

My name is Spencer, and I’m a gadgetoholic.

My disease started simply enough — a GPS watch here, a digital voice recorder there — but then spun out of control, with jail-broken Apple devices, modified OnStar units, and so on.

Because of this affliction, I avoided the iPad when it was first introduced. I left the room when others discussed their iPads. As fate would have it, though, I wound up in an Apple store to have my iPhone serviced and laid hands on an iPad. You can guess the rest.

Sausage fingers prefer iPads with a Bluetooth keyboard

iPad and keyboard reviewed for lawyers

iPad and keyboard courtesy of Spencer Farris

After I learned a trick that let me use my iPhone data plan for the iPad, I found a 3G 64-gig version and bought it. Because the virtual keyboard doesn’t work well for me unless I look down, I also bought a roll-up Bluetooth external keyboard. Aside from a fashionable iPad cover case, extended iPad batteries from New Trent are my only other modification.

My iPad is now a pretty good stand-in for my laptop in depositions and court hearings. I just returned from a seminar and was able to take notes on the Bluetooth keyboard just like I did on my laptop but without the bulk. I am looking forward to trying a case with the iPad as my document presenter.

I can create documents and PowerPoint presentations on my desktop environment and transfer them to the iPad with ease. This is important because even the Bluetooth keyboard is a bit tight for my sausagelike fingers. Creating outlines and pulling in case citations works better on my multiscreen desktop anyway. The iPad is great for edits and simple documents, but I wouldn’t write appellate briefs on it.

iPad: The happy medium between desktop usability and smartphone portability

The sheer portability of this device makes it a natural for entertainment. I buy magazines from Zinio and carry my subscriptions with me wherever I go. I like reading electronic versions better because I can cut and paste without any paper waste. The zoom on the iPad lets me read and delay the inevitable purchase of magnifying glasses a little longer. Netflix can now put movies on my iPad as well.

I began carrying my contacts and calendar on my smartphone long ago. The iPad is a happy medium between desktop usability and smartphone portability. Keeping desktop, iPad and smartphone coordinated requires a cloud-based subscription or an exchange server. The cloud works adequately for a solo practitioner like me. Updates on one device now appear (usually) on the others so that data remains reliably synchronized.

Is there an iPad app for that?

The iPad is not without its flaws. Hardware is nothing without software. Apple calls these little bits of wonder its apps, short for “applications.” When the Apple commercials say, “There‘s an app for that,” they aren’t necessarily talking about the iPad. Software development is lagging, and some iPad apps are nothing more than iPhone programs magnified to fit the larger iPad screen. Graphics quality suffers in these instances.

Some of the cool iOS features available to the iPhone, such as multitasking and folders for apps, haven’t made it to the iPad yet either.  My technically simple friends don’t seem to notice these problems when they review iPads. We gadget geeks expect penalties like this for early adoption of technology.

The principal of the St. Louis-based S.E. Farris Law Firm, Spencer Farris represents injured personal injury victims and their families in a wide variety of product liability, auto accident, medical malpractice and premises liability cases.

To ensure that you don’t miss out on these useful tips, subscribe to our regular e-mails or RSS feeds. You can also find Legal Media Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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Information for Lawyers, Ideas for Journalists: Week of Sept. 24 http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-sept-24/ http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-sept-24/#comments Sun, 26 Sep 2010 20:21:07 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1769 Up & Coming LawyersOur roundup of legal news links, legal PR client news and story ideas

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

This week, 48 Up & Coming lawyers gathered at the St. Louis Rams club for a reception held in their honor by Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

The Up & Coming awards recognize attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practices, given back to the community through charitable contributions or obtained impressive results on behalf of their clients.

Congratulations to all of the honorees, and a special huzzah to Anne Brockland, Alicia Campbell, Timothy Grochinski, Andrea McNairy, Jeff Roseman and J. Brad Wilmoth.

Notable Links

Large Firms: Take Next Social Media Step

For many law firms, the idea of individual lawyers interacting on social media sites triggers worry and dread. However, Nicole Black at Sui Generis sets forth a step-by-step outline explaining how risk-averse law firms can test the social media waters with a handful of lawyers. She also provides a social media interaction formula that can help lawyers navigate the various social media streams.

SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On

Copyblogger’s Brian Clark sets out five strategic elements to focus on when writing search engine optimized content. The blog post explains in plain language the importance of the title; meta description; unique, frequently updated and tightly focused content; keyword frequency; and page links.

Time Management, Creative Productivity and Multitasking

Every lawyer I know is stretched thin and being tugged in several different directions at once. Multiple court appearances in various courthouses scheduled at the same time, competing case files requiring simultaneous attention and clients with questions are just a few of the challenges attorneys encounter daily. Writer and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi shares some great nuggets about multitasking and time management on the MiG Writers site. Though not geared specifically to lawyers, legal professionals will find her tips useful.

Ideas for Journalists

Dining room table at Papa's law firm

Law Firms That Dare to Be Different

Bound by precedent and steeped in tradition, the legal profession takes its time when trying anything new. For many firms, the conservative pace even extends to changing the physical space and layout. In most traditional firms, each lawyer has his or her own office with a window view, the more senior partners receive the corner offices, support staff members are located in windowless cubicles in the office interior and conference rooms often boast impressive views.

But what about the firms that dare to be different?

For example, Marta J. Papa’s practice is located in a converted home. Mediation clients literally sit down at the dining room table over coffee and work out their differences. At The BrickHouse Law Group, partners Geoff Gerber and Pete Salsich share one large office with a conference room table between their desks, reinforcing their collaborative approach to problem-solving.

To ensure that you don’t miss out on this valuable information, subscribe to our regular e-mails or RSS feeds. You can also find Legal Media Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.

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Information for Lawyers, Ideas for Journalists: Week of Sept. 17 http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-sept-17/ http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-sept-17/#comments Sat, 18 Sep 2010 02:51:41 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1740 AchievementOur roundup of legal news links, legal PR client news and story ideas

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

The ABA Journal’s announcement that it is accepting nominations for its Blawg 100 has the blawgosphere buzzing. The Blawg 100 highlights the best 100 legal blogs on the Internet, and many a law blogger would like to make it onto the list.

The Journal is accepting Friend of the Blawg briefs of 500 words or less. For the record, the Legal Media Matters blog has logged 86 posts since we rolled out our new website in January of this year; an average of 2.3 posts per week — but who’s counting?

The deadline for nominations is Oct. 1. Of course we’d be delighted if you’d give Legal Media Matters a quick nod.

LMM Client News

The BrickHouse Law Group created online buzz when partner Pete Salsich III was featured on the #140 Characters Conference site. Salsich attended the #140ConfRoadTrip MeetUp in St. Louis and explained how his firm is embracing social media and reinventing the law firm model. On Sept. 15, BrickHouse announced that veteran business lawyer David Groce has joined the firm.

Notable Links

New York TimesAt 103, a Judge Has One Caveat: No Lengthy Trials

Appointed by President John F. Kennedy, Wichita, Kan., Judge Wesley E. Brown is the oldest practicing federal judge in the country. At 103, the U.S. District Court judge no longer accepts cases with lengthy trials, explaining to New York Times reporter A.G. Sulzberger, “At this age, I’m not even buying green bananas.”

ProBlogger4 Ways to Use Twitter to Support Your Blog

At Problogger, Georgina Laidlaw describes four less conventional ways to leverage Twitter for your blog. Among her suggestions:  Invite followers to contribute blog ideas, tweet interesting comment responses and create a Twitter conversation around an event.

Copy Editing Your BlogBlog Post Editing: 5 Steps to Take Before You Hit Publish

Get in the Hot Spot’s Annabel Candy starts her blog post by noting that a good editor is worth her weight in gold.  As any regular Legal Media Matters reader knows, I couldn’t agree more. Our copy editor, Kerry Bailey, plays a key role in all our communications. Don’t have a copy editor? Follow Candy’s helpful tips on avoiding the easy-to-miss errors that can trip up even the best writer.

Ideas for Journalists

Law Firms That Are Thriving in the Midst of a Recession

It is no secret that lawyers and law firms have been hit hard by the recession. Big law firms are thinning their ranks and law school graduates are turning to housecleaning as a plan B after being unable to find work. But what about the firms that were formed at the height of the recession and are thriving? As I noted above, The BrickHouse Law Group, founded in 2009, is not only surviving but also adding attorneys. What are firms like BrickHouse doing right? What are they doing that’s different?

