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Updated: 1 hour 9 min ago

Motion “to F*ck This Court and Everything that it Stands For”

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 23:26

So much gold in this.

“It took me about 1 month to study the history of the world and to learn the history and inner workings of American jurisprudence, literally.”

Go ahead and read the whole thing (pdf).

Found on PACER by Sarah Jeong. (h/t @popehat)

Motion “to F*ck This Court and Everything that it Stands For” was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Stop Folding Under Pressure: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 06:12

Every lawyer has had it happen. You think of the perfect follow-up question after the deposition ends, or you devise the pithy answer to the judge’s question after the hearing. Often, we perform well below our best in high-stakes situations, despite hours of dedicated preparation. Here is what’s going on in your brain and what you can do to perform closer to your potential, even when the pressure is on.

Why You Choke Under Pressure

You choke under pressure because the region of your brain responsible for executive functioning becomes hijacked by fear, worry, and nerves. The prefrontal cortex is the part of your brain responsible for advanced cognitive processes, things like language processing, working memory, and executive decision-making. One of the most important functions of the prefrontal cortex is to serve as the store of short-term memory — often the key to good lawyering. When we are synthesizing responses to judge’s questions or negotiating deals, we are relying heavily on our prefrontal cortexes.

University of Chicago psychologist Sian Beilock, the author of Choke, observes that pressure-filled situations affect the prefrontal cortex, depleting the brain’s working memory. Worry essentially sabotages the prefrontal cortex, Beilock says, thereby diminishing your ability to perform complex thinking.

Strong emotional inputs, hallmarks of many intense situations, also contribute to suboptimal performance. Emotions trigger the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions and our fight-or-flight response. When you experience a strong emotional input, like a judge yelling at you or unreasonable opposing counsel, your amygdala kicks into high gear. In what has been termed an “amygdala hijack” by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, the amygdala takes over the most rational parts of our brain, including the prefrontal cortex.

Indeed, research shows an inverse relationship between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. When the amygdala is active with blood and oxygen, there is less blood and oxygen in the prefrontal cortex. This means that our logical thinking and working memory are diminished because there is less blood in the prefrontal cortex. An amygdala hijack increases the probability that a lawyer won’t think of that clever response on the spot. He or she can’t; his or her executive decision-making center — the prefrontal cortex — doesn’t have the resources it needs to work well.

How to Reach Your Potential Under Pressure

The good news is that there is a lot we can do to perform better under pressure. The even better news is that many of these practices are very simple (if not always easy).


Related “10 Steps to Add Meditation to Your Law Practice”

Meditating for just 10 minutes before a big event helps, even if you have no meditation experience. Beilock gave people 10 minutes of meditation training before a big exam. The people who received the training scored an average of 87 whereas the people who received no training scored an average of 82 even though the two groups had the same ability. This finding is consistent with the numerous other studies indicating that meditation reduces stress and anxiety while improving memory, focus, and the ability to pay attention.

Practice with Added Stress

Related “Restore Order to Your Desk to Reduce Stress”

We all know we need to practice to perform well, but the trick to reducing your choke factor is to add extra stress, says Beilock. In one study, one group of golfers was told their practices would be filmed for later examination by experts. A second group just practiced. The people who practiced with the extra pressure performed better when tested.

The extra stress acclimates your body and brain to pressure, so when stressors strike during a big event, you will know how to respond. Try practicing in front of a camera and asking more seasoned lawyers to review the footage with you. Do more moot courts if you can. Simulate negotiations and ask critical colleagues to observe. To be sure, all of these practice scenarios cost money and time, but if the stakes are high, the stressful practice will be worth it.

Write About Your Feelings Before the High-Stakes Event

A University of Chicago study showed that people who journaled about their feelings for ten minutes before a big test scored higher than people who wrote about something else or wrote about nothing. Notably, people who reported a history of text anxiety showed the most improvement. Researchers theorize that writing about fear and other feelings may ease anxiety because it allows people to express and name their emotions, which may calm them and free up working memory to focus on the test. For lawyers, it may be worthwhile to set aside time before an important hearing or event to jot down how you’re feeling about the upcoming event. You’re likely to perform better.

Talk to Yourself in the Third Person

We talk to ourselves all the time, particularly when we are mentally rehearsing an important speech or performance. It turns out that how we talk to ourselves affects both our anxiety levels and the quality of our work. University of Michigan scientists discovered that if you talk to yourself in the third-person, as opposed to the first-person, your anxiety will drop, and you will speak better in public.

In one experiment, people were told to give a speech to interviewers about why they are qualified for their dream jobs. They were given just five minutes to prepare and were not permitted to make any notes. Before the participants delivered their speeches, one group reflected on their feelings using the third-person, and the other group used the first-person. Those who talked to themselves using third-person references (like “you” or their names) performed better according to judges. The people who used the third-person also felt less anxious about their speeches. So go ahead, talk to yourself. Just be sure to say positive statements like, “You are going to do great! You’re ready.” Don’t say, “I’m sure I’ll be great.”

The next time you have to perform at your peak and the stakes are high, build in some extra time to try some of these practices. You will likely perform better and feel more confident, too.

Featured image: “Under pressure” from Shutterstock.

Stop Folding Under Pressure: Why It Happens and What to Do About It was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

ALM’s Law Firm Marketing and Business Development Leadership Forum, May 19–20 in New York City (Sponsored)

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 15:06

Lawyerist is a media partner for ALM’s 6th Annual Law Firm Marketing and Business Development Leadership Forum in New York City on May 19th and 20th. Although this is traditionally a forum for medium and large law firms, solo and small-firm lawyers and marketing consultants can learn a lot, too. Here are some of the sessions on the agenda:

What’s Trending in 2015?

