Affinity Consulting Blog

Legal writing usually requires traditional paragraph structure. However, creating an outline can still be important. In some situations, you want the final product to be an outline. In other case, especially when creating long or complex documents, using an outline structure can help you better organize what will later become a paragraph-based document.

Affinity Consulting Group is a team of trusted advisors working together to find tailored solutions to unlock every client's potential. We thought you might enjoy getting to know about the lives of some of our team members who help make that happen. Each month we feature another member of the Affinity Team. Get to know us!

Meet Jeffrey S. Krause, one of our newest additions! Jeff joined Affinity last month as Partner and will be an integral part of our Practice management, Document Management and Time, Billing and Accounting teams. He has been a legal technology consultant since 1998, most recently serving as Partner for Solfecta in the Milwaukee area. Jeff has known the other Affinity Partners and Consultants for years and we are thrilled to have him officially join the Affinity team.

“Doing things is not the same as getting things done.”

Jared Silver said this, but so many of us feel it. We spend our days putting out fires, or talking to our team members and colleagues about the same problems over and over again. Sometimes the word team only means a group of people working in the same space on the same types of tasks.

But a team can be so much more.

Effective teams are complimentary is skill sets and focused on a shared, common goal. They work efficiently and do the right things.

Effective teams demonstrate a few key characteristics:

Legal writing often requires use of the Section Symbol (§). But there is no § key on the keyboard. So how do you insert a § into your document?

Tab leaders are useful. They fill the empty space before tab stops with dots, dashes, or underscores. Dot leaders are commonly used in the Table of Contents of briefs and other legal documents. This month we show you how to create Tab Leaders.

You are a road warrior, even if you don't know it yet. Every lawyer works on client/firm business when out of the office. Some of use do it more than others. I do it full-time in my virtual appellate practice.

I know a very experienced family law attorney who swears she cannot get work done at the office. When she needs to focus on a motion or brief, or prepare for trial, she grabs her laptop and heads to her favorite coffee shop. Free from the distractions and interruptions of the office, she is more productive.

There are other lawyers who have family responsibilities. Caring for young children or elderly parents frequently keeps them away from the office. Yet they still need to handle client business and keep their law practices running.

And all of us need to vacation occasionally. But the demands of running a small/medium law firm require we be productive even while traveling for pleasure.

This month, as summer travel season begins, we focus on tech tips for road warrior lawyers - those who choose to be and those who have no choice. In addition to this article, sign up for our FREE Road Warrior - Virtual Practice webinar June 14 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Of all the cyber threats facing businesses this year, ransomware has become the most prevalent. The FBI estimates that the spread of ransomware has reached an all-time high in 2016, costing businesses over $209 million in the first three months alone. No industry is immune to the threat of ransomware, including the legal industry.

One of the things that is still amazing in this day and age, where data security breaches are common knowledge even among the most non-technical people, is what terrible choices people make in choosing passwords. In a survey of the most commonly used passwords of 2015, guess what was #1? If you guessed the word "password," your wrong - that was #2. Number one was 123456.

Most of us know about creating strong passwords. They should be long - more than 8 characters; they should have a combination of upper and lower case characters, special characters and numbers. We know this yet we still get this wrong. In striving to come up with something we can easily remember (so we don't just put the password on a sticky note and post it on our monitor!), we take something we know like our kids names. Being the very clever people we are, we swap the letter O with a zero, and the letter E with the number 3 (no one will ever think of that!). Oh, don't forget! We still need a special character, so we slap an exclamation point on the end and we come up with something like B0bbyB3cky!

We deliberately chose the title "When Your Firm Suffers a Data Breach," not "If." This is consistent with an oft-repeated mantra in cybersecurity today ("when not if") that recognizes the ever-increasing incidence of data breaches. Robert Mueller, then the FBI Director, put it this way in an address at a major information security conference in 2012:

I am convinced that there are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be. And even they are converging into one category: companies that have been hacked and will be hacked again.

This observation is true for attorneys and law firms as well as companies. There have now been numerous reports of law firm data breaches. The FBI has reported that they are seeing hundreds of law firms being increasingly targeted by hackers. Law firm breaches have ranged from simple - like a lost or stolen laptop or mobile device - to highly sophisticated - like a deep penetration of a law firm network, with access to everything, for a year or more.

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