When you add in hard work and years of experience … maybe.
Think for a moment about how much technology has impacted industries and the professionals in them. From how doctors diagnose and treat illnesses to how musicians record and sell their music, the way people do business has been dramatically changed by the advent of cutting-edge technology. So as an attorney you may be thinking about the ways you could use tech to improve your practice and your skills. And while it cannot necessarily make you a better lawyer, there are numerous ways it can help. Take a look:
New technologies and advanced apps have taken the world by storm and the legal industry is no exception. If you haven’t already invested in or started using some of the most popular tools designed to make running your firm and serving your clients more efficient, it’s time you did. Some of the top apps and software solutions that successful lawyers are using include:
Adobe Acrobat Professional: This software solution replaces the manual method of Bates Labeling and redacting documents, making the whole process electronic, easier, and much faster.
Evernote Scannable: Point your smartphone at a doc, a receipt, or a whiteboard and this nifty app will capture the image and automatically rotate, crop and adjust it. Then, you’ll have a digital image that not only looks exactly like the original document, but is shareable and saved.
Chrome Remote Desktop: Need to retrieve a document while you’re meeting with a client? With Chrome Remote Desktop you can access it and share it from anywhere.
Dragon Dictate: How often do you think of the perfect closing argument while you’re driving home from the office or on your way to a meeting? With this app, you can dictate your idea before you forget it. It’s also handy for dictating notes for a case and anything else that you need to remember but can’t write down at that moment.
Any.do: Never miss a meeting or forget to file a motion with this sophisticated task management app. It even offers geolocation and other really cool features that allow you to create your own custom reminders in relation to where you are at the time (like reminding you to file a motion as you’re driving by the courthouse).
Paperless depo software: Replace the piles and piles of printed documents often involved in depositions with a paperless deposition solution. There are numerous products out there that are easy to use and offer an array of useful features beyond paperless capability, including giving you access to exhibits and depositions from anywhere at any time.
Video conferencing: Need to do a remote deposition? Or how about doing several in one day without the need to travel back and forth between clients? While some depositions require a one-on-one, many don’t and having the ability to do it via video conferencing can save time and money.
OneNote: While there will likely always be a place for yellow legal pads, this app makes it easier and more efficient to take, save, and organize notes. It’s got advanced capabilities that also enable you to record a video (like of a focus group) or to take notes and sync them with the video and any other notes you’ve compiled for a case. You may never have to scour through pages of hand-written pads again!
These tools are just a few of the many that are designed to make running your law practice easier and serving your clients more efficient. So while technology can’t improve your knowledge or skills as an attorney, it most certainly can help you improve the way you run your firm.
Nothing is more valuable than face-to-face time
The way we communicate and do business these days is immediate and efficient, no doubt. But sometimes, it’s our instantaneous methods of giving, getting, and sharing information that can cause us to lose sight of establishing deeper connections. And when it comes to your clients, building a rapport that fosters a sense of trust and openness is pivotal. It’s these deeper connections that can make winning cases much more likely. Let’s talk about why quality time matters:
Emails and texts don’t convey emotion
While we can all relate to the necessity and practicality of having the ability to communicate via text and email, the reality is, the extent to which emotion is expressed in these media is limited. Shooting off an email to fill in a client on upcoming meetings or a summary of what was discussed is perfectly acceptable, and common practice, but if you really want to get a client’s story, there’s no substitute for a face-to-face meeting.
Take it out of the office
Visiting a client on their home turf, whether in their place of business or their home, gives you an opportunity to see them on a whole different level. When meeting in an environment that they are comfortable in, clients often let their guard down and open up more. While your firm may have a state-of-the-art office space equipped with well-appointed conference rooms, spending time with your clients outside of this environment is a key way to get to know them on a personal level and develop a better understanding of who they are, what their motivations are, and what is truly at the root of the case.
Build a deeper connection
In addition to gaining your client’s trust and getting to know them better, spending quality time also gives them the opportunity to get to know you. This is an important aspect of building that deeper relationship because the more they feel they know you, the more open your clients will be with you.
Obviously, trust is an essential element to the client-attorney relationship and it goes both ways—because you not only want to know what your clients are all about, you want them to trust you enough to tell you as much as possible. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to represent them.
Keep the balance
As any busy attorney will tell you, making room in your schedule to spend time with your clients outside of the office is not always an easy task. But if you’re looking to connect on a deeper level, it’s important to make it a priority. Of course, it depends on the needs and preferences of each client, as not all of them will want to meet with you outside of your firm. But those who do allow you this privilege, whether to have lunch or a coffee, will benefit even more greatly from your representation and in the end. And they are more likely to become long-term clients who trust you with all of their legal needs.
At Boss Certified Real Time Reporting, we strive to partner with you both in the court room and as a resource of useful industry information to help make your firm more productive and successful. Check out our blog for more tips and if you’re in need of a court reporter, fill out our online form to request a quote or to schedule a job.
The human factor wins out every time.
