Category Archives: Shopping Tips

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

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

Overview of Client Relationship Management Tools

THE PITCH:  After a potential client takes some form of “conversion” action (initiating a phone call, submitting a message via a contact form, subscribing to an email list or downloading educational material).  What tech tools are available to ensure your potential clients convert to becoming paying clients?  Without a Client Relationship Management Tool (CRM), the burden is on you to follow-up with all your potential clients, schedule them for a consult, and follow-up with them on signing their retainer agreement.  And, if you don’t follow up with them, they are much more likely to go with another law firm.   

That is essentially the marketing pitch made by CRM software companies.  So, let’s take a quick overview of the CRM tech tools available for lawyers.  

Gedney Howe, III had a very simple, no tech method for maintaining client relationships.  His method was to call several clients on Sunday afternoons and tell them he was in the office working on the client’s case.  The Sunday afternoon call is a great idea for communicating with your clients and letting your clients know that you are actively working on their case.  But how can you achieve what Gedney knows about clients, that they want to hear from you and feel you are moving forward on their case. A CRM offers that opportunity using automation and the internet. 

While CRMs are more commonly known for their use in sales teams, many law firms are now implementing a CRM tool.  While there are several CRM solutions for businesses, now there are solutions developed specifically for lawyers.  Some examples of these solutions are:  CloseSimple (real estate closings), Clio Grow (by Themis Solutions – all areas of practice), Case Status (litigation), Shape (most areas of practice), and InterAction (by Lexis/Nexis – all areas of practice). 

There are other general applications available that can be tailored for a law firm as a CRM solution on a smaller scale: Microsoft Bookings (online booking of appointments) and Microsoft Forms (easy to use for client intake form that can be quickly sent to a potential client after initial contact).   

You might use two-way texting as an alternative and quicker method for communicating with a potential client after the initial contact or later for regular client communication.  Zipwhip is an application that lets you use an existing business line to create client communication.  You can create reusable text message templates so you can quickly send standard messages.  Dynamic fields allow you to personalize every message – even group texts. You can schedule text messages in advance to remind a client of an appointment or as a follow-up to a potential client.  The link to a form created with Microsoft Forms can be sent to the potential client by text to gather the basic client intake information on a smart phone. 

Themis Solutions now has two new names for its new CRM application and for its established practice management application.  The new names are Clio Grow and Clio Manage.  Clio Grow can be purchased on a subscription basis as a stand-alone CRM tool, but the intake information can be seamlessly added to its practice management application.  There are tools for automatic email and document generation for quick communication with the potential client.  The Zipwhip application can be integrated with Clio Grow to add the use of text messaging to communicate with a potential client.  For example, after the initial telephone conference, a scheduled email or text message can be set up for a short follow-up.  The message may say: 

Hi Jim, thank you for taking the time to meet with us!  We will be in touch soon.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out.  –Best, Bill 

The matter pipeline dashboard of Clio Grow shows several columns for you to navigate and monitor your efforts to obtain a new client.  The main columns show intake status, hired, and not hired. 

The Case Status application was started by a South Carolina attorney who worked for a large plaintiff’s firm.  A client portal is created for communicating the status of the case.  Case status can automate communication and send real-time updates to the Case Status mobile app.   

So, automation of the client intake process can save important time you need for other existing clients and may impress the potential client enough for the prospect to establish a relationship with you.  Other benefits include converting more prospects to clients, eliminate the paper intake form which will eliminate the double data entry, and most importantly being prepared for the client. 

Here are links to some of the CRMs mentioned in this article http://www.closesimple.com, www.setshape.com/legal, www.zipwhip.com, 
http://www.clio.com/grow, www.casestatus.com, www.interaction.com.   

By: William E. Booth, III
Booth Law Firm
West Columbia, South Carolina
SC Bar Technology Committee

David P. Stasaitis, President and CSO
Stasmayer
Charleston, South Carolina