Below is a chronological list of my major law office technology accomplishments since I bought my first computer in 1983. Since 1980, I have practiced law full time while conducting a never-ending search for software and hardware that will make me more productive, more efficient and more money. The search has been fun, extremely successful and very profitable. I recommend that you invest more time in technology and you too can reap the rewards.
Why I Wrote this Tech Biography
The reason I am publishing my law office tech background is so that people who read my articles on law office technology can see that I have knowledge, experience and a practical basis on which to base my pontifications. Too many law office technology gurus blow mostly hot air and do not know what they are talking about. I think the reason so many law tech pundits are so far off base is because do not have real world knowledge and practical experience with respect to the subjects about which they opine.
For example, if Joe Pundit writes an article telling you what is necessary for a successful law office website and he does not have a successful website, why would you believe anything he says about the subject? How does Joe Pundit measure a successful law firm website? If it is based on awards or recognition of other law office technology gurus, then www.keytlaw.com is a total bust because it has never won a single award or even been recognized by a guru. Heck, all www.keytlaw.com does is generate traffic (an average of 163,000/month during 2011 per our 2011 year end report generated by our web host company’s web tracker software), a measurement that does not even exist in the mindset of the average law office tech expert. Per Avvo and www.alexa.com my website is one of the 25 most visited law related websites in the United States. My Arizona Limited Liability Company Law website is the primary reason I formed 522 limited liability companies in 2011 and 3,300+ since I started counting in 2002. Translation: When it comes to law office technology I can talk the talk and walk the walk.
Why I Love Legal Tech Pundits
I am not bitter that my website has not won any awards or gotten any recognition. I would rather have a lot of website traffic and the business it generates than one worthless website award. The fact that people write about law office technology without a clue about their subjects cracks me up. I love the fact that people who cannot do law office technology write about it because as long as the average lawyer in the United States learns about technology from people who do not understand the subject it means there are very few lawyers who can ever acquire the knowledge necessary to compete with me in the high tech world of the 21st century law practice.
Time Line of Technology Knowledge & Accomplishments
1. First Computer: I bought my first computer in 1983 for around $3,000. It was a Compaq portable with a 9 inch green screen. It had 256k or RAM and two 5.24 inch floppy drives
2. First Word Processor: I bought WordPerfect 3.0 in 1983. My license number was in the 50 thousands. I became a WP expert and used it until 1998 when the large law firm in which I was a partner switched from DOS and WP to Windows and Word.
3. First Law Firm: I started a two lawyer firm in 1984 with the Compaq computer, WP and an impact printer that cost $1,000. We saved forms and client documents on many 5.25 inch floppies.
4. First Billing Program: I bought my first billing program in 1985. It was the “Client Management System” by Compulaw. CMS was a great program for its time. I learned how to use CMS and taught to every secretary and staff person in my firm who used it, which brings me to Keyt’s Technology Rule Number 1.
5. Created Legal Form System: Beginning in 1984, whenever I had to prepare a contract or legal document for a client and if I did not have an applicable form, the first thing I did was prepare a form document and then modify the form as necessary for the client’s document. I did this religiously and still do it to this day. As a result, I now have over 500 legal forms that I created and use in my practice. I rarely have to create a new form any more. A good form system is essential and money in the pocket for any lawyer who produces the same documents over and over.
6. System Administrator of My Firm’s Novell Network: In the early 1990s the law firm of which I was a founding partner needed to network the firm’s computers. I selected Novell’s Netware 3.11 software as our network operating system. Everything I read said it was great software (and it was), but it required a full time system administrator. I had my computer guy install Netware 3.11 and network all of the computers. I studied how to administer the network. In a relatively short period of time, I learned how to use Netware to satisfy my firm’s needs. I was the sole system administrator of the network. I added, deleted and modified all users and software. I made daily backups. I did it all and it only took a few hours a month.
7. Purchased First Document Management Software: Shortly after installing our Novell network, I purchased a document management program called PC Docs. I not only installed it on my Novell network, but I also was the only person to administer it. PC Docs was the leading document management program sold in the U.S. when I purchased it. My firm had eight lawyers plus legal assistants, secretaries and staff, all of whom were creating and accessing documents on the network. With thousands of documents being created every year, we desperately needed software to manage those documents and secure documents from being accessed by people who did not have a need for access. I paid $350 per user for PC Docs, which included a $100 per user premium for the full text indexing feature of the program. The benefit we got from PC Docs far out weighed the cost. I believe that every law firm should have a document management system (“DMS”) to manage the documents created by the firm. A DMS eliminates creating Windows folders, file names and exotic & unique to each firm document file naming conventions. The user creates a profile that identifies the document including document type, name, client and matter and the DMS stores it and makes it easy for anybody with the required security to access the profile and the document. Currently I use Time Matters for my document management system, and it is fabulous.
