Monthly Archives: April 2010

UPDATED: 7 Questions For Any Cloud Based Service

I’ve been working in and through the “cloud” since before it was called the cloud.  First and foremost, I learned how to credibly publish to the web. If we haven’t met – google “legaltypist”…

I set up my service based company, LegalTypist, Inc., to be able to securely work with any attorney who could dial a toll-free number; and I amassed others who were like me to do the day to day tasks and typing of the law firms I set up on “the System” <-original I know, but the more technical name makes people’s eyes glaze over! Technically, the System is an ASP, holds 2 patents and was created and is owned/managed  by a company with a long-standing and well maintained reputation in “legal” in the great state of Massachusetts.  I picked the System for very specific reasons – but it certainly meets the criteria I have for any cloud based service entrusted with my client’s data/information/files.  Here are the 7 Questions I ask, and you should too:

1.  Where are your servers and my data located?

If the answer is not 100% in the US (or the country in which your practice is located), move along.

2.  What kind of security measures are in place for my data?

From the physical servers to the connections to your accounts, all access points to your data should be secure.  Every time you log in, you should see https (not http) at the beginning of the url.  The “s” means that the connection between your device and the website is encrypted and secure.  Other things to look for are display of certifications from companies like Thwate, Verisign and McAfee <-which indicate that the site, and depending on the certification, the company, seriously “get” web based security.

3.  Are the servers geo-redundantly backed up to servers also located in the same country?

What is geo-redundancy? That’s when back up servers are outside the same power grid as the main servers in case of a wide-spread power outage.  How could that affect you? Here’s how it affected one cloud based player:  See How Far We’ve Come–The Importance of Redundancy in the Cloud

4.  Who is on staff to fix the servers should they go down?

If the answer does not start with “We have x number of engineers on staff…”  or “”those servers are hosted in a remote location; where the only people who can physically access them have biometric permissions in place” … move along.

5.  How do I retain local copies of my data?

If a cloud provider does not at least have in place a way to download your contact database into .csv format, that’s a huge warning.  Keep in mind that all cloud services are programmed differently – and since cloud means the software too – there is generally no way to manipulate your data outside of that particular service provider’s paid monthly account.  However, if you can get your data into .csv, you may be able to figure out a way (or pay someone) to populate it into a different program.

6.  Can I work off line?

Is there a way to download a full, local copy of your data that you use until you get back on line and update the cloud data? The answer is probably not.  However, desktop resident software companies are starting to notice the cloud and are now creating on line versions of their applications.  One of the techs I am setting up more and more is an on line account for data entry into Timeslips.

7.  How long have you been in existence?

The longer the better.  If you can get with sustained growth over time, that’s the best possible scenario.  The last thing you want is to select a service, take the time to load all your data, then train everyone (including yourself) on how to use it, only to have the company go belly up.

Of course, the above list is not the ONLY things you should ask – however, the answers to these 7 questions should give you a good feel for how seriously the company takes your privacy and the duty of confidentiality you have to your clients.

If you’re investigating a cloud service that I use and recommend, know that these questions have been asked and answered to my satisfaction (or I wouldn’t be using/recommending them).

To grab a copy of LegalTypist’s most popular report (and save yourself the time/frustration of figuring out which cloud based “legal tech start up” you should even bother testing), click on the pix:

icon-SpecialReportLPM2014

LegalTypist hosts Blog Hopping VA during annual Podcast & Blog Hopping Tour

Hi Andrea, First let me offer congratulations on achieving the milestone of being in business for 9 years. Kudos to you and your entire team!

Okay, let’s see – actually, I know what to expect. We’ll be twisting and turning through a legal maze. My hat’s on tight, so let’s begin.

Q.    In your experience, what would you list as the most positive benefits of outsourcing work to Virtual Assistants for law firms?

