Software

Data Backup Best Practices

I’d like to point out the need to set up a protocol to check what’s on the backups since there are common errors.  Obviously, you should have backups both on-site, for fast local restore, and backups off-site, for ‘geo-redundant’ safety.  Sometime the data files you need to backup are not really where you think they are.

1.1 SQL databases aren’t being properly backed-up – sometimes there is no .bak file available.  If you just copy files when backing up, the file may not be there to backup.  A SQL script is necessary to write the secure data inside the SQL database to an external .bak file.

1.2 The SQL backup (.bak files) are stored on the same disk drive as the SQL database. When the drive fails you also loose the backup.

2. Archived data is taken off of the cloud.  For example, even though email may be hosted ‘ in the cloud’ it may have substantial archived data located only on the local user PC.  Last week we know where a firm had five PC’s stolen including a user whose PC had 9GB of email and attachments archived i.e. only stored on her local PC.
Fortunately the PC was imaged and the data was recovered, but most firms don’t image their PC’s.

Maybe the formula for backup is best expressed as:  DD + I = S@N   (Where DD is  Due Diligence, I is + Insurance = S@N is Sleep at Night)

Here are some best practice suggestions for your backups:

Designate one person to check for the presence of a reasonable quantity of files, monitor total GB being backed up, look for the critical .bak for SQL databases and keep several recent backups plus monthly and yearly backups in case to go back to a prior point in time.  If possible, have your backup protocol include the forwarding of a daily email status report to a designated individual(s).

For additional peace of mind ‘image’ PC’s and the file server(s).  Software to do this includes use of of Microsoft’s VSS (volume shadow service), or Apple’s Time Machine.    I know the Windows image approach only stores the same file one time, even if it is on ten PC’s, so it is very efficient.  An advantage of imaging is if for example a hard drive failed the image can be used to restore data and it will actually re-install all of your programs too.  That can save a ton of time. (Note: Imaging should not be used as a replacement of on and off site backups.)

Some practice management programs let you create a clone file or an automatically synchronized second database that replicates all of your critical calendar, contacts, matters, and related records including email, notes, documents, phone and billing records and related files (such as .pdf, .xls and .anx).

Check your insurance to see how much coverage you have for the next time you have an event –  fire, flood, theft, malware, malcontent, solar flare etc.

When it comes to backups you really do need a plan a, plan b and maybe a plan c.  Hopefully these suggestions will help you identify what the right backup protocol should be for your office.

Tom Caffrey
Premier Software
www.premiersoftware.com

By |2018-01-14T08:40:44-07:00July 2nd, 2012|Software, Tech Stuff|0 Comments

Law Office Faxing in the 21st Century

Does your law firm have a stand alone fax machine that sends  faxes the old fashioned way?  I mean does your law office print the document to be faxed, insert it into a fax machine and push the send button and watch while the machine scans each page and then uses its modem to send the fax to the recipient?  Do your incoming faxes come into your fax machine over the phone line and does your old fax machine then print a hard copy of the fax?

eFax

If so, your law firm needs to move into the 21 century and use the not so new fangled technology to send and receive faxes.  My law office has used efax.com to send and receive faxes since 2004.  It’s great.  To send a fax I do the following:

  • Convert the item to be faxed to an Adobe pdf file.  If the document is a Word document, I click on the Acrobat tab on the menu bar at the top of Word then I click on the “Create PDF” tab and tell the program where I want to save the pdf file.  If the document is a hard copy document I put it in the sheet feeder of my  Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 Instant PDF Sheet-Fed Scanner and press the scan button.  A few seconds later the document opens in pdf format on my computer screen and I save the file on my computer.
  • Click on the eFax icon on my desktop to send an email to eFax.  This opens the free eFax software.  I enter the name of the recipient, company name (if desired) and the fax number.  If I previously sent a fax to the recipient that information is saved and easily zapped into the proper fields for my fax.  I can check a box to create a fax cover sheet that contains my recipient information and add more information if desired.
  • Attach the pdf file to the fax.  I click the attach icon and browse to the pdf file I saved and attach it to the eFax email.
  • Click on the send icon.  The email  and attachment are send to eFax and it then converts the pdf and immediately faxes it to the recipient.

One very nice feature is eFax maintains a record (including the content of the fax) of every fax my firm has sent since we purchased the service.

What I like best about eFax is that all incoming faxes are converted to Adobe pdf and sent to us as an attachment to an email message.  I can add up to five people in the firm to receive the same fax.  Both of my legal assistants get every fax I get and they handle most of the faxes.  Any email can easily be forwarded to another person in our firm or anybody outside the firm.  When we get a fax that we want to keep we click on the Time Matters save icon in Acrobat and save the pdf file to the client or matter in our Time Matters document management system.  For more on our document management system see my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Law Office.”

Every attorney in our firm has his or her own dedicated eFax phone number.  This allows each attorney to have a fax number that causes faxes to that number to go only to the attorney associated with the number and up to four additional recipients in the firm.  eFax also retains every incoming fax in case you need it.

Here’s the cost of an eFax Plus account as of the date of this post:

With eFax Plus, you’ll get a private and secure way to send and receive faxes as email attachments.
Choose a local or toll-free number
150 Included inbound fax pages per month
150 Included outbound fax pages per month*
$.10 per page overage charge
$10.00 one-time setup fee
Lifetime storage

Monthly Plan: $16.95/mo

Do yourself and your staff a big favor and switch to the new way of sending and receiving faxes.

What do you think?  Do you use a different digital fax service?  Tell us about it.

By |2019-06-17T07:03:58-07:00May 18th, 2012|Paperless Office, Software, Stuff We Recommend, Tech Stuff|0 Comments

Macro Express

Must Have Productivity Software by Insight Software Solutions

Macro Express is the premier Windows macro utility. It can automate all of your common computer tasks. I love Macro Express because it saves me a tremendous amount of time and makes my computer life easier.  Macro Express satisfies my biggest requirements for law office software, i.e., it makes me more efficient and productive.  Everybody in my small law firm uses Macro Express constantly throughout the work day and they love it.

Do you type the same text into Word, email messages or other programs over and over?  We all do.  Every attorney and law office staff person is constantly typing the names, phone numbers and email addresses of themselves and firm personnel into email messages and letters.  Imagine how much time you and other people in your office would save if the contact information could be zapped instantly into a Word document or an email  message.  Using macros to insert repetitive text has the added benefits of always inserting the desired text (no omitted text) without any spelling errors.