We’re living in a digital world, no doubt about it. And while every industry on the planet has experienced this change in one way or another, some benefit more than others when it comes to the use of certain technologies. In the case of court reporting versus digital recording, many industry professionals still opt for capturing the conversations, testimonies, and everything else that transpires during litigation or other legal processes with a stenographic court reporter rather than using a digital recording. The reality is that nothing can match the quality of stenographic reporting. Here’s why:
1. Whoops—didn’t mean to record THAT.
When it comes to recording events that occur during legal proceedings, digital devices are notorious for capturing conversations that were not intended to be captured. These types of accidental recordings can not only be costly mistakes; they can cost you your case. Accidents like this don’t happen when a court reporter is transcribing, because a professional only reports what he or she is instructed to.
2. He said what?
Digital recordings can be great and they can also be horrible. And when it comes to recording your next deposition or litigation proceedings, you can’t afford the latter. Unfortunately, no matter how high-tech the device is, it’s not uncommon for digital recordings to capture background noises or to provide an end product that is simply inaudible. And when these things happen, it’s almost always discovered after the proceedings have concluded, resulting in major issues, appeals, and other difficulties. On the flip side, live-in-person court reporters do not record background noises and they are trained to capture only words that are spoken and that are relevant to the proceedings.
3. Could you read that back?
When it comes to requests for a readback, which happens quite often during a court proceeding, there’s no comparison to the swiftness and accuracy that a court reporter can deliver. Because he or she is present, attentive, and on top of the testimony that’s being reported, relevant sections can be found within seconds. When using a digital recording device, however, searching through the audio to find the exact testimony requested can not only be time-consuming and arduous, in some cases, it’s just not possible.
4. One step forward—two steps back.
When it’s time for a transcript, digital recordings still have to be transcribed by a professional. So even if you were lucky enough to produce a quality recording of your proceedings, the audio file must be then given to a transcriptionist to produce the official copy. Today’s court reporters can provide a first draft of the proceedings immediately and, using real-time reporting, can show testimony within seconds of the words being spoken on computer screens right in the court room. Less steps, less time, and more cost effective.
5. Let’s review!
Reviewing a digital recording is a lengthy process that most judges and attorneys don’t have time for—if a review is needed, it entails having to listen to the entire recording. Real time court reporting gives judges and attorneys the ability to review and annotate testimony during the course of the proceedings, and court reporters can provide remarks on a computer screen or print a report onsite.
6. Where’s the research?
Using digital recording devices does not give lawyers and judges the ability to perform any research during proceedings. A court reporter, however, can not only call up depositions to compare during testimony, he or she can also access online research and communicate with expert witnesses who may be testifying remotely.
We all know that you get what you pay for, and when it comes to choosing between digital recordings or stenographic court reporting, this sentiment couldn’t be more accurate. Although some attorneys may think they’ll be saving money by using the less reliable method, the reality is, cutting corners only produces a lower quality, less accurate results. And in the case of your next case, that’s a chance you shouldn’t take.
For more useful industry information, visit our blog often and to find out why Boss Reporting is a leader in real-time court reporting services throughout South Florida. And the next time you need reporting services, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or request a free quote online.
Make a strategic choice that will support your career aspirations
If you’ve finished law school, completed a few internships, and passed the bar, congratulations! And while it may seem like all the hard stuff is behind you, now is when the real work begins. The first step for many young lawyers is deciphering which law firms would be a good fit and figuring out which offer you want to accept. It’s a really big decision and not one that you should make lightly. Here are some tips on how to choose:
1. Think of your preferred practice area
As a first-year associate, it may be hard to imagine yourself practicing the same kind of law for many years to come. And if you’re not sure which area you’ll be most passionate about, it’s important to try and choose a firm that will allow you to dabble in a variety of options. While many young lawyers have decided on their choice long before they graduate, most haven’t – and that’s ok. Selecting a firm that has several areas of practice may be the best way to go.
2. Evaluate reputation
When it comes to choosing the right firm, another critical thing to consider is its reputation. It goes without saying that you want to find one that is not only well-established, but also has earned good standing in the community. Selection based on prestige may seem superficial, but in reality, it goes a long way when you’re ready to move on because other firms look at your previous employment as a key factor. Choosing a firm that can open more doors for you is a great career strategy.
3. Geography is key
Nothing is forever, of course. But just like any career, you want to think ahead when accepting a position. Some cities are more conducive to certain types of law than others. For example, New York City is a key financial hub, so if your background is in accounting, finance, or other related law, you may want to focus on firms that can get you closer to living and working in NYC. On the other hand, if your goal is to one day own your own small firm or to practice corporate law, you’ll want to be on the lookout for similar firms that can pave the way for your aspirations in your desired location.
4. Calculate what will be a promising future
While it’s important to choose an area of law that you’re passionate about, it’s likely that you may not know exactly what you want to do so early in your career. If this is the case, you may want to take a look at the market itself and see what the demand is for different types of lawyers at the moment. Things can and do change year to year according to what’s happening in the economy, but it can be exciting to choose an area of practice that is particularly hot. If you’re getting an offer from a firm that does relatively-stable, tax-related law, for example, you may want to wait and see if you get any interest from a real estate or mergers and acquisitions firm.