Let me tell you a short story I’m sure you can recall from your experience working at law firms. The office manager contacts an agency for temporary assistance. Agency would describe “the perfect temp” who can be at your office shortly. Unfortunately, the manager discovers the temp possessed minimal legal assistant skills and after spending hours attempting to orient her to the firm’s layout, equipment, systems and procedures, she sends the individual back to the agency. The temp couldn’t adapt to office requirements. What a waste of time and energy, and the work still wasn’t completed. Additionally, the firm was required to pay for services NOT rendered. This cycle continues over and over.

Positive benefits of retaining the services of a Virtual Assistant include ability to hire niche-specific professionals, possessing extensive legal and administrative experience, and who are compensated ONLY for services rendered. VAs work with clients on an ongoing, collaborative basis, providing reliable support that is deadline driven.  The client is not responsible for personnel-related expenses associated with hiring and maintaining full or part-time staff, helps reduce overall overhead.

Looking at the problem from the broader office operations standpoint, law firms benefit from:

•    Minimum equipment and technology investment – VAs own their equipment.

•    Utilization of competence, experienced assistants – VAs bring experience from prior employment

•    Increase in quality of work – VAs are experienced in handling varying work requirements, and can adapt easily to office protocols

•    Quicker turnaround time – Work typically completed and available within 24-48 hours

•    Reduced recurring costs – Law firm is no longer responsible for salaries, benefits, facility costs etc.

Q.     What functions or duties do you feel work best in a Virtual Assistant/law firm relationship?

My short list of duties VAs can perform includes:

•    Litigation Support, inclusive of dictation and transcription services•    Calendar Management

•    Billing

•    Legal and Business Research Support

•    Database Management

•    Create and maintain filing systems

•    Assemble information for evidence books

•    Answer forwarded phones, arrange for courier pickups and deliveries, make travel arrangements, and order supplies, etc.

•    Coordinate with outside vendors for trial preparation

Q.      How would a firm or attorney go about locating a legal virtual assistant?

The firm’s representative can submit RFPs to virtual assistant organizations, ask for referrals from other firms/attorneys that utilize virtual assistants and/or google the phrase “legal virtual assistant”. The interview process is generally conducted by phone, and you would ask similar questions as for any potential staffing interview. Attorneys should understand that a VA is a business owner and not an employee and as a result will probably not provide a “resume”, but should be able to provide information about their experience and qualifications. I also recommend that the attorney visit the VA’s website to read about services offered and other related information.

Q.      Is there anything an attorney should be cautious of when hiring a legal virtual assistant?

Yes, one major caution is to determine if the attorney is “a micromanaging attorney”. S/he probably wouldn’t be an ideal candidate to work with a VA. Now I know that wasn’t the focus of the original question, but I feel it needs to be mentioned. Micromanagers are often unwilling to “let go” and want to know how the work is being processed, why it’s not ready “now”, and often change their minds at a moment’s notice. These personality types usually aren’t best suited to work with VAs, because VAs are independent thinkers, workers, and are not employees. They set their own schedules (meeting deadlines, of course), and shouldn’t be expected to “drop everything and switch gears at a moment’s notice”.

Now back to the original question –

When completing the interview process, inquire about the VAs confidentiality and security provisions. Ask to see the particular clauses that are included in their Agreements. Ask integrity-related questions and hold a conversation about different scenarios that may arise when confidentiality and integrity could become issues. Evaluate their responses.

Verify the VAs credentials – experience, training, etc. If the VA cannot document their experiences and/or credentials, I’d be a bit concerned.

Q.      Are legal virtual assistants limited to working with solo/small firms?

Absolutely not!

VAs are eager and qualified to work with law firms of varying sizes. Many solo practitioners may choose to work with solo practice VAs, but there are also many VA companies that utilize the “team” or “multi-VA practice” concept, which consists of VAs partnering together so they can service large firms. These VA businesses would able to meet the requirements of larger firms.

Andrea, I hope I have responded to your questions adequately. As a virtual assistant that also supports law firms, I recognize the need to spread the word about our industry, especially amongst law firms seeking to reduce overhead and yet maintain a quality work product. Virtual Assistants are a viable solution to this ongoing problem.

