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Tech and Practice Management Tips To Use Today

Recently the Center for Practice Management and CLE Department held a day and a half of programming including How to Manage Your Workload – Time, Task, Email and Distraction Management for Lawyers and Tips Today You Can Use Tomorrow. The programs, now available on demand, are designed to give lawyers and their teams actionable and tactical information that could be used immediately. Here are some of the highlights from these sessions.

Ignore Conversations in Outlook

If you have ever been included in a mass email where the responses are a never-ending round of “thanks” or “congratulations” you may feel like you are playing whack-a-mole trying to delete them as they fill your inbox. Or you may have been included in an email with several people discussing lunch options when you already responded that you will be working through lunch today. If you want to stop getting more emails on these threads Microsoft Outlook has a useful feature called “Ignore Conversation”. This button is on the Home tab in the Delete group or you can use the keyboard command Ctrl +Delete. This will delete the original message and any subsequent messages in the conversation. Sanity restored.

Add Your Website URL to Your LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile header provides quick information to those who are seeking to connect or just learning more about you. You can add a profile picture, a background picture, contact information, your job title or a headline, education, name pronunciation, pronouns and more. Another option, which is not entirely obvious, is to add a link to your firm or organization website right in your profile header. Log in, click the pencil icon to edit your profile, and then scroll through the options until you see “Custom Button”. Click “Edit custom button” then choose “Link” and add your blog or website URL and the link text. Then click “Save”. Voila, you can make it easy for anyone to visit your website without having to dig through your profile!

Move Your Cursor with the Spacebar in iPhone/Android

You can use the spacebar on your smartphone keyboard as a trackpad! When you are typing a message in email or text, and you need to correct a type or move the cursor backwards or forwards in the text body instead of trying to tap on the screen to pinpoint the cursor just press and hold the spacebar to move the cursor around the text block. Watch this video to see how it works.

Save Your Bank Statements

Oh, the joys of online banking. And the woes. While you can see current bank statements online easily enough, you may be surprised to find out that if you need to access a bank statement from even a few months ago the bank will charge you a search fee to get access to it. For cost savings, peace of mind, and your record keeping, set up notifications to get alerts that your most recent statement is available and then download it, so you have it when you need it.

Change Default Admin Credentials & Hide Your Wi-Fi Network

Protect your Wi-Fi network! Take a few minutes at work and at home to easily add more security to your Wi-Fi network. First, change the default username and password. Next, hide your network SSID so that it can’t easily be found by passersby. Finally, create a guest account so you don’t have to share your login with occasional users. The instructions to accomplish these steps will vary depending on your ISP and router, but the instructions shouldn’t be too hard to find. Spend 10 minutes to get extra security.

Free Microsoft Edge VPN

You may have a firm VPN to access your servers and local network. However, if you are simply surfing the web from your laptop using free Wi-Fi, like at a hotel, coffee shop, or your local bar association, you can take steps to secure your traffic across that network. Microsoft Edge users have access to a VPN that can help protect their online activities, encrypting data and keeping personal information secure. Be aware that you will need to be logged in with a personal Microsoft account versus your 365 account to use this feature.

Text Recognition and Redaction in Windows 11 Snipping Tool

If you have ever taken a screenshot and then painstakingly retyped the text, then this tip should brighten your day. In the Windows 11 Snipping Tool editor click on the Text Actions button. This will recognize text in the screenshot. You can then copy all text or redact using the buttons that appear at the top of the screen or select text and right click to copy or redact portions of the text. There are similar tools built into Snagit.

Connectively (f/k/a HelpAReporterOut)

If you want to get quoted in the media as a subject matter expert, you can sign up to share your knowledge with journalists with Connectively. You create a profile, search for relevant queries, and “pitch” an answer to the journalist. If they are interested, they will get in touch. There is tiered pricing, starting with $0 a month for the Lite version.

