Affinity Consulting Blog

Simple is better. As lawyers, we often write for a sophisticated audience. However, that does not mean that our writing should be overly complex. Any barrier our writing erects between us and our readers can inhibit persuasion. That is not good.

We write to inform and persuade. This month's tip will show you how to enable and find Word's readability statistics. You can use these statistics to measure the readability of your document.

PCLaw 13, and the soon to be released version 14, make billing by email easier than ever! They vastly improve the functionality of sending bills and statements via email. Billing by email saves your firm, time, resources and lowers the cost of maintenance on printers, toner and postage. In 2014, very few clients should have issue with receiving bills from your firm via E-Mail. In fact, if you ask your clients, this writer surmises that many would prefer to receive bills in PDF format by email alleviating the task of receiving traditional “snail mail” from your firm only to have to scan the paper in upon receipt by the client. Emailing a PDF is efficient, time-saving, and cost effective.

Many Microsoft Office users save their Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations only to the local hard drive on their computer. While this may create the illusion of safety and security, it can put your files at risk, particularly if your local hard drive is, like many, not adequately backed-up. In many law firm settings, MS Office is configured to save your files to a drive on the firm's server. While that may be more secure that the local hard drive on your PC, a flood, fire, or theft at the office could also destroy those files.

Whether you are the victim of a hurricane or a busted water pipe in the office suite above your server room, having a plan for protecting your business assets, and for recovery from the disaster, is critical to your business.

This month, we will highlight products and services that don't just put you back in business after a disaster, but keep you IN business! From Cloud based network infrastructure and Cloud based software, to full service recovery solutions that include power, office space, computer and communication systems, you will learn what to consider as you put together your firm's disaster recovery plan.

When lawyers and law firm staff are asked about their biggest frustrations as it relates to productivity and job efficiency, managing volumes of paper is often at the top. Paper files have become problematic in today’s technologically driven law firms. People often spend hours of unproductive time filing away and then, later, looking for paper. Paper files can only be in one place at a time; there is no sharing or collaborating on a paper file; you cannot search a paper file, you can only flip paper, one page at a time.

Filing is also one of the most dreaded tasks in a law firm – and it often gets put off. So, even if you have found the file, there is a good chance the paper you need isn’t there. And then finally…what do we do with all those files once we are done with them? Space is not cheap – at your own office or at a storage facility.

If you find text formatted the way you like in a document, you can easily replicate it elsewhere using the Format Painter button in the Clipboard group on the Home ribbon.

This is particularly useful when you have some rogue paragraphs which are formatted incorrectly.

Last month we wrote about the end of technical support from Microsoft for its popular, but now very vintage, Windows XP operating system. At the same time, Microsoft also ended support for Microsoft Office 2003, including Word 2003.

Presenting a PowerPoint from your iPad can result in a more natural and interactive presentation, allowing you walk around, switch between applications, write notes or do white-boarding, and go back to your core presentation.

Getting your PowerPoint on your iPad

My three “choice” apps to have in your toolbox show PowerPoint presentations on the iPad are PowerPoint (available since March 28, 2014), Keynote and SlideShark. There are pros and cons to all three.

PowerPoint is a good choice, but since it is so new, it still lacks a couple key features. It definitely converts the best (because there is no conversion) and offers a large font set and quite a few features. The shortfalls that I immediately noticed were (1) lack of object & text animations, (2) no support for audio AND video, (3) lack of Dropbox integration, and (3) no “presenter view” to see valuable speaker notes. Additionally, in order to edit PowerPoint, you must purchase a Microsoft Office 365 subscription.

Keynote is Apple's answer to PowerPoint. It has been around a long time and is a must-have app. Once your PowerPoint is converted to Keynote, Keynote is going to give you the ability to (1) make edits, and (2) show the presentation. Unlike PowerPoint, it does allow you to animation to objects/text, and it supports video (although it requires that you re-insert video and audio into the Keynote presentation because they are lost in the conversion). The downside is that it the conversion isn't always perfect. I'd give it a B. This requires that you make some aesthetic tweaks and fixes to the presentation.

SlideShark ( – free) is an app that will convert the PowerPoint to a SlideShark format and then allow you to play/show the slides through the SlideShark app. It converts the PowerPoint very well, including video and audio, and preserving fonts and animations extremely well. I'd give it an B+ on the conversion. SlideShark also has a fantastic presenter view that allows you to easily see your notes and upcoming slides very similar to PowerPoint's presenter view. The latest version allows you to annotate slides during the presentation.

The downside to SlideShark is that you cannot make edits to the slide show from the iPad. You can hide slides or re-arrange them, but you can’t make edits beyond that. You have to make changes in PowerPoint and then re-convert/upload the PowerPoint. With large presentations and low bandwidth, this can take 20-30 minutes.

PowerPoint Instructions

The easiest way to get a PowerPoint on to the iPad in the PowerPoint app is to import it through OneDrive, Dropbox, Email. In whichever method, when you tap on the PowerPoint file, select Open In and select PowerPoint. Once in PowerPoint, the file will be stored locally on your iPad until you delete it, and the only cloud storage location where you can save is OneDrive.

Keynote Instructions

The easiest way to convert a PowerPoint to Keynote and load it in your iPad is through Dropbox or Email. In either case, when you tap on the PowerPoint file, select Open In and select Keynote. Once in Keynote, the file will be stored locally on your iPad until you delete it.

SlideShark Instructions

Go to and set up a free account. This will also set up a needed cloud storage area for your presentation, which you can link to Dropbox, Box, Google Drive or Syncplicity. Once the account is created, login and upload your finished PowerPoint. During the upload process, SlideShark will convert your PowerPoint and store it in your private SlideShark storage area.

Next, from your iPad, go to the App Store and download / install the SlideShark app. Launch the app and enter your login credentials. Once logged in, you will have the ability to download from the SlideShark cloud all your converted presentations. Select the presentation and hit the green play button.

Editor's Note: If you want your PowerPoint presentations to be as interesting and persuasive as possible, order and read Paul Unger's new ABA book, PowerPoint in One Hour for Lawyers.

I know a prominent family law attorney in Michigan who swears she is more productive when working at her local coffee shop than in her office. When work needs to get done, and get done now, she grabs her laptop computer and flees the distractions of her office to what many would deem to be the even more distracting environment of a crowded coffee shop. Is she alone? (Let’s find out by completing the survey HERE and we will reveal the results in an upcoming blog post.)

Why does this work for her? Does it work for other lawyers desperate to simply get things done without interruption from colleagues, staff, clients, the office phone, etc.?

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