black corded headset on white table

Four Tip Friday

Hi everyone!

            1.         If you need an easy way to keep up with legal technology, subscribe to John Simek’s email newsletter, Your IT Consultant. (You can also subscribe via your favorite RSS reader, like Feedly.) Here is a link:  https://youritconsultant.senseient.com/    Recent newsletters have addressed password managers and home routers. And, of course, unless you are in Spaceballs, don’t use 123456 as a password.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6iW-8xPw3k   

2.        If you are looking for serviceable to decent noise cancelling headphones, check out either the ones by TaoTronics here  https://amzn.to/2BSW4OA  or the ones from Anker  https://amzn.to/38GVoaZ  I don’t use the noise cancelling that much, because it does not cancel out my bad dog’s barking, but the sound quality will satisfy the non-audiophile and battery life has come a long way. Plus, as someone on the Clockwise podcast pointed out, if you are wearing earbuds people will bother you, but if you are wearing a big set of cans, they won’t. 

3.        Some of you are saying, OMG I simply cannot put cheap headphones on my delicate ears. In that case, if money is no object, skip to 4, but if it is, check out  https://camelcamelcamel.com/   It will help you figure out when the best time to buy something is.

4.        If you are wondering how to get short links, check out  https://bitly.com/   It will make your life (and blog posts) easier!

We are one day closer to things settling down. That counts for something, right?

Let’s be careful out there!

Michael J. Polk, Esquire
Chair
SC Bar Technology Committee
Belser & Belser, PA
Columbia, South Carolina

top view photo of people near wooden table

Fastcase as a Supplement to Westlaw

In these strange new times, lawyers in firms of all sizes are seeking ways to reduce costs while remaining effective advocates. While many small firm lawyers in South Carolina rely heavily on Fastcase free legal research through the South Carolina Bar, larger firms with Westlaw subscriptions can also benefit. As a librarian, I am privileged to use Fastcase, Westlaw, Lexis, Casetext, ROSS Intelligence, Bloomberg Law, and other research platforms. Part of my job is to assess strengths and weaknesses of each platform, so I can better help anyone who contacts the law library with their research.  

Since Fastcase is provided free to all South Carolina Bar members, there are some good reasons to use it even if you are satisfied with Westlaw. Here are five examples: 

  1. No-Stone-Unturned Searches. Most lawyers who are unsure about a research result will get a second opinion from a colleague or a librarian. After all, two heads are better than one.  

By the same token, two platforms are better than one. We can’t see the proprietary algorithms each platform uses to interpret search terms and generate a list of relevant results. But we know these algorithms differ.  

When you need to doublecheck Westlaw search results, try running the same search on Fastcase to see if anything different pops up. Fastcase also lets you customize your Relevance Algorithm to ensure the results you’re seeking rise to the top. 

  1. Cost-Effectiveness. Lawyers must balance the requirement to perform competent research against the pressure to minimize both the cost of the resource and the cost of their time. Current trends favor flat-rate Westlaw contracts and treating research costs as overhead rather than passing them on to clients. Still, depending on how a firm allocates research costs internally, cost concerns continue to incentivize self-imposed limitations on Westlaw usage. 

Searching. If your preferred Westlaw search strategies are hemmed-in by cost concerns, unlimited Fastcase use can be a boon. For example, you can run as many searches as you want in Fastcase—wide-net searches, highly specific searches, searches within searches—it doesn’t matter. Searches are free, which removes the worry about costs and saves time by letting you focus on resolving the issue you’re researching. After trying out as many search queries as you want in Fastcase, you can always doublecheck a search in Westlaw. 

Analyzing Results. Westlaw lets you read a case excerpt before you decide whether to click the link to read the full text of that case and possibly incur a charge. Each case has to be in a different tab or window than your results list, complicating your workflow and leading to duplicate charges if you click on the same case twice. 

By contrast, Fastcase lets you freely view the full text of as many cases as you want, not just excerpts, and you can open each case side-by-side with your search results—in the same tab. Especially for a lengthy list of possibly-helpful results, the speed of the back-and-forth between your results list and the full text of the cases can save significant research time. 