Connect Via LinkedIn While in Person

While you still may carry business cards to in person events, you should also make sure to connect on LinkedIn for networking and information exchange in the future. This is easy to do! On your smartphone open the LinkedIn app and press the Search bar at the top of the screen. Click the QR code icon that appears in the right corner of the search bar to see and share your LI code. You can toggle from your code to “Scan” to scan another person’s LI QR code. You can take a screenshot of your QR code (or use the handy “Save to Gallery” button) before you head to your next conference or business meeting so you can be ready to connect without fumbling with an app. You can also add the QR code to the back of your business card!

Net Promoter Score

If you send out client satisfaction surveys but have a hard time getting people to respond you can consider winnowing the list of questions down to a single question: “Would you recommend [our firm name] to a friend or colleague?”. The respondent only needs to choose between 0 and 10 (0 = not likely to 10 = very likely). A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a common metric used in customer experience programs by measuring customer loyalty. If you get a 7 or 8 you may want to follow up to see how you can do better. If you score between 0 – 6 a phone call is in order.

Use Plain Language (Ask the AI)

There is a lot of excitement and a lot of trepidation about using generative artificial intelligence, especially in law practice. One thing you can start using generative artificial intelligence for is to help with message tone and plain language. Start by writing an email and then ask a GAI tool like Microsoft Copilot to rephrase to adjust the tone, make it easier to understand, or condense a wordy email. Generative AI tools are also helpful for rephrasing a lengthy and unnecessarily complicated privacy notice or other standard language block so that it is shorter and easier to understand.

Send a Handwritten Note

If you always intend to send a hand written thank you letter, birthday card or other custom message but gathering the stationery, envelope, and stamp often get in the way of your good intentions you can use a service like Thankster. Pricing starts at $2.74 per card plus .68 postage, though the more credits you buy the more you save. Pick or create a card, type the content of cards, create a handwriting style, and they will mail them out for you. You can use the Handfont feature to create a font in the style of your own handwriting! There are also a lot of integrations with tools like Zapier and Google sheets to create automatic triggers for cards.

Insert a Photo Album into a PowerPoint Presentation

If you need to import a lot of photos into a PowerPoint presentation for trial presentation or to create a custom presentation you do not need to laboriously add each photo with the insert menu. Simply gather all the photos, screenshots or other images into a folder. Then open a new presentation, create a new slide and go to the Insert tab. Look in the Images group and choose “Photo Album”. Select the images that you want to insert, add captions, text, reorder the pictures, control the layout and get a preview. Then click “Create” to make a presentation with each image on a new slide.

Split Screen in Word

When you are working on a very long document if you need to check footnotes or endnotes as you write, or to check for consistency for defined terms and acronyms, consider using the Split screen function in Microsoft Word. Scroll to the place in your document you want to add the split and then in the View tab in the Window group click on Split. You can also change the view of the split document, so if you want the print layout of the document on top and the outline view on the bottom click on the portion of the split that you want to alter and choose options from the View tab. To remove the Split screen, click on “Remove Split”.

Securely Share a Password

If you need to share a password internally with a team member or with a client to unlock a password protected document, you know that you really shouldn’t email the password. You can make a phone call, though with a long strong password it isn’t always the easiest thing to read out. Many password managers now come with a “share” feature. For instance, in Keeper you can use one time share to send a password or a document. You can control how long the recipient has access to the information, and how many devices can access it. Popular password managers like 1Password Share, BitWarden Send, NordPass Sharer and more have secure sharing features. Look at the tools you may already use to explore your options.

Want to learn more? Check out the on demand rapid-fire presentations delivering dozens of discrete, practical tips on hot topics like security, litigation, client services, marketing, financial management, and more from speakers Paul Unger, Jim Calloway, Afi S. Johnson-Parris, Clara Cottrell, Damon Duncan, Samantha Gordon, Brandon Huffman, Michele Livingston, Kim Steffan, and Pegeen Turner. After watching if you feel inspired you can submit your own tips to share.