This super thin overlay keyboard is an amazing advance, bringing true touch typing to the iPad while adding almost nothing to its profile or weight. The transparent keyboard attaches magnetically to the bottom half of the iPad in a profile so thin you can “swipe” right through it to see the keys underneath, and so flexible it can be folded out of the way. Some early reviews of the Touchfire include:
New York Times – “The keyboard is incredibly simple to use. Typing on it is like typing on a physical keyboard”
Wired - “Two Seattle-based inventors have come up with an iPad keyboard that could dramatically alter the tablet keyboard landscape”
FastCompany – “Turns the iPad into a true laptop killer”
CNET – “The super-thin-and-lightweight TouchFire adds virtually no physical bulk”
Technolawyer’s review of the Touchfire is titled “This Accessory Is The Best Thing To Ever Happen To Your iPad’s Keyboard”. Read the review or go right to the Touchfire website and watch the video. Either way, if you own an iPad, are thinking about buying one, or simply like technology, check out the new Touchfire keyboard.
Legal Talk Network’s “The Un-Billable Hour” host Rodney Dowell and State Bar of Michigan Practice Management Advisor Diane Ebersole explain how document assembly applications have advanced in the last few years and how these applications can increase the bottom line for your law firm. Listen to the free podcast (34 min) and download the accompanying list of resources to explore the many ways a lawyer can increase productivity, particularly for document intensive practices.
If you need to send large files and have struggled with different solutions, spend a few minutes exploring Adobe® SENDNOW. This service provides a way to send large files, convert the files to PDF prior to sending, limit the amount of time the recipient has to retrieve the file, provide an email receipt when the file has been retrieved, attach personal branding items, and supply detailed tracking. Functionality options vary according to pricing plan. Plan versions ranges are Free, Basic Plan @ $9.99/month and the Plus Plan @ $15.83 month.
If you are making the move to Office 2010, and are worried about the “Ribbon”, Microsoft has created several handy references to help. The site Transition to the Office Ribbon, provides interactive and downloadable resources. The Interactive Guide lets you click on an item in the 2003 version of the application and it shows you where that menu item is in the 2010 version. This resource is also available in a downloadable Excel format. The site also provides Keyboard Shortcut references and the instructions for customizing the Quick Access Toolbar. If you are in the process of making the change to Office 2010, add this site to your browser favorites!
Several web conferencing service providers have customized their applications and services to work on smart phones. You no longer have to be locked in to a land line to host or join a web conference. Check out the following applications to learn about time-saving options that would be an asset for your firm.
If you occasionally work on your laptop in a coffee shop, an airport, a meeting room, any public place, is your work protected from the curious eyes of the people around you? Adding a privacy filter to your screen will narrow the viewing angle so that only the person looking directly at the screen has a readable view. These filters also help protect the screens from damage and reduce glare. The filters are available at most office supply stores and from online retailers in a wide range of prices.
Optimize your smart phone efficiency by installing and using a smart phone dictation application. These applications do more than enable digital dictation–they also make it easy to attach your dictated file to an email or send it to an Internet storage location like Dropbox. Using either of these options, your transcription assistant has easy access to the digital file. The file can also be processed by a digital transcription application.
Some of the most popular digital transcription applications are listed here:
• Dictamus (iPhone, free and $14.95)
• Pocket Dictate (iPhone, iPod, iPad, free)
• Voxie Pro Recorder (iPhone, $4.99)
• DictaNet Mobile for iPhone ($11.99, control by tilting your phone)
• FlexT9 Speak-Trace-Write-Tap (Android, $4.99, 4 input options)
• Dictadroid (Android, free and $1.99)
If you are a Mac user, you may have noticed that the trojan Flashback, a malicious software program, is making the news. The difference between Flashback and earlier Mac attack applications is the way your machine becomes infected. Flashback is known as a drive-by download–all you have to do is visit a website that is hosting Flashback and the application can install itself. Macword magazine has published a very thorough article outlining the steps to take to minimize the risk of drive-by malware infections like Flashback. If you use a Mac in your practice or at home and haven’t yet taken the time to get up-to-speed on drive-by malware risks, make the time today.
Billing is probably the least favorite task on an attorney’s to-do list. This often leads to an erratic billing “system” with unintended consequences. One factor you may not have considered is when it’s best to send out your statements. If you bill once a month, when should the bills be mailed to your clients? Ed Poll, author of The Business of Law, recommends that “Billing statements should be mailed so that they reach the client on or before the first day of the month.” Since many people pay their bills on or shortly after the first of the month, you want your bill to be on the top of the pile! According to Mr. Poll, “All statements received after about the fifth of the month are usually considered for payment in the following month.” Establish a date around the 25th of each month where you reserve time to do your billing. Billing predictability, combined with an end-of-month arrival date, will help reduce the firm’s receivables.
Additional resources to help you develop billing policies for your firm: Winning Alternatives to the Billable Hour, Strategies That Work by James A. Calloway & Mark A Robertson; How to Draft Bills Clients Rush to Pay by J. Harris Morgan & Jay G. Foonberg.
Clio, the web based practice management application, is consistently adding and improving the functionality of the application. They recently made several improvements to the calendar functions. One that is especially useful is the ability to add the statute of limitations date to a matter. You can also have the system remind you of a date by either email or a popup. Clio also has added the ability to have all statute of limitation dates that you have set viewed in your monthly calendars. Review the Clio announcement of the new calendar features and explore how they might be useful in your firm. Spend some time learning how to implement adding the statute of limitations date to a matter and set up the auto reminders. This new feature could help save you from a very serious oversight!