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3 Productivity Tools for Attorneys

By Attorney David Speringo, Esq.

When was the last time you were able to sit down and evaluate new technologies for use in your law practice? Between discovery, depositions, and client meetings, rarely will you get the free time to thumb through the newest legal technology magazine. With all the different product catalogs and all the different techniques to configure the newest computer solution for your practice, it might seem overwhelming. At least for many of you, that is. However, I have had the opportunity to sit down and play with, take apart, put it all back together again, and then take it apart once more, to learn how to make these devices work for the busy lawyer. And do they work? Absolutely.

There are some electronic gadgets and tricks on the market today that many lawyers would never ask to look for, or do research about, because they just did not know they existed. Usually these gadgets or techniques were discovered or invented out of necessity by paralegals or tech savvy lawyers. If you were put into a predicament, and you needed object "A", and you did not think that it existed, what would you do? Obviously you would try to invent one, and in failing to do that (as most of us would) at least look to see if someone else had already done that.

 

Portable Hand Scanner

How many times as a lawyer have you gone onsite to an opposing party’s workplace to "sticky" documents for a copy job, only to realize that while you are doing that, you just tipped off the opposing counsel to what you deemed as important or unimportant? Generally, you do not bring a copier with you, or even a commercial scanner to make a copy of these important documents. I dare say that a couple of you have had that experience. So what is the next best thing?

A portable hand scanner. For the best prices on these, see:

http://www.mindconnection.com/category/SCAN-MOBILESCANNERS.html

This is definitely one tool that will get a lot of use once you start to rely on it. Check out the product offerings, and get the one best-suited to your needs. Once you start using it, you will wonder why you didn't do this earlier.

 

Portable Wireless Printers

Another device that could prove to be of use for those who deal in mediation or arbitration, where hearings take place in hotel conference rooms, is the portable wireless printer. HP (sounds like a company who knows what lawyers want!) makes a portable bubble jet color printer, called the BJP-5000, which is extremely small and compact. Since its size allows for travel and its design allows for printing both color and black and white at a speed of 10 ppm (pages per minute), it seems like the ideal candidate to also make it wireless. The only problem is that it does not come wireless from HP. In fact, it attaches to your laptop via a USB cable. Although not extremely loud, it does present some background noise. Noise which could interrupt a conference room if you needed to print something in a hurry. Especially 6 copies of a 10 page document for everyone in the room.

This is where the wireless print server comes into play. Attaching to the BJP-5000, assuming you have a wireless card for your laptop, you can communicate with the wireless print server several hundred feet away, through walls and even floors of a building, depending on room placement. Most conference rooms are hosted in buildings with a business center or a lobby. By setting up your printer in either of these two areas, you can take the noise out of the arbitration room and also print out what you need in a hurry. This is not only efficient but practical because you do not have to worry about having someone from the office driving X number of miles to deliver a document that you need in 10 minutes.

Cell Phone Laptop Internet Surfing

Speaking of wireless networking, many attorneys are doing this while they travel on business, but also some are "plugging in" while they are on vacation (can you truly never take your work home?). They are utilizing their cell phones with their laptops to connect to the internet. People have been doing this for the past 3 years, but it was only until recently with data connection speeds reaching 144kps (for comparison

dialup modems on home computers are 56k), that these speeds have made it more feasible to send and receive email, look at stock quotes, and even upload and download files-with ease and speed. Previously, connection speeds were around 14.4kps. Very slow and frustrating. These speeds were barely good enough for checking email. Now, you can be in your hotel room (not all hotels have connection lines yet for the internet) and get your email or surf the web. If you get nationwide coverage, you can now get on the net almost anywhere. The same holds true for being in court, or the aforementioned being on vacation (should the need arise, beware of the consequences from the people you travel with). Connection hardware can be purchased at any major electronic store. Depending on your cell phone service carrier, the costs may vary.

What these 3 cool toys and tricks allow you to do, as an attorney, is to become more efficient with your time which allows you to better represent your client. Your return of investment should be almost immediate by using these three tools. While in practice if you become complacent with how you do things, you may be doing yourself and your client a disservice. By keeping up with the different trends in technology and how it may or may not help you, this allows you to at least be aware of what is available and in turn how you may best utilize any given device to best suit your needs. The lawyer with an edge is one who has more of an advantage. The choice is yours on how you want to use that advantage.

 

David Speringo is an attorney and the principal of TheRivanGroup.com, a Guilford, Connecticut Web design and hosting firm focusing on servicing the legal market. David is also a legal technology consultant for law firms interested in expanding or developing their Information Technology services. He may be reached at (203) 458-1641.

 

 ŠThe Rivan Group 2003

 

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Instead of feeding coins to a copy machine, dragging your laptop around, or going nuts trying to key in your hastily-scrawled hand-written copy of source material, just use this note-taking pen to pick up the material directly and store it in the pen. Then transfer to your PC later when you're back at home base.

The Infoscan TS Elite scanning pen makes digital note-taking as easy as using a standard highlighter.

 

 

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