Category: Technology

iX 500 goes live today

Fujitsu introduces its new high speed, low cost scanner today. I have a model sitting on my desk and it’s the same small footprint of the model 1500 that it replaces. The new model is much faster, 25 pages per minute (ppm); I have to keep my eyes open – that’s how fast it is. In a small office, such speed may not be so important, but it sure is nice to have this feature. Another feature that enhances the speed of operation is that the OCR feature begins to operate as you are scanning, not after the document is scanned.

Another new feature, however, is important. The new iX500 has a separation roller that prevents double feeds, meaning that no two pages go through at the same time. Each page gets copied separately and does not get “pasted” to another sheet. This used to drive me nuts. I’d have to watch the feeder to make sure each page went separately and when there was a problem, I’d have to do the scanning a second time. No worries now.

Another cool feature is that you can go to the App Store and download ScanSnap Connect onto you iPad, Android and iOS compatible devices.  After you have the application on your iPad or other device, hit the “Scan” icon and pages will flow through your iX500 and the image will then be saved where you want it on your iPad. This saves the step of scanning onto your computer and then using Dropbox or similar program to bring it over to your iPad or laptop computer. What a cool feature and time saver!

Here are some additional features the new iX500 has to boast about:
    *    convenient way to store, manage and view PDF and JPEG files as well as performing post-scan editing
    *    transforming paperwork into editable Word®, Excel and PowerPoint files
    *    blank page detection and deletion
    *    50 page document feeder

This is a machine you must have! Check it out.


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Preserving social media

In an earlier blog post, I talked about creating a digital estate plan.  A family law attorney speaks of preserving what you already have posted in social media. She suggests that taking down what you have posted in advance of litigation, family law or otherwise, may be the destruction of evidence and a crime!

There is more to the internet than most of us ever imagined. Walk (or type) carefully. The life you preserve may be your own.

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Digital estate plan

I’ve talked about a lawyer having an estate plan. I’ve talked about creating an estate plan for your law practice; this is an idea first generated by Ellen Peck, retired judge of the California State Bar Trial Court. Now, there is another estate plan to prepare: Digital.

What are you going to do with all your passwords, all your email accounts, all your accounts in social media and all your other accounts that reside in the internet?   

Your virtual life doesn’t end just because you die. And in some arenas, the material you have on the internet cannot be removed or taken down. You may even have money residing in some of the internet residences such as PayPal, on-line gambling accounts, etc. Be sure to appoint or designate someone to be responsible for dealing with these issues. Be sure to write down all the accounts and passwords. And be sure to contact such companies as LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, etc. to comply with their policies.       

There is little or no case law to date about planning for digital assets after death, and certainly no precedent of which I’m aware on this. But, for just that reason, it’s time to think about these issues.

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Can you live without your mobile toys?

77% of professional services mobile device users agree that their company would lose competitive ground without mobile devices. This, according to a survey conducted by CDW, distributor of computer and related equipment.

Irrespective of the actual percentage, it is clear that mobile devices such as the mobile phone and new tablets, not to mention laptops, are critical to the operation of most law practices today.

And Apple today announced that it will soon be releasing a smaller version of the iPad. What’s next and why?

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Technology drives new client service dynamic

Electronic and computer technology enable lawyers to do more and better work in less time, but this creates a new service dynamic where clients continually demand to pay less for what they increasingly see as a commoditized service.

Law firms must meet client needs through greater technology efficiencies. Not only does this seem obvious, it is an element necessary to maintain competence as required by the rules of professional conduct.

More efficient law firms that reduce client legal costs should gain new business that enhances revenue.  However, the ability to increase billings while becoming more efficient depends on changing the billing system to embrace alternative fee arrangements.  With greater reliance on contingent, fixed, capped or value fees where time is not the relevant issue to determine the fee; service to the client is the key metric of value to the client, not billable hours.  



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Verizon customer service – REALLY?