Before leaving, let me mention that today is Administrative Professionals Day, so I’d like to congratulate all the Admins for your contributions to the offices and staff you support on a day-to-day basis. May 21st is International Virtual Assistants Day (IVAD), when VAs celebrate the virtual assistant industry and our contributions to the growth and development of businesses, worldwide.

Yesterday we visited Lisa Olinda at Olinda Services. Our next stop is actually home (OIVAC), where we will host a general conversation about the convention and answer questions from visitors. So, stop on by and ask questions about the upcoming convention and our sterling list of presenters.

Sharon Williams is President of The 24 Hour Secretary and chair of the Online International Virtual Assistants Convention. Don’t forget to stop by OIVAC and checkout our lineup of savvy business owners. Visit the schedule and register for the Technology or Business/Marketing Tracks to propel your business to its next plateau.

LegalTypist Celebrates 9 Years + Gives Stuff Away Today

Today marks 9 years in business for LegalTypist!

I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by.  Seems just like yesterday  I was a single VA struggling to stay on top of the workload of 7 attorney/clients when Susan P contacted me and forever changed my vision of LegalTypist.

Jump forward seven and a half years, and we have not only Susan, but Tracy, Cynthia, Keri, Elaine, Faith, Sue Mac, Delilah, Mary and Charla (to name a few of the Digital Assistants) who stay on top of the workload of dozens of law firms and hundreds of attorneys stretched across the US.  LegalTypist would not be the company it is or be able to offer the services it does without these hard working women.  I give thanks for them every day.

Now, on to the fun stuff for you readers – in honor of LegalTypist’s birthday (and steady growth for the past 9 years), I’m giving stuff away:

First for the lawyers, managing administrators and overworked assistants in law firms today:  get a free digital workflow today only.

Anyone who signs up for an account (by calling Tracy at 866-848-2195 x104) from 9am to 5pm ET on April 16, 2010 – will receive their digital workflow and tech set up at no charge (a $99 value). The tech to which I refer allows any attorney to securely get their work done from any telephone or internet connection.  No steep learning curve, no downloads or installs.  If you can dial a phone and speak your needs, you’re good to go!

Solos use LegalTypist when they don’t have physical space for an in house assistant, time to interview or the patience to train someone to get the work done.   Larger firms use LegalTypist to remove the time consuming task of initial drafts transcription off of the in house assistants – instantly freeing up hours of time each day they can be working on things only those in house can do.

Next freebie:  I have 2 licensed copies of NitroPDF to give away.  Anyone who leaves a comment today (4/16/2010) will be entered to win a copy.  Since not too many people tend to comment on this blog, your chances of winning are probably pretty good! ;)

So lawyers, office administrators, paralegals and legal virtual assistants – help me celebrate 9 years of successful biz by leaving a comment if you want to be entered to win a fully licensed copy of NitroPDF and/or by calling Tracy at 1-866-848-2195 x104  to get your practice set up with a free digital workflow.

5 Good Reasons Why I Carry A Palm

I got asked by lots of folks at Techshow what I carried in terms of my phone.  My response:  a Centro – I’m a Palm girl. They laughed.  It’s ok.  I’m used to it.  Back in 2001 when I was sporting my Treo 270, I used to hear “Beam me up Scotty!” all the time.  Again, I didn’t care cuz I had access to e-mail and the web on my person.  Remember, this is before CrackBerry and iPhone’s were a twinkle.

At Techshow, I quickly found that I was not the only Palm girl in the bunch.  One of the founders of JDSupra, Aviva owns a Treo 680 and Kim, from RocketMatter, was sporting a Palm Pre.  I have since upgraded to the Pixi – and while I like that it is much smaller than the Treo’s of old, it might just be a bit too small.  Check back next week or subscribe to my RSS feed as I’ll do a review after I get in a solid week of use.