  1. Cloud Linking. If you’re citing case law for someone who doesn’t have Westlaw, try Fastcase’s cloud linking feature. Drag and drop a blog post or white paper written for a general audience into Fastcase’s cloud linking drop box, and links to the full text of the cited cases will be added automatically. Anyone can click the links and read the cases for free online. 

Suppose your co-counsel uses Lexis or Casemaker, or that users of your firm’s brief bank want to limit their Westlaw usage. Cloud-link your shared research using Fastcase. Then, links to the cited cases will work for all lawyers with whom you share research, without their needing to log in anywhere or incur charges. 

  1. Additional Jurisdictions. It can make financial sense to limit a Westlaw contract to South Carolina law or Fourth Circuit law if that’s where your practice is focused. However, sometimes persuasive authority from other jurisdictions is needed.  
     
    Free resources (like Google Scholar, Findlaw, or Justia) will usually retrieve the full text of a case. However, those resources don’t let you check whether the case is good law, and they don’t make it easy to find other relevant cases from that jurisdiction.  

If you pull up a case in Fastcase instead, Authority Check will alert you to cases that cite it, positively or negatively. If you run a search, the Interactive Timeline points out additional relevant and frequently cited cases from that jurisdiction. You can retrieve those other cases on Fastcase for free, while avoiding charges for going outside your Westlaw contract. 

  1. Beyond the Basics. Upgrades from standard Westlaw packages cost extra, and the same is true of add-ons from Fastcase and its partners. Particularly for lawyers who rarely need premium research products, it is worth evaluating Fastcase partner options to assess resource quality and potential savings for occasional use of secondary sources, public records searching, case tracking alerts, and more. 

My hope is that SC Bar members—whether or not they use Westlaw—will get their dues’ worth from Fastcase. For more help doing so, the Fastcase support number is 866-773-2782, option 2, available Monday-Friday 8 am to 9 pm. 

By the way, the University of South Carolina Law Library can also act as a supplement to Westlaw. For example, we regularly fill email requests for PDFs of law journal articles that do not appear on Westlaw. A lawyer must provide the citation and agree to a $5 handling fee. See https://guides.law.sc.edu/remoteservicesbenchbar.  

By: Eve Ross
Reference Librarian
University of South Carolina School of Law Library
SC Bar Technology Committee

woman in pink crew neck t shirt using laptop

Lessons in “Work from Home”

As I write this column, many lawyers have left their offices to work from home (WFH) and more may follow. If, like me, your experience with working from home was using your work laptop or home PC to check emails and do a little work, the transition was a bit bumpy. As is true for many things in life, with office technology we often don’t appreciate what we have until we no longer have it.   

In March 2020, Bar members began a major exodus from the law office. If you already used a laptop as your primary work computer, you were one step ahead of the game. I used a desktop PC at the office, so I ordered a 14” Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon from Lenovo (go to www.lenovo.com/statebar for the same price Lenovo employees get). It’s a thin, lightweight business laptop. My advice has always been to purchase business or professional grade laptops direct from the manufacturer. I was fortunate to order when I did. Lenovo has a shipping facility near Charlotte and I received the laptop the next day. Lenovo, Dell, and HP are reliable brands. (I am not anti-Mac – if that’s what you want, get one – but if you’ve always used PCs, maybe a pandemic isn’t the time to try something new.) With shortages on computers, one can’t be too choosy, but be aware of significant disadvantages when buying from a retailer versus a manufacturer, including changes in the warranty.  

Don’t obsess over RAM, disk space and other specs (most business machines are more than adequate for most lawyers) but make sure it has Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. I recommend purchasing an on-site warranty for the first 2-3 years – someone will come to you if you have a problem instead of having to ship the computer off. Whether you get accident insurance is your call. 

Many lawyers now use multiple wide-screen monitors in the office, so it won’t take long before you feel frustrated doing everything on a laptop. I lasted one day before going to Office Depot to purchase a docking station. It was a J5Create Boomerang and it would not have been my first choice. Lesson learned: when Lenovo suggested adding a docking station to my online basket, I should have bought it instead of fretting about the extra money. Once I added the Boomerang to my laptop with the included micro USB cable, I was able to add peripherals from the office and home: an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers and headset with mic. When I need to, I can connect a Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner or small HP printer. 