The pressures on the legal industry have never been more intense but firms are rising to the challenge of distinguishing themselves as value-driven, creative service providers. Or are they? We’ll start the event with an expansive look at trends in the legal industry including:

  • Structural changes to cut costs without sacrificing quality of service
  • Ancillary business
  • The new law
Discounting Discounts: A Collaborative, Value-Add Approach to Fee Negotiations

For over 7 years it has been open season on discounting legal fees, both hourly and fixed. Buyers of legal services want to ensure they are getting fair value for their budgets, in a market that continues to be oversupplied. But any fee negotiation technique that relies exclusively on pressuring law firms to lower their margins has a natural limitation. In this session we will explore the extent to which those limits have been reached, and whether it is time for a model based on greater collaboration between client and counsel, a collaboration that can be supported and facilitated by procurement and business development. Specifically we will discuss:

  • The inherent problems with discounting legal fees
  • The ways in which both buyers and sellers of legal services perpetuate these problems
  • Making Waves and Effecting Change
  • Demonstrating Differentiation and Reaping the Rewards of Competitive Advantage
  • Unsexy Essential: Choosing & Maintaining a Customer Relationship Management System
  • Resource Allocation: How Do You Choose What Initiatives to Prioritize?
  • Creating a Cohesive Digital Strategy Across Your Firm
Connect the Dots: Translating Content Marketing Hits Into Concrete BD Wins

Congratulations, your firm has 20K Twitter followers, industry-leading blogs, and a massive LinkedIn group. Achieving these content marketing heights took time, innovation, and significant injection of cash. But how are you demonstrating ROI to firm management? Who’s reading and reacting to your thought leadership, and how can those dots on your metrics report be connected to measurable objectives and goals?

Solo and small-firm lawyers can email Krishna at ALM for a special discount on the registration fee. (Firms of 50 or more can use the code LAWCMO50 at registration for a 50% discount.)

ALM’s Law Firm Marketing and Business Development Leadership Forum, May 19–20 in New York City (Sponsored) was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Podcast #15: Karin Conroy’s 5-Step Basic Law Firm Marketing Plan

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 06:27

Don’t build your marketing plan around the strategies you want to employ. That’s step 4. First, you need to do a little background work to figure out which strategies make sense for your practice. This week, Karin and Sam talk through her 5-step marketing plan.

Plus, Sam and Aaron talk about a BigLaw April Fools prank that was in very poor taste but turns out to be a really good idea.

Quality of Life is a Joke (to Some)

Here’s the email policy Weil Gotshal distributed on April 1st:

(1) Email will not be transmitted between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. This will be implemented in the local time zone for each Weil office. This will be the default email setting, subject to opt-outs as described below.

(2) Emails will not be transmitted between 11:00 p.m. Friday and 6:00 a.m. Monday, also implemented in the local time zone for each Weil office and also subject to opt out.

(3) When an employee is on vacation, no emails will be transmitted from 11:00 p.m. on the day prior to start of vacation to 6:00 a.m. on the first day back at work after vacation. All emails during this time will be automatically responded to with a message that the recipient is on vacation and not receiving emails, and the name, email address and telephone number of a designated substitute for the duration of the vacation.

Then it wrote “We are proud to be taking a leadership role in caring about our colleagues’ quality of life.”

April fools.

But that’s a really good email policy and you should probably adopt it — or an even more aggressive version — because it will make you a happier, healthier lawyer. It will also improve the quality of your work.

Karin Conroy’s 5-Step Basic Law Firm Marketing Plan

Karin is a marketing pro who has been writing for Lawyerist since 2009. She’s been working on a series of articles laying out a basic, 5-step marketing plan. Today, we talk through all 5 steps:

  1. Identify your market
  2. Conduct a simple SWOT analysis
  3. Find your unique selling point
  4. Strategies for marketing
  5. Determine your costs

Thanks to Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode.

Listen and Subscribe

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To make sure you don’t miss an episode of the Lawyerist Podcast, subscribe now in iTunes, Stitcher, or any other podcast player. Or find out about new episodes by subscribing to the Lawyerist Insider, our email newsletter. We will announce new episodes in the Insider, and you can listen to them right here on Lawyerist.

Podcast #15: Karin Conroy’s 5-Step Basic Law Firm Marketing Plan was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Write Better Legal Documents with an Editing Checklist

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 06:12

By using a self-editing checklist to edit your writing, you will quickly improve the quality of your finished work. You will also become a stronger writer who produces better first drafts and finishes writing assignments quickly.

The Benefits of Self-Editing Your Writing

Related “How to Turn Lawyers into Better Writers”

Lawyers are often advised to allow others to comment on drafts of his or her written work. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to find someone who has the time to read a legal brief or other lengthy documents. And even when you can find willing readers, their editing advice might be incomplete.

This is why you should learn to be your own self-editor. It isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Simply develop a checklist like the one suggested here, then apply it step-by-step to each piece of work you want to polish.

The checklist approach ensures you will look at your writing objectively. Even if you think your draft is perfect, the checklist requires you to ask yourself hard questions that will make your document better.

Over time, you will become so familiar with your checklist that you’ll think about it as you are writing your initial drafts. This will make your writing stronger and speed up the process of revision and editing.

Complete Your Revisions First

Even though editing shares much in common with revising, think of editing as a second, separate step that you can’t start until after you have finished your revisions.

After you think your work is close to being completed, let it sit for awhile. When you pick it up again, you want to be able to see it objectively as if someone else had written it.

Edit Your Draft by Working Through Your Checklist Step-by-Step

The checklist that follows summarizes the steps I take in self-editing my legal writing. Although I have tried to be comprehensive, it probably doesn’t capture every thought I have when I’m editing my work. Expand or modify the checklist to suit your needs.

1. Edit for Organization

Related “Write an Effective Opening Paragraph”

  • Are your arguments organized logically? When writing a brief, many lawyers lead with their strongest arguments. But if you are responding to something your opponent has already written, you might want to mirror your opponent’s presentation, responding to arguments in the same order. Ask yourself whether you can defend the way you have chosen to organize your work.
  • Have you used headings to create white space? Page after page of solid text can be an imposing barrier for readers. Break up your arguments with headings and sub-headings. Headings will also make it easier for a reader to get your meaning. Use bullets to organize lists of similar information.
  • Do your headings keep the reader moving forward? When possible, use the heading to express your argument directly. The most effective headings incorporate your spin as an advocate. Not “The Standard for Imposing Sanctions” but “Plaintiffs Should Be Sanctioned.”
2. Edit for Substance
  • Did you correctly state the facts of the case? If you want to maintain your credibility as an advocate, your statement of the facts must be beyond reproach.
  • Are your case citations complete and accurate? What about pinpoint citations? Are your cases still good law?
  • Did you  discuss every important case? Remember you might have an ethical obligation to disclose adverse authority.
  • Did you respond to all your opponent’s arguments while conceding when necessary? If you fail to address every point made by your opponents, you are handing them an opportunity to argue that your silence means you agree with their positions. On the other hand, many lawyers feel compelled to defend indefensible positions that aren’t material. Concede when necessary, and your credibility will be enhanced.
  • Is your tone appropriate? If you choose the wrong tone, the reader might be too distracted to consider the substance of your work. When you write a legal brief, for example, the judge will assume from the start that you disagree with your opponent’s position. If you want to be persuasive, cut out the name-calling and adopt an objective, reasonable tone.
  • Did you check for overstatement? If your reader thinks you have overstated your position, you might never recover your credibility.
3. Edit for Readability