8. Installed Full Text Indexing on Network: When I installed PC Docs, I “turned on” the $100/user full text indexing feature we purchased. Turning it on was a simple matter of answering “yes” to a question asked in the system administrator’s area of the software. I also added a dedicated computer on our network and gave it the task of indexing on the fly the text of all documents saved on our network. Full text indexing allowed anybody with the appropriate security to search for a word or text phrase and find within a matter of seconds all documents on the network that contained the word or text phrase. When I joined the big firm and became a partner, I found that the firm had paid the extra $100 per user for full text indexing, but the IT department (not knowing what full text indexing was or why lawyers might want to us it) did not have indexing “turned on.” What a waste of $20,000+.
9. Wrote First Contact Management Program: In the early 1990s I looked at the contact management programs on the market and was not impressed. I knew then that I wanted software that could track information about my clients and contacts. I purchased WordPerfect Corporation’s relational database called “DataPerfect,” and learned how to create relational databases. I created a contact management DataPerfect database I called the “Office Information System” or “OIS” for the eight lawyer firm that I founded. The program retained names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and other pertinent information about our clients and contacts. Everybody used the OIS, which was on our Novell 3.11 network. At its peak, the OIS had information about more than 7,000 clients and contacts. This leads me to Keyt’s Technology Rule Number 2.
10. Wrote First Time Keeping Program: In the early 1990s, I could not find a lawyer time keeping program into which I could enter my time on a daily basis so I wrote one using DataPerfect. I used the program for several years until I switched to a lawyer time keeping program built into the time and billing program used by my firm. My time keeping program had the names and numbers of all clients and matters. It collected my time by day, client and matter. It printed reports that showed how much time I worked by the day, week, month, and year. At the end of each month, I printed all of the time for the month and gave it to my secretary to enter into our billing system.
11. Owned & Operated a Four Phone Line Electronic Bulletin Board System: In the mid 1990s, I become interested in the forerunner of the World Wide Web called the bulletin board system or BBS. I set up a computer in my home connected to four phone lines. I learned how to program BBS software called TBBS and created a very popular BBS called “Phoenix Online.” My BBS offered the public many fun games, Roger Ebert movie reviews, 20 gigabytes of downloadable files, and free internet email. Anybody could register on Phoenix Online and get and use an internet email address that ended in “@phoenixonline.com.” Creating my BBS in the mid 1990s helped me in 2001 when I created www.keytlaw.com.
12. Caused My Big Law Firm to Add Document Types to PC Docs: When I joined the big law firm (80+ attorneys) in 1996, it was essentially using the same software that I had purchased and installed for my eight lawyer firm. Both firms used Novell 3.11 for networking, WordPerfect 5.2 for DOS, WordPerfect Office, and PC Docs. When I joined the big firm, I noticed that nobody in the firm really understood PC Docs and how to use it. See Keyt’s Technology Rule Number 1. In addition to paying $100/user for full text indexing and not turning it on, the IT department taught firm personnel to insert the document number in the document name field of the document profile and to give every document one of two document types, either “pleading” or “letter.” This made it very difficult to find documents because when you looked at all the documents listed under a matter, all you saw in the document name field was a number of seven digit numbers characterized as either a pleading or a letter. When I gave the head of the IT department a list of 60 or 70 document types and asked that she add them to PC Docs, she said she could not because “it would double or triple the size of the document type database.” Like many IT types, she thought I was a lawyer who did not know s___ from shinola about networks and law office software and she could fool me like she had fooled everybody else. With a network of over 200 users and huge gigabyte file servers, adding the new document types would have been a few thousand bytes at best and of no significance on the network. I had to write a memo to the Board of Directors to get them to approve adding the document types to PC Docs. They never did turn on full text indexing
13. Caused My Large Firm to Purchase Time Matters 2.0: When my large law firm switched from DOS to Windows in 1998, I had to replace the OIS and DataPerfect with a Windows based contact management program. After researching the available contact management programs at that time, I concluded that Time Matters 2.0 was the best contact management program. I convinced the Board of Directors of my firm to purchase a 20 user license. I became the systems administrator of TM 2.0 on the firm’s network. The only people in my 80 lawyer firm who used Time Matters from 1998 – 2001 when I left the firm were the people in the corporate department. The firm had a wonderful training room with ten computers connected to the network, white boards, tables and chairs. I used to offer classes on how to use Time Matters and never once had a lawyer attend. Only a few secretaries ever came. This leads me to Keyt’s Technology Rule Number 3.