Accessing your work computer or server remotely requires a VPN (virtual private network), remote control solutions, or Remote Desktop Protocol. You can find more information about these at www.scbar.org/pmap or look at reviews on PCmag.com. Remote control products include LogMeIn and Splashtop. I don’t recommend using Remote Desktop Protocol, which is disabled by default on Windows computers as it is vulnerable to breaches.   

If you only need to access your files, not software programs, there are alternatives if you plan ahead. Before we decamped our office, the PMAP Assistant and I moved files we thought we would need to Microsoft SharePoint. SharePoint comes with Microsoft 365 Business. (In case you missed it, Microsoft 365 is how you get Word, Outlook, Excel and the rest. There are 3 different plans, but as of April 21 most lawyers can choose Microsoft 365 Business Standard.) Working from home, we could go to Office.com, login and access files in SharePoint much as we would on our office’s server. In SharePoint, we work on the same files without worrying about different versions. If the files had all been in OneDrive, this step might not have been necessary, but SharePoint makes it easy to share files and collaborate. 

For phone calls, we signed up for free Google Voice numbers so we wouldn’t have to give out our personal numbers. Google Voice calls are forwarded to personal phones or you can make and receive calls from voice.google.com on your computer with a headset/mic or Bluetooth earbuds. It also works with texts – clients can text you and you’ll receive it in your Gmail. WhatsApp is another alternative for calls. These are temporary options during an emergency, not something I recommend lawyers using instead of regular phone service. Please conduct your own research before signing up with one. Lawyers with VOIP phone service at the office can take their physical IP phone home with them and receive their calls as they normally would.  

If inner office emails are crowding your inbox, ask coworkers to use Microsoft Teams (included in 365) to send chat messages, share files and links, schedule meetings, and even video chat. Video calls on Teams tends to be clunky compared to Zoom, but it’s as easy as clicking on the phone icon in Chat to call a coworker’s computer. There are options for guest access for people outside your organization, but it needs to be configured properly, so at this time I don’t recommend it. Client portals, included in many practice management software products, remain a more secure means of collaborating and communicating with clients. For non-confidential collaboration with non-clients, try Slack https://slack.com/.    

If there’s a “Tech Word of the Year” 2020’s might be “videoconferencing.” At this writing, Signal and WhatsApp are popular options to use for one on one calls, which are easier to secure. Videoconferencing with larger groups, such as mediations, require more sophisticated software, such as Zoom and GoToMeeting. Educate yourself on how to properly use all products (not just videoconferencing) for better security. There is no such thing as perfect security and privacy on the Internet.  

***Due to the rapid rate of change, please research all products mentioned in this column thoroughly before using  

By: Courtney Troutman, Director
Practice Management Assistance Program
South Carolina Bar

office working app computer

Technology Takeaways from the 2020 Bar Convention

In November, 2019, the South Carolina Supreme Court adopted amendments to Rule 1.0 (r), Rule 1.1 Comment 6, Rule 1.6 Comments 20 and 21, and new Rule 1.6(c) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The amendments were modified versions of amendments made to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct in 2012 meant to offer guidance to lawyers about technology. The Technology Committee sponsored a CLE at the Bar Convention in January, featuring national experts Sharon Nelson and John Simek who addressed best practices for lawyers to be ethically compliant and competent in the area of technology. They addressed three big areas: ethical competence in the digital area, disasters and data breaches, and the future of law practice. Here are some takeaways, but you can find this information and much more in the articles listed on their website https://senseient.com

Most, if not all, law firms have experienced a technology security event – from malware infections to total breaches. In light of that, firms should conduct security assessments and have incident response plans. Many cybersecurity insurance policies are requiring these (the cost of cybersecurity insurance is reportedly rising). Firm training is also critical, since the majority of security issues rely on human error and gullibility. Firms should have a security policy for employees to follow, covering everything from backups, BYOD (bring your own device), acceptable use and more. Firms should also have an incident response plan to avoid running around like a chicken with … you know the rest. The plan should include contact information, immediate steps to take, and steps to resume operation. Most states have data breach notification laws, including South Carolina. Consult the law for your duties. 