Related “Making It Sing: Rhetorical Writing Techniques”

  • Have you eliminated clutter? Whenever possible, replace the complex with the simple. Cut out sentences and paragraphs that are repetitive or unnecessary.
  • Can any sentences be shortened by breaking them in two? Long, complex sentences might be a fixture in legal writing, but they detract from comprehension.
  • Did you eliminate needless words? Have you cut all unnecessary adjectives and adverbs? Have you cut inessential prepositions?
  • Did you use a large word where a small one will do? Your giant vocabulary is more likely to confuse than impress your readers. Don’t be afraid to use one and two-syllable words.
  • Have you eliminated unnecessary legalese? If there is a common alternative to a legal expression, use it. Don’t write in legalese. And never write in Latin.
  • Are there footnotes that can be moved into the text or omitted entirely? Sometimes a footnote contains an afterthought that detracts from the body of your text. These can be deleted. On other occasions, a footnote might be so material that it should be moved into the text.
  • Is your meaning clear? If your meaning isn’t clear, edit until it is. Often, complicated writing is not a sign of brilliance but muddled thinking.
4. Edit for Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation

Related “Three Grammar Rules You Can Forget About”

  • Did you check for grammar and usage errors? Good writers care about grammar and usage. Find a grammar guide you like and keep it handy. Know your grammar weaknesses, so you can spot probable issues just like you engaged in issue-spotting on law exams. When you are uncertain, look up the rule.
  • Have you examined each sentence for subject-verb agreement? This is a grammar error so common to legal writing that you should check for it every time. Singular subjects require singular verbs; plural subjects require plural verbs.
  • Have you relied too much on the passive voice? If so, rewrite. If you aren’t good at spotting the passive voice, look up the rule and become familiar with it, or practice with a grammar editor like Hemingway Editor.
  • Is your use of contractions stylistically proper, given the type of writing? In legal writing, contractions often seem too informal. Rather than writing don’t, write do not.
5. Make The Final Checks
  • Are the headings numbered correctly?
  • Are acronyms defined?
  • Are long quotations properly indented?
  • Are the parties referred to in the same way throughout the brief?
  • When referring to the parties, have you used proper form of singular, plural, and possessive, e.g., plaintiffplaintiffsplaintiff’s, plaintiffs’?
After You Edit, Finish by Proofreading

Proofreading is the last step you take before your document is finished. It’s not editing, exactly, but can be viewed as part of the editing process.

The primary goal in proofreading is to look for typographical and spelling errors. If you want perfection, proofread not once but twice, the second time reading backwards from beginning to end. This will help you isolate each word in your mind apart from its use in a sentence, forcing you to actually see the word.

After going through the checklist, you will have a document that you can be confident to hand to any judge, client, or opposing counsel.

Featured image: “Vintage typewriter and a blank sheet of paper, retouching retro” from Shutterstock.

Write Better Legal Documents with an Editing Checklist was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

ABA TECHSHOW 2015 Liveblog, Day 3

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 13:45

ABA TECHSHOW 2015 Liveblog, Day 3 was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

ABA TECHSHOW 2015 Liveblog, Day 2

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 13:45

ABA TECHSHOW 2015 Liveblog, Day 2 was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

ABA TECHSHOW 2015 Liveblog, Day 1

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 13:45

ABA TECHSHOW 2015 Liveblog, Day 1 was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

70% of Lawyers Don’t Know What the Internet Is

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 12:28
“This year we learned that only 30% of lawyers say they use a web-based service.”

Every year at ABA TECHSHOW, we get the results of the ABA’s annual technology survey. This year we learned that only 30% of lawyers say they use a web-based service.1

Wait, what? 70% of lawyers don’t use email? They don’t do legal research online? They don’t use e-filing? None of those 70% have a smartphone or a tablet? None of them are on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter?

Unlikely. It is much more likely that 70% of lawyers don’t know what web-based means. That’s still a huge problem. How can you “keep abreast of … the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology” (Comment 8 to Rule 1.1) if you don’t even know what technology is relevant? How can you “make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client” (Rule 1.6(c)) if you don’t even know when your clients’ information is in a web-based service?

Basic technological competence is part and parcel of professional competence. If you can’t even answer a simple question about the technology you are using, you probably aren’t meeting your professional obligations, either. Maybe it’s time to make acquiring basic technological literacy a priority.

Featured image: “Duh moment.” from Shutterstock.

  1. Although 59% say they use Dropbox. 

70% of Lawyers Don’t Know What the Internet Is was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Email and Accounting: Two Features that Distinguish Some Practice Management Software

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 16:16

When it comes to practice management software, there are two features in particular that distinguish some options from others.


First, email. While older practice management software like Time Matters includes email, it is clunky. Once you’ve gotten used to Outlook or Gmail, it’s pretty hard to put up with something like that. That is probably why most cloud-based practice management software doesn’t include an email client. Most let you associate emails with contacts and matters, but you have to use an Outlook plugin or a Chrome extension to do it. You don’t have to use a clunky email client in your software, but it’s just clunky in a different way.

Some cloud-based practice management software, like MerusCase and apparently the brand-new Zola, do include an email client. And there are probably plenty of lawyers who don’t mind if it isn’t as slick as Outlook or Gmail because it’s so convenient to have it integrated into their practice management software. Which isn’t to say that MerusCase and Zola (which I haven’t even seen yet) aren’t good for email. It’s just that it’s pretty hard to compete with the industry standard. I mean, Clio has a great calendar. It’s not quite as good as Google Calendar, in my opinion, but nobody should complain about it (and anyway it syncs with Google Calendar so you can keep on using it if you want to; maybe that’s why MerusCase lets you keep on using your preferred email client if you want to).


