Law Technology Today’s Top 10 of 2014

Last week we looked back at the standout articles and posts from Law Practice Magazine and Law Practice Today in 2014. Now, we’re taking a look back at this blog and some of its thought-provoking, or otherwise interesting posts. I confess this has been tricky, as there is such good content; my inclination is to point you to the archives and call it a day.

I could do this the long way, like a 70,000 word exposition of all the good content, but I’m opting for the short way: a manageable post covering the Top 10 based on analytics.

“Four Areas of Legal Ripe for Disruptions by Smart Startups”

I get a lot of unsolicited posts and article pitches, mostly from PR folk sending press releases. The smart ones have figured out that if you send me something useful or practical, I am more likely to respond and help shepherd it through to publication. This post on smart startups by Bob Goodman and Josh Harder of Bessemer Venture Partners came from an unsolicited pitch that caught my attention with its last point.

Goodman and Harder lay out four areas they believe are ready to be upended, and shake the entrenchment. I’m most curious to see what happens in the consumer market, and, as they put it, “improve the legal consumer experience.” What, exactly, about the legal consumer experience needs improving? And, then, what does that improvement look like; how does it function and scale?

“Know the Features Before You Move: Google Apps v. Office 365”

Lawyers continue to move stuff to “the cloud,” from practice management to document management, and areas in between. Microsoft got wise to this trend and launched Office 365 to make Word, Excel, Power Point, and Outlook accessible from a web browser. Google has had a foothold in this realm for quite some time with Google Docs (now Drive), and added security, domain management, and other goodies for its business version: Google Apps.

Pegeen Turner gives a break down of what’s what between Google Apps and Office 365, from user-friendliness to functionality and areas in between, and lays out which works for what, and why.

“Withdrawing Invitations on LinkedIn”

The easiest thing to do on LinkedIn, especially when you first sign up, is to hit that button that sends an invite to every connection when you import your contacts. The whole point is to build relationships, right? LinkedIn is for professional relationships, right? Of course. Stop to think for a moment, however, and you may reconsider extending that invite to opposing counsel, that one particular judge, or your sister’s babysitter.

In that moment of panic, Allison Shields provides some calm. You can, in fact, withdraw that LinkedIn invitation to opposing counsel, that one particular judge, your sister’s babysitter, or random people in your contact list, because even customer support has personalized email. Whew!

“The Little Known iPad Keyboard You’ll Love”

I remember looking around a session room at ABA TECHSHOW last year and seeing iPads outnumbering laptops. Most were typing by touching the screen. A few had the Apple wireless keyboards, but it seemed no one had found an iPad keyboard they liked, or hadn’t bothered to look into it yet. ABA TECHSHOW is a couple months away, so there is time to get an iPad keyboard you’ll love.

Craig Huggart breaks down what makes the Brydge+ iPad keyboard so great, and points out a couple of its drawbacks. If you get one, let us know what you think.

“3 Steps to Producing Powerful Passwords”

2014 brought new meaning to the word “hackathon.” From Target to Home Depot to Sony, hacking in the trouble sense entered the lexicon with an alarming amount of frequency. Two-factor authentication is a key preventive step, and as much as we want to do away with them, passwords remain an important part of two-factor authentication.

Thankfully, Craig Huggart provides three steps to produce powerful passwords, along with some humorously entertaining videos on the topic.

“Can I Use a Mac at My Law Office?”

Some things just don’t die, like the Mac vs. PC debate. Law firms are not immune to this argument either, and Pegeen Turner lists the pros and cons. While you can use a Mac in your law office, there are other things to consider beyond ease of use (perceived or not), such as resource and time investment, compatibility, and security.

In short: do your research, understand how you work, and your law firms’ processes before making a decision.

“What’s a Video Game Lawyer and How Do I Become One?”

I reached out to Ryan Morrison after clicking through to his Reddit Ask-Me-Anything. I was so intrigued by both his practice area, and that he did an AMA! He obliged, and sent an excellent post on being a video game lawyer and how he became one. He explains how he got started, what he does, and the challenges he’s faced and how he has overcome them. A perfect example of finding a practice area from an activity many of us partake.

“PC to Mac and Back”

This post came from a comment left by Cathy Kenton, and I asked her to expand. I found it intriguing as it is rare to hear someone switching from PC to a Mac, and then switching back. That is exactly what Kenton did, and she explains why she went from a PC to Mac and then back. A worthwhile read for those on the fence, or who have switched and not found it quite as advertised or as expected.

“Microsoft Outlook 2013 Tips”

It seems like it, but the whole world has not abandoned desktop applications in favor of web-based applications. Enterprises, large law firms and the like, even small businesses still rely on the desktop version of Microsoft Outlook. With new releases come user interface changes, new features, and other improvements.

Allison Shields breaks down what you need to know about Microsoft Outlook 2013 to make it do more work for you.

“The New Age of Video Conferencing with Google Hangouts”

Yes, you read that correctly. Video conference with Google Hangouts. Heidi Alexander makes the case for using Google Hangouts for things like client meetings, collaborating, and marketing. For the solo and small firm lawyer, it is budget and mobile friendly.

Such is the 2014 Top 10 for Law Technology Today. What would you add, or list as your Top 10 from Law Technology Today? Post it in the comments.

About Gwynne Monahan

Gwynne Monahan
Best known by her Twitter handle, @econwriter5. Generally speaking, she is a writer posting random, perhaps interesting, things.

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