Ransomware attacks are evolving (think it’s some guy in Russia? These days it could be a bot or artificial intelligence). Ransoms being demanded are higher than most firms can pay. A new twist in ransomware: firms who ignore the ransom request because they have a good backup may be subject to having their data used or leaked to the dark web in retaliation for not paying the ransom. Some good news: success rates in thwarting ransomware are increasing if the FBI is notified within the first 24 hours. So, even if you have a backup, notify the authorities asap. Also good news: more banks are recognizing wire fraud attempts and stopping fraudulent transfers before they conclude. 

Basic backup advice that applies to most law firm sizes: have a local (physical) backup and two cloud backups. Make sure your cloud provider allows you to control the encryption key. The speakers named Carbonite and Backblaze as good options. Make sure backups work by doing a test restore. One solo used a cloud backup and lost five years of law firm data because he’d never tried to verify if the data was restorable or not corrupted. Don’t take the word of the software that says “Backup successful!” – be certain. If you use a USB backup drive, disconnect it from the server once the backup is completed (more than one physical backup drive is recommended so you can swap them out). If you experience a ransomware attack and your backup is connected to your computer – well, there goes your backup.  

Zombie data, also known as “dark data” is data you don’t realize you have. It can come up in data breaches or in cases during e-discovery. The speakers’ advice about old data: if you don’t need it, and are not legally required to preserve it, get rid of it! Don’t forget old email accounts – nearly everyone has old free email accounts they’ve ceased using. They’re ripe targets. 

The speakers next turned to the Future of Law Practice. Consumers, accustomed to smart TV sets , doorbell security cameras, and Alexa, have rising expectations for lawyers. Consumers expect same day delivery of products, automated contract delivery, client portals and video chat. Trends that will grow include non-lawyer ownership of law firms, traditional legal work being done by non-lawyers and alternative legal services providers, and of course, Artificial Intelligence (AI). As an example of the rapid rate of change in AI, the speakers reported that the IBM Watson computer that defeated Ken Jennings at Jeopardy! in 2011 was the size of a master bedroom and weighed thousands of pounds. One year later, it was 18 x36 inches and weighed just 100 pounds. 

Although the term AI is often incorrectly used to hype products and sound cool, in reality, AI is already in widespread use in the world’s largest law firms (but the speakers were quick to say that it is also being used by solos). Lawyers use AI for contract review, due diligence, e-discovery, legal research, predictive analytics, and more. AI represents a direct threat to some legal job sectors, including lawyers performing document review, paralegals, and even first year associates. JPMorgan Chase uses COIN (Contract Intelligence) which in seconds can do the work formerly requiring 360,000 hours a year by lawyers and loan officers. 

Bar members can read many of Nelson and Simek’s articles on technology, security, ethics, and law practice on their website www.senseient.com, watch Sensei YouTube videos, or listen to Digital Detectives or The Digital Edge podcasts.  

The Bar also has many resources to help lawyers with technology questions, from a lending library of ABA technology books to online resources at www.scbar.org/pmap and the Technology Committee’s page www.scbar.org/tech

By: Courtney Troutman, Director
South Carolina Bar Practice Management Assistance Program

Mike Polk, Technology Committee Chair, South Carolina Bar
Belser & Belser, PA
Columbia, South Carolina

Four Tips for Better Password Security

Do passwords still matter? Isn’t it true that if an attacker really wants to, they can crack any password? Many lawyers have been asking this in recent years, frustrated by ever-changing advice on what constitutes a “safe” password. Yes, passwords do matter. Now is not the time to throw in the towel and become “low hanging fruit” for hackers.  

Lawyers should take reasonable steps to create and use secure passwords to protect client confidentiality and safekeep client property. (Rule 1.6 Confidentiality of Information, Rule 1.15 Safekeeping Property, SCRPC.) In 2012, ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1, Comment 8 was amended to advise that lawyers also maintain competence by keeping “abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” Since, then at least 37 states have followed suit with similar amendments. 