Macro Express is a program that allows you to create a macro (memorized computer keystrokes) to automate virtually anything you do repeatedly on your computer. I use it primarily to insert text into Word documents or email messages. If you use the same text or phrases over and over, why waste time typing the text from scratch each time you need the text when you can type a short abbreviation that inserts the text instantly at the point of your cursor?  Not only does Macro Express save time it eliminates typos and insures that the exact desired text is generated every time just the way you want it.

For example, when somebody calls and asks me about forming a limited liability company, I ask them for their email address so I can send them a marketing email message that has links to pages on my website about LLCs. The message is several paragraphs of text. With Macro Express, I simply type “.llclink”

[the name I gave this particular macro] and Macro Express zaps my canned message into the body of my email message at the point where my cursor is located.

I have several email signatures that I can insert as closings to email messages depending on whether I am sending a message to a person related to estate planning, entity formation or some other area of law that I practice.  If I am sending an email message to an estate planning prospect I want my signature block to read:

Richard Keyt
Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning
Phone: 602-906-4953, ext. 1
Fax: 602-297-6890
Arizona Estate Planning: www.keytlaw.com/arizonawills

BM (before Macro Express) I either had to type this closing from scratch or have it saved somewhere that I could access, copy the text then paste it into the message.  AM (after Macro Express) all I need to do is type the text that invokes the macro and a second later the text is inserted perfectly into my email message.

Macro Express makes it simple for me to have a different email signature block that is area of law specific for the intended recipient of the message.  If you are trying to get somebody to hire you for widget law don’t send the person a message with a signature closing that says you do thing-a-ma-jig law.

Macro Express is an incredibly powerful macro recorder and playback utility. Automate all of your common tasks by simply turning on the recorder, performing the actions one time, then playing back the macro when needed. Or use over two dozen Quick Wizards to guide you through a series of questions and build the macro for you. To create more powerful macros, utilize the Scripting Editor.

Macro Express can also automate procedures. You could create marcos to configure Word to print to your color printer, your black and white printer or to Adode pdf.  Think of Macro Express as a recorder that records your key strokes.  You start the recorder, hit whatever keys and/or mouse clicks you want to record then stop the recorder.  Give the macro a name and the short keys you want to use to invoke the macro and you are done.  Now when you type the keystrokes that invoke the macro the program will replay the recorded keystrokes.  Macro Express has a wizard that makes creating macros extremely easy.

Your increased productivity will quickly pay the small cost for Macro Express. Use it to automate boring, repetitive computer tasks. Perform tasks quicker, more reliably and with less stress. Reduce wear and tear on wrists and hands.  Macro Express provides all the tools necessary to create macros that will simplify your computing life. You do not need to know any programming language or have any programming skills. Everything is created in simple steps.  Use Macro Express for quick insertion of boilerplate text, international characters or symbols. Speedily populate a database with information from a file. Manipulate text strings, open web pages, prompt users for input, back up files and much more.

The program contains hundreds of commands to automate practically any function on the computer. These include keystrokes, mouse movements and clicks, launch programs, send email, move and resize windows, variables, logic, input boxes, questions, menus, ASCII delimited and text file processing, network connections, file manipulation, math calculations, waits, pauses, repeat loops and much more.

For more powerful and complex macros, it’s easy to create if/then/else logic that examines variables and makes decisions based upon what it finds.

Macros may be launched via hot keys, shortkeys, mouse clicks, window controls, a window title, a pop-up or floating menu, or via the macro scheduler. Assign macros to play back in all Windows programs, in only one specific window or program, or in every program except the one defined.

Your time is valuable so give yourself a productivity present and buy Macro Express.  It’s only $39.95 for a single user license.  Click here to buy  Macro Express.

By |2018-01-14T08:40:47-07:00May 6th, 2012|Software, Stuff We Recommend|1 Comment

WordPress is Most Popular Blog Software

A recent survey by Pingdom found that 48 of the most popular blogs are created with WordPress, up from 32 in 2009.  In order the blog platforms by percent of sites using the software are:

  • 48 WordPress
  • 14 Custom
  • 7 Movable type
  • 6 Drupal
  • 5 Gawker
  • 4 Blogsmith
  • 2 Typepad
  • 2 Blogger

Where does your blog/web software fall in this list?   The article says, “It’s also interesting to see that our findings are not far off compared to what Technorati found in its State of the Blogosphere 2011 report. In it, Technorati found that 51% of blogs in the world use WordPress.”  The article contains a list of the top 100 blogs and the software platform used by each.

If you are not using WordPress for your blog or website you are probably making a mistake.  If you are paying somebody big bucks to create a custom site for you then you are really wasting a ton of money.

I started using WordPress in the fall of 2009.  It is an incredible program and it’s free.  I now have 11 websites/blogs (counting this one) that I created using WordPress.  I use WordPress to create pure blog sites and sites that are traditional websites that may or may not have a blog.  Here are the reasons I love WordPress and recommend it:

  • It’s free.  However there are some themes and plugins that you must buy to use, but the vast majority of themes and plugins are free.
  • It’s very easy to use.  I can teach somebody in ten minutes how to add content (posts and pages) to a WordPress blog or site.
  • It’s very powerful.  For some reason I do not understand people write add-in features and give them away for free to anybody who uses WordPress.  The two most common types of freebies are: (1) themes, and (2) plugins.  A theme is the look and feel of a blog or site.  WordPress comes with a default theme, but you can select from thousands of free themes and download and active a them in a matter of seconds.  When you active a theme, it instantly changes the look and feel of your site.  I use a theme for all of my sites called “Atahualpa,” one of the most popular free themes.  A plugin is a WordPress software add on that adds a new feature to your site.  You do not have to spend time creating code to make your site do what you want.  Instead, you search for a theme you want then click on the Install icon and the plugin then downloads and installs on your WordPress site.  For example, if you want a feature that automatically makes a sitemap of your site and uploads it to Google or if you want to have a message list serve on your site, all you need to do is decide which plugin you want, install and configure it and your WordPress site has those new features in a matter of minutes.

Do yourself a favor and switch to WordPress or create a WordPress site if you do not have a blog or a website.  The first step is go to www.lynda.com.  Pay to watch one of its how to videos on using WordPress version 3, the latest version.  If you learn WordPress and have a WordPress blog or website you can save tons of money and frustration by avoiding the need to pay a consultant.