Knowing which offer to accept may seem daunting, especially since your first experience as a young lawyer can have a big influence on your future. Take your time, consider all of these aspects, and don’t stress it too much. Remember that you’re just starting out and most attorneys make several moves throughout their careers.
At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we are interested in the professional development and aspirations of any and all members of the legal community. With more than a decade of experience and over 40 reporters on staff, we’re ready to meet your court reporting needs once you’ve found the right firm. Fill out our online form to request a quote or schedule a job today.
The kind of education you’ll never get in a classroom (online or otherwise).
After law school or paralegal and court reporting education, most legal professionals engage in on-going training programs. The legal field, like many industries, continuously evolves, and you need to keep up with complex developments to be successful. But while continuing education programs and seminars will keep you up-to-date, there’s a certain amount of informal training that should be taking place at all times to foster the skills and knowledge that no official course can deliver.
Trial and error
We’re all familiar with the adage that sometimes the best lessons are the ones we learn when we make mistakes. This applies to training legal professionals, but with actual cases on the line, it’s often better to teach these lessons from experience rather than let young professionals learn them the hard way. Consider the wisdom you can impart to junior attorneys by asking simple questions after a trial, deposition, conference call, or even a new client meeting.
“What are your observations?”
“Do you have any questions about the way this was handled?”
“What can we improve upon the next time?”
Asking them for feedback is a great way to spur conversations that lead to valuable learning experiences.
Remember when you learned to ride a bike? It’s highly unlikely that your parents drew you a picture or tried to explain how to pedal and steer without actually putting you on the seat. Learning by doing is one of the best methods for mastering anything, including practicing law. Despite the massive volume of material that you memorized in school, it’s likely that you don’t remember a lot of it. In contrast, most lawyers will tell you that they never forget their first case or what they learned during marathon workdays when they first started out.
As a young attorney, you may have had to submit your work to a more senior member of the firm to ensure that it was accurate and well written. And if you were given the chance to see the revisions, you learned how to improve your writing and what to do differently the next time. If you’re in a position to offer this kind of constructive criticism to junior attorneys or other legal staff, you’re actually offering them informal, practical training—the kind of education they won’t get in any other setting.
While continuing legal education is a requirement in most law firms and remains pivotal to developing a successful legal career, there’s no substitute to hands-on learning through trial and error and constructive feedback. Law firms that foster an environment of continuous growth will reap the rewards with personnel who are well equipped to handle the ever-changing legal arena.
At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we promote a culture of constructive feedback and ongoing professional development. With more than a decade of experience and over 40 reporters on staff, we’re ready to meet your court reporting needs. Fill out our online form to request a quote or schedule a job today.
Ensure the accuracy of your transcripts and the success of your case by hiring the right person.
Choosing a court reporter is a task that should not be taken lightly. As you know, a precise and accurate transcription can be the key to your case and without a highly-qualified reporter, you may not get what you need. Additionally, because you are often dealing with confidential or sensitive information, you want to make sure that a court reporter is reputable. And you want to choose a reporting firm that will become a trusted partner, supplying you with top notch personnel that meet all of your requirements. With that in mind, here are some important considerations and key questions to ask when you’re hiring a court reporter.
1. Is your reporter a member of the NCRA?
It’s a smart idea to enlist the services of a professional who is a member of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). This internationally-recognized association is the premier educational and informational resource for its professional members and for the public. Court reporting agencies that belong to the NCRA are committed to adhering to the highest standards and ethical best practices in the industry.
2. Are they a full-service agency?
Whether you’re in need of a court reporter for a mediation, deposition, trial, conference, or arbitration, your goal should be to choose a firm that has full-service capabilities. The agency should have conference rooms, videoconferencing, interpreters, Wi-Fi, and various locations to serve you. Hiring a partner that offers all of these services (instead of having to hire multiple people to do each) makes scheduling and managing all of your needs easier and faster.
3. What kind of litigation support do they offer?
There’s no question about the importance of finding a court reporting firm that offers crucial litigation support, including: real-time reporting, the choice of rough disks and/or transcripts, overnight, daily and/or condensed transcripts, word indexing, and audio-transcription.
4. How much experience do they have?
It probably goes without saying that you want a firm that has a respected reputation in the industry and a long record of happy clients. Always ask for referrals from current or former clients and do your research online to learn more about potential hires.
5. How many court reporters are onboard?
While you may likely only need one court reporter at a time, it helps to choose an agency that has a team of experienced professionals to ensure that you can always get service when you need it.
6. Do they have insurance?
Hiring a court reporter who is not insured is a risk you don’t want to take. A top court reporting firm will have liability insurance—this shows that they take their commitment to accuracy and their reputation seriously.
7. How well-versed are they in the rules and regulations of the industry?
It’s important that the firm you choose has reporters who are not only experienced and qualified, but who are also well-versed in the field of litigation and court reporting procedures, and have knowledge of the complex legal, medical, and technical terms that are often used in proceedings.