The second distinguishing feature is full double-entry accounting. The most popular cloud-based practice management software options include lightweight bookkeeping that’s fine for many small practices. For firms with more sophisticated needs, they integrate with Xero or QuickBooks. MerusCase and CosmoLex, on the other hand, include double-entry accounting, including specialized trust accounting. They are obviously targeting lawyers who really want the all-in-one package. As with email, Xero and QuickBooks are definitely more full-featured, but MerusCase and CosmoLex will get the job done and keep your accountant happy. Plus you don’t need to juggle two different products.

I don’t think fuller-featured practice management software is automatically better, or that software with less robust email and accounting is automatically worse. Cloud software started out as simpler software initially and there are some good reasons to prefer simpler software (I do, as a general rule). But now that everyone is moving to the cloud, there is also a need for software for law firms that want all the bells and whistles in one place. Last year at TECHSHOW, there wasn’t a good cloud-based option for those firms. Now, finally, there are several.

Email and Accounting: Two Features that Distinguish Some Practice Management Software was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Tune in to the Appathon from ABA TECHSHOW 2015 at 7:30pm Central Tonight

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:02

Like a hackathon, the idea behind the ABA’s Legal Appathon is for teams to develop a working, legal app within a short, focused time period. Four teams have been doing that, and they will be presenting their ideas at ABA TECHSHOW tonight at 7:30pm Central. Spoiler alert: I’ll be on the panel doing my best Shark Tank impression.

Tune in to our Day 1 liveblog (that link will work starting at 5:30pm Central) to see what’s happening at the Appathon.

Tune in to the Appathon from ABA TECHSHOW 2015 at 7:30pm Central Tonight was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

5-Step Legal Marketing Plan, Step 1: Identify Your Niche

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 06:12

If you want to ensure your marketing efforts provide a good return on investment, you must start with a marketing plan — a step often skipped in small or solo firms. You can avoid making emotional and often expensive decisions if you have a great marketing plan that identifies problems you may encounter in the future.

This series of posts will break down the five steps of building a useful marketing plan. By focusing on these five aspects, you can create a well-balanced marketing plan for your law firm that will help drive clients to your firm. Step one is below and covers identifying and defining your ideal client and niche. Over the next few months the other four steps will be covered, so stay tuned!

Spoiler alert: Advertising strategies will not be reviewed until step four, so don’t put the cart before the horse.

Know Your Ideal Client and Your Niche

Related “Let Your Ideal Client Guide Your Marketing Strategy”

Too many people skip the first — and possibly most important — step when they create a marketing plan: identifying the demographics of an ideal client. The easy answer is that anyone is an ideal client, but clients want you to appeal to their uniqueness. Someone who has a unique need is going to look for a law firm that focuses on that specific area — not one that claims to be right for everyone. People like to hire experts. And while it may seem like you do not want to limit your options, trying to please everyone is not the best way to stimulate long-term success.

Drill Down to Your Ideal Client

Identify your ideal client by getting specific. Ask yourself some questions about your ideal client and get specific as possible:

  • Consider the age, sex, occupation, etc. of the people you can best help, and who can best make your firm grow.
  • Consider what kinds of problems you want to solve. Maybe you don’t want to be involved with violent cases.
  • Where does your client spend time both online and in the real world?
  • What kind of car, home, and lifestyle does your perfect client have?
  • Consider who can afford your services and who will be likely to give you repeat business.
  • What sort of job does your ideal client have?
  • Which organizations and groups does your ideal client belong to?
  • Draw a picture in your head (or clip a picture from a magazine) of your ideal client. Ideally this can be based on a past client who was great to work with in the past.

You can use this image to practice your pitch — how you grab this person’s attention. What is important to this person? Also take some time to identify the sort of clients you do not want to work with. This small step will help you avoid agreeing to take a case that you’ll regret.

Identifying your target market is the first step in developing a marketing plan because it will help you to focus your efforts in all of the following steps. Start identifying your market by finding your niche.

Find a Niche

Instead of trying to please everyone, let people know what you do. Do you specialize in bankruptcies, accidents, or work-related claims? Smart clients don’t want a just a lawyer. They want a lawyer who is also an expert. Choose your niche and present yourself as a specialist in that area. Not sure how to declare yourself an expert? Start a law blog or publish articles posted on websites about your niche. You could also write helpful articles for a local paper, speak at a local legal event, or make other presentations to your target audience.

Define Your Niche

Defining your niche is more than just having a fuzzy idea of it. Get a high-definition picture of your niche. Then work on crafting your answer to the question: What’s your specialty? Put into words what you do, and don’t use boring terms to describe it. Explain your niche in a way that even a-non-lawyer will understand and remember. For example; “I help families through especially difficult divorces.” or “I work to make bankruptcies as painless as possible for middle-class families.”

Identify Your Aspirational Niche

While it may seem to go against the idea of a niche, it is possible for you to have more than one.

Your second niche should be “aspirational,” or a practice area you hope to focus one day. You should simultaneously keep your “practical” niche, an area that is profitable and pays the bills while you work towards attracting more clients in your pre-determined aspirational niche.

In this case, it can be a challenge to decide how to present more than one practice area. To do this effectively, slightly broaden your overall message to include both your aspirational and practical niche.

For instance, marketing your firm as “aggressively seeking justice for the underdog” or “providing personal attention to your needs” can easily cover more than one practice area.

The Importance of Identifying Your Niche and Target Market

Once you define your niche and ideal client, build the rest of your marketing plan around that information. The first step is to identify what you are selling (or what services you are providing) and who you are selling it to. Research other firms and organizations that also target your market and ask these questions:

  • What colors, designs, imagery, and graphics are used on their websites?
  • Do they seem to target younger, tech-savvy clients or an older more established group?
  • Where do these clients spend time online, and what publications do they read?

Knowing the answers to these questions can help you determine whether and where to place ads and what they should look like. Additionally, pay attention to what your competition is doing that seems to be ineffective or unappealing. It is helpful to know what you do not want to do, too.