By |2018-01-14T08:51:50-07:00April 16th, 2012|Blogs, Software, WordPress|0 Comments

Journalist Declares “Death to Microsoft Word”

Tom Socca wrote an article published in Slate on April 11, 2012, in which he announced his hatred for Microsoft Word 2010 and predicted its death.  He says:

“Nowadays, I get the same feeling of dread when I open an email to see a Microsoft Word document attached. Time and effort are about to be wasted cleaning up someone’s archaic habits. A Word file is the story-fax of the early 21st century: cumbersome, inefficient, and a relic of obsolete assumptions about technology. It’s time to give up on Word. . . . it’s become an overbearing boss, one who specializes in make-work. Part of this is Microsoft’s more-is-more approach to adding capabilities, and leaving all of them in the “on” position. Around the first time Clippy launched himself, uninvited, between me and something I was trying to write, I found myself wishing Word had a simple, built-in button for ‘cut it out and never again do that thing you just did.’ It’s possible that the current version of Word does have one; I have no idea where among the layers of menus and toolbars it might be. All I really know how to do up there anymore is to go in and disable AutoCorrect, so that the program will type what I’ve typed, rather than what some software engineer thinks it should think I’m trying to type.”

Read the entire article.

I mention the “Death to Word” article because it illustrates a point I have made many times of the years.  I call it Keyt’s Technology Rule Number 3:  Few people ever invest the time needed to become expert users of their software or devices, but instead learn only how to do the most basic functions.

Tom Socca is a journalist.  He writes for a living.  The primary tool of his trade for years was his word processor software program, i.e. Word.  Despite using Word for untold thousands of hours he never took the time to learn how to use the powerful features built into the software, many of which can make him a more proficient and efficient Word user.  You would think that a person who used a software program a lot would want to become a true expert in the use of the software, but that rarely ever happens.

I disagree with Mr. Socca.  Word is not going to die soon.  In fact, Microsoft is moving with the times and taking Word to the cloud, which makes sense, especially for law firms and businesses.  The only reason Mr. Socca has a problem with Word is he doesn’t now how to use the program other than for its most basic and simple functions.

Take the Word Beginner User Level Knowledge Test

Few people ever invest the time to learn the powerful features built into their software. People can use a program like Word (Time Matters, Outlook, Hot Docs, WealthDox etc. pick your software) 8 hours a day, day after day, month after month and year after year, but are really novices and ignorant about the power of the software.

Take this test to see if you are a novice user of Word or an advanced user of Word.

1. Do you understand and use styles?

2. Do you know how to use and actually use track changes?

3. Have you ever set up and configured autocorrect?

4. Do you know how to use and do you use automatic paragraph numbering?

5. Do you know what the format painter is and do you use it?

6. What is paste special and do you use it?

7. Can you create a document that has merge fields in it and create multiple documents that merge text into the merge fields?

8. Do you know how to create and use macros?

9. Do you know what “keep with next” means and do you use it?

10.  Do you know that you can create your personal tool bar with the icons for the Word features you use most often and do you know how to create and modify that tool bar?

If you answered no to more than two of the questions you are a Word novice, but I suspect you are at least semi-happy with the program because you can get Word to do what you want it to do – usually. If you use Word regularly you should know how to use and actually use regularly each of these fundamental Word features.

Word is a relatively simple program. It does not have the complexity or the features of a good contact management system like Time Matters. The ignorant masses who don’t’ become experts in Word have little chance of learning how to use a powerful program like Time Matters much less be able to purchase the hardware and set up the hardware and software so that it works the way it should. You need a TM consultant/expert for that, but good luck in finding a true expert.  Hint: Call Tom Caffery if you need a Time Matters consultant.

Keyt Technology Rule Number 3 Applies Even in Situations Where Lack of Knowledge About a Device Can Kill the User

This problem of users having minimal knowledge of software applies across the board to all forms of technology. I first learned about Rule Number 3 during the period I flew combat missions over North Vietnam in 1972.  I observed that people will not invest the time needed to become an expert in their technology even when their lives depend on the knowledge or lack thereof. My airplane (the F-4 Phantom twin-engine fighter-bomber) had a black box called a “Radar Homing and Warning System” (RHAW). This device could detect whenever any radar energy struck the airplane. Based on the frequency of the radar energy the RHAW gear detected the type of radar (anti-aircraft artillery (radar guided guns), early warning radar, air to air radar (Mig-21 jet fighters), surface to air missile radar, including SAM acquisition radar, tracking radar and missile guidance radar energy). The RHAW system included a little TV that displayed coded information as to the type of threat and it generated an audio tone that could identify each type of threat.

This device could save a pilot’s life because the RHAW black box told him if he was being attacked by a Mig-21 fighter or if a 32 foot long supersonic flying telephone pole (a surface to air missile) was fired at him. You’d think it would be good idea to understand everything about the RHAW gear because the knowledge truly could mean the difference between life and death.  It took a considerable amount of time to become a RHAW expert.  When used over North Vietnam the RHAW gear generated considerable amounts of information.  Here is a partial list of what we say and heard while over enemy territory:

  • The little TV screen displayed a coded strobe for every type of radar beam that struck the F-4.  The TV was round and the F-4 was at the center of the screen.  There were four concentric circles, each with a different radius around the center of the TV.  The length of the strobe corresponded to the distance the radar was from the F-4.  Each type of radar had a particular strobe such as the examples listed below.  The list is not complete because my memory of that time has faded, but the point is that every pilot needed to know from looking at the little TV what type of radar was looking at his F-4.