When selecting a court reporting firm, it’s important to ask these questions. Check on each potential agency’s record, reputation, and range of services. Boss Reporting has more than a decade of experience and over 40 court reporters on staff. We use the latest technology for every job and provide full service to our clients—many of whom have been with us since we first opened our doors in 1995. Get in touch with today to find out how we can serve you.
10 rules of etiquette to make the most of a court reporter’s expertise.
If you’ve been an attorney for some time, you may be familiar with some of the unwritten rules of etiquette that govern working with court reporters. But for lawyers without a lot of experience, this guide outlines exactly what you need to know to get the most out of a deposition. Take a look:
1. Make sure your court reporter is close to the action.
It may seem obvious, but make sure that your witness is seated close to the court reporter. This will ensure that even the most soft-spoken witness is audible and the reporter doesn’t have to strain to capture every word accurately.
2. Is this on or off the record?
Always be clear as to whether you’re saying something that is on or off the record. The best way to make sure that your deposition goes perfectly is to clearly state out loud the nature of your speech.
3. No speeding!
When you’re speaking during a deposition, remember to maintain a moderate pace. If you go too fast, your court reporter can miss something, forcing her ask you to slow down or repeat a crucial point. Make sure that you speak at a speed that is comfortable for the reporter to easily record every word.
4. You have the right to remain silent!
If you’ve asked your court reporter to mark an exhibit during the deposition, remain silent and refrain from questioning until he has finished. If you don’t, the reporter will be unable record what you say because it’s not possible to do both things at the same time.
5. Voice your objections.
In the midst of a deposition, you or other attorneys may have several objections. And while it may seem natural to use hand motions or body language to communicate one objection after another, be sure to verbalize every single one. It’s all too easy for your court reporter to miss an objection if you’re using non-verbal cues.
6. Spell it out in plain English.
While your court reporter may be very experienced, it’s possible that some of the terms of your case will be unfamiliar to her, especially you’re using industry jargon. To ensure that she knows how to properly spell everything, you should provide a list of terms (and the spelling of the names of all the witnesses as well) beforehand.
7. Stick to the facts!
Never ask your court reporter for an opinion about your case. It’s unprofessional and it puts the reporter in an uncomfortable position. The court reporter is always considered a neutral party and he is only there to accurately and efficiently record the deposition.
8. Slow down!
Although court reporters can record hundreds of words per minute, most of us speak even faster than that. So if you’re reading documents out loud, be sure to read slower than you normally would to ensure nothing is missed.
9. Want wings on that transcript to make it fly?
Rush transcripts are not uncommon in the industry and your court reporter should be able to accommodate you, providing you let him know in advance. The earlier the better, of course. But at the very least, provide notification before the deposition begins.
10. Break it down.
Depositions can sometimes take several hours. In long cases, make sure that you and your court reporter take regular breaks. Even a small, ten-minute break will give both of you time to regroup and prevent exhaustion, which ultimately ensures that a deposition will be as accurate as possible.
Court reporters are professionals dedicated to providing the highest quality recordings to their clients. To make the most of their talents and expertise, be sure to follow these simple rules of etiquette while working with them on a deposition.
It’s an important decision that you’ll need to get right.
Undoubtedly, the cloud has revolutionized the way we store, share, and backup files. To many business owners, it presents benefits never before experienced and advanced technology that improves the way they run their companies and serve their customers. But while all of us realize how useful the cloud is, as a lawyer your business has a unique set of regulations and ethics and requires you to store a large amount of confidential information. Using the cloud means that your files will be living on a server in remote location and not within the walls of your business. So the question is, is it ethical for you to use the cloud?
In most cases, yes
While there is a lot of conversation about the cloud within the industry, using this type of computing is becoming more and more popular. The American Bar Association has researched the topic among the bar associations in the United States and many of them agree that when used with “reasonable care”, the cloud is ethical. Depending on which state you practice law in, the ABA suggests that before transitioning to the cloud for your firm, you consider several factors. Let’s take a look.
Choosing a vendor
As you can imagine, more and more cloud service providers are popping up everyday. And for anyone, lawyer or not, who isn’t familiar with the cloud, it may be daunting to choose a vendor. The decision is not to be taken lightly of course, so it’s best to do your homework and read any reviews of each provider. Ask for recommendations and go over the service agreement with a fine tooth comb. Some of the key considerations you’ll want to take into account are security and protection from loss or damage. Also you’ll want to choose a provider that specifies just where the files are stored, how often they are backed up, and that you explicitly own your data.
Following new industry standards
Although there is mixed opinion about cloud computing among different bar associations in the US, the Legal Cloud Computing Association has established standards and guidelines for lawyers to follow to ensure their ethical and legal obligations.
If you’re considering using the cloud for your practice, take some time to review their set of standards, it can only help you. Their published guide discusses the use of the cloud in depth and covers everything from the location and redundancy of data to authentication protocols, limitations of third-party access, ownership of data, the handling of data breaches, disaster recovery, and additional details needed to choose the right vendor and level of service.
Some state bar associations have said that it’s not necessary for an attorney to tell their clients that they are storing data in the cloud. This is something that, depending on your jurisdiction, is left up to your discretion. If you think about it, do businesses you use tell you where your data, whether it’s orders from Amazon or something else, are stored? For the most part, it’s recommended only when you feel it is necessary.