To ensure that you don’t miss out on this valuable information, subscribe to our regular e-mails or RSS feeds. You can also find Legal Media Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.

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Blawg Topics: 3 More Brainstorming Tools http://legalmediamatters.com/blawg-topics-3-more-brainstorming-tools/ http://legalmediamatters.com/blawg-topics-3-more-brainstorming-tools/#comments Fri, 23 Jul 2010 18:26:15 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1541 Blawg content ideasJumpstart your content writing by leveraging these free resources

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

On Tuesday, I highlighted three approaches I use when I’m feeling stuck and can’t seem to come up with content ideas for my own blog or the blawgs of my clients.

To get the ideas flowing once again, I discussed:

  • Listing frequently asked questions
  • Using keywords identified by Google Analytics
  • Setting up Google Alerts

Here are three more free research and intelligence-gathering tools you can use to guide your legal blog content writing efforts and boost your traffic.

1.  Use Wordtracker to identify keyword questions

Wordtracker”s Keyword Questions is a nifty tool. Enter a single or short keyword phrase and you’ll receive a list of questions that people type into search engines. Use those questions to come up with blog topics. You’ll also want to use the question in your headlines.

For example, I typed in the search term “personal injury.” The questions Wordtracker identified included:

  • Is a personal injury settlement community property?
  • What is the average personal injury settlement?
  • What to expect in personal injury mediation?
  • What personal injury attorney handles dog bites in Tucson area?

2. Use Google Insights for Search to identify breakout searches.

Google Insights is a tool that allows you to look at search trends over time, then highlights predictions for the future. It allows you to track newspaper headlines and identifies not only the top search queries related to your keywords but also rising or breakout searches. It’s not unlike enjoying a great new restaurant before the rave reviews are printed: The breakout terms allow you to avoid the rush of the crowd and get the best seat in a soon-to-be-popular venue.

Once again, I typed in the search term “personal injury.” I limited the query to the state of Georgia. It identified seven breakout searches, including:

  • Atlanta injury lawyer
  • Personal injury cases
  • Personal injury claims
  • Personal injury settlements

3.  Use Google Sets to identify lists of words related to your practice area

Google Sets allows you to create a list of words related to your keywords. You can use the list generated as a word-association game to get the creative process going. Once again, you’ll have new words that you’ll want to incorporate into the post to make it more likely that prospective clients will find you.

I entered the following terms:  “personal,” “injury,” “lawyer,” and “attorney.”

The expanded list of Google Sets predictions included:

  • Probate
  • Legal services
  • DUI
  • Auto
  • Car
  • Truck
  • Trial
  • Insurance law
  • Wrongful death

Of course, these tips are all helpful for Web content writing, too.

To ensure that you don’t miss out on this valuable information, subscribe to our regular e-mails or RSS feeds. You can also find Legal Media Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.

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Information for Lawyers, Ideas for Journalists: Week of July 2 http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-july-2/ http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-july-2/#comments Fri, 02 Jul 2010 20:37:09 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1468 Recommended reading for lawyersOur weekly roundup of legal news links, legal PR client news and story ideas

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

We’re heading into the second major U.S. holiday of the summer, the Fourth of July. Many businesses will be closed on Monday. I won’t be posting a blog entry on July 5, but here are a few stories to check out over the three-day weekend.

LMM Client News

A $1.5 million personal injury settlement obtained by Jim Lemonds and Andrea McNairy of St. Louis-based Brown & Crouppen and Greg Roberts of The Roberts Law Firm was highlighted in this week’s Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

Spencer Farris of The S.E. Farris Law Firm received the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys’ President’s Award, which is given annually to an attorney whose efforts help Missouri citizens gain access to the civil justice system.

Notable Links for Lawyers

Lawyer job searchesMy Top Ten Rules for Job Search Success

Richard Russeth, the wise counselor behind The Last Generalist, shares his top 10 rules to follow if you’re in the job market. In addition to reminding readers that it takes work to find work, noting that doing some volunteer work at least once a week will give you a sense of accomplishment and encouraging us to say thank you, he gives us this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.”