1.  A series of dots meant the radar was an anti-aircraft artillery gun – a radar guided gun.

2.  A short straight line followed a dot that repeated meant an early warning radar

3.  A short straight line followed by two dots that repeated meant a surface to air acquisition radar

4.  An unbroken line meant a surface to air missile that was fired and guiding on the F-4

  • The clock position of each strobe showed the clock position of the particular radar.  If the strobe went from the center of the TV out in the direction of 5 o’clock it meant the radar was at the airplane’s 5 o’clock position.
  • The RHAW gear included rectangular black box on the instrument panel called a “threat display unit” or TDU that contained two horizontal rows of lights that indicated which type of radar was hitting the F-4.  If a radar guided gun was looking at the airplane the AAA light on the TDU would be illuminated.
  • The RHAW system also generated an audio tone in the pilot’s headset that had a different pitch for each type of radar that struck the airplane.  Because the different types of radars were at different frequency the RHAW system was programmed to give an audio tone that was specific for the type of radar.  The purpose of the different audio tones was so the pilots could tell from the tones they were hearing what types of radars where looking at them without the need to look in the cockpit at the TDU or the TV.
  • The TV had a red light in upper right corner of the device that had the letters A/S just to the left of it.  A/S was short for azimuth / sector.  This light would illuminate if a surface to air missile site was preparing to shot a SAM at the airplane and while the missile was in the air guiding on the F-4.  In other words, when the A/S light came on it meant the bad guy were either getting to fire a SAM at you or had already fired it.  We called this light the “aw shit” light because that’s how a person would feel when the light came on.
  • If a surface to air missile were actually fired at the F-4 the pilot would get the following RHAW warnings:
1.  The A/S light would illuminate.
2.  A very loud and distinct tone would be heard in the pilot’s headset.
3.  The Missile light and the Launch lights on the TDU would flash on and off quickly.
4.  When the pilot pushed a switch next to the A/S light it caused all strobes on the TV to disappear except the one strobe coming from the missile guidance radar.
  • Needless to say it was impossible to not know that a SAM was fired at you (unless you had turned the RHAW gear off).  When a SAM was fired at an F-4, the pilot had to immediately take the following action to avoid being shot down by the supersonic radar-guided 32 foot long explosive telephone pole:
1.  Determine the clock position from which the missile is coming from
2.  Turn hard (4 gs) to put the missile at the 2 or 10 o’clock position.
3.  Find the missile visually.  If you don’t see the missile you cannot take evasive action unless you just get lucky.  If no clouds were between the F-4 and the missile the missile was easy to see because it had a flame coming out of it and it left a long trail of smoke.
4.  With the missile at the 2 or 10 o’clock position push the throttles forward to accelerate and push the stick forward until weightless (zero g) and start a descent.  When the F-4 starts to descend the missile will change it course and descend at a faster rate than the F-4 because it has to always aim at a point in space in front of the F-4.
5.  When the missile gets so close you can’t stand it any more pull back on the stick (4 gs) to start a climb.  The missile will try to change course and make a sharp turn from descending to climbing, but because it has small wings and not much time it cannot make the turn necessary to get back on a collision course so it will go way behind the tail of the F-4 and detonate harmlessly (hopefully when it passes behind the F-4.

The RHAW system was a very important black box that saved many lives.  To learn how to use the RHAW system properly, however, required a substantial investment of a pilot’s time.  More than a few pilots did not invest the time.

I noticed that many pilots could not differentiate between the different audio tones or the different coded strobes displayed on the TV screen. I knew pilots who flew into the most heavily defended area in the history of aerial warfare who TURNED OFF THEIR RHAW GEAR BECAUSE IT GAVE THEM TOO MUCH INFORMATION or at least that’s what they said. I believe the main reason they turned off the RHAW gear was because they did not invest the time to learn the technology and could not use it effectively.  Some pilots did not invest the time needed to become an expert user of the RHAW system even though their lives depended on the device.

Many powerful software programs used in businesses today are much more complex than the F-4’s RHAW system and require a substantial investment in time to become an expert user.  Most people won’t ever invest the time, but you can and should.  The investment will pay off many times over.  You will be more efficient and productive by becoming an expert user of your software.

To learn more about flying the F-4 Phantom in combat in the Vietnam War see my website called Flying the F-4.

I Love Word

I have used Word since 1998 when the big law firm where I was a partner switched from WordPerfect to Word.  The firm offered all non-attorney personnel a 20 hour class on using Word, but attorneys were given only 3 hours.  I was one of only 3 lawyers out of approximately 80 who attended the 20 hour class.  I also bought a great book called “Word 97 for Law Firms” and studied it.  Within one month after my firm converted to Word I was an expert on Word and have been an expert ever since.

Everybody else in the firm was pulling their hair out and complaining about the transition to Word and how difficult it was to convert WordPerfect documents to Word.  I created some Word macros to assist in converting my WordPerfect documents to Word, including a macro that converted WordPerfect’s automatic paragraph numbering to Word’s automatic paragraph numbering.  I was able to quickly convert without any problems.

I constantly hear people complain about Word (and many other wonderful software programs), but I know from experience and my own use of the same software that the only reason they complain is because they are mere beginning users of the software despite spending tons of time using the software on a daily basis.  The attitude of most people is show me the basics and that is all I need to know.  Instead, the attitude of a person that uses a software program a lot should be I’ll invest the time necessary to become an expert user of the software so I will be more efficient and productive.

Learn to Use the Tools of Your Trade

The lives of attorneys, legal assistants, legal secretaries and law firm personnel do not depend on being experts in law office software so they have little incentive to invest the time needed to become an expert in a software program.  I submit to you, however, that if you use a program like Word a lot in your business why wouldn’t you want to be an expert user of the software?  If you are an expert the software can help you to be more productive.  I’ve always looked at learning my software as something absolutely necessary to help me be more efficient and productive so I could make more money. When you think of it that way rather than a necessary evil you tolerate, you have taken the first step to independence from experts towards the goals of doing your job better and making more money.

How to Easily Learn a Software Program & Become an Expert User

Learning to use popular software programs today like Word is extremely easy in the 21st century and not all that time consuming.  The best way to learn how to become an expert user of a software program is to watch one or more instructional videos at Lynda.  I’ve paid Lynda $25/month for years to have unlimited access to it library of software training videos.  As of the date of this article Lynda has to 1,320 courses and 75,244 video tutorials organized by subject and software.  Watching Lynda how-to videos is an easy way to become a software program expert.

Several years ago I bought Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional because I wanted to make pdf fillable forms for online engagement agreements.  At that time Lynda had a 20 hour instructional video course on Acrobat 8 Pro.  I didn’t watch all of it – just the the parts that related to making fillable pdf forms.  In no time I was an expert.  See for yourself – check out the online pdf fillable engagement agreement people use to hire me to form an Arizona limited liability company.

Last year I bought Word 2010.  It’s great.  It does have some differences between Word 2007 and a lot of differences between Word 2003.  The Lynda videos on Word 2010 quickly brought to the expert level.  One area that I spent time learning was styles, which were substantially different from styles in Word 2003.  If you are a Word user who doesn’t know how to use styles and who doesn’t actually use them, you are missing a very powerful and useful Word feature.  Every document we create in our small law firm uses Word’s styles.

When Acrobat 9 Professional was released, I watched portions of its 20 hour instructional video to learn the new features of the program.  I now use and recommend Adobe Adobe Acrobat X Professional for making pdf fillable forms and Acrobat 10 standard  Adobe Acrobat X Standard for people who don’t need to create fillable pdfs.

By |2019-06-17T07:03:59-07:00April 14th, 2012|Ramblings, Software|0 Comments

Infusionsoft Review: The Cheapest & Best 24/7/365 Marketing Department in (2018)

A Happy Infusionsoft Customer Reviews the Web Based Software that Automates Marketing, Sales & Customer Relationships

My small law firm has used Infusionsoft for customer relations management, automatic followup marketing and delegation of attorney tasks since October of 2007.  Infusionsoft is a cloud-based software product that is responsible for adding hundreds of clients and substantially increasing my law firm’s revenue.