There’s no doubt as to the efficiency and benefits of the cloud, and as our world continues to evolve digitally, these and other technological advances will become more prevalent and available. As attorneys, the key thing to be cognizant of is safeguarding your client’s confidential files. Consider these tips before enlisting the services of a vendor.
Maybe it should be.
Every law office has a manager: the go-to person for all things administrative, including everything from making sure the coffee station is stocked and everyone’s computer is up and running to keeping track of client payments and much, much more. And while any well-run firm knows the immense value of an efficient office manager, there’s something to be said for the firms that breed a management culture.
All hail the delegator
No one person can do everything. And while your office manager keeps your firm running like a well-oiled machine, those managers who are able to delegate will ultimately achieve a higher level of success. Delegating certain tasks and training others to help out when needed ensures that everyone knows how to handle things when the manager is unable to be there or is having to deal with something more pressing. It also allows your manager to focus his/her efforts on assisting with other company efforts, like expanding your firm’s reach.
They’ll be in a management state of mind
Encouraging a sense of common responsibility among your team will also deepen your team’s connection to the company and increase their level of engagement. When everyone begins to think as a manager, they can contribute fresh ideas which gives the management team a new perspective on ways to improve the firm’s operations.
A team that can wear many hats
Everyone has their specialty, and your law firm is no exception. But instilling a management culture among all your team members exposes them to the responsibilities of their co-workers. If you’ve ever worked your way up in a company, you know the value of understanding what it takes to perform the duties of other positions. It gives you a multifaceted skill set, making you that much more equipped to do your job. Which in turn means they’ll be even more qualified to serve your clients and help build the firm. Allowing everyone to take on some of the management duties, however big or small they may be, will also enable them to broaden their horizons, gain a deeper appreciation for what others do and foster a greater sense of camaraderie.
Those law firms that wish to maximize their potential and the potential of their entire team understand the value of delegating management tasks and bringing everyone onboard toward a common goal. The results? A highly efficient team of experts who are engaged, enthusiastic, and effective.
But don’t dismay—this doesn’t have to be you.
The news is not new, but it is cause for concern, especially if you’re an attorney. According to a recent study by PsychSafe principal consultant Dr. Rebecca Michalak, lawyers, because of their long hours, high levels of stress, toxic work environments, and strenuous workloads, have the worst health and well-being of any white-collar professionals.
And, as if that news isn’t bad enough, the study also showed that many lawyers resort to drugs and alcohol to combat the stress. There’s also research that shows the suicide rate among attorneys is higher than many other professionals. Perhaps it’s the adversity they face day in and day out or the fact that their working conditions have caused them to slump into a depression.
If you’re an attorney, you’re likely shaking your head thinking, “Tell me something I didn’t know”. And while the reality is what it is, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your fate.
Walk it off
One of the top ways to combat stress is exercise, but for a busy attorney who may be spending 14+ hours a day at the office, exercise may seem like an unrealistic goal. So instead, take one to two 10- minute walks, either around the office or around the block. And if possible, go alone or if you bring along an associate make it clear that you won’t discuss work or anything related to it during the walk. It may not seem like much, but that small amount of time spent away from your desk and the firm can boost your mood, clear your head, and give you an increased level of energy to tackle the rest of the day.
Mediation is not for everyone, but everyone should do it. If that doesn’t make sense, that’s ok. The truth is, it’s something that takes practice, but once you get good at it, you’ll find that you don’t want to do without it. If you’re able and have an open mind, daily mediation can eliminate stress, give you a renewed sense of calm and help you get to a better, more peaceful place. Experts say that you don’t even have to make it a formal thing. Just close your eyes, do some deep cleansing breaths, and clear your mind for a few minutes.
Eat to win
And by win, we’re not talking about your next case. What you’re eating plays a big part in your wellbeing as you are likely aware. But when you’re stuck at the office, in traffic, or running back and forth to the courthouse, you may find yourself consuming the quickest and most convenient eats most of which are just not good for you. If you can, plan ahead and pack some healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, or veggie sticks. Bring a lunch when you can and make eating healthy a priority when you’re home, too. Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and obesity plague those who are stressed especially when they have a diet that consists of fast food, energy drinks, and processed foods.
Many lawyers spend their nights working or pacing around contemplating cases. It’s not uncommon for an attorney to give up hours of sleep every night. Some even report as little as two hours a night during big trials. But sleep is the key way your body and your mind heal and refresh. Without it, you’re headed for serious mental and physical health issues. Sleep deprivation causes reduced productivity, forgetfulness, careless errors, and a host of problems for your body. The answer? Increase your slumber hours. If you need to start slowly, add an hour or two every night and then build back up to at least 7 hours. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about natural remedies. Narcotics will just add insult to injury in the long run.
Talk to someone
Anxiety and depression are real and sometimes they require professional help. Just like your clients seek you out for your legal expertise, there’s no shame in turning to a therapist who is trained to guide people on ways to cope with stress. Remember, sometimes you just need to talk and have someone totally objective to listen to you. Therapy is an ideal way to get things off your chest and clear your mind.
