Each year the ABA TECHSHOW concludes the conference with a plenary session featuring a lightning fast, multi-speaker tips program. Some of the tips can be whimsical or esoteric but among the light-hearted nuggets are also some great, actionable bits of information lawyers can put into practice now. Following are some of the immediately useful tips from that session covering legal research, smartphones, browser security, marketing and more.
Bookmark this link! Powered by Google Custom Search this handy search tool lets you search over 300 full text online law reviews and legal journals, as well as academic papers and related publications on the SSRN Legal Scholarship Network. If you are looking for in-depth treatment on emerging legal topics this is a great place to start your search to find scholarly articles, many of which are published online prior to formal print publication.
Sometimes it is hard to read menus, pill bottles or other documents with small font, especially in low light. Apple sympathizes and has a tool called Magnifier that you can add to your iPhone or iPad. Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Toggle Magnifier to on. The magnifier will let you zoom in on text with your camera, increase the lighting and even take a snapshot. To access the magnifying glass triple tab the button on the right side of the screen. Don’t worry Android users. If you have a recent Samsung model, long press on the screen to pull up the widget options and add the Magnifier to your home screen for easy access.
Whether you’ve moved to a different operating system on your laptop or smartphone, the software that you used to love is now poorly supported and buggy, or if an app is scheduled to be sunset, you can try to find a reasonable replacement by heading to Alternativeto.net to find a list of possible replacements. Simply put the name of the app/software in the search box, and get a list of options. You can restrict your search to operating systems, installed software or browser based SaaS and other delimiters. You can also see reviews, comments and recommendations.
Google Chrome is a popular and powerful browser. It can also be a resource hog and the ability to have, well, a million tabs open can be both a boon and a curse. Here are a few extensions that can help manage Chrome more effectively.
- OneTab is a Chrome browser extension that let you save up to 95% of memory (RAM) by creating a new tab that creates a list of all the tabs you have open. You can then restore the tabs individually or all at once. Or delete them, share them as a web page or save the tab group for later.
- TabCopy is another tab management tool, but this lets you copy and paste all of your open tabs, with the file name, into an email or document in one click. For instance, if you have a lot of links to resources to send to a client and they are all open in different tabs you can click on the TabCopy extension and paste them into an email instead of copy/paste from each tab. The TabCopy extension provides a simple drop-down window containing three options for which sets of URLs to copy and the format they will be copied in.
- As mentioned, all those open tabs can be a drain on your computer. If you want to see which ones are major culprits you can use the built-in Google Chrome Task Manager to find out which tabs are eating your RAM. Open Settings > More Tools > Task Manager and then figure out what is causing a slow down (and it may be an extension).
- Unfortunately, passwords these days are a commodity. There are two browser extensions that will warn you if a password you are using has been exposed on the dark web. One is passprotect.io, which checks against the site Haveibeenpwned to see if your login credentials may be compromised and warns you to change your password. Similarly, Google has created the Password Checkup extension designed to send you an alert if your username or password have been compromised. Currently these extensions only work on the Chrome browser. Both of these password exposure alert browser extensions were tips from John Simek, Vice President of Sensei Enterprises, who holds a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) as well as other security certifications and expertise.
Sometimes controlling the cursor to select text is hard. But it doesn’t have to be if you use the space bar to move the cursor instead the tip of your finger. iPhone users all over the world rejoiced at this tip.
Checkli is a website that plays host to checklists for all sorts of things like packing for a trip or how to make a chocolate cake or 10 Things to Tell Your Kids Before Giving Them a Smartphone. But it also has checklists for forming a business, getting a divorce or what you need to start an estate plan. Lawyers can publish checklists for free and link back to their websites and share their checklists on social media. You can track how many people saved, downloaded and viewed your checklist. According to Checkli their checklists rank high in Google and writing a checklist is often more effective than a blog post for reaching people quickly. It is fast and free and interactive so if you have a useful legal checklist share it.
Current versions of Microsoft Word automatically turn email and web addresses into hyperlinks. However, sometimes that is not at all what you want. Removing the link to keep the plain text takes a few clicks (Right Click > Remove Hyperlink) but that can get time consuming especially if you have a lot of them. If you want the links to be plain text you can change your default setting by going to File > Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options > Autoformat As You Type > and uncheck “Internet and network paths with hyperlinks.” Then click “Ok” and “Ok”.
Law firms are migrating to Office 365 to provide cost-effective hosted solutions for document storage, shared files, team communication and hosted Exchange with easy administration. There are optional security settings that are available at set up, but were they turned on? Office 365 Secure Score will let administrators check their security settings against other users and get a score. Your score provides a baseline and as you add security features you can reassess your score. As Microsoft notes, this score “does not express an absolute measure of how likely you are to get breached. It expresses the extent to which you have adopted features that can offset the risk of being breached.”
The Nomodo Trio Wireless Qi-Certified Fast Charger with Mug Warmer/Drink Cooler costs $80 on Amazon and comes with the charger base, a power adapter and a coffee cup. It keeps you and your device charged. If nothing else the reviews express people’s exuberant expectations for this product and a lot of very unrealistic expectations, will lead lawyers to recognize why disclaimers exist.
All the great tips from ABA TECHSHOW 2019 are available for perusing.
Catherine Sanders Reach is the Director of the North Carolina Center for Practice Management. NCBA members, click here to learn more about how the Center for Practice Management can help you.