Here are the important facts I want you to get from this Infusionsoft review:

  • Infusionsoft works! The three finalists in Infusionsoft’s 2008 Ultimate Marketer contest used Infusionsoft to make serious money:

A.  The contest winner went from $0 revenue and no product in February 2008 to one informational product and $844,832 in revenue the last 10.5 months of 2008,

B.  A finalist went from $35,000 gross sales in 2006 pre-Infusion to $838,569 in 2007 and $2,099,706 in 2008, and

C.  The third finalist’s company had $2,000,000 gross revenue pre-Infusion then had gross sales of $6.1 million in 2007 and $10 million in 2008. For details about how Dentist Profits quadrupled revenue in two years ($2 mill to $10 mill), see Darcy’s online how to web page.

  • I suspect you are like I was before I bought Infusionsoft, i.e., you are not really marketing.
  • You get leads, but do not have the time to follow up with prospects to turn them into paying clients or customers.
  • A prospective business lead who contacts you today, but does not hire you or purchase your service or product today is likely to need your service or product in the future, but will probably not remember your business name, your name or any contact information when the prospect is ready to purchase.
  • If you follow up regularly with prospect over a period of time, the prospect will probably purchase from you when he or she is ready to buy.
  • Following up with prospects will not happen unless:

A. You dedicate an employee to actually do the follow up (a very expensive solution), or

B. You use an automatic system like Infusionsoft to do the follow up.

  • Infusionsoft will do a better job of marketing and following up with prospects than any marketing person you could hire, but it costs only a small fraction ($299/month for a 5 user license) of what you would pay an employee to do follow up marketing.
  • If you buy and use Infusionsoft properly, you will get more business and make more money and the cost of the program will be peanuts compared to the money you will make from using Infusionsoft to collect leads and do automatic followup marketing.
  • Buy Infusionsoft now. It’s a no brainer.
Why I Bought Infusionsoft

The primary reason I bought Infusionsoft is because I had (and still have) a tremendous amount of people entering my store (that’s what I call my website), but I was not able to convert many of the visitors to paying clients.  During 2011 my law firm’s website ( www.keytlaw.com) had more than 100,000 visitors.  Before I bought Infusionsoft, I did not collect visitor information or market to website visitors. Infusionsoft collects prospect information automatically from our website and does automatic follow up marketing over an extended period of time.

Infusionsoft has paid off big time. The software has generated a tremendous amount of additional revenue for me and my law firm. I expect even more increases in future revenue as we automate more and more of my law firm’s marketing.

Infusionsoft is a web-based automatic marketing system. Here’s how Infusionsoft describes its web-based marketing system:

Infusionsoft is an “Active” web-based solution designed to help small businesses double their revenues by automating and improving marketing, sales, and customer management.

Our flagship Infusionsoft product revolutionizes how small businesses run from end-to-end. With a heavy dose of marketing automation and additional tools to manage customer service, sales force automation, e-commerce, billing, and a lot more, Infusionsoft replaces the disparate, incompatible systems currently in place and leaves you with more time to strategically grow your business instead of managing fire after fire.

Infusionsoft is a full time UNPAID automatic marketing robot that doesn’t forget to send an email, letter, fax, or voice blast to a client or prospect. It also notifies your staff when they need to contact a client or prospect. It does it all automatically based on the follow up sequences you create.

My Pre-Infusionsoft Lack of Marketing

In my pre-Infusionsoft days, I did NO follow up marketing. For example, a lot of people who are interested in forming an Arizona limited liability company call or send me an email every day.  Pre-Infusionsoft, I talked to the prospect on the phone and then manually sent the prospect a marketing email message that said why the prospect should hire me and that had a link to my online LLC formation agreement. That’s it. I never contacted the prospect again. No follow up and tons of lost business. I did not have a system in place to follow up with prospects.

Marketing gurus tell us that most of the time when a prospect contacts you the prospect is not ready to buy.  That fact is why you need to get the prospects name and email and/or phone number so you can do follow up marketing to the prospect.  If you do not do follow marketing the prospect will probably not remember you when the prospect is ready to buy.

Marketing gurus say you need an average of 7 – 9 touches before a prospect is ready to purchase. That is why follow up marketing is so important.  The more often you follow up with a prospect you increase the possibility that the prospect will remember you and hire you when the prospect is ready to buy. Unfortunately for most people their day job interferes with follow up marketing to prospects.

I checked my Time Matters database on November 17, 2007, and found that I had sent and received over 1,400 email messages during the preceding 20 months, the subject of which was forming an Arizona LLC. I never followed up and pursued any of these 1,400 prospects for either LLC formation services or LLC operational related legal services. I lost a lot of business by not having a system that automates follow up marketing with prospects and clients.

How Infusionsoft Can Automate Collecting Leads & Doing Followup Marketing

Usually the hardest part of the sales puzzle is getting contact information from a prospect who is interested in your specific product or service. When you find that kind of prospect, you need to collect their name and email  address and/or phone number and do follow up marketing. Now, thanks to Infusionsoft, my law firm has a system designed to collect lead information and do automatic follow up marketing 24/7/365.

My Post-Infusionsoft Marketing

I am going to describe how I set up Infusionsoft to collect information about leads and do automatic follow up marketing to sell more Arizona limited liability company formations.  The first type of law business I used Infusionsoft for was LLC formations.  The system and process I created for generating more LLC formation business is typical and could be replicated for any type of service or product.

The Free Report

The first thing I did was create a “free report” and offer it on my Arizona Limited Liability Company Law website.  The free report is the hook used to collect leads from visitors who come to your website.  The gurus say that if you want a prospect to give you his or her name or email address or phone number you have to give the prospect something of value – the free report.  I wrote a very informative article with a catchy name called “10 Critical Facts Every LLC Owner Must Know.” (more…)

By |2019-06-17T07:04:04-07:00April 13th, 2012|Infusionsoft, Software|0 Comments

Software Used by the KEYTLaw Firm

The following is a list of the productivity software I use in my law practice:

Word 2010 & 2016 by Microsoft

I make my living writing and producing words on paper. Microsoft Word 2010 is my bread and butter program. Word can do it all for those who invest the time to learn Word. I bought WordPerfect 2 in 1983. My license number was 50 something thousand. I became an expert and used WP through DOS version 5.2 until 1998 when the large law firm in which I was a partner switched from DOS to Word and from WP to Word.  I spent the first month after we converted to Word in 1998 learning Word 97 and became a Word expert.  After investing the time to learn Word I have never had a problem with Word.  I know how to use it and how to avoid Word doing things that confound many novice users, including novice users who have been using Word daily for years.  If your primary job involves writing and you use Word, you owe it to yourself to become a true Word expert rather than one who dabbles in Word and cannot understand why things happen or why you cannot get Word to do what you want it to do.