SEO for law firm websitesEssential Tools for SEO on a Budget

Analyzing your site with the use of Google’s free Webmaster Tools, researching keywords and obtaining inbound links are three strategies suggested by ReadWriteBiz’s John Paul Titlow for improving your website’s performance.

Online reputation monitoringKeeping Your Online Reputation Up to Par

Rob Stretch’s guest post on The Saint Louis Social Media & Tech Report reminds businesses to monitor their online reputations, remain active on the Internet by using several different methods for reaching customers and remaining engaged on social media sites.

Tools for Internationa Law PracticeSix Ways to Manage International Relationships Online

Zachary Sniderman’s post on American Express OPEN Forum and Mashable is handy for anyone who conducts business internationally. Suggestions for researching basic country information, a time zone converter, translation help and quick faux pas checks to help avoid embarrassing etiquette breaches are just a few of the links provided.

To ensure that you don’t miss out on this valuable information, subscribe to our regular e-mails or RSS feeds. You can also find Legal Media Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.

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Information for Lawyers, Ideas for Journalists: Week of June 25 http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-june-25/ http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-june-25/#comments Fri, 25 Jun 2010 23:29:12 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1417 Legal news on the webOur weekly roundup of legal news links, legal PR client news and story ideas

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

There are several ways to promote your practice. On Monday I discussed why you should include your referral base in your firm’s PR outreach efforts. On Wednesday I noted that legal press releases are a good way to reach out to clients, add fresh content to your website and get inbound links.

Seminars, honors and awards are another way to increase your visibility, strengthen your firm’s brand and generate publicity for your firm.

In this week’s roundup I want to take a moment to congratulate three law firm clients for their recent achievements and outreach efforts.

LMM Client News

The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis recently bestowed on John Campbell of The Simon Law Firm the John C. Shepherd Professionalism Award, which is given each year to a young lawyer who exemplifies the tenets of the profession.

David Zevan of Zevan & Davidson received the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys’ Thomas G. Strong Trial Attorney Award, which is given annually to an attorney whose advocacy skills in difficult cases demonstrate great skill and passion for the injured, who has handled complex cases with some frequency and who has a reputation for professionalism, ethics and integrity.

Marta J. Papa is offering her 40-hour divorce mediation training course. It began June 23 and will wrap up on June 27.  The training includes demonstrations, lectures, role-play and coaching.

Notable Links for Lawyers

Legal PR ExpertsThe Right PR Strategy for a Company Crisis

Against the backdrop of the Toyota and BP meltdowns, three PR veterans interviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Henry Unger weigh in on the best practices for companies facing crises. In addition to the need for crisis-simulation exercises and clear designation of who is authorized to deliver a unified message, the experts emphasize the need to bring PR experts to the table alongside operations, legal and financial advisors.

Liability for news online commentsAt Buffalo News, New Rules for Online Comments

This week, The Buffalo News announced that it would require everyone who posts a comment on its website to first provide his or her name, place of residence and phone number. Jeremy W. Peters of The New York Times reports that similar information is required of people who submit letters to the editor to the Times. The commenter’s name and hometown appear along with the comment.

LinkedIn and Facebook auto followTwitter Lets You Automatically Follow Facebook Friends

Twitter has announced two major upgrades to its Facebook and LinkedIn applications, Mashable’s Ben Parr reports. The apps allow you to see which of your friends or connections are on Twitter. However, the Facebook Twitter app wasn’t working properly on June 24; according to the last available information, Facebook was working to resolve the problem.

Audience for legal blogsHow to Get Started Blogging

Grammar Girl has a great post filled with useful blogging tips. She walks the reader through the important process of defining the audience and discusses how to build confidence as a blogger.

The Law and Social MediaSocial Media Risks

Over at Slaw, business lawyer David Canton lists the factors that lead to bad social media policy decisions and writes that some forget that the old rules still apply to new media. A comment that shouldn’t be made in person or in an e-mail is also likely to be inappropriate as a blog post. He also notes the powerful role of perception: People tend to underestimate the risks associated with familiar technologies and processes and overestimate the risks associated with the unfamiliar — such as social media.