Keep in mind that you are not cruising your competitors’ sites so that you can steal their look and image. Once you get an idea of who you are going after, you will want to consider your Unique Selling Proposition — now that you know what you’re up against, what makes you better than your competition? In the practice area you chose, surely other lawyers are specializing — why should a client choose you over your competition?

Defining a niche makes it easier for you to focus your time and be efficient and productive. Working on the same types of cases, each with its own challenges and unique differences, makes you an expert. If you suddenly switch to trying a different type of case, you may need to relearn some steps. Working on similar cases over time will leave you with a cache of templates and boilerplate text that you can use again and again. Constantly moving between vastly different cases will make you a jack of all trades, master of none, and each time you sit down to work on a case, you’ll be starting from scratch.

Next month’s post will focus on how to perform your own SWOT analysis, and the process consultants use to help lawyers identify their strengths and weaknesses (so they can transform them into strengths).

Featured image: “business man walking step by step of business to success ” from Shutterstock.

5-Step Legal Marketing Plan, Step 1: Identify Your Niche was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Oderus Urungus’s Dad Sues GWAR for Taking His Son’s Ashes

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 20:57

From Bitter Empire:

Sadly, lead vocalist Oderus Urungus, or Dave Brockie as he was known off-stage, passed away in 2014 from a heroin overdose. … Dave’s father, William Brockie, is now suing the shock rock band for the return of his son’s ashes and is seeking $1 million for breach of contract and punitive damages for the unauthorized use of his image.

The suit accuses GWAR of “trying to capitalize on the death of Dave Brockie” and claims that when William requested Dave’s remains, he was only given “a small fraction of his son’s ashes, which were delivered in a used plastic bag with a Discover credit card logo on it.”

There is zero chance I will ever pass up an opportunity to put GWAR on Lawyerist.

Oderus Urungus’s Dad Sues GWAR for Taking His Son’s Ashes was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Podcast #14: Marco Santori on What Lawyers Should Know About Bitcoin

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 06:12

Bitcoin is seriously cool technology with the potential to transform the financial industry — and any other industry that needs trusted transactions. Marco Santori talks with Aaron about what Bitcoin is, the hurdles to its wider adoption, and why every lawyer should accept legal fees in Bitcoin.

Plus, we also talk about why computers are only as secure as the people who use them, which means the computers in most law firms are not very secure.

Why People Screw Up Security

You can design the perfect data security system, but one flawed human being can blow it wide open. Sam and Aaron talk about why Luddite lawyers are more dangerous than the cloud.

Interview: Marco Santori

Marco Santori has been called “the dean of digital currency lawyers,” and he has built a practice around the crypto-currency, Bitcoin. On today’s episode, he introduces Bitcoin, including where it comes from and how it works. He explains why you should care about it even if most of the people using it right now are paying for drugs. And he explains why lawyers should seriously consider accepting Bitcoin from clients.

Listen and Subscribe

To listen to the podcast, just scroll up and hit the play button.

Thanks to Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode of our podcast.

To make sure you don’t miss an episode of the Lawyerist Podcast, subscribe now in iTunes, Stitcher, or any other podcast player. Or find out about new episodes by subscribing to the Lawyerist Insider, our email newsletter. We will announce new episodes in the Insider, and you can listen to them right here on Lawyerist.

Podcast #14: Marco Santori on What Lawyers Should Know About Bitcoin was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Podcast: Sam Glover on the Law Podcasting Podcast

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 22:13

Last week I talked to Gordon Firemark for his show, the Law Podcasting Podcast, about our show, the Lawyerist Podcast. Here is Gordon’s description of the episode:

I spoke with Sam about Lawyerist’s beginnings, and about what drove the decision to launch a podcast, some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of creating the show, and the philosophy behind what Lawyerist does.

What I found most interesting was the objective to build a community of solo and small firm lawyers, and how the podcast serves that mission by allowing listeners to get to know the hosts better.

One of the things I found most interesting about recording a show with Gordon was his “live-to-drive” method of recording. Instead of stitching together the various components of the podcast (intro, voiceover, conversation, outro), he does it all live on the recording. That way there is no assembly required. He basically just records a show, uses Auphonic for cleanup, then publishes it. Very cool.

Anyway, give it a listen.

Podcast: Sam Glover on the Law Podcasting Podcast was originally published on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

How to Stay Married to a Lawyer

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 06:12

What are the challenges that come with marrying a lawyer and maintaining a happy marriage with a lawyer? Are there special rules or considerations when loving a lawyer?

I sat down with two therapists, Laura Freeman and Will Meyerhofer to help me figure this out. Freeman, a clinical psychologist in California, is in a unique position to share her insights and advice because she is married to a lawyer, Brian Freeman. Meyerhofer is a former Sullivan & Cromwell BigLaw refugee who went on to become a psychotherapist.

It is fair to say that both Freeman and Meyerhofer have many helpful thoughts on the subject of staying in a relationship with a lawyer.

Insight into the Lawyer World

First, let’s start by offering some insight for the non-lawyers into the lawyer world. When I asked Freeman what nonlawyers should understand about their lawyer-spouse’s world, she said:

One of the most prominent stressors I’ve noticed is that my husband constantly has people upset with him. There seems to be very little reward in the daily grind. He or she has clients who are hurting and confused, and they look to Brian to magically solve their ailments. Understandably, they are upset when he cannot fix their problems, or it takes a long time to fix their problems. Then, in court, he has opposing counsel and judges who seem to be upset with him (there probably isn’t anything personal there, but the nature of the courtroom is adversarial). So all day long, he deals with people being upset with him. It is like a glorified customer service representative position, which takes its toll on my husband.

Every lawyer can relate to this. Most clients do not visit lawyers to share happy news. Inevitably, they come to us with a problem, and the client wants the lawyer to make it go away. Often, the cases we are working on have a lot at stake. This pressure is extremely stressful because so much of what we are expected to do is completely out of our control. A lawyer can prepare day and night, work around the clock, try his or her absolute best, and still lose. But lawyers are expected to deliver a win regardless of the lack of control a lawyer has over opposing counsel, her client, the judge, and the jury.

Attorney Emilie Fairbanks explains it this way:

We work all the time. We think about work all the time. We are not good at being wrong. We are sore losers. We tend to be verbal and take up all the air in the room. We live in a world measured by winning and losing which colors your view of the rest of your life. We problem solve when empathy is needed. Many of us are secret introverts, protecting our precious alone time after days of fighting, just when our partners want our attention.