Timeslips 2014 by Sage Software

Timeslips is the best lawyer billing program I have ever owned. Timeslips is a critical program in my practice that enhances my productivity and ability to bill for my services. I bought my first law office billing program in 1984, Client Management System by Compulaw. It was a great DOS billing program. Over the years I owned and used Omega, TABS III, and Forob. The latter was a great DOS integrated billing, accounts payable, accounts receivable and general ledger program for which I paid $10,000 in the early 1990s. When I had my eight lawyer firm, we paid a billing clerk $40,000 a year with benefits to do the bills. Today, I use Timeslips alone without a billing clerk and save the money I used to spend for billing assistance. I run Timeslips constantly in the background and enter my time as I work each day. It takes me approximately three to four hours a month to review and edit hundreds of bills and print them in final. I use Timeslips to generate over 600 invoices. Because Timeslips makes a copy of every invoice, I do not retain hard copies of any invoice. If a client calls about an invoice, I can access the invoice in question and email a copy of the invoice in pdf format in a few seconds.  I have not upgraded to a new version because Timeslips has not added a significant new feature for years.

Quickbooks Pro

I have used Quickbooks for my law firm accounting and bookkeeping since 2001.  It is the market leader in small firm bookkeeping software.  My wife does all of the data entry.  We have a bookkeeper make review her data entry and corrections if necessary once a month.  After year end we just give our CPA the accountant’s file and it contains everything she needs to do our company’s federal and state income tax returns.  It produces great reports.  We pay a little extra for Quickbooks to do an automatic backup every day to Intuit’s cloud storage system.  The automatic online back up saved us in early 2012 when my wife’s hard drive crashed and was unrecoverable.  We lost 11 years worth of data on that machine, but all we did was install Quickbooks on a new computer and then restore the online backup and all eleven years of data reappeared as advertised.

Time Matters Version 2016 by LexisNexis

The perennial number one selling and top ranked law office contact management program. This program truly does it all, which is why some of its features have a high learning curve. I have used Time Matters since version 2.0 in 1998. Time Matters is a superior contact manager, calendar, to do list, tickler system, internet email manager, document management system and many other things. My Time Matters contains contact information for over 3,700 clients, referral sources, contacts, vendors and government agencies. I can find a name, phone number, mailing address and email address in a few seconds. Time Matters’ document management system is one reason I am a 100% paperless office. See my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Office” for a detailed explanation of how we became a paperless office. Time Matters allows me to save everything related to a client, matter or contact in one place. For example, if I access World Wide Widgets matter called “Newco vs. WWW,” I will find every document, internet email (incoming and outgoing), phone call (in and out), calendar event, to do list item and relevant website for the matter, including all such items created by other people. Time Matters gives me total client, matter and contact information in one central location. Can you instantly access a record of a phone call you had relating to a client a year ago or a contract signed by a client two years ago? I can because I use Time Matters.

Outlook

We have Outlook installed on our server.  It is the primary program everybody in my law firm uses to send and receive email.  Some people also use it for their digital calendar.  Our server based Outlook syncs with Time Matters.  If we send or receive an email message in Outlook, we can click on an icon and add the email message to the appropriate contact or matter in Time Matters.  Any calendar events added to Outlook or to the Time Matters calendar sync automatically with the other program.  All email and calendar events also sync automatically with our iPhones and iPads.  If I am out of the office I can check my calendar on my iPhone or iPad and make an appointment that will automatically sync with my Time Matters calendar.

Infusionsoft Customer Relations Management

Infusionsoft helps small businesses grow fast by automating their marketing, sales, and customer management. Infusionsoft centralizes, organizes and automates small business’ marketing, sales, and customer management, which results in better lead conversion, lower labor costs and greater lifetime customer value. I have been using Infusionsoft since the middle of October 2007, and can say that it is fabulous and its marketing potential is unlimited. The CRM lets me do automatic marketing to my propsects and clients.

For example, as part of my marketing plan to get more limited liability formation business I wrote an article called “10 Critical Facts Every LLC Owner Must Know.” I put a teaser link on my Arizona Limited Liability Law website. When people click on the link to obtain a copy of the article, they are asked to give their first and last name and email address. On entering that information, Infusionsoft automatically begins the following campaign:

A. Infusionsoft sends an email to the person and asks the person to click on a link to opt in to receive the 10 Critical Facts article.

B. When the person clicks on the link, Infusionsoft sends a second email to the person that contains a link to the 10 Critical Facts article that is on a password protected page on my LLC law website. The email is a sales message that gives the prospect reasons why he or she should hire me to form their LLC.

C. Over the next several months, Infusionsoft sends additional follow up email messages to the prospect that are intended to get the person to hire me to form their LLC.

This Infusionsoft assisted marketing system works for me because in 2011 I formed 522 limited liability companies.

Watch the Infusionsoft Demo Video

If you want to collect leads that come to your internet website and do automatic followup marketing and make more money, you owe it to yourself to watch the short Infusionsoft demo video.  Important Concept:  Getting traffic to your site is great, but if people visit and go away without your system getting the visitor’s email address at a minimum you are losing potential clients and revenue.  Use Infusionsoft’s double opt in email marketing system to add more money to your bottom line.

See my review of this fabulous automatic marketing system called “Infusionsoft Review: The Cheapest & Best 24/7/365 Marketing Department.”

Acrobat by Adobe

Adobe Acrobat XI Standard is must have program for all lawyers. I have a 100% paperless office because I scan all documents into Acrobat format (.pdf) using Acrobat.  When you have Acrobat running on your computer, it adds a feature to Word that allows you to create .pdf files directly from Word documents, which is much faster and creates very small files. For example, by telling Word to print a 55 page Operating Agreement, Acrobat created the .pdf file in about 30 seconds and the file size was 253k.

I use Adobe Acrobat XI Professional to create pdf fillable forms.  I love this program.  It is very easy to create pdf fillable forms once you take a little time to learn how it’s done.  Acrobat Pro can convert a Word document into a pdf fillable form with fields automatically.  It’s a piece of cake to then fine tune the fields and their properties to make the form exactly like you want it to be.