Story Ideas for Business, Consumer and Law

Reporters, Writers and Bloggers

Legal Liability for Online Comments

The announcement by The Buffalo News that it would no longer accept anonymous comments is the latest chapter in the vigorous debate over liability concerns stemming from unfettered speech.

Those worried about curbs on speech oppose any comment restrictions. Media outlets report that some attorneys are also advocating against controls because poor controls might expose a paper to greater defamation and slander liability than no controls at all. (This is similar to the legal reasoning applied to the dilemma of removing snow from a business parking lot. It is better to let the snow accumulate than to do a substandard job of trying to remove it, or so the reasoning goes.)

On the other side are journalists who believe that the old standards that required the newspapers to verify information submitted with a letter to the editor should apply. There are also many who are weary of reading racist, inappropriate, flamethrowing or rage-filled missives.

The tensions between these points of views and how media outlets are handling them could be a good subject for exploration.

To ensure that you don’t miss out on this valuable information, subscribe to our regular e-mails or RSS feeds. You can also find Legal Media Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.

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Information for Lawyers, Ideas for Journalists: Week of June 18 http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-june-18/ http://legalmediamatters.com/information-for-lawyers-ideas-for-journalists-week-of-june-18/#comments Fri, 18 Jun 2010 19:35:26 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1353 Lawyers and social media marketingOur weekly roundup of legal news links, legal PR client news and story ideas

By Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

The law and advanced tools for communicating continue to converge — and collide — on the Internet.

In this week’s roundup I’ve highlighted several stories that demonstrate how lawyers are leveraging the Internet, social media and emerging technology in their legal PR and marketing efforts.

In some cases, it is the Internet or tech companies who are using the law as a tool.

But first, client news.

LMM Client News

A sex discrimination class action lawsuit against Roto-Rooter has been allowed to proceed. Last week, a federal judge denied the company’s motion to dismiss the$5 million case, which claims that the plumbing giant denied promotions to women. The Simon Law Firm represents the plaintiffs, and one of the firm’s lawyers, Erich Vieth, was quoted in this article in Law 360, reprinted on Forbes.com.

Notable Links for Lawyers

Amazon patents social networking systemAmazon Patents Social Networking System, Winks at Facebook

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office has awarded Amazon a social networking-related patent. Mashable’s Stan Schroeder writes that if you replace the word “system” in the patent language with “Facebook” it reveals “how flawed the U.S. patent system is.”

Divorce Apps for iPhoneDallas Divorce Lawyer and Dallas App Developer Team Up for iPhone DIY Divorce Apps

A Dallas divorce lawyer and an app developer have teamed up to offer two divorce-related apps, each priced at $9.99. One tracks the cost of divorce and helps track key information. The other helps create an inventory of assets and liabilities. The story, by Victor Godinez, originally appeared in The Dallas Morning News and was highlighted on Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites.

Quebec Bar Association Website Quebec Bar Association Redesigns Its Website – Adds Virtual Tour Guide

Slaw’s Michel-Adrien Sheppard reports that the Quebec Bar Association has revamped its website. The site, which features a virtual guide tour, aims to provide information to both lawyers and the general public in clear, simplified language. Sheppard says the bar association is also active on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and co-produces a TV show.

Social networking and law firmsUsing Social Networking as Legal Tool

The Wall Street Journal’s Nathan Koppel writes that law firms are devoting more resources to cultivating an online presence. In addition to traditional websites, firms are also developing niche websites and sites that have the look and feel of forums and news sites.

Twitter strategy for lawyersHow to: Build a Twitter Strategy for Your Business

When it comes to leveraging social media for business purposes, a clear strategy makes sense. Writing for Mashable, Megan Berry outlines the five questions every business should ask and answer before  developing a comprehensive Twitter strategy.


Story Ideas for Business, Consumer and Law Reporters, Writers and Bloggers

Pet Provisions

Certainly, there are people who prefer the companionship of their pets over relatives. But can a dog, cat, horse or snake — the reptilian sort, that is — inherit property?

With the recent news that Conchita, the beloved Chihuahua of Miami heiress Gail Posner, who, with two other dogs  has been bequeathed the right to live in an $8.3 million mansion and a $3 million trust fund was set aside to take care of her needs, the question becomes, “Is that legal?” If it isn’t, are there any steps a pet owner can take to ensure that an animal is provided for in the event the owner dies?

