Law Office Management
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Sites and Tips from ABA TechShow 2000

By Patricia Yevics
Director, Law Office Management
Maryland State Bar Association, Inc.


Each year in early spring the ABA has its annual Tech Show in Chicago. I have been attending since 1994 and have seen some amazing changes in the field of legal technology.

In an effort to share some of the overwhelming amounts of information that is presented at the Tech Show, I list some brief tips that I found especially interesting and helpful. In addition this year I have added some sites that were mentioned in some of the sessions. Some of these sites provide a huge amount of additional information.

For information from the TechShow, go to www.techshow.com. There are some materials available as well as information about ordering the CD ROM of the materials.

1. From the Session: Delivery of Legal Services via the Internet

This was a remarkable, yet disturbing discussing on how the use of the internet will affect the way we practice law in the future. Consumers will not go to the law firm first but rather to the web. These sites as well as many others are turning law into a commodity. Ignore at your own risk.

www.legaladviceline.com (Based in Maryland)

www.lawstreet.com

www.uslaw.com

www.thelaw.com

www.americancounsel.com

www.divorcelaw.com

www.lawontheweb.com

www.desktoplawyer.com

www.directlaw.com

2. From the Session: Technology Makeover of Small Litigation Boutique

CaseMap - Very interesting new product especially for small firms. It is a datbase that allows you to organize and share information. It allows you to evaluate information on your case. While not yet perfect, it is worth watching and could be a real help to small litigation firms. For more information go to www.casemap.com.

3. From the Session: Viruses and Other Things that Go Bump in the Night

attrition.org - get information on what sites are being attacked

sans.org - security site

hackernews.com

cert.org

securityfocus.com

Least threat: Kiddie Hackers - although there are many of them, they are young and most are caught. Most are in it for fun and outgrow it. If they are not caught, they outgrow their hacking.

Real threat are the older and more experienced hackers who are in it for money/profit. They are rarely caught and they are the reasons you need security for your systems.

4. From the Session: Tales from the Crypt

Litigation/discovery issue - How long should you save tape backups?

Must establish a backup policy before litigation.

To find out what you are telling sites about your connection when you surf the net, go to www.privacy.net.

5. From the Session: How To Choose Consultants

Best way to find out about the quality of the service is to ask other clients.

Find out if the consultant puts the same solution into all the firms he/she services. This would indicate a cookie-cutter approach and not really acceptable unless you want that solution.

Websites: www.icca.org - List of 1500 computer consultants nationwide and locally.

Characteristics: Technical Competence, Knowledge of legal field, flexibility and ability to communicate in non-techie language

6. From the Session: Webs are Not TV - How to Maximize the Use of Your Website

You do not want to get the most viewers but the best viewers for your practice. Quality of hits over quantity of hits.

You want your site to be a "magnet" site. This is a site everyone links to for information. It is an information portal.

To find out what other sites link to yours go to the search engine Altavista (http://www.altavista.com). In the search bar box, type in the following information: link:yourlawfirm.com -host:yourlawfirm.com. Please note that you will use the name of your URL where I have typed in yourlawfirm.com. Hit the search button and you will see a list of all sites that list to your URL

The best way to design a good website is to see other good websites.

7. From the Session: Small Firm Networking, Virtual Lawyers and Connecting to the Net

Some sites to help you make this work.

www.efax.com - allows you to fax from your desktop

www.jfax.com - improves the power of your e-mail by giving you voice mail and fax capabilities

www.grc.com - this site will allow you to test your system to see if it can be hacked.


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