To learn more about how my law firm uses Acrobat read my article called “A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Law Office.”

Hot Docs

Hot Docs is the best automatic document assembly software on the market. You or your Hot Docs programmer use HD to create templates with powerful programming features and logic to assemble finished documents in Word. All of the legal forms that I use frequently for my clients are assembled automatically using Hot Docs templates. I recommend that you hire an experienced professional HD programmer to create your templates and automate documents that you or your firm routinely create for internal use or for clients. Anybody who creates the same basic document over and over (for example, lawyers who prepare contracts, pleadings and other form type documents) should use Hot Docs to automate the process. Hot Docs is the reason my legal assistant and I were able to form almost 600 limited liability companies (and all related documents including an Operating Agreement) in 2012.  I could not practice law and be as productive as I am without Hot Docs, my fabulous automated document assembly program. For Hot Docs template development, I recommend Bart Earle who programs my templates. Contact Bart at Capstone Practice Systems; phone 781-652-8419 or email Bart at bart@capstonepractice.com.

I was a beta tester and early adopter of Hot Docs Document Services.  This is the cloud based version of Hot Docs.  It is really really slick.  See my quotes about this new service in an April 9, 2012, press release.

Wealthdocs by Wealthcounsel

Wealthdocs is the best estate planning software that money can buy. Wealthcounsel’s automatic document assembly software called Wealthdocs produces wills, trusts, LLCs, FLPs, and almost every ancillary document an estate planner could possibly want or use. Wealthdocs has a very high learning curve, which you would expect for an automated document assembly program that can produce anything from a simple will to extremely complex trusts and estate plans designed to save millions of dollars in federal and state estate taxes. It requires a lot of up front time to learn and use the software effectively. With its high learning curve and $10,000+ price tag, Wealthdocs is not for the technology challenged or technological faint of heart. I love Wealthdocs because it: (i) produces outstanding estate planning documents for my clients, and (ii) allows me to operate a very efficient and profitable estate planning practice.  To learn more about this fabulous software for estate planning lawyers go to its Why WealthDox page.

Macro Express by Insight Software Solutions

I love this productivity program.  I have used it for over ten years.  Everybody in my law firm uses Macro Express because it saves all of us a tremendous amount of time.  If you type the same things over and over you need this program because once you create a macro to insert that text at the point of your cursor you will never type the text again no matter what program (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, your browser, Gmail, etc.) you are using on your computer.  To learn more about this fabulous software program more read my review of Macro Express.  Click here to buy  Macro Express for $39.95 per user.

Sugar-Sync

A program that automatically backs up your important files to the cloud is a MUST HAVE PROGRAM! Sugar-Sync is installed on your server or local computer and configured to automatically back up to the cloud your entire hard drive or files and folders that you select.  These types of programs are very inexpensive when you consider the cost and nightmare you can have if your programs and/or data is destroyed on your server or local computer.  It comes in handy if you accidentally delete a file or files and need to restore them.

By |2019-06-17T07:04:00-07:00April 12th, 2012|Infusionsoft, Software, Time Matters|0 Comments

A Simple Inexpensive Way to Create a Paperless Law Office

Are you in a 20th century or a 21st century law firm?  Lawyers produce, review and store massive amounts of paper.  If your law firm is not truly paperless its powers that be should be ashamed of themselves.  It’s time to move your law firm into the 21st century and use technology to not only save your firm money by doing away with the cost of filing and storing paper, but also allow all law firm personnel to access client and internal firm documents in a matter of seconds.  This article describes exactly how my small law firm became a paperless law firm.

My small law firm has been 100% paperless since March 2004.  Here are some important facts about our paperless law office:

  • We have 190,000+ documents in our paperless system.
  • Our lawyers and staff are able to find any client document in 5 – 10 seconds and have the document displayed on a computer monitor.
  • All of our documents are viewable over the internet from any where in the world.
  • Each attorney can apply security (or not) to restrict access to a document to authorized firm personnel.

In 2004 I practiced law alone with no support staff other than my wife who was also my paralegal, secretary, bookkeeper and file clerk. We went 100% paperless in March of 2004. We do not keep hard copies of any documents.

I have a very high volume, document intensive practice. When I first wrote this article on October 29, 2005, my wife and I had saved 970 documents (46 documents a day excluding weekend days) in the previous month. Most documents we save are documents we create, but we also scan and save a lot of incoming correspondence and other documents. I can easily determine how many documents we save a month by looking at the document number (in my document management system) of the first document we create in any month and the comparing that number to the number of the latest document we create in a month.

For a solo or small firm, it is very easy and relatively inexpensive to create a paperless law office. I am extremely happy I made the switch. I can find any letter, document, notes of a meeting, Excel spreadsheet, .pdf document, Power Point Presentation or piece of paper that relates to a client, matter or contact in a few seconds and have it displayed on my computer monitor. It’s a wonderful thing.  All of our six attorneys and our legal assistants and secretaries love our paperless system because it is much easier and less time consuming than filing hard copies in a file in a file cabinet.

My small law firm now has four attorneys and four legal assistants. We continue to create a lot of paper documents – over 1,500 a month.

Why Paperless if Good

There are several reasons why a paperless office is the way to go:

  • It saves the time and expense of having people file documents in traditional hard copy files.
  • It saves the expense and headaches of file storage.
  • It saves the expense and time delay of getting documents from closed storage.
  • It’s green and doesn’t adversely affect the environment.
  • If your building is destroyed or your office vandalized, your documents are safe and not affected (assuming you have a proper backup system).
  • With a good document management system attorneys can attach security to every document so that only authorized people can access the document.
  • It allows firm lawyers and personnel to have almost instant access to documents.

My favorite reason for being paperless is the last item. If somebody calls and asks me a question about a document in our system, I can find and open a signed copy of the document in pdf format in a matter of seconds. People who do not know we are paperless are frequently shocked that I can access their document so quickly.

Hardware & Software Needed to Go Paperless

Here’s how we went paperless:

1. In 2004 I bought two Xerox Documate 252 scanners (one for me and one for my wife, my legal assistant) for about $900 each. It’s about the size of a shoe box and sits next to our flat panel computer monitors. It has a very small footprint.  Now every attorney and legal assistant has a personal scanner on his or her desk.  Personal scanners on people’s desks are absolutely necessary if you truly want to be 100% paperless.  You must make it simple and convenient for everybody in the firm to scan documents and input the documents into your document management system (another must have item of law office technology).