To ensure that you don’t miss out on this valuable information, subscribe to our regular e-mails or RSS feeds. You can also find Legal Media Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.

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19 Practical Tips & Tech Tools for Lawyers http://legalmediamatters.com/19-practical-tips-tech-tools-for-lawyers/ http://legalmediamatters.com/19-practical-tips-tech-tools-for-lawyers/#comments Tue, 15 Jun 2010 16:36:57 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1340 Missouri Solo & Small Firm Conference SailingA three-day legal conference summed up in tweets

Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

Saturday marked the end of the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. For three days approximately 1,000 lawyers gathered for seminars addressing the latest changes in substantive areas of the law, learned ways to improve practice management and have some fun.

The attendees left loaded with information; as Kirkwood, Missouri estate planning lawyer Robert W. Miller put it: “You feel energized.”

Over the course of three days I tweeted tips and advice gleaned from the speakers. For this blog post I’ve compiled 19 tweets representing a small sample of information shared during the conference.

  1. Use Acrobat Typewriter Tool to fill in “nonfillable” forms.
  2. Need to send a large attachment? YouSendIt or Megaupload.
  3. If you want to follow a site that doesn’t have RSS, use Page2rss.
  4. Avoid eye strain when trying to read websites by using Readability.
  5. Check out the iPhone J.D. blog.
  6. Want to avoid endless e-mails to set up meetings? MeetingWizard.com.
  7. Why not save client money by having motion docket via video conference?
  8. Speaker asks: Why aren’t lawyers lobbying courts about antiquated time-wasting processes?
  9. Hourly billing can operate as a disincentive for law firms to modernize.
  10. 2009 was a big year for alternative fee arrangements between Big Law and corporations.
  11. Want to see your phone on desk top? Sparus EveryWAN.
  12. TrueCrypt is an open-source free program to encrypt hard drive.
  13. Need to meet with out-of-state property expert? Combine GoToMeeting, Skype and Google Earth.
  14. YouSendIt is a good way to share docs and video, plus it provides a record of who opened it.
  15. Freeconferencecall.com: A free tool that saved one lawyer’s ski trip.
  16. Giveawayoftheday.com: Free license to one shareware program each day.
  17. For real estate lawyers, Google Earth is a good research tool and has been used at trial.
  18. Mozilla Firefox is a great browser that also has fantastic add-ons.
  19. More solo lawyers are moving to virtual practices. It cuts overhead, and more clients are embracing meetings via Skype.

Special thanks

Of course, it wasn’t all work. Special thanks to Kansas City attorney (and sailor) Donovan Dodrill for the invitation to go sailing on Friday night. He assembled a crew of lawyers and friends for an enjoyable evening on the lake.

To ensure that you don’t miss out on this valuable information, subscribe to our regular e-mails or RSS feeds. You can also find Legal Media Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

At Legal Media Matters, we provide legal public relations, law firm marketing and attorney website content writing services.

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Missouri Solo & Small Firm Conference: Tech Tips & Trial Hints http://legalmediamatters.com/missouri-solo-small-firm-tech-tips-trial-hints/ http://legalmediamatters.com/missouri-solo-small-firm-tech-tips-trial-hints/#comments Fri, 11 Jun 2010 11:38:52 +0000 http://legalmediamatters.com/?p=1315 Lawyers & Video ConferenceA brief overview of trial tips and legal technology  resources  from Day One of MoSASF

Geri L. Dreiling, Esq.

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In lieu of my usual Friday roundup, this week I’ll bring you some of the tips and highlights from the three-day conference.

For those unfamiliar with the MoSASF conference, it is a three-day continuing legal education program packed with information that is particularly useful for the lawyer who not only wears the hat of an attorney but is also called upon to serve as the firm’s IT expert, head of HR and accounting and marketing and public relations pro.

In short, the attorneys who attend are typically actively seeking information and ideas for running better practices and providing better service to their clients.

I asked Kathryn E. Van Voorhees, a sole practitioner in St. Louis, what she hoped to gain from the conference. A former in-house lawyer for an insurance company, Van Voorhees indicated that she was mainly focused on practice management. She was trying to determine which technical aids for lawyers made the most sense for her to invest in.

