Affinity Consulting Blog

2013 is drawing to a close soon. Everyone reading this newsletter has reason to be thankful. We are, after all, still here. Given the trials of everyday living, not to mention the economic pressures on small businesses such as law firms, survival can no longer be taken for granted.

Beyond survival, we want to prosper and enjoy life and career. While technology can be frustrating when it doesn't work right, it can be liberating when it does. Each of us has at least one tech service or product on which we rely to make our lives more productive and enjoyable. This month we asked our consultants and non-consulting staff nominate the technology product of service for which they are most grateful. Here are some of those selections.

We recently wrote about the dangerous new ransomware malware circulating around the Internet. Called Cryptolocker, it will encrypt your files and documents and make them impossible for you to use. Unless you have a reliable backup of those files and documents, the only recourse once infected is to pay the $300 ransom in order to obtain the decryption key. We don't recommend paying a ransom to cyberterrorists, so make sure your backup system is adequate and functioning properly. This is one of the nastiest and most dangerous malware outbreaks yet discovered.

Law is not the only profession to adapt the iPad to its unique needs. Professional athletes are using the iPad for many purposes. In the NFL, several teams are using iPads as replacements for traditional paper play books.

For lawyers, the iPad with its wide array of general and legal specific productivity apps, can perform a majority of our tech tasks.

Philips Recorder App on the iPhone and Philips SpeechExec Pro Transcribe with Dragon on the PC

Attorneys who want to use the iPhone as a digital recording device now have available software to do the following:

• Dictate into the iPhone App and

• Send the dictation automatically to a transcriptionist who can have Dragon automatically transcribe the dictation on a PC for immediate correction. The transcriptionist uses Philips SpeechExec Pro Transcribe software and Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional installed and configured on the transcribing PC.

• The software for the iPhone is Philips Recorder and is available as a free download for 30 days on the iTunes App Store. The Philips Recorder App does the following:

o After download, installation and configuration of the App, the attorney can dictate into the App on the iPhone.

o The dictation is sent to a Philips Speech Hub server for format translation from the iPhone recording format to a recording format (DSS, WAV, MP3) that can be understood by Dragon on the transcribing PC.

o The Philips Speech Hub server automatically sends the dictation in the right format to the transcriptionist's email account in Outlook.

o Philips SpeechExec Pro Transcribe is connected to the transcriber's Outlook folder and can then call Dragon to automatically transcribe the iPhone dictation.

• Using this combination of software the law firm can automate the dictation workflow from original dictation to creation of the first draft of the transcribed document.

Reduce Liability and Avoid Sanctions With Thoughtful Trust Accounting Practices

Most states and provinces require attorneys to maintain lawyer trust accounts, and those accounts, and jurisdictional regulations, come in many shapes and sizes. As a lawyer, it's your job to act as a fiduciary or virtual "trustee" of client funds, and as such, you must scrupulously follow stringent standards of good faith and transparency. While most of us associate this fiduciary obligation only with money, your duty extends to the protection of ANY client property. N1

Most Lawyers are already in the "Cloud."  If you use Gmail or online backup like Mozy, you are using cloud services.  Cloud computings benefits include low up-front costs and anywhere access.  But it comes with ethical risks.  Those risks can be managed successfully.  These tips will help you comply with the ethical rules.  

Tip 1 - Know Your Ethical Obligations

A very effective way to organize your PowerPoint slides and think through your slideshow is to create "sections" within the slide sorter view. As you can see here, section headers capture the slides that are relevant to that section.

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