Let the music play
Bring your headphones and your IPod and enjoy listening to your favorite tunes while you’re working. Music can transport you to a different realm, and it’s a scientific fact that listening to music releases endorphins in the body, elevating your mood. It also helps tune out any distracting chatter that’s going on in the office. So rock on!
Do some soul searching
If your lifelong dream was to become an attorney and you’re suffering at the hands of a toxic work environment, it’s time to take a good hard look at where you’re working. Not all law firms are created equal and if you’re having a negative experience because of mistreatment, bad management, or abusive situations, consider pursuing other opportunities.
There is stress in nearly every profession. For an attorney, who is consistently fighting to win against an opponent, the level of stress, anxiety, and depression is considerably higher than most other white-color professions. If you’re an attorney who is feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to review these tips on ways to manage your stress and remember, if you feel like you cannot handle it, it’s best to seek help from a professional therapist.
Transform toxic and turbulent to inspiring and inclusive!
What would your employees say if they were asked about the culture of your law firm? If you’re cringing at the thought of their feedback, perhaps it’s time to examine what life is like for your team. Lawyers everywhere, especially those who are just starting out, will tell you that between the endless hours at the office, the drudgery and an adverse ambiance, their firm is not only unpleasant, it’s downright soul-sucking.
If it comes as any comfort to you to know that yours isn’t the only company with this issue, great! Admitting there’s a problem is the first step to solving it. And if you’d like to come up with ways to elevate the mood among your crew and to transform your company culture, then read on!
“What am I doing here?” is one of those questions that creeps into everyone’s mind time and again. Employees who don’t have a clearly defined purpose are less engaged, less happy, and less productive. As management, it’s your job to define the missions and goals of the firm and to communicate these to your team. But it goes even a step further when you’re faced with a culture clash and that’s ensuring that employees understand their part in the mission and why what they do every day is important. Without this, there’s no purpose and without purpose, there’s no passion.
Recognition and reward
Employees who are recognized for a job well done feel happier and more appreciated which always translates into the motivation to work harder. It’s common sense really, but sometimes people get so busy and distracted with the daily grind that they forget that a little appreciation goes a long way. Law firms that implement an employee recognition and reward program see immediate improvement in their culture. Not only are team members inspired to work harder to earn rewards, they’re more likely to appreciate and recognize their co-workers. These are also key elements that go back to how valued they feel and why their role is an important part of your overall mission.
Room to grow
We can all agree that stagnancy stinks. Nobody likes immobility, especially when it comes to their career. Law firms that offer learning and development opportunities for their staff reap the rewards in various ways. First, they have team members that are learning new skills and advancing their knowledge that they can apply to their job and second, these people feel happier and more empowered to perform. Workshops, webinars, industry events, and other similar activities are key ways to provide growth opportunities to your team. Remember, the more they know, the better they can do their jobs all of which has a direct and positive reflection on your firm.
Positive company culture doesn’t always occur naturally. Consider your turnover rate. If you have employees consistently strategizing their exit, it’s time to take a new approach. At a time where companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook set the standard for a progressive, innovative, and open-approach to culture, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you’ve got to keep up. Follow these tips to get started in a new, more positive direction.
A brief history of Boss Certified Realtime Reporting and the positive impact on South Florida.
She was a business major. Like many, life started to happen for Donna Kadosh and she changed her area of study and it wasn’t easy. “More than half of my class didn’t graduate, as the curriculum was extremely demanding.” But Donna did graduate. She also went on to build one of the largest court reporting firms in the south Florida area.
Started in 1995, Boss Reporting began in a rented office and secured two steady clients. Fast forward to 2015 and they have grown significantly. Currently, the firm has grown to over 40 court reporters. Some have been with Boss for over a decade. “I’ve worked for Boss for more than ten years,” stated Diana Hall Chalk, a dedicated employee.
They’ve also been recognized by the community. In 2011 the growing firm was nominated for “Small Business of the Year” by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. This honor was in recognition of Boss’s successful management, integrity, and continuing contributions to the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and local area businesses.
During the same year, Boss Reporting also took part in an event hosted in part by the local Women’s Council. Suits and other gently used business attire were donated for victims of domestic violence. Taking part in activities such as this combined with recognition awards show the commitment this organization has to the surrounding area.
When it comes to their clients, Boss Certified Realtime Reporting has always provided outstanding service. It’s important to note that they have also led the way in educating the field on the strengths of stenographic reporting versus digital court reporting. In a recent blog, Boss stated that court room reporters spend time “in courtrooms and understand the various terms and jargon that are thrown around. He or she can stop to ask questions if there is an issue with the quality of audio or if someone’s verbal statement was not heard.” This type of flexibility and attention to detail is a quality that digital recording cannot provide due to the limitations of the technology. This also shows Boss Reporting’s commitment to stenographic court reporters and educating peers in the field regarding this important issue.
Their educational efforts don’t end there. New employees have to spend at least a month working with seasoned reporters to learn the basic firm procedures before heading into the courtroom on their own. Training practices like this combined with a twenty-year history of excellence ensuring that Boss will be on the reporting scene for many years to come.
