Monthly Archives: July 2009

5 Things To Do Before Your PC Crashes (besides "back up")

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Having to reinstall my software several times over the years is what prompted these nuggets:

  1. Write any key, registration, serial numbers or passwords directly on the inside cover of the software CD.
  2. If you download a program off the internet, burn the downloaded .zip or .exe file to CD and write the same code(s) on the CD/envelope/storage cover.
  3. Make a .pdf copy of any confirmation e-mail containing your codes and passwords and save it to a file on your hard drive named the application, i.e., “Corel”. Program files are stored separately on your hard drive.  Make the new folder directly in your My Documents folder or wherever you regularly store your business/client documents so it  gets backed up with your other records.
  4. If you really want to cover all the bases, print out the .pdf confirmation and store with your accounting records/paper receipts.
  5. Store all the program CDs in the same place – shoe box/CD holder/drawer – so when you have to restart with a new machine or freshly wiped OS, you are not wasting time searching for them.

It is never a convenient time to have to reinstall and rebuild your PC – but having all the proper installation codes, CDs and passwords in one place makes it as painless and efficient as possible.

***FREE RESOURCES***

PrimoPDF is a great, free application to turn the digital and paper into .pdf.  You can download from http://www.primopdf.com.   Once you download and install, simply hit Ctrl+P from almost any application to create a .pdf.

Twitter 101 – a basic guide for those who want to get started right and professionally connect with others via twitter:  www.legaltypist.com/twitter

The Legal Connection LinkedIn Group:  http://tinyurl.com/TLCxnGroup connects you with attorneys and legal professionals from around the web.

My thoughts on using Google…

In response to a recent discussion on a list serv, below are my thoughts on Google.  Please feel free to add your comments and thoughts…

I don’t trust Google with anything but public list serv messages and Google Alerts. For that, I’m legaltypist@gmail.com.

I read the Google TOS so long ago, I’m sure they’ve changed somewhat.  Hwever, from what I recall (and I’m no lawyer – this is a pure layman’s interpretation) – Google won’t share your information; but they do reserve the right to review it.

That was all I needed. I work with attorneys. Not acceptable to me.

So I bought my own domain (through Go Daddy) and set up every single one of my company’s processes without Google with one exception – I had a Blogger blog since before they were part of Google. Blogging I consider public; and if Google wiped out my blog tomorrow – OK. I’d be upset; but I wouldn’t be “out of business”.

I tell peeps Google is the borg – it is all consuming and all it wants is all your information, all the time. ewwwww isn’t that creepy to anyone but me??

I used to say if Google and Microsoft merge – we’re all SOL! One entity to rule the web AND our PCs? AHHHHH

🙂

Organizing Digital Documents – No Software Necessary

I have always had a knack for keeping legal practices organized. In my brick and mortar life, I was generally the person charged with finding that one important document/file/motion an attorney would misplace, swear they put back in the file or gave to so and so (with so and so having no clue, of course). In many instances, I was also required to find it NOW! 😉

Obviously, this made me good at looking for things. It also gave me a lot of incentive to put into place systems to lessen my stress. It certainly taught me that no matter what type of business or practice you run —
if you aren’t organized, you’re going to be wasting a great deal of time looking for things.

One way to organize your documents is by using document management software. If you have ever worked at a large firm or corporation, chances are you are familiar with this technology. Document management programs are what pop up whenever you save a document. The pop up window asks for certain information such as client number and may pre-populate other fields such as “created by”.  If I were still in the “real” world, I would probably have Worldox™

However, single practices and small firms do not necessarily need to invest in what can be an expensive and disruptive technology upgrade in order to keep their digital documents organized. What they must do, however, is carefully consider and routinely apply appropriate naming conventions for all files.

Consistency is key here – once you put a policy into place, you and your staff must adhere to the rules for the policy to work.

Here’s a few tips for keeping your computer and electronic document files organized without additional software:

  • Pick a date that you will institute your naming policy. Obviously, your computer or network already contains numerous documents that were named by whatever methods you currently use (if any). It is very arduous and time consuming to go back and rename all these documents. By picking a start date, you will immediately know if a document was created before or after your policy simply by its date and you can narrow or broaden your search accordingly.
  • Create a directory called “Clients” and then a subfolder for each client based on last name. Put every document created or scanned for that client into that directory. Even if you only institute this one procedure, you limit your search for documents to one place, rather than all over your computer. If you have more than one client with the same name, simply use last name, first initial.
  • Documents and files should be named by date then identifier, i.e., “2009-04-03 Smith ltr”. This is a letter to someone named Smith, dated April 3, 2009. If you use all 4 digits of the year first, and the “0” in months which contain only one digit, you will be storing your documents in reverse chronological order – no sorting by date necessary.  Keep in mind the “date” stored by your computer is usually the last date the document was opened, which is not necessarily the same date as when it was created/saved.
  • Along with date, all file names should hint at what the document is. For instance, Ltr to Adv, OSC (Order to Show Cause), Memo, Affid, Affirm, etc.

These are just a few tips to help you keep the documents stored on your computer or small office network organized without investing in document management software.

For a more in depth system described by two fellow Canadians for Law Pratice Today: click here

5 Key Considerations To Selecting The Right Equipment To Get and Keep You Mobile

  1. What is your tech comfort level? Be objective and use a scale of 1-10 with 10 being uber geek. I recommend if you don’t rate yourself a solid 6.5, find a local consultant. Use a professional well rooted in your community, preferably with experience in your industry. You may pay a bit for their knowledge, but in turn save yourself hours of research and the cost of testing, trial and error, or worse.
  2. Less is best.  Think about it, each new piece of equipment also ads cables/chargers, integration/software and care (not to mention upkeep and initial cost). So if you can perform five functions with one piece of physical equipment, why use three?
  3. It’s not the gadget – it’s how you expect to use it. Think about how you prefer to work, then match your preference (along with tech comfort level) to the proper personal mobile device.
  4. How much physical paper do you have to handle? Paper impedes mobility. You need to get it digital the question is at what point. For instance, using unified messaging will turn faxes to .pdf  and your personal mobile device’s camera can capture business cards.
  5. Mobility is all in the set up.  You have to match how you “work” to mobility and not conform yourself to a one size fits all approach.  For instance, I’m a lifelong Palm girl – but I don’t bash any other personal mobile device.  My motto is – if it works for you…

Do it right and you will be free of the constraints of having to be in a certain physical location in order to process the information and data which is your business/life.