Lawyers, Know Yourself!

As a lawyer, you can take control of the stress and anxiety instead of letting it bleed into your relationships. One way you can do this is through mindfulness. The only way you are going to know your work life is having a negative impact on your love life is by having awareness. Awareness can only be gained by carefully paying attention to each moment. Moreover, in addition to awareness, we also need to practice acceptance.

Freeman explains:

When we stop trying to get rid of the stress (we stop fighting it; we stop hating and resenting it), and we simply accept that stress is there, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon — that’s when we notice a reduction in the subjective experience of stress … It’s a paradox. Hate the stress = very stressed. Accept the stress = less stressed.

In other words, when you are feeling stressed, work on acknowledging and accepting rather than judging the experience. Acceptance and commitment therapy is an excellent type of therapy for this issue.

Meyerhofer also suggests you begin by becoming aware of the problem and approaching others with kindness. This awareness is the cornerstone of mindfulness practice. When you are in hyperdrive due to the stress from work — preparing for a trial, coming up for partnership, or facing deadlines — you can gently bring awareness and attention to your emotions.

Tips for the Non-Lawyer in Supporting a Lawyer

As the non-lawyer in the relationship, what can you do to help or support the lawyer you love?

Learn Empathy and Compassion

Like any relationship, empathy and compassion are key. Empathy is the ability to share and understand someone else’s emotions. Compassion is the ability to see the suffering of others together with the natural desire to help. Truly, one of the best gifts we can offer to our loved ones — and to any human being — is compassion and empathy. Freeman practices compassion and empathy by asking herself how she would feel in her husband’s shoes after arguing with people all day.

Recognize the Challenges

Meyerhofer says that lawyers can be very needy. They often come home emotionally drained from a long day at the office. Of course, even as a non-lawyer, you may also have had a terrible day. Both you and your lawyer partner should recognize the difficulties of each other’s work. A lawyer will often see his or her job as the hardest job in the whole world. Remind your partner that your work can be difficult and time-consuming too.

Be Supportive

Meyerhofer also says that lawyers will often suffer from mild forms of depression, which shows in the lack of appropriate emotional response. For example, when the partner at the firm says “this work is terrible, you aren’t even trying” after the lawyer pulled several all-nighters to do something that she has never done before or given appropriate guidance on, an appropriate response should be anger. However, lawyers will instead internalize these negative criticisms.

Again, it requires awareness to notice that your partner is overly harsh with himself. That he or she is holding themselves up to an impossibly high standard that no one can meet. Lawyers are often expected to be perfect and expect the same from themselves. But mistakes will and do happen. When mistakes do happen, be compassionate. Recognize that your partner is in pain and simply be there for him or her.

Finally,  Meyerhofer suggests celebrating victories. Lawyers are often motivated by the stick rather than the carrot. When the lawyer lands that big client or finally gets the mergers and acquisition deal completed, give them a carrot and celebrate these wins. Tell him or her she did a great job. Offer genuine words of praise and support.

Self-Care is Your Responsibility

Of course, empathy and compassion must be mutual. You can only care for others as well as you are able to care for yourself. Which brings me to the next important topic: self-care.

Self-care is the mindset that we can only care for others if we care for ourselves. As is repeated on every airline safety video: Secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others.

Examples of self-care include exercise, mindfulness, proper sleep, nutrition, and vacations. Another key component to self-care is setting boundaries between your work and family responsibilities. Self-care doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive. Treating yourself to small things that bring you pleasure such as reading a great book, going for a walk, or spending time in nature can make a huge difference.

Here’s how Freeman practices self-care:

I learned the hard way that during a busy day with multiple appointments, I must schedule a few minutes of time to myself every hour — a bathroom break, a walk around the building, 5 minutes to close my office door and not be disturbed, etc. Without those small breaks, my day doesn’t go well. Self-care can be big-scale like a vacation, or it can be small like taking a bathroom break.

It’s important to remember that self-care is something you can only do for yourself. You can certainly encourage each other by doing things as a couple that nourishes each of you. However, you can’t force your partner to exercise, eat right, or get enough sleep.

How to Engage in Conflict with a Lawyer

Many lawyers live in a world of constant conflict; therefore, it’s entirely possible that your lawyer partner is much more skilled at fighting than you are. However, the biggest difference is that at the office, lawyers fight on behalf of his or her clients so that they win. But in romantic relationships, “winning” the fight probably harms the relationship. While it may give the winner a temporary satisfaction, it will likely foster resentment and eventually escalate the conflict.

Freeman emphasises the need to be able to express emotions safely:

With couples, it’s essential for each person to be aware of and [be] able to express his/her own emotions in a safe and non-harmful way. Then, each person must hear the other’s perspective and show compassion for it.

Related to the idea of expressing emotions in a safe and non-harmful way, Meyerhofer adds what he calls “illegal remarks.” As a therapist, he is never supposed to tell someone what he or she is thinking. Similarly, don’t assume you know what your partner is thinking.

Meyerhofer recalls a partner at law firm saying things like “you’re not even trying” or “did you put any thought into this?” These are illegal remarks because the partner is assuming he knows how much effort or thought Meyerhofer put into his work. Of course, no one but Meyerhofer could know that. A more appropriate comment might be, “This work doesn’t meet my standard.”

Your thoughts are a very private place. No one can tell you what you are thinking or feeling. When you are engaged in conflict, be mindful of “illegal” remarks and don’t try to read your partner’s mind.

The Neediness of the Law

I recall a partner at a law firm telling me that the law is a very possessive mistress; I tend to agree. Most lawyers work too much.

There is no easy solution to this because lawyers earn a living by selling their time. When the goal is to maximize profit, it requires the lawyer to work as many hours as humanly possible.

Freeman offers this practical advice:

  1. Take time each weekend to look at your calendars for the week.
  2. Keep each other in the loop about how busy the week looks. This helps to set and adjust expectations.
  3. Plan couple and family times each week even if it’s short and simple.
  4. Make your relationship, marriage, and family a priority

Our careers are fulfilling and financially important, but we are replaceable at work. We’re not replaceable at home. So we take the time to plan when we can spend time with each other. It’s about priorities.