It’s true that there are such things as “bad” passwords. There are numerous lists of most hacked or “worst” passwords on the internet, including one by the UK National Cyber Security Centre https://tinyurl.com/rrgycfk. “123456” consistently tops all lists as the most commonly used password, followed closely by “qwerty” and “password.”  

Many online accounts force certain requirements on users – a minimum number of characters, an uppercase, a lowercase, a symbol, a number. This requirement can offer limited protection if you use a password like “trustno1” or “v3r!Fy.” Password crackers know to look for common substitutions for letters. 

Hackers use data from frequent corporate and website data breaches to perform “credential stuffing” – where hackers use stolen username and password credentials and try to login to other websites with those same credentials. Often, they are successful.  

Keeping in mind that what constitutes a strong password changes without warning and can even vary depending on the situation, here are a few tips: 

  1. Use Passphrases as Passwords – We listed some examples of problematic passwords above. A better password solution involves entropy, which is a lack of order or predictability, using passphrases – not a recognizable quote, but a string of words or text you can remember. Gary likes the “Diceware” method, which uses dice to come up with passphrases. A person rolls a set of five dice, each of which produces a random number between 1 and 6, and then matches the dice roll results with a list of predetermined words. The method is described in this Medium.com post: https://tinyurl.com/w4n9y7a. Courtney prefers to make up her own unique passphrases. 
  1. Never Reuse Passwords – In a February, 2019, Google/Harris poll of three thousand adults, sixty-five percent of the respondents reuse a password for one or all of their online accounts. As noted earlier in this article, hackers use information from breached web sites to perform “credential stuffing” to access accounts on other online web sites.   You should never reuse a password for any online site. In late 2019, Google announced “Password Checkup,” a new Chrome extension that warns you if the username and password you’re using were stolen in any data breaches and then prompts you to change them if they were. 
  1. Ideally Use a Password Manager – The best solution as far as organizing your password security is to use a password manager. Password managers are software applications that allow users to generate, store, and retrieve secure passwords for various online sites. Most password managers allow the generation of passphrases as well. Many password managers have smartphone apps and browser plug-ins so that you can easily retrieve a password. You only need to remember your master password to access the password manager. PCMag.com does an annual roundup of password managers. Most have a very reasonable annual fee. There are free versions available, but most limit the number of passwords you can save, and the terms and conditions can vary. As a general rule, Courtney recommends that lawyers not use free software or apps, but buy the pay version. Gary likes 1Password https://1password.com, and Courtney uses LastPass https://www.lastpass.com.  
       
  1. Use TwoFactor Authentication Whenever Possible – Two-factor authentication is the means of using two different types of information to login to an online account, such as a password, a PIN sent by text message or authenticator app, or a fingerprint/biometric. Most people are already familiar with two-factor authentication with online banking or cloud-based storage web sites. Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible with your online and cloud-based providers.  Visit Two Factor Auth https://twofactorauth.org for a list of websites that do and do not support two-factor authentication. 

Ronald Rotunda, in his February 2018 article for Justia “Lawyers, Passwords, and the Obligation to Keep Clients’ Secrets” https://tinyurl.com/vz9mess, summed up password security: “When we take these precautions, the modern-day equivalent of a deadbolt, we will know what to say when the client asks, “What are you doing to keep my information secret?”” 

By: Gary Moore
Assistant Dean for Academic Technology
University of South Carolina School of Law
SC Bar Technology Committee

Courtney Troutman, Director
SC Bar Practice Management Assistance Program
Liaison to the SC Bar Technology Committee. 

apple office internet ipad

DoNotPay: An Example of What Chatbots Can Do

The app DoNotPay is an example of a chatbot that is currently available on iOS.

Before you download it, be aware that DoNotPay requires connecting to the user’s bank account upon setup. DoNotPay uses Plaid for its banking transactions, a platform that is well regarded and is used by Venmo, but not everyone will be comfortable connecting any app to their bank account. The app requests bank account access to facilitate the deposit of the refunds it obtains for users.

DoNotPay offers to help users in a number of categories.

Government Paperwork: register for the Do Not Call list, sign up for TSA PreCheck, or schedule a DMV appointment.