There’s lots of reasons I chose Palm and have stuck with them throughout the almost decade I have been a mobile professional.  Here’s 5 of them:

  1. They are robust and reliable machines. They started as PDAs and added the cell/phone/web.  They simply work – which is why I compare my Palm to a teeny, tiny laptop.  In fact, Palm devices are touted by the likes of David Allen – as a great way to maintain your lists and stay organized.  However, it’s not just the computer part that Palm’s are good with – they are also good phones.
  2. You don’t have to route your information through anyone else’s server. With Palm devices, you load the e-mail login information directly into the device.  It then connects to your domain and viola – there’s your e-mail.  No need to send through a RIM server or gmail.
  3. They are not expensive.  Palm devices can be picked up for less than $50.  That’s right $50.  Who needs to worry about a $800+ device if one for $50 can do all the same things?
  4. They have touchscreens.  Palm devices have always had touchscreens.  Along with having a touchscreen, the new OS makes it a snap to navigate through the various functions of the phone.  If you can touch an icon or flick your finger – you’re good to go!
  5. They are inexpensive to run. A full data plan, with texting, through Sprint is $60 per month.

Anyone who knows me, knows I do not preach about tech.  I’m a firm believer that tech is a tool – and if you prefer a shovel to a rake – so long as the job gets done, who cares?  That said, if a $50 tool can do the job of a $800+ tool and you’re trying to be frugal… get a Palm.

Developing The Paperless Habit #Techshow

Below are my notes/keystrokes from the Developing the Paperless Habit session at the ABA’s Techshow.  The session was my absolute favorite, with Nerino Petro and Ernie Svenson helping attorneys understand that you can get paperless (if not paper free):

1. You’re leaving a world your familiar with. We know paper. The world of paperless has more options.

2. Psychology involved with going from paper to digital.

3. Key factor in successful transition from paper to digital is training. Can’t stress it enough.

4. As people become more familiar with the process they will accept it more readily.

5. Don’t throw your staff into the deep end of the pool or they will drown.

6. The more people in the office to get digital, the more training you need.

7. Ask yourself: At end of road, where do I want to be?

8. Goal should be to keep your system as simple as possible. Your data accessible from anywhere. The whole point is to be able to access your information from anywhere.

9. Of course, you need to back up all of your information so it is preserved.

10. Back up and sync is the best. So one computer dies its no problem, just use another.

11. When information is digitized, natural disasters like Katrina are not as devastating.

12. Approach: you can make things as complicated as you can. Will it work. Yes. Will it be adopted by your staff? Probably not.

13. Keep digital things digital – if they are already in digital format, keep them that way.

14. Don’t spend the money to print out emails and other digital documents.

15. When you get paper, convert it to digital as soon as you can.

16. Get buy in from staff. They need to know what is in it for them.

17. You’re already managing digital information – email, photos, deposition transcripts. All the stuff you send it out is already digital too.

18. Everyone has two systems – digital and paper.

19. Digital is growing exponentionally.

20. Better to merge the paper into one system. Paper takes up more space; costs more to store; can’t back it up.

21. Not a question of should I become paperless (less paper not devoid of paper) yes, because one system is archaic.

22. Your workflow is not the same as any other firm. Similar, but not same.

23. Incoming stuff gets copied and sent to client and to the file – that’s two copies of every document. That costs money.

24. When digital you scan not copy, send the original to the client and keep the digital copy for your file.

25. At end of case you can give clients copies of all documents for each client (easy to do).

26. Is it ok to only keep copies in digital files? Check with your Ethics Committee for opinions or call and ask.

27. Think: how much does it cost me to have all those filing cabinets – what is the cost for that square footage.

28. Make keeping the paper copies of everything the responsibility of the client. Then give them CD with all pdfs

29. Going paperless can easily help your bottom line.

30. When digitized, you’re not going to have problems of having physical documents – natural disasters and other things that happen to paper.

31. Keep client’s copies forever if you want.

32. You rock to your clients if you keep everything and later they contact you asking for a copy.

33. What about IRS – don’t you have to keep paper copies for IRS? No. Do you think they are keeping all our tax returns on paper?

34. You can keep things digital – receipts, back ups, etc. as long as it is in a form that is reliably retained (backed up), that is under your control – you’re ok.