At the end of the day, if there are difficulties in your relationships and approach them with curiosity and gentleness. Also, recognize your own difficulty in being in the relationship. When things get tough, it is helpful to remind yourself that this difficult moment will pass.

Featured image: “ Close-up Of Wooden Gavel And Red Heart On Table ” from Shutterstock.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Yes, Your Personality Matters to Clients

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 06:00

Finding clients, meeting with clients, and getting clients to retain your law firm is part of the daily grind for most attorneys.

Many attorneys resort to hard-sell techniques — emphasizing how awesome they are, recent successes, or industry awards — and neglect to actually connect with potential clients.

Your Skills are Still Number One

Let me be clear: The number one thing a client wants is results. If you can not or do not establish your problem-solving skills, nothing else matters. That said, your personality still counts.

Most clients are also savvy enough these days to know that more than one attorney can help them. When a potential client comes to your office, they have likely decided that you have the skills and experience to help with their problem. What many potential clients are trying to decide is whether they want to work with you.

At this point, potential clients are no longer trying to decide if you can help them; instead, they are trying to decide if you are the right attorney to help them. And for some potential clients, that means they want to know who you are, not just what you can do.

Small Talk is an Essential Skill

Image Credit: xkcd

I teach “beginner” practical skills to first year law students — things like client intake and handling client meetings . By far the most common mistake is a complete and utter lack of small talk skills. Law students just treat the fake client like a piece of meat and start chomping away.

Actual people need a little more of a warm up. People hire lawyers because they have problems that are causing them stress. And for many people, all they know about lawyers is what they see on TV (or from a prior bad experience with a lawyer). Establishing a comfort zone and a comfort level with your potential client is critical.

If you do not take the time to small talk, you will never establish a comfort level with your client. Instead, you may come across as a busy lawyer who only talks about fees. This will give your potential client you only care about the bottom line.

Add Personality to Your Office

Nobody is going to ask you about your law school diploma, and they probably won’t ask about any awards hanging on your walls.

To keep it simple, decorate your office with items that are important to you. For instance, behind my desk are two canvas prints: one from my wedding day and another picture of my two little kids. I put them there because those are the most important things in my life. Having these pictures makes it easy to connect with potential clients, because it’s usually the first thing people ask about. This always leads to me asking about their kids. And if there’s one way to create a connection with people, it’s talking about their kids.

That does not mean you need pictures of kids to engage in small talk. Maybe you are passionate about something else such as marathon running, quilting, collecting old medicine bottles, or winter camping. Everyone has a hobby or something they do when they are not being a lawyer. Those interests will help you connect with clients.

Your Personality Counts, Maybe More Than You Think

Maybe you’re the greatest attorney in the world, and you have carte blanche to act however you want. If you are, I doubt you’re reading this post.

For everyone else, remember that your personality matters. Clients want someone to help solve a problem. But lawyers aren’t robots, so don’t act like one.

  • 2013-07-09. Originally published.
  • 2015-04-10. Republished.

Featured image: “Man with a paper-bag on his head working on the laptop” from Shutterstock.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Podcast #12: Ellie Krug on Starting a Firm and Litigating as Both a Man and as a Woman

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 20:15

Google is going to start directly penalizing websites that aren’t mobile device–friendly. We explain why this is important. Also, in its secret labs Google is learning to tell whether you are lying or not. Just something else to worry about. Then, in this week’s interview, Ellie Krug has a lot of interesting things to say about starting a law firm, building a strong reputation, trying cases — and yes, trying cases as a man, then after coming out as a woman.

It’s Time You Had a Mobile Website

Related “Why You Need to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly”

In just a few weeks, Google wills start penalizing mobile-unfriendly websites. I know, I know, this sounds like another wonky SEO thing. It’s not. Aaron and I spend a little time talking about why, if you care about your clients, you should make sure your website is well-designed and mobile-friendly.

Google’s Lie Detector

This seems crazy, I know, but Google is working on a way to “allow factual validity to contribute more heavily to a page’s search ranking.” That’s pretty cool.

Interview: Ellie Krug

Related Getting to Ellen: Living and Litigating in Two Genders”

Okay, the headline here is very true. Ellie has litigated as a man and as a woman, and she has some pretty interesting things to say about that — as well as some advice for male litigators.

But Ellie was also a real-deal trial lawyer back when litigators actually tried cases, and she took a huge risk by investing $70,000 to start her own law firm back when a laptop cost $4,000. And she built a successful practice with a reputation for aggressive advocacy and honest dealings.

In addition to all that, Ellie wrote a book about her transgender journey, Getting to Ellen, and started an award-winning public interest organization, Call for Justice.

Listen and Subscribe

To listen to the podcast, just scroll up and hit the play button.

Thanks to Ruby Receptionists for sponsoring this episode of our podcast.

To make sure you don’t miss an episode of the Lawyerist Podcast, subscribe now in iTunes, Stitcher, or any other podcast player. Or find out about new episodes by subscribing to the Lawyerist Insider, our email newsletter. We will announce new episodes in the Insider, and you can listen to them right here on Lawyerist.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

Dropbox is Not “Insecure”

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 18:57

On SoloSez recently, someone asked whether Dropbox is secure or not, to which someone responded “Treat it as insecure, because the consumer version is insecure.” I thought my response might be worth posting here, as well:

Dropbox is most certainly not insecure.

In fact, secure/insecure is not a binary thing. There is a security spectrum, and Dropbox is somewhere in the pretty-secure-but-not-as-secure-as-it-could-be-if-it-made-a-few-more-tradeoffs range on that spectrum. It is secure enough for some (including some lawyers) and not secure enough for others. Or, if you like, Dropbox is secure enough for some uses, but not secure enough for others. Plus, there are ways to make Dropbox more secure so that it will make everybody happy.

Related “Is File Sync (Dropbox, et al.) Safe?”

Asking whether Dropbox is secure or not is asking the wrong question. What you need to figure out is (1) what security measures does Dropbox take, and (2) are you and your clients comfortable with those security measures. Most lawyers aren’t sufficiently technologically competent to accurately assess the first question, much less decide the second — and that is a problem. But maybe I can help a bit with that.