Traffic Disputes: contest tickets in a few major cities.

Customer Service Issues and I Am Owed $500+: generate demand letters for breach of contract, housing issues, or personal injury claims.

Find Hidden Money: cancel subscriptions, appeal bank fees, and complete fast-food surveys that result in free food rewards

The latest update to DoNotPay costs $3 per month. It includes DoNotSign, which lets the user upload a license agreement, and the app will highlight warnings and loopholes.

DoNotPay was created by Joshua Browder. This blog post is largely based on the post “Cool Tools 2019 Spotlight: DoNotPay” by law librarian Tawnya Plumb, via the American Association of Law Libraries.

Screenshot of DoNotPay in the App Store

By: Eve Ross, Reference Librarian
University of South Carolina School of Law Library
SC Bar Technology Committee

Personalized Recommendations for Reducing Tech Distraction

When people are overwhelmed and distracted by technology, it can feel like too much effort to sort through all the available tech tips out there, looking for workable solutions. Screentime Genie can help.

If you go to screentime.stanford.edu, a free chatbot called Screentime Genie will walk you through a short series of questions. Based on your answers and on behavioral research, the chatbot will provide a few links to tech tips that are likely relevant to helping you reduce your screentime.

For example, when the chatbot asked my goals, I responded: managing email, managing distraction, and mindfulness. When asked what systems I use, I said Windows and Chrome. Finally, when asked how much time I have, I requested tips that will take five minutes just once—not longer than that, and not requiring daily habits to be rebuilt.

Based on these answers, the chatbot showed me a short list of six tech tips to choose from. If I had responded differently about my goals or systems or available time, I would have been shown a different set of tips.

I selected three solutions that looked helpful (I could have chosen as many as I wanted), and I clicked “I’m done.” The chatbot then sent me a single email with links only to the three solutions I chose. When I have five minutes, I can click a link in that email message, read one of the tips more closely, and implement it if I want.

Screentime Genie was created by B.J. Fogg, and I learned about Screentime Genie from Beth Kantor’s blog.

Screenshot of screentime.stanford.edu

By: Eve Ross, Reference Librarian
University of South Carolina School of Law Library
SC Bar Technology Committee

Four Tip Friday

  1. I recently went to a CLE at USC Law School entitled How a Solo can be Han Solo – Using Technology for Courtroom Presentations. It was part of the law school’s Legal Tech series. Bill Booth, a lawyer in Columbia, was the speaker. He recommended checking out Miracast, a dongle that acts like a wireless HDMI cable. It is easy to setup and use. You can pick one up for about $40 on Amazon. Bill uses a Microsoft branded Miracast like this one:  https://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Wireless-Display-Adapter-P3Q-00001/dp/B01AZC3J3M/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=miracast+2.0+microsoft&qid=1574274547&sr=8-6  but there are other brands as well. If you are having trouble with your current setup, consider picking one up and giving it a try. By the way, if you want to see courtroom presentation demonstration featuring Keynote and TrialPad with Apple TV, check out the Galactic Empire v. Han Solo trial on YouTube here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giI2t4Gj_sg&t=30s It was part of a CLE for the York County Bar Association and is worth a look.
  2. Gary Moore, Assistant Dean for Academic Technology at USC, writes to remind us not to reuse passwords. Gary writes: “In a February 2019 Google/Harris poll of three thousand adults, sixty five percent of the respondents reuse a password for one or all of their online accounts.   As noted earlier in this article, hackers use information from breached web sites to perform “credential stuffing” to access accounts on other online web sites.   You should never reuse a password for any online site.”
  3. Here is a good tip I received from a solo small firm conference here in Columbia a couple of years ago. If you are an Amazon shopper, and you are wondering if you should pounce on a Black Friday deal, check out camelcamelcamel.com It is a free Amazon price tracker that will give you a better idea as to what kind of deal you are actually getting.
  4. Looking for ways to use your iPad in your practice? Thomas McDow, a lawyer in Rock Hill, uses the Duet app. With it, he can use his iPad as a second monitor. Duet is currently $9.99 on the Apple App Store.