Fujitsu S1500 Snapscan ScannerScanner Advice: The scanner I now buy and recommend you buy is the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac.  Amazon sells this scanner for $400 – $450 (Amazon varies the price).  This is a smoking deal – you get a 25 page per minute color personal scanner that comes with Adobe Acrobat X standard software.  Acrobat is needed so that scans open automatically as pdf files.  We love this scanner.  It’s the size of a shoe box.  It has a 50 page sheet feeder and can scan business cards and color photos.  For more about this scanner real my article called “The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 – A Great Law Office Scanner.”

The scanners you see in computer stores like Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot are slow home use type scanners. When you shop for an office scanner, you want speed (at least 20 pages per minute) and a sheet feeder that takes at least 25 pages. If the scanner on sale doesn’t prominently display its pages per minute scanning speed, it means the scanner is much too slow (a few pages per minute) to use for anything other than infrequent home scanning. Years ago I bought three HP 3380 4 in 1 printer, scanner, fax and copiers for $700 each. They print, fax and copy great, but the fastest I could ever get the HP 3380 to scan was 2 pages per minute in black and white at 300 dpi. Very fast high volume scanners are several thousand dollars and up, but most small offices don’t need that kind of speed (50+ pages per minute). Manufacturers of medium and high speed scanners display the scanner speed because that is one of the main features buyer’s seek.

2. All lawyers and staff have Acrobat XI Standard Win

[Download]. I have the Acrobat Professional XI Windows [Download] version (approximately $400) and everybody else has the standard version (approximately $299).  This is one software item that every lawyer who wants to be paperless needs.  We actually have a multiuser version of Acrobat 9 standard on our server.  I use Acrobat Professional XI Windows [Download] to create pdf fillable forms.  It’s great.  For an example of an online engagement agreement that is typical of those I use to create for my law firm see my Arizona LLC Formation Agreement.  Prospective clients can save the document on their computer, fill out the form, save it then email it to us.  We make pdf fillable client engagement agreements and data intake forms and other forms for internal office use only.  Update:  We have replaced many of our pdf engagement agreements with a WordPress plugin called Gravity Forms.  I love Gravity Forms.  My LLC Formation Questionnaire is a Gravity Forms smart form.

3. Our computers are on a network. All data files are saved on the server. Our system makes daily backups to the cloud.  We use Mozy Pro and Jungle Disk for automatic backs over the internet to a secure web storage site.

4. We use Time Matters for many things, including document management. I’ve used Time Matters since 1998. It is an incredible program without which our productivity would be drastically reduced along with a corresponding reduction in income. I bought my first document management program (PC Docs – later Docs Open) in 1992 for $350 a user. I believe that EVERY (w/o exception) practicing lawyer who has a lot of documents should use a document management system. Having a document management system is one reason I can find any document I seek in a few seconds.

That’s all the hardware and software we used to make our 100% paperless office.

Paperless Office Procedures

Here’s how we actually do the paperless thing:

1. When we receive a hard copy of a document or if we create a document such as a letter or contract, we either scan it with a scanner (if it’s in hard copy format) or “print” to Adobe .pdf (if it’s in Word format) to create a pdf version of the document in a few seconds. Having a personal scanner at our desks is critical for a successful paperless system. You want the user/office personnel to be able to scan the document contemporaneously with creating or handling it. The user is best able to determine the appropriate information for the document to input in the document profile. You must indoctrinate your staff to do contemporaneous scanning and saving to get maximum efficiency, staff productivity and attorney ability to access scanned documents in the system.

2. To scan a hard copy of a document, we insert the document (up to 50 pages for the sheet feeder, but I usually limit it to around 25 pages to reduce the chance of a paper jam) into the sheet feeder of the Xerox 262. If the document is letter size, we press the simplex or the duplex button on the scanner and the scanner then scans the document at about 25 pages per minute. If the document is legal size, I press another button to change to scan format #2, which is legal size paper. I then press simplex or duplex button to start the scan. We scan at a resolution of 300 dpi (preconfigured in the Xerox 262), which produces a good quality printed version of the document.

3. In a few seconds or maybe a minute if the document is 25 pages, the document automatically appears on the screen in Adobe .pdf format, even if Adobe was not previously loaded.

4. We click on the TM save icon in Adobe Acrobat, which causes the TM document profile screen to appear on the screen. To add a document to the TM document management system, the document must be saved using TM’s document profile.

5. In 10 – 15 seconds we enter the following information into the TM profile: document code (PN for promissory note, OA for Operating Agreement, etc.), the name of the document and the client, matter or contact. By pressing F2 in the appropriate field or by typing the client, matter or contact info, TM will find the desired client, matter or contact. TM automatically inserts the initials of the person creating the document, the date and time of creation, the next document number, and most importantly, the document file name and file location on the network. We’ve configured TM to use its automatic naming feature and to automatically create a file name equal to the document name and save it in a folder under the client, matter or contact name. TM’s file naming and file saving location configuration feature is very robust and gives the user many options and a lot of flexibility. If needed, TM will automatically create the folder where it saves the file.

Step 5 is the last of the steps needed to free your office from paper. I did two test scans, one with a 35 page document and the other with a five page document. One minute and 45 seconds from pushing the scan button, I had scanned the 35 page document, converted it to Adobe .pdf format, created a document profile in TM and saved the profile and pdf file. The same process from start to finish for the five page document was 40 seconds.

Ask yourself how long would it take your secretary or file clerk to file a hard copy of a document. The filer must find and obtain the hard file, punch holes in the document, physically tack down and file the document in the file, then return the file to the appropriate location. Not only does hard copy filing take a lot longer than paperless filing, but it might take days or weeks before the document actually is filed in the client or matter file.

The old fashioned method of filing hard copies is inefficient, costly in terms of staff time to file, a waste of expensive office space for row after row of file cabinets, a waste of time for lawyers and staff to find and deliver files to personnel, and expensive to store long term.

As for setting up the hardware and software and training staff to scan and save into TM, any good TM consultant should be able to configure a scanner and TM’s document management system and teach users how to do operate the paperless system in a very short period of time. I taught my wife how to scan and save in TM in a 20 or 30 minute session. It really is just as easy as I made steps 1 – 5 above seem.

Practical Note: If you convert to a paperless or semi paperless office, don’t waste the time, money or energy to scan and index existing documents and files except those that are actually being serviced at the time and inactive files that you think you will need in digital format in the near future. Start fresh and scan going forward. Most of your old files will rarely if ever be accessed so it does not make sense to convert the inactive files to digital files unless it is for the purpose of eliminating file and storage space.

By |2019-06-17T07:04:03-07:00April 12th, 2012|Hardware, Paperless Office, Software, Tech Stuff|38 Comments