Tag: ALA

12 Sep 10

So, I’m going to do a series of blog posts in the coming weeks about making choices regarding your needs for a lawyer, legal services and powerful ways to avoid pitfalls during that process.

Buying legal services can be quite similar to buying any other product or service. You have choices. Choices about personality and relationships; choices about pricing; choices about extra charges; choices about payment plans; choices about billing arrangements; choices… just choices! Most of the time any of us (including me for the first time on the BUYING end of legal services recently) the process of choosing a lawyer solely depends on someone else recommending a lawyer “they’ve heard of”. And, because when we need legal services, we’re usually months late in finally making that choice, so we’re hurried to get legal representation. Go into the decision with tools to make the choice quick and easy.

I have so many friends who don’t work in legal who want advice about how to find the right lawyer and what to look for as qualities or pitfalls to avoid. And I do figure with my experience with having worked with firms who have a combine total of over 1500 lawyers in the past 10 years (large firms, mid-sized firms, and smaller firms). Working at some of THE top firms in the world and in Seattle. Beyond that experience, my connections through the Association of Legal Administrators (a 10,000+ member organization dedicated to educating, networking and enhancing the business managers inside law firms and legal departments), gives me access to thousands of professionals and friends in the industry all around the United States who I trust for advice and guidance in all areas of the legal industry and running law firms. With the relationships I’ve built within ALA, I certainly have great ways to dig up personal experience with individual lawyers or firms around the country.

So, what do you say? Who doesn’t want advice and guidance on making choices that could cost you big BUCK?. Many lawyers will get you similar results… others will get you amazing results and will leave you feeling like you have a friend in the biz OR you could get a lawyer who just made bank for your hardship.

My promises: I will mention all of my previous firms and my experiences in those environments and cultures. I will NOT name names of lawyers I didn’t get along with, but will share the stories openly with fictitious names. :) I WILL likely boast about my current firm, Summit Law Group, because they rock AND because they’ve given me an amazing insight as to why law firms should be different. And my final promise, no sugar coating, just honest, straight forward answers and guidance to choices in legal services.

How do you think I should handle this? Should this be my first stab at video blogging? OR should I stick with my written word? Maybe a little of both! Very excited about this topic.

Filed under: Legal,Management

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2 Feb 08

I have lots of friends who have BlackBerrys and Palm devices and even the “other” smartphones (which shall remain nameless due to the fact that I can’t name them all). If you’ve read any of my other postings or articles you have probably figured out the fact that I am a BlackBerry junkie, or rather “CrackBerry” addict as the tech community so fondly refers to such an addiction/hobby.

All BlackBerry devices and Palm devices have a web browser that will access the internet as long as you have a data plan (which, if you get email, your device most likely has a data plan that will allow you access to the internet). MANY companies these days are creating specific content adapted for mobile devices. In fact some company websites have a very cool feature that will direct you to their mobile version of their site if it recognizes you have a smartphone. On the other hand some companies choose to make mobile-specific sites. Many of those sites will either be named with a “www.Blah.mobi” name or they might use “www.blah.com/mobile” or even “m.blah.com”. Either way, these are great indications to us “surfers on the go”.

So, what types of information would one have a use for while on the go? Well, my personal favorite is through Yahoo, MSN, or AOL’s mobile site. On there you have access to your email (of course) and you can get movie times, weather, news and all sorts of other info you would expect to find at their normal website. The best part is that they are VERY well adapted to load quickly on your phone AND they are layed out in a way that makes them very easy to read from a mobile device.

Another great use is when I’m “out and about” and friends are discussing movies or music and say, “Gosh, I sure wish I could remember who that main character was in Juno!” I’ll just pull up Google on my BlackBerry, type in “Juno actor” and VOILA! As easy as pie! Or (and I’ve never used this one, but it sounds neat) I’ve found a site called “Drinkboy” which is a mobile site where you can look up drink recipes! Useful for some, but unless they are telling me how to make a Bud Light I don’t have much use for it.

Do you have a Picasa photo account (where you can upload and share photos)? This one is easily accessible from your mobile! How about Flickr, another photo sharing site?

Do you have a security system in your home? Some of these systems (many nowadays I imagine) can be accessed through the web. Mine even goes a step further, it has a special website designed just to login to your security system. From there I can check the status of the system, arm or disarm the alarm and check the last 24 hours of activity. This isn’t just handy or neat! This has been a “lifesaver” (though not literally). When I’m away from the house I can login to make sure I armed the alarm before leaving. OR when I’m away I can send my neighbor over the check something. Since I have a coded lock system on my house I only have to send a command to my alarm system to disarm. Now she can help me with whatever task I need and I can rearm the alarm when she leaves. This has come in quite useful on several occasions.

These websites are the next generation of web development. People are addicted to having ANY information they desire within seconds (for example). And now, that even means while away from their normal computer. For those who haven’t discovered the mobile web it probably hasn’t become a necessity. But, once you start using it (just like using a PC on a regular basis) you start to think, “How did I get along without this???”

Some websites just won’t load on a mobile device… well, without a little help that is! Even websites that give lots of trouble on a mobile device can be conquered. Let me introduce you to Google’s “mobilizer”. This is a website you can go to from your mobile device and it gives you what looks like a search box, but in fact you enter a website address in the box and hi GO! Google mobilizer converts that website to a format that will be accessible from your device. It basically strips out many of the images, which sometimes take a long time to load, and it strips out any fancy web script, like “flash” which is just pictures moving all around on the screen. After all, when you are surfing from a mobile device “pretty” isn’t what you’re interested in. You just prefer the content and information in a format you can read. If you’d like to give it a try type in http://www.google.com/gwt/n.

I recently discovered a website called “Mobile Mammoth“. This website features “A New Mobile Website Every Day”. It’s a great place to browse just to see what’s available out there. Here’s one of my favorite articles on there “71 Ways to Make the Mobile Web Work For You“.

I’ve found this concept of the mobile web so intriguing that I’ve started creating one for ALA’s (Association of Legal Administrators) Annual Conference here in Seattle May 5-8, 2008. I think it’s prime time to launch a site where conference attendees can search for restaurants, lookup the conference schedule and room assignments, search the vendor hall listings, get Announcements of prize drawings, and get general information about the conference events. In an industry and organization that keeps talking about “going green” this is a perfect opportunity to strut their stuff! I’m very excited about the launch. It’s currently accessible from mobile devices AND a desktop at http://2008Seattle.googlepages.com (though I haven’t yet decided if that will be the final home).

I hope this glimpse into the future prompts some thought for how you use your BlackBerry, Palm or other Smartphone, and more importantly, I hope this prompts you to consider mobile web surfing when developing your firms new website.


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