14. Created an Internet Website Gets a Ton of Visitors: In 2001, one of my areas of practice was internet law, including domain name law. I wanted to show my clients and potential clients that I understood the internet. I also had a desire to write articles to help people understand the law. In the winter of 2001 I started my website at www.keytlaw.com. I did not start tracking visitors until November 2002. I can remember when I was paying $300 a month for pay for click advertising and getting 3,000 visitors a month to www.keytlaw.com. I thought it was awesome to have that many people visiting “my place of business” every month. For the calendar year 2011 www.keytlaw.com had 1,957,043 visitors (an average 163,000/month) according to a 2011 year end report generated by the web tracker software my host company Bluehost uses to track traffic to my website.
15. Learned Microsoft FrontPage: To create my original website, I had to learn Microsoft FrontPage. It has a learning curve, but once I got over the initial hump, it has been a easy to use and simple program ever since. I am the only person who has ever worked on www.keytlaw.com. It is entirely my creation. I could have paid somebody to create my website, but for what I now have, I would have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars. Had I not learned FrontPage, I would now be completely at the mercy of whoever was my current web developer. The slightest change would cost money and perhaps take hours or days to appear. Because I knew FrontPage, I can fix an error on my website myself in a few minutes from the time a user alerts me of the error or bad link.
WordPress Update: In 2009 I learned WordPress and have been using WordPress ever since for www.keytlaw.com and all of my websites. WordPress is an incredible program for creating websites and blogs. If you are not using WordPress and administering it yourself you are making a big mistake. WordPress is so simple it eliminates the need to spend big bucks with some outside web developer.
16. Learned Search Engine Optimization: From the first days of my website, I researched and studied search engine optimization. Because I understand search engine optimization, many of my web pages are highly ranked by Google and other search engines. Some of my web pages have more than 3,000 visitors a month. Many pages average over 1,000 visitors a month. Imagine the amount of new business you could generate if you had 500, 1,000 or more people reading one of your informative articles every month.
17. Learned Hot Docs Programming: In 2001 I purchased Hot Docs. Hot Docs is the recognized world market leader in the document automation software industry. It has also won virtually every industry award – including Law Office Computing Reader’s Choice Award for Document Assembly and the TechnoLawyer Reader’s Choice Award for Document Assembly and Automation – for five consecutive years. Since purchasing Hot Docs, I paid over $2,000 for four days of basic and advanced Hot Docs training from LexisNexis and created many Hot Docs templates that I use in my practice to quickly produce legal documents. Hot Docs is the reason my legal assistant was able to form 522 limited liability companies in 2011.
18. Created a 100% Paperless Office: My law practice creates a tremendous amount of legal documents, correspondence and paper. By using available technology, my practice became paperless in March of 2004. If you would like to learn how your office can become paperless, see my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Office.” As of April of 2012, we have over 140,000 documents in our Time Matters document management system.
19. Created an Online Store for My Law Firm: My clients can purchase legal services online and pay by credit card. I created online engagement agreements that clients can sign with digitally secure signatures and click on a submit button to email the agreement to me. Clients can pay for our legal services in our online web store. My website has a shopping cart for legal services. Check out my web store where I sell legal services and products.
20. Adopted Infusionsoft in 2007, an Automatic 24/7 Web-Based Customer Relations Management system: I use Infusionsoft’s CRM to do automatic marketing 24/7 to clients and prospective clients. We add prospects and clients to campaigns that automatically send out a series of email marketing messages to them over an extended period of time. The CRM is a fabulous way of automatically keeping in touch with clients and prospective clients. It has substantially increased our lead capture rate and bottom line. If you want to collect leads from your website and make more money, the first step is to watch Infusionsoft’s video demo that shows how it works its magic. You want people to visit your website, but you must also capture their email address so you can do follow up marketing. Marketing gurus say that most of the time when people visit your site they are shopping. If you do not capture a prospects email address so you can send follow up email messages the prospect will probably not remember you when the prospect is ready to purchase. We offer free reports that visitors obtain only if they give their name and email address. Once they sign up for our free report on widget law we know they are interested in widget law and will send follow up emails about widget law and why the prospect should hire us as their widget law attorneys. Infusionsoft collects the prospect information through webforms it creates and then does automatic email follow up marketing.
To learn more about Infusionsoft and how I use it to collect leads from my website, do automatic follow up marketing and make more money, read my review of Infusionsoft called “Infusionsoft: The Cheapest & Best 24/7/365 Marketing Department.”
21. Website Marketing: I have created many websites used successfully by to generate new clients. Click on the link on the top menu row to see all of the websites KEYTLaw attorneys have created. We believe in web marketing. It works for me and my law firm.
22. Facebook: We created a Facebook Page that actually sends traffic to our websites. Check out the KEYTLaw Facebook page.
23. Web Videos: We believe in using videos to inform potential clients, get more web traffic and market our services. See our video series called “Ask the KEYTLaw Girl” (used for LLC formation marketing), testimonial videos and our other videos on our Youtube channel.