Management Assistance Program
Top Tips for Practicing Law During a Crisis
By Jim Calloway
Practicing law during a pandemic is both challenging and exhausting.
The OBA Management Assistance program began posting daily tips on practicing in a crisis in March. Like so many things in 2020, this has gone on much longer than we anticipated. Some readers may have missed some of our most popular tips, so we decided to feature some of our top tips so far for 2020. We hope readers will take the opportunity to review the collection for any tips you may have missed. The index to the crisis tips is at www.okbar.org/lpt_category/jcdt-crisis-tips. You can also go to Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips blog at www.lawpracticetipsblog.com and enter your email address to receive the tips via email.
TODAY’S TIMES DEMONSTRATE THAT LAWYERS MUST ACCEPT ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS
As shelter-in-place took hold, the most common questions we received from lawyers had to do with electronic payments. So, we recorded a short video for this tip with a rep from OBA member benefit LawPay. If you don’t know when you can use ACH processing to save on processing fees or how to easily incorporate client payment links into your billing and website, this is the video for you. There are more processing tools today than a few years ago so this video is worth the time investment. (May 12)
A PASSWORD MANAGER IS A GREAT SECURITY TOOL AND A TIME-SAVING CONVENIENCE
After former ABA TECHSHOW Chair Tom Mighell did a comprehensive set of blog posts on how to select the best password manager, I invited him for a video interview to discuss his findings, and the result was “Take the Pain Out of Selecting a Password Manager with Tips from Tom Mighell.” (May 26)
LEARN FROM YOUNGER LAWYERS
I’m a baby boomer. Maybe that is why I found the millennial take on lessons learned so far in the crisis so interesting – “Navigating the Pandemic by Embracing the Wisdom of Millennials.” (June 22)
A SCREEN CAPTURE UTILITY TRILOGY
Capturing an image or video from your computer screen has many uses for lawyers. We provided three tips on this subject featuring 1) A free utility included in Windows – the Snipping Tool, 2) An inexpensive and more powerful tool – SnagIt and 3) A shopper’s guide to video recording utilities.
- “The Snipping Tool – A Useful Screen Capture Utility Built Into Windows” (Aug. 3)
- “The Snipping Tool is Good, but a More Powerful Tool is Snagit” (Aug. 4)
- “What is the Best Way to Make a Video Recording of What You See on Your Screen?” (July 27)
GET MORE OUT OF FASTCASE AND ‘UPGRADE’ TO VERSION 7
Fastcase is a member benefit for OBA members. In this video Fastcase CEO Ed Walters gives us a brief tour of Fastcase features, some research tips and covers free training options. OBA members are currently defaulted to Fastcase 6. Ed also shows us how to toggle to Fastcase 7 for a more modern interface and improved tools. “Improve Your Legal Research with Fastcase Tips from Ed Walters” (April 22)
AUTOMATE KEYBOARDING OPERATIONS WITH ACTIVEWORDS
ActiveWords is a piece of software that automates keystrokes. It is inexpensive and has a generous free trial period. Many automation tools work within Microsoft Word, but ActiveWords works across all platforms, allowing one to create automation tools for any situation that allows the entry of text. This short video demonstrates the different ways you can use ActiveWords for a variety of functions, including creating signature blocks, opening your favorite websites or inserting pages of formatted text into the document you are creating. (June 15)
WORKING FROM HOME
Many lawyers and other law firm employees found themselves working from home this spring. Between uncertainty over whether school classes will be virtual and the fact that everyone waking up with cold or fever symptoms this fall means that people should be working remotely, it seems working from home is not over for this year. One of our early tips was “The Burneys: Bears & Boundaries & Conference Calls.”
Legal technology consultant Brett Burney and his wife, Stephanie, already had years of experience with a lawyer working from home and the potential conflicts with online schooling and other activities happening there. It is a cute video. We hope you enjoy it. (March 30)
WORKING FROM HOME 2
Here’s another post that’s exactly what the title says – “Some More Great Tips on Working from Home.” (July 21)
IF YOU ARE DEALING WITH WI-FI DEAD ZONES, YOU NEED MESH WI-FI
This goes double for larger homes where work from home and online schooling is happening simultaneously. In this post, we link to articles explaining how mesh Wi-Fi works and reviews of many popular systems. My personal purchasing decision was based on ease-of-installation and knowing several who had used a previous model of the product. “Consider Upgrading Your WiFi to a Mesh System.” (July 20)
So that’s it for our self-selected, top pandemic crisis practice tips, but there will be new tips posted each weekday.
New Video Shares Tips to Boost Your Productivity
By OBA Practice Management Advisor Julie Bays
With many Oklahoma lawyers finding it necessary to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is an excellent time to invest in practice management tools.
For lawyers who already had all of their client file information organized in a cloud-based practice, it has been a smooth transition from working in an office to working from home. They have been able to work remotely and access all necessary client information, eliminating the need to carry around heavy, paper files.
Lawyers and law firm staff would be able to easily work from home if they had the right practice management solution tools. OBA Practice Management Advisor Julie Bays has recorded a new video explaining the basic features of several of these tools.
Find Julie’s video with tips and assistance for which practice management solution would work best for your law office at www.okbar.org/lpt_articles/a-practice-management-software-solution-is-a-critical-office-management-tool.
OBA MAP is available to provide advice and answers to your law practice management questions. We are now scheduling virtual presentations for county bar associations through the end of 2020. CLE topics include Tips on Practicing in a Pandemic, Delivering Limited Scope Legal Services Effectively and Safely and Law Office Technology Update. Contact MAP Assistant Nickie Day to schedule a virtual presentation for your county bar. Her email address is nickied(at)okbar.org, and her phone number is 405-416-7050.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Mr. Calloway is OBA Management Assistance Program director. Need a quick answer to a tech problem or help solving a management dilemma? Contact him at 405-416-7008, 800-522-8060, jimc(at)okbar.org. Julie Bays is OBA Practice Management Advisor for the Management Assistance Program. Contact her at 405-416-7031, julieb(at)okbar.org. It’s a free member benefit.
Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal — September, 2020 — Vol. 91, No. 7