You might not be ready yet if any of the descriptions below apply to you.
If you’ve started out the new year thinking about going out on your own. You’re not alone. Many attorneys (and other professionals for that matter) dream of being their own boss. But before you jump ship from your current firm, there’s much to consider including ensuring that you’re completely ready. If any of the points on this checklist describe you, you may want to put off your solo mission.
You lack self-motivation
Owning your own law firm is an entrepreneurial endeavor and if there’s one trait successful entrepreneurs share, it’s the ability to work on their own. If you’re one who consistently finds themselves searching for direction and guidance from others, take a step back before heading out on your own. You not only need the confidence to make your own decisions, you also have to be driven to act with conviction to get things done. And if you can’t imagine working alone, you’re better off staying put for the time being.
You can’t handle pressure
Anyone who’s ever run their own business will tell you it’s stressful. As an attorney, when the well-being and future of your client rests in your hands, that responsibility can be overwhelming. If you’ve ever had trouble handling pressure before, it’s probably not worth putting yourself under that kind of strain.
You haven’t done your homework
You may be an awesome, sharp, and highly experienced lawyer but if you don’t know anything about running a business, think twice before becoming a lone ranger. Running your own practice involves more than being an attorney. For example, managing overhead costs, marketing, technology concerns, and record keeping are all very time consuming. If you haven’t researched how these aspects of ownership impact business, don’t take another step until you do. Of course, there are a ton of resources available and it’s likely you have some peers that can give you good advice.
You lack commitment
Don’t confuse enthusiasm with commitment and don’t even think about flying solo if you aren’t passionate about running a firm on your own. When push comes to shove, and it always does when you’re running your own show, you need to have that internal, unwavering commitment to your mission and goals because there won’t be anyone standing behind you to push you forward. Those that run their own firm understand that it’s not just a job, it’s a calling, a true passion, and the one thing they are willing to work hard for day after day.
You’re not an original
Standing out among the rest is key to running a successful business, especially when you consider how many attorneys are out there vying for clients. So it stands to reason that your firm should be a reflection of who you are, what your talents are, and what makes you different. If you find yourself looking to others to mimic their methods, your lack of originality could be a detriment to your success. Think twice about venturing out on your own if you don’t have a clear vision that’s uniquely yours. And remember, you may not have it today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop it in the future.
Running your own law firm can be a rewarding, life-changing experience but not until you are good and ready. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be completely honest with yourself and address all the key aspects to be successful. Take your time, do your homework, be prepared, and think deeply about your goals, your ability to handle stress, and the kind of commitment it takes.
When working with clients, honesty is the best policy. Tell them what they need to know—not what they want to hear.
When it comes to building and maintaining healthy client relationships, there’s nothing more important than satisfying their expectations. In fact, a client’s anticipation of how their experience should be is key and can be the deciding factor between continuing or terminating their relationship with you. And since most of us cannot accurately measure a client’s expectations 100 percent of the time, putting a process into place to identify and manage their expectations is a practical and proven method to ensuring satisfaction. Here’s some tips to get a handle on and continually exceed client’s expectations:
Communication is always a critical component to any relationship and in this case, it’s the first step to ensuring client satisfaction. To determine their expectations, a meeting to discuss exactly what your client expects from you and your firm during the course of their case is in order. During this meeting it’s important to ask your client not only what they expect of you as their counsel but also what they want to see happen in their case. Other key questions to be posed are how they expect the process to go, how will you communicate with each other going forward (in person, on the phone, email), how often they expect updates, what their anticipation is as far as budget for the case (unless already specified), and if they are ok with receiving information from other staff members. Be sure to write down all their responses and pose any concerns upfront on their desired outcome, if relevant.
Provide clarification and realistic goals
Once you’ve listened intently and recorded all your client’s input on their expectations, the next step is to be clear about their anticipations and whether or not their goals are realistic. You are the attorney and therefore the expert when it comes to the law. Of course, you never want to diminish your client’s expectations, but it’s important to advise them when their goals are unrealistic or unattainable. If there are risks, or any potential obstacles, this is the time to address them openly and honestly and to give your client alternative options if possible. If what they expect from you and/or the case is right on target, all the better.
It’s also important to note that telling a client what they want to hear may be tempting, but unless you can deliver on their expectations, you’re doing them a disservice and setting them and yourself up for disappointment. Being straight, even if it means telling them something they don’t like, is always the best way to operate.
Lay it all out in writing
Creating a basic document that outlines your process for dealing with clients and their case is an effective way to ensure that everyone is on the same page. In fact, clients always appreciate having something tangible that states exactly how their case will be handled, how and when communication will take place and what is to be expected every step of the way. Implementing a process guide, or whatever you would like to title it, can be useful in every single case.
Provide answers to common questions
Whether you create a list of FAQ’s that you give to each client after you take on their case or have it handy during meetings with clients, it’s a good idea to be ready to address common questions.