Two weeks ago, I purchased a Motorola Razr Maxx from Verizon and an iPad. I’m happy with both, but both need some adjusting. Perhaps I would be more correct in saying that the owner of the devices needs some adjusting … or relearning.

In any event, I went into Verizon this afternoon, the same store from where the purchases were made., and asked for assistance. I was told that they now have a new policy:  They would help me if I want to buy a new device or accessory. But, they would need to make an appointment with me for another time if I want to ask questions or get some help about the devices I already own.

The old policy was to wait your turn until a representative had finished with a current customer and was available to meet with you. That seemed fair.

Apple, a much larger store, will put you on their list and you wait your turn. Yes, they will also make an appointment for you at the Genius Bar. And there are many knowledgeable sales people walking the floor who can answer most of the questions I’ve had … and are willing to do so.

This reminds me of the lawyer who plays telephone tag with a client … to the frustration of the client. If you’re not in when the client calls and cannot return the phone call quickly, have your assistant make an appointment. It’s clearly better, however, to take that call on the first attempt if you’re in the office. Failure to connect is still the #1 complaint against lawyers.

Verizon does not seem to get this simple fact of customer relations! Do not let the customer go away angry because you are unwilling to answer his/her questions about the device you sold. Oh, yes, I forgot. They can be as nasty as they want because they have you tied to a two year contract!  Just think what would happen without that contract? I’d be back at AT&T in a heartbeat!

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Credit:: Man’s confidence in man

Kevin Genirs, formerly with Lehman Bros. and now Global General Counsel, Investment Banking, Barclays Capital, was a keynote speaker at AML’s LegalTech West. He was reminiscing on some lessons from the demise of Lehman Bros. Several of his comments struck me, in particular:

He set the stage by commenting on a statue that is in the lobby of the Moody’s Building where he worked. It portrays a farmer and a blacksmith shaking hands with the comment, "Credit: Man’s Confidence in Man." This is similar to the cowboys shaking hands on the prairie which we photographed during our 2011 trip through Oklahoma. The point is well-taken. Without the confidence that life will proceed as reasonably expected, we have chaos … and no legal documents are strong enough to withstand such chaos. That is why the cowboys’ handshake resonates so dramatically.

26,000 Lehman employees lost their jobs; $370 Billion of claims were settled for just $.20 on the dollar. Eight books have already been written on the subject. From 1930 to 1997, housing prices increased .7% per year. From 1998 to 2006, housing prices increased 8% per year. And the world thought this would continue forever. But, 25% of housing mortgages defaulted; the securitization market dried up; and there were massive writedowns of asset values.

The problem was not Lehman’s alone, however, as we learned later. The problem was systemic. For example, credit was loosened; one hardly had to qualify in order to get credit. Short term credit was used for long term assets, and this created part of the problem. While some complain about too much regulation, we took the training wheels off of our financial system and chaos resulted.

This resonates for me in light of my mantra that lines of credit should not be used for partners’ compensation. Partners, as equity holders, should be the last ones to be paid, not the first.

Genirs closed by quoting three favorite commentaries:

Galbraith: History counts for so little in financial affairs.

Greenspan: We swing from fear to euphoria and back very quickly.

Keynes: The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.

And, citing The Black Swan, unlikely is not the same as impossible.

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Law market segmentation – It marches on

The Wall Street Journal, perhaps reflecting the concerns of its corporate readership, continues to emphasize what it considers to be the overpaid lawyers at the pinnacle of the profession.  In a recent article that had the less-than-subtle title, “Biggest Lawyers Grab Fee Bounty,” the Journal reported that partners in the top 25% of more than 4,000 law firms examined in a new study boosted their average price to $873 an hour last year, up 4.9% from 2010.  At the same time, the lowest-billing partners struggled to keep pace with inflation. Partners in the bottom 25% of surveyed firms charged an average of $204 last year, up just 1.3%.  As the paper said, “That disparity between who can raise prices – and who can’t – spotlights a growing segmentation in the $100 billion corporate legal market.”

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