By: Mike Polk, Chair, Technology Committee
Belser & Belser, PA
Columbia, South Carolina

Four Tip Friday

Here are four time-saving Microsoft Office tips:

  1. In Word, keyboard shortcuts save time. The time-consuming option is to move your hand off the keyboard over to the mouse, then use the mouse to move the arrow up to the ribbon, click the “U” button on the ribbon, then move back down into your document, click to put the cursor back where you left off, then put your mouse hand back on the keyboard to keep typing. If you had memorized that holding down the “Ctrl” button and typing “u” would have the same effect, you wouldn’t have to move your hands away from the keyboard at all; you could hit two keyboard keys and keep drafting your document. If you underline frequently, imagine how quickly seconds could add up to minutes and hours saved. More keyboard shortcuts for Word functions lawyers frequently use: guides.law.sc.edu/wordfundamentals/essential
  2. In Outlook, text blocks save time. If there is language that you frequently use in emails, such as explaining what services you do or don’t offer, or asking clients to bring certain things with them, don’t type it out from scratch every time. The next time you type that language in an email message, select it (no matter how long it may be), click Insert, click Quick Parts, and click Save Selection to Gallery. Then, every time you need that language in future emails, you can simply click Insert, click Quick Parts, select the text block, and click Insert and the language will appear in your (no matter how long it may be). Of course, you can then go in and customize the language as needed before sending the message. More on Quick Parts in Outlook: support.office.com/en-us/article/…
  3. In Excel, pasting formatting saves time. Suppose your Excel worksheet contains some cells that are formatted the way you want them (shading or not, dollar sign or not, correct number of decimal points, and so on) and other cells that are not formatted correctly. Click on a correctly formatted cell, type Ctrl+C to copy, then click on a cell that needs to be formatted, and type Ctrl+V to paste. You will see a clipboard with (Ctrl) in parentheses. If you type Ctrl, it will open up various Paste options under the clipboard. If you type R, the option to Paste Formatting will be selected. This means you’re not copy-pasting any formulas or numbers; you’re only copy-pasting the appearance and style. More keyboard shortcuts in Excel: support.office.com/en-us/article/…
  4. In PowerPoint, Slide Master View saves time. Maybe you have created all your slides for a CLE presentation, and you realize that you would like to make all the text a bit larger, and add your law firm name on every slide. There is no need to go through every slide enlarging the text in each text box and inserting the law firm name. Click View, click Slide Master, and make the changes on the master slide. More on Slide Master View in an 8-minute instructional video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ARCTypPTg

By: Eve Ross
Reference Librarian
University of South Carolina School of Law Library
SC Bar Technology Committee

Four Tip Friday

  1. If you are wondering what the Windows key can be used for, check out this article with a useful list of shortcuts:  https://www.techrepublic.com/article/the-complete-list-of-windows-logo-keyboard-shortcuts/  I like Windows logo key + D to display my desktop. Too bad I can’t use it for my real-life desk. 
  2. If you find yourself typing the same thing over and over again, consider using a text expander or text snippet tool. I use BeefText which is open-source, and, without really trying, have a list of about 20 items that I can insert with a few keystrokes (most notably the date). If you want something a little more robust and don’t mind paying, check out this review of TextExpander here:  http://dashboard.mazsystems.com/webreader/63828?page=26
  3. Here are some great tips on how to stay safe using airport wifi:  https://www.lawtechnologytoday.org/2019/11/how-to-stay-safe-on-airport-wifi/  Just in time for the holidays! If you are curious about VPNs, most have a try before you buy option. How do you choose a VPN? The Wirecutter has a great rundown and further explanations here:  https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-vpn-service/ 
  4. Speaking of traveling, you may be interested in the What’s In My Bag email newsletter,  https://www.getrevue.co/profile/wimb where “Each week, one interesting person shares four favorite things in their bag.” If you like music, check out the YouTube channel for Amoeba music and its What’s In My Bag channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/user/amoeba  You will get inspiration from what musicians and other artists are listening to and why. 

By: Mike Polk, Chair, Technology Committee
Belser & Belser, PA
Columbia, South Carolina