Follow-through and be consistent
Nothing is more important than keeping your word and following through with all that you’ve promised to your clients. Even when their case isn’t won, if you’ve delivered on all their expectations, your client will feel satisfied in the service you’ve given them. And since you can’t win them all, satisfaction is key to maintaining your relationships.
To foster long-term relationships with your clients, establishing and managing expectations is key. Following these tips will help you determine exactly what each of your clients expects from you and your law firm and allows you to exceed their expectations, which ultimately leads to satisfaction.
Increase productivity and get everyone on the same page with a few clicks.
Any lawyer worth his or her weight will tell you that a key aspect to productivity and success is staying organized. It makes sense, especially since we live and work in an information overload world. So those attorneys who have a firm grip on their practice, including client and case information, deposition schedules, serve deadlines, and much more, are naturally going to be more prepared and ultimately more successful. And luckily there’s a plethora of tools out there that are free and easy to use. Let’s take a look.
For those who are using Microsoft Office 365, Groups is an awesome way to get everyone who’s working on cases together to be on the same page. It allows you to set up a team inbox in Outlook and a group calendar for case deadlines to create a document repository and more. This is tremendously helpful when you have multiple counsel or staff members working on cases together, and when new team members are added to the case they can simply scroll through the conversations that are available to get up to speed. There’s no need to spend hours forwarding information.
Perhaps one of the greatest collaboration programs out there, Microsoft’s OneNote (which is a part of the Groups capability), allows you to take notes and share them with everyone on the team at the same time. Think of it as a digital notebook, where you can layout your opening statements and closing arguments, sketch out demonstrations you plan to make and make outlines of steps you’re planning on taking during the course of the case.
Rolled out in the end of last year, this new legal document management system, which is also a part of Microsoft 365, is an add-on for Word and Outlook and gives you the ability to create new cases and save files directly to those cases. It’s extremely helpful because it allows you to organize files by matter, find documents, and securely collaborate with team members without having to log out of one program and into another. This organization method means less time searching for files and relevant information because it’s all stored together in one easily accessible place. With Matter Center, many attorneys find they are more productive because they have reduced the amount of time they need to spend on administrative functions and increase they’re time spent working on their cases.
Planner could possibly be the best collaboration tool you can get. With it you can organize your team for every case and have an easy way to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, and update everyone on what’s happening in the case. Planner gives you a visual view of each plan, with a Board that keeps track of everything from due dates, all documents and attachments, conversations and more. And every time something new is added to the plan, all team members are notified via email.
Working with Microsoft Office 365, using Groups, OneNote, Matter Center, and Planner gives you powerful ways to stay organized and to collaborate with everyone on every case. There’s no better way to stay on top of all details and tasks that need to get done to ensure you’re as productive as possible.
Big case with lots of detail? Make this one thing a part of your preparation and improve your performance every time.
Picture this: You’re in the midst of a trial and the judge begins to fire away questions at you. You know the case well, but since you don’t possess an identic memory (not many folks do) and the case may have many key aspects and authorities, you’re flustered and unable to give a quick, coherent response. For many attorneys, preparation for every case includes creating a “cheat sheet” that can provide all the information needed at a glance.
This document, which many lawyers make an important part of preparing for the physical realities of the courtroom, can mean the difference between stumbling and subsequently dropping the ball, or being able to intelligently answer any questions directed at you.
Courtroom Cheat Sheet: Instant access to information
Time is always of the essence when you’re arguing your case in court. As a great lawyer, you know this. So it only makes sense that you won’t want to have to take any extra time to access information that is pertinent to the case when asked to cite authorities or any other facts. A cheat sheet can eliminate any hesitation or need to thumb through your notes.
Keep in mind: short, sweet and to the point
While many of your documents require a lot of details and need to be presented in a certain manner, your cheat sheet is for your eyes only (and your co-attorney on the case if you have one). So it’s more important that it’s readable, well organized and is not too verbose.
When organizing it, putting facts and notes in the same order as you will present your case is highly advisable, that way you can know exactly where to look at the sheet if and when the need arises.
Simple, straightforward notes that outline pertinent facts are key. It’s also advisable to use a font that is big enough to read when you are a few feet away from your counsel table. Some attorneys use a tablet, while others prefer paper, use whatever you are most comfortable with and make sure you’ve reviewed it before walking into the courtroom.
Do it yourself or train assistants well
You’re busy, but you are also the one who is most familiar with the cases you try. So if it’s possible, you should try to be the one to create your cheat sheets for each case. Doing this also allows you to make notes using your own understandable abbreviations since you are the only one who needs to be able to understand it. However, if you find it difficult to find the time, training an assistant is a viable option. Just keep in mind that he/she needs to know the case well and be directed on what information is key and how the cheat sheet should be organized. Spending some time going over what you require and how you would like the document to look will ensure that you’re not making matters worse (having to struggle to understand someone else’s notes) when called upon or questioned.
Being prepared for your physical presence in the courtroom is as important as having a strong case and knowing exactly how you’re going to present it. By creating a cheat sheet for every case, you’ll be giving yourself an added resource of information and ensuring that you’re always on your toes.
For more useful industry information, check out the resources on our site or to find out about our certified real-time reporting services, get in touch with us today.