35. If Best Evidence you have is digital – that will do. All courts are digital too.

36. Tape back ups were inexpensive but also very inefficient. Small offices chose tape because it used to be so expensive to store large quantities of documents.

37. Outgoing documents – instead of scanning, you’re printing to .pdf.

38. What about signature? You have a graphic image for Word or Wordperfect so when you print to pdf it’s already signed

39. The need to affix a signature to the paper is imbedded. Once you create a digital signature, it’s easy to do.

40. Digital skills – training is really important. If you are already emailing, you’ve got a partial skill set. Just attach the document to the email.

41. Friends don’t let friends print out emails.

42. We have electricity and computers- we can make this work for us if we give it a little thought and training.

43. The more you do it the easier it will become as you go along.

44. In house training with someone who knows what they are doing is best but also go to Lynda.com – where the Acrobat information is awesome.

45. What should you do to make it easy for you? If you’re using a computer for scanning, load it up on RAM memory. That will give your computer all the horsepower it needs.

46. Dual monitors are really important if you’re going paperless so you can open and read the pdfs outside of your working file.

47. Rotate the monitor and it will hold a 8.5 x 11 page perfectly.

48. Other tools is a the mouse. Your hand is always on the mouse. Get the best mouse that you can. The things that you touch all the time are what you should improve.

49. You spend so much time using a mouse, you really do need to treat yourself. You can really improve how you work with a better mouse.

50. Back up systems are a MUST for paperless. No brainer. It’s a professional responsibility.

51. Get back up off line, on line… your accounting, your time and billing, those core documents if you were wiped out – you could use to rebuild your business.

52. External hard drives – swap them out and take one home with you. If you’re whole community is taken out – that’s where off site back up comes into place.

53. You must test your back up. If you don’t test the back ups you don’t know if the system works. Not a whole restore but a test folder and document. Test.

54. Constant steady improvement is the best method. This isn’t going to happen overnight. Learn from Lynda.com, then get scanner and start.

55. Don’t think you can do this overnight. People will get frustrated.

56. Improving memory is very important as scanning is memory intensive. You don’t want to slow down.

57. Scanner is important. Anyone who is scanning should have a desktop scanner by their PC. Fujitsu scanners just work. One button is all you need. Only $400 and comes with Adobe – so you can start.

58. For large scanning – digital copy centers do really well at large amounts of paper. Canon has really nice scanner.

59. 15 pages a minute or faster or the process will not work with you. You will become frustrated with the length of time it takes to scan.

60. Once you become more digital centric you can capture other information digitally – LiveScribe pulse pen. Really useful for client interviews.

Previous posts from other Techshow sessions:

Creating Your Online Presence with Carolyn Elefant and Niki Black; and

Computing in the Cloud by David Bilinsky and Matt Kesner.

Introduction to Cloud Computing #Techshow

Below are the keystrokes I captured while attending Introduction to Cloud Computing with David Bilinsky and Matt Kesner on day 2 of #Techshow:

1.    What is the cloud?  Moving the application from the machine that you have on your desk/office to someone else’s server.
2.    What are the benefits of cloud computing?  The cloud is evolving.  Cloud is kept up to date re: security and upgrades so better service offering.
3.    Overall lower cost because you don’t have to buy all the equipment to run the infrastructure
4.    Greater scalability as your firm grows/shrinks no license issues.  There are definitely more predictable cost.  There is generally a monthly charge.
5.    While the up front cost may be lower, you may not be able to scale down.
6.    Most work through your browser.
7.    Not less IT staff – it just shifts.  Smaller firms will need to hire IT staff because cloud computing has lots of knotty problems.
8.    There is a fragmentation.
9.    www.gethuman.com will get you numbers for live help.
10.    Cloud vendors contracts are one sided, don’t promise update and most don’t deliver high up time.  Most go down.
11.    You will be more on the cloud next year.
12.    Drawbacks are bandwidth can get expensive. Internet kinda works like a hose.  You need to get a certain flow for it work.
13.    Cloud requires more and more of that flow from your firm to the cloud and that can get expensive.
14.    Interconnection with other systems is much harder than traditional software.
15.    Cloud is a series of different paths that don’t necessarily converge.
16.    Complexity different in not greater than managing in house data.
17.    What are the ethical concerns?  Law has not caught up with technology.
18.    No standards yet for cloud.  Not around long enough.
19.    No general understanding of how things go together into the cloud.
20.    Where is your data?  Ethics are hard.
21.    Privacy laws affect you if your cloud provider is outside the US.
22.    Amazon will not tell you where your data is.
23.    Cloud is moving way ahead of the ethics curve.
24.    Impact of Internet technology on the delivery of legal services, both globally and within the US ABA Ethics 20/20 Commission.
25.    How can I ethically store client files on the internet?  According to State Bar of Arizona: tinyurl.com/yg4hoxg
26.    “The client files would be accessible only through a SSL server, which encodes documents making it difficult for third parties to intercept or read them”.
27.    “The lawyer would assign unique randomly generated alpha numeric names.”
28.    Arizona went on to say that it is also important that lawyers recognize their own competence limitations regarding security measures and take the necessary time and energy to become competent or alternatively consult available experts.
29.    If you’re on the cloud, you’re in every jurisdiction how do you not trip up of unauthorized practice of law?
30.    Do you need to obtain permissions from different bar associations?
31.    Dual layer website – so first section is informational only.  Only those who are clients, or necessary step to reach out to you so that you can evaluate as to whether or not you’ll take on that client get access to the second layer of your website.
32.    Conflicts can arise as your talking to lots of people on the web.  Be aware that there is the danger of advising both parties.
33.    Good client intake/screening process.
34.    Privacy legislation.  Regulate the collection, creation, duration and retention of information including cookies, IP addresses and other personal information.
35.    Is a client entitled to know how long something is retained.  How do they opt out?
36.    What happens if privacy is breached – based on your jurisdiction.
37.    Ethics rules photographs, video clips, LLP notifications, client endorsements, areas of specialty or particular claimed expertise, any expectation as to the future results, lawyer rates – all regulated.
38.    How do you find out the rules in your jurisdiction.  Start with your State Bar website. Google “legal ethics” and there are blogs and real live books.
39.    There are other statues regarding privacy depending on the type of information you are collecting from your clients.
40.    Carefully read the contract for the cloud services.  Some don’t guarantee privacy for the information you are storing.  If you have regulations like HIPAA, you really do need to read the TOS to make sure you are taking reasonable steps.
41.    Copyright is an issue when putting information on the cloud.
42.    Client identification rules are cropping up re: money laundering/fraud.  Know thy client.  Clients are not face to face.
43.    Be careful when you contacted over the web – some are crooks.  Law firms are the fastest growing industry for fraud.
44.    Need a good disclaimer for your website.
45.    Website should be crystal clear that there is no client/attorney agreement until there is something signed by the client.  Instead of click through, better to have downloaded pdf they need to return.
46.    What happens if the cloud provider goes out of business or changes their business.
47.    Big issue – cloud will have your data and your applications – what happens if there is an outage?
48.    When you buy software and install it, if vendor ran out of business, you can still run it.  You can go to back ups if your data gets corrupt.  With a cloud provider, you’re stuck with the cloud provider.
49.    Data in transit; data at rest; data during computation – encryption.  As lawyers we need to keep secrets so we need to take all three forms data can be in into consideration.
50.    Data at rest encryption is easy; data in transit is easy to encrypt; data in computation encryption is not really possible to do today.
51.    Cloud will be dominant.  Will take over.  Have never seen so much invested in cloud.
52.    Know where your data is and try to keep it in the US. ? SO IMPORTANT!
53.    Understand security risks if its your key data such as documents/email.  Make sure they are duplicated somewhere else.
54.    Pros: more predictable costs and makes IT a utility.
55.    Although tons of risks, cloud will still be dominant.
56.    Have key information with multiple vendors; have your software with different vendors.
57.    Understand lack of integration; and ethical concerns.