Like many solo and small firm lawyers, she wants to use software that will reduce  her reliance on staff.

There’s certainly a variety of software offerings that can help make life for any small-business owner easier. The theme of technology carried over into the substantive session on personal injury I attended.

Several programs were offered simultaneously. Here’s a brief roundup of the ones I attended.

Session 1: Outlook Tips and Tricks

Contact Capture for Outlook

I really like using Outlook 2007 — I like that I can include my logo in the signature line and flag e-mails as to-do items. I went to this session, led by Kansas City attorney Zach Bickel and St. Louis lawyer Tim McCurdy, to see whether I could gather any new tips.

One of my favorites was Contact Capture, a program that you can add on to Outlook that will allow you to add information to your contacts that is contained in another document without retyping all of the information manually.

For example, Word documents — particularly pleadings — often contain other lawyers’ information, such as name, address, phone and fax numbers and e-mail address. Contact Capture will allow you to capture the information and import it into Outlook. The program is free for the first year of use. According to the website, a version for the iPhone is offered as well.

Another software program that interfaces with Outlook, Credenza, is also getting positive reviews. The feature singled out as one of the most convenient is that it tracks billable time.

Session 2: Making the Most of Your PI Case

Johnson v. McCulloughEven in a substantive session on how to handle a personal injury case, you cannot escape the influence of technology. In this session, Kansas City lawyer Tim Dollar and St. Louis attorney David Zevan discussed case handling from intake to trial.

One of the first things an attorney should do in an accident case, especially an auto accident case, is send out a so-called spoliation of evidence letter, warning various parties not to destroy evidence. Dollar noted that most cars are now equipped with a device called an electronic control module that stores a wealth of information. If the ECM is destroyed, valuable evidence is lost.

When it comes to presenting evidence to a jury, Dollar said, the old way of putting on a case is no longer enough. “We are in a different age of jury pools,” one in which video and visual evidence is increasingly important, he explained. The costs of such evidence have fallen precipitously over the past decade.

Zevan, who is also a LMM client, discussed the impact of a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling, in Johnson v. McCullough, that state’s lawyers must use reasonable efforts to examine the litigation history of a juror on Case.net, the Missouri court system’s public database. For small law firms with fewer associates and cases in circuits that do not make the names of potential jurors available ahead of time, obtaining the information in a reasonable, quick manner will be a challenge.

Session 3:  Bootstrapping Your Practice: How to Develop Your Business Plan and Leverage Free, Low-Fee and Mobile Tools to Start a 21st-Century Practice

In this session, Washington D.C. lawyer Carolyn Elefant outlined the steps lawyers should consider once they decide to start their own practices. Elefant, who also publishes a blog, MyShingle.com, aimed at solo and small firm lawyers, discussed the need for a business plan to address the first 10 days, first 10 weeks and first 10 years of the practice.

Ann Littell Mills, a Springfield lawyer, uses free antivirus and antispyware security software AVG, a nice alternative to the more expensive offerings. She also recommends Vistaprint for business cards.

St. Louis attorney Jim Wieczorek cited the usefulness of LogMeIn, which allows him to remotely access his work computer from home, saving him the drive time and hassle of a commute.

Session 4: Using Technology to Enhance Client Communications

Mikogo ConferencingThousands of smart phones are accidentally left in taxis every year. If you’ve got confidential client information on your phone, you should have password protection, says Catherine Sanders Reach, director of the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center.

Sanders Reach discussed the use of encryption for confidential e-mails and named several services, including PGP Desktop Software and Hushmail. Hushmail is a Web-based free e-mail service. PGP offers a free 30-day trial.

Looking for free web conferencing and online meetings? Mikogo allows as many as 10 participants to get together, share a computer screen and conduct an audio conference.

More to Come

This is just a small sampling of the information I gleaned from the Thursday conference. Look for me again on Twitter tomorrow (@legalmediamtrs); I’ll be tweeting tips from the conference, using the hashtag #MoSASF. You can also follow @MoBarCLE and @blewski on Twitter for conference information.

I’ll also check out the exhibitors’ hall in greater depth and let you know which vendor has the best prizes, goodies and giveaways.

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