What measures does Dropbox take? Here are the ones I think are relevant:

  • Dropbox does not encrypt your files before they leave your computer.
  • Dropbox does transmit your files from your computer to its servers using SSL encryption.
  • Dropbox encrypts your files for storing on its servers.
  • Dropbox has the ability to decrypt your files.
  • Dropbox has strong internal protections against the wrong person decrypting your files, or any person decrypting your files for an unauthorized reason.
  • Dropbox will obey legal process, even if it means providing your data to another party without notifying you first.
  • Dropbox does not claim to own your data, although people routinely raise the alarm that it does.

If that sounds like Greek to you (assuming you do not speak Greek, in which case pretend I wrote “If that sounds like Chinese to you …”), then maybe the following comparisons will help.

Note that I wrote objectively, but we could probably have a lively argument about each of those statements that would involve a lot of words that sound like Greek/Chinese to most people. As in all things tech that relate to clients, I think you have a duty to become competent enough to judge for yourself. The ability to have those arguments is important. But hopefully this will help you make a decision in the meantime.

(As for me, I use Dropbox, but I also use Viivo for additional security for client files, among other things. This involves tradeoffs that make Dropbox less useful, but I’m willing to live with them.)


Related “Dropbox for Lawyers and Law Firms: the User Guide”

What I didn’t add — but probably should have — is that Dropbox is probably more secure than your own file and Exchange server unless you have an expert IT security professional keeping a close eye on it.

Categories: Teknoids Blogs

How to Fight Inbox Overload with Outlook

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 07:45

It’s a real dilemma: the busier your law practice gets, the more cluttered your Microsoft Outlook inbox will be.

Related “This Simple Email Habit Will Make You More Productive”

While there are all sorts of tools that can help you achieve Inbox Zero nirvana, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the inbox management features already available in Outlook itself. Here’s how some of those features can help you fight inbox overload.1

Move Routine Emails Out of the Way with Rules

It sure would be lovely to have someone available 24/7 to screen your email, highlight emails that need immediate attention, and move the rest to the side to deal with later. With Rules, you can.

For instance, I’ve created Rules that flag every email received from any subdomain and moved them into case-specific subfolders based on its case number in the subject line. If one case is particularly hot, you can deal with those emails immediately and leave the rest for later in the day.

You can harness this same trick for moving newsletter subscriptions to a Read Later folder.

The easiest way to set up a rule is to open an email you want typically want to automate. Just right-click on that email and, in the contextual menu that pops up, choose Rule > Create Rule.

While you can do a simple rule in the Create Rule dialog box, the more powerful option begins with clicking on the Advanced Options button. This will take you into the Rules Wizard.

The Rules Wizard asks you three questions:

  1. Which of your emails need to be automatically handled? For example, these could be emails you receive from certain email addresses or with specific text in the subject line.
  2. What do you want Outlook to do with those emails? Once Outlook spots an email that meets those criteria, do you want to move it to a new folder, pop up an alert, or forward it to another recipient?
  3. Are there any exceptions to the conditions in #1 above? For example, if you’re rerouting emails from the CM/ECF system to your assistant, you wouldn’t want to do that if your assistant is already getting cc’d (his/her email address would appear in the body of the email as a recipient). Those of you who practice in multiple federal districts (some of which do not allow secondary notification emails) will appreciate the convenience of such exceptions.

The Rules Wizard steps you through these three questions with checkboxes to select the available options. In this example, I’ll show you how to move an incoming ECF email automatically in a specific case to another folder and flag it for follow-up.

Step One: Select Conditions

First, will check two conditions: the subject line and the sender.

With each of these conditions, you’ll need to click the blue underlined text and tell Outlook what specific words or phrases it needs to look for. Here’s where starting with an email like the ones you want to handle comes in handy, because Outlook will automatically take that subject text and bring it into the Rules Wizard. However, to use that text as criteria, you often need to tweak it.

The second criteria is the sender’s address. It’s the same drill: click the blue underlined text and specify what pattern Outlook needs to look for in the sender’s email address.

Step Two: What do You Want to do with the Message?

I’m telling Outlook to move that email out of my Inbox and flag it for follow-up so it appears on my To-Do list. The steps are very much like the ones in the previous dialog box. We will click “specified” to pick the folder to move the email to, and then click “follow up at this time” to choose which flag will be applied to the email.

Step Three: Are There Any Exceptions?

In this particular example, we do not have exceptions. But if you wanted to exclude any ECF emails that were also sent to your assistant, you could check the box next to “except if the body contains specific words” and substitute your assistant’s email address.

One-Click Email Handling with QuickSteps

Some of you are shuddering right now. I totally get it. The thought of having “the machine” move your emails to heaven-knows-where without alerting you first can lead you to believe an important email will disappear into thin air. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, you can use QuickSteps to achieve the same result without adding too much work.

QuickSteps is, basically, a macro (though Microsoft carefully avoids using that word). A QuickStep lets you click one button to start a series of commands, like marking an email as “read” and moving it into another folder (or forwarding to your assistant).

Look on your Home tab in Outlook, and you will see several QuickSteps Outlook provides to you by default:

Click on “Create New” to create your own QuickStep.

There are all sorts of options, and you can choose multiple Actions for the same QuickStep:

For example, you could make the first Action “Mark As Read,” then add another Action “Forward,” and a third Action “Move to Folder.”

Depending on which Actions you choose for your new QuickSteps, you can select a whole bunch of emails, click the QuickStep button, and they’ll all get magically handled.

Redirecting Replies to Your Assistant (or Anyone Else)

Ever send out an email to a large group — co-counsel in a case, the Young Lawyers section of the local bar association, whomever — and asked them to send their responses to your assistant, only to have them send an avalanche of return emails to you instead?

To be charitable, they’re probably just too swamped to read your directions carefully. But you can turn his or her inattention into your advantage.

Before you hit send, go to the Options tab and, over on the right, click “Direct Replies To.” Delete your name from that field and substitute your assistant’s (the Select Names button takes you to your Address Book). When done, click Close, then send your email.

No more avalanche.

Get Creative with Inbox Management

You can probably look at your Inbox any given day and group 90% of the emails into a category (read later, forward to someone for handling, etc.). Avoiding email overload may be as simple as strategically deploying one or more of these tools.

Featured image: “Young man getting overload with emails.” from Shutterstock.

  1. Unless otherwise noted below, all instructions and screenshots are for Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows. 

Categories: Teknoids Blogs