Creating Your Online Presence #Techshow

Below is the keystrokes that I captured when listening to Carolyn Elefant and Nicole Black during their session at ABA Techshow 2010 entitled Creating Your Online Presence:

1. Social media is useless without goals.

2. Don’t let fear stop you from having an open mind re: social media.

3. Different social media sites serve different purposes.

4. Can be used as an information gathering tool. To network with other attorneys and get referrals. Use it to connect with your clients.

5. LinkedIn has groups – you can post topics for discussion; announce things your firm is doing.

6. Groups provide an inexpensive way to network with lots of different people.

7. LinkedIn tends to be professionally oriented – businesses, small companies; not your general consumer.

8. Sometimes the mobile application is easier to navigate than the full site.

9. Avvo is an on line lawyer directory that is growing, getting funding.

10. Avvo will have profile on you whether or not you claim it.

11. Lists bare bones info – name, address and disciplinary actions against you.

12. Need to claim your profile and you start to input the more detailed information.

13. Have area where you can add speeches, awards you received, etc.

14. Avvo gets a lot of traffic – and when you add information you get higher ranking and show higher in their site.

15. Avvo – put in bar association information; any committee; articles; Martindale Hubble ratings.

16. If you have four practice areas – make your specialty the one on top.

17. You will get inquiries from Avvo.

18. People who find you on line tend to contact you via email or on line.  Some will call.

19. South Carolina Bar has issues with Avvo. Check with your Bar Association before filing in your Avvo profile.

20. Justia is lawyer listing site. Gives karma points. Provide free content and showcases your legal skills. Higher search results.

21. Blogs help you produce, publish and redistribute information. Blogs help you with SEO, attract media.

22. If you don’t like to write – blogs may not be the social media tool for you. Blogging gets lots of exposure. You need to add content to make it valuable.

23. If you have passion for a topic; and a passion for writing – create a blog. If you don’t have passion or don’t like to write there are other ways to create content (or connect).

24. Nothing more sad than a blog that has three posts and then left at that.

25. Use on line sites to archive your documents and point your profiles to those documents (which are keyword rich).

26. If you like writing – blogging is a great way to showcase your practice.

27. Start with free site like blogger or WordPress. WordPress has two types of blogs – one you download and add to your site; the other just uses theirs.

28. You can transfer the information if you find you enjoy blogging and you want to upgrade to non-free service.

29. Don’t invest thousands in a blog only to find you don’t like it. Start with free.

30. Social media is a great way to showcase your area of practice. Social media levels the playing field. The more you interact, the higher your search engine results.

31. Starting out should have 3 or 4 posts per week. Draft posts in advance and then schedule them. (I recommend 2 posts per week.)

32. Intersperse current events and answers to questions you get frequently.

33. Once you have momentum, put up a thorough post once per week. If you can do more, do it.

34. To start, 3 or 4 times per week for the first 4 months – regularity is best. (Me: 2 per week)

35. Paid blog sites look nicer; for fee services may link you to other sites; perception

36. Free sites don’t back up your posts; whereas paid sites will.

37. Find someone to create the design but use WordPress from your own server.

38. Blog should focus on one or two areas; use words organically – the words that your clients are searching for you with.

39. If there’s no passion, your blog may appear flat.

40. Search engine optimization for blogs means focusing on one or two specific topics.

41. Clients search by their needs – so use those words.

42. Link to your website from your blog – so narrow focus but still let consumers know a bit more about you and link to your site.

43. Second life is not mainstream; but there are lawyers on it specializing in the virtual transactions that go on.

44. Go where other lawyers have not gone – you have an advantage.

45. Still lots of room on all the suggested directories and social media.

46. Social networking and professional networking are not mutually exclusive.

47. When you connect on line it allows you to form off line relationships.

48. Social media allows you create connections.

49. Social media allows you to be remarkable and stand out.

50. How much is too much? Blogs are passive so not push. Facebook Fan pages can overwhelm. Just like in real life – don’t be rude. Also if you’re on all the time, your clients and contacts will notice.

51. Don’t SPAM