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What is Stenography?

What is Stenography? on bossreporting.com

Everything you ever wanted to know about stenography

Stenography is an important, but often overlooked, part of our legal system. Little is known about it, beyond noticing someone in the courtroom who is typing away on a little machine. We thought it might be helpful to explain about the history of the practice and the role played by stenographers today.

What is stenography?

Stenography is the act of recording spoken words through shorthand using a stenotype machine. A number of different shorthand systems have been used over the last couple centuries.

How does shorthand work?

According to CourtReporter.edu, “Depending on the language, a shorthand system may rely on symbols, which represent specific sounds, concepts, or letters, or it may rely on letters that have specific meanings. Some shorthand systems are even specially coded for a specific organization or company, thereby keeping sensitive information safe from outsiders.”

What role does the stenographer play in a trial or hearing?

The job of a stenographer is to attend trials, hearings, depositions or any legal proceeding relating to a case, and record (or transcribe) everything that happens to create a public record. That record is vital in order to protect both the court and the litigants. Stenographers are appointed “officers of the court” and not under the control of either attorney.

“The notes must comply with provisions requiring the stenographer to prepare and sign a certificate stating that the proceedings, evidence, and charges levied against the defendant were fully and accurately taken at the trial and that the transcript represents an accurate translation of the notes.”

When was the stenography machine invented?

Miles Bartholomew invented the first shorthand machine in 1877. He is considered the “Father of the Stenograph.” Bartholomew’s machine was still being used in courtrooms up until 1937. A later model called “The Secretarial Model shorthand machine” was the first to trademark the name Stenograph. In the 1960s, stenographs were first connected to computers, which began the era of “real-time” court reporting.

Why does the machine look that way?

If you’ve ever looked closely at a stenography machine, you’ve probably noticed that it looks a little strange. It’s smaller than a typewriter and seems to be missing some keys.

A standard stenotype machine has only 22 keys that are used to create coded numbers, phrases, words, and sounds. There are universal symbols/codes used, but some stenographers also develop their own “language” of coded letter combinations.

How fast can a stenographer type?

If you thought the lack of keys might slow a person down, think again. Experienced stenographers can “type” up to 300 words per minute. “Because the stenotype machine has just 22 keys, the stenographer often hits multiple keys at once. This process, which is called chording, may appear to be downright jumbled to an ordinary observer, but to the stenographer it makes perfect sense.”

How are the court reports generated?

Traditionally, reports have been printed out directly from the stenography machine and then transcribed later. However, modern machines often use internal memory storage like a flash drive. The report is then downloaded onto a computer and special programs generate a readable transcript. The machine might also be connected directly to a laptop to create a real-time transcript.

Do stenographers ever work outside of a courtroom?

Yes, they can. Stenographers often work for private businesses, recording important meetings or events where a public record is needed. Closed captioning services for the hearing impaired is another area where stenography skills are increasingly being used. The service might be done for both live and recorded TV shows or events.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.

Paralegals: What are They?

Paralegals: What are They? on bossreporting.com

Explaining what paralegals do and why they are so important

Paralegals are an essential part of the legal process. Law firms of all sizes employ paralegals, however most people outside the legal profession don’t know what the important function paralegals serve.

So, what exactly is a paralegal?

According to the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), “Paralegals are qualified by education, training or work experience…to perform specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”

Paralegals can work for law firms, corporations, governmental agencies, or other entities; however, they cannot give legal advice to a client. They cannot accept a case or represent anyone. Only an attorney can do that. Their time for substantive legal work (not clerical or administrative) is billed hourly, similar to an attorney, though at a lower rate.

What does a paralegal do?

Paralegals perform many essential tasks. According to NALA, “Working under the supervision of an attorney, the paralegal’s work product is merged with and becomes part of the attorney work product for a client.”

Paralegals perform many essential duties, including:

  • Conduct client interviews and maintain general contact with the client
  • Locate and interview witnesses
  • Conduct investigations and statistical and documentary research
  • Conduct legal research
  • Draft legal documents, correspondence, and pleadings
  • Summarize depositions, interrogatories, and testimony
  • Attend executions of wills, real estate closings, depositions, court or administrative hearings, and trials with the attorney
  • Author and sign correspondence provided the paralegal status is clearly indicated and the correspondence does not contain independent legal opinions or legal advice.

One of the most important tasks of a paralegal is assisting attorneys in the preparation of a trial. According to Paralegal.edu, “A large part of this consists of conducting legal research and gathering relevant information to the case. This includes researching the facts of the case as well as identifying the appropriate laws, judicial decisions, and legal articles relevant to the case. The paralegal gathers and analyzes information, then prepares a written report that the attorney uses to determine how the case should be handled.”

Much of a paralegal’s day is spent drafting legal documents, including correspondence and pleadings, such as complaints, subpoenas, interrogatories, deposition notices, pretrial orders, and legal briefs with various parties.

Paralegals must often take on administrative tasks as well, either for the firm as a whole or a specific attorney. They might maintain the attorney’s calendar, organize files, and make phone calls to clients, attorneys, experts, or court personnel to schedule interviews or hearings.

What type of education is required for a paralegal?

There are actually a few different types of education programs to become a paralegal, although most have at least a 2-year Associate Degree.

Associate Degree – A 2-year Degree offered at community colleges, universities, and some business schools. It requires 60-70 semester units, with half devoted to paralegal-related course work and the other half including general education.

Bachelor’s Degree – This is a 4-year program, with paralegal as the declared major. It requires 120-130 semester units, with 30-60 units devoted to paralegal-related course work.

Certificate Programs – Various schools and institutions offer certificate programs. They are generally designed for people who already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. It requires 18-60 semester units.

Master’s Degree – A few select colleges and universities now offer advanced degrees in paralegal studies.

How is a paralegal different from a legal assistant?

You may have heard the terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant”, but is there a difference? In some cases, the terms might be used interchangeably, with both performing similar duties. The main difference is that paralegals have passed the NALA certification exam, while legal assistants have not.

Now that you know more about paralegals, it should give you a greater appreciation for the role they fill in our legal process.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner! For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

So Long, Partner: 5 Tips for Dealing with the Departure of a Member of Your Legal Team

So Long, Partner: 5 Tips for Dealing with the Departure of a Member of Your Legal Team on bossreporting.com

5 Tips that revolve around 2 words: Roles and Responsibilities.

In a perfect world, you get plenty of advanced notice. Hand-offs are planned. Caseloads are balanced. A partner’s departure from your legal team is unfortunate, but it doesn’t create chaos.

We don’t live in a perfect world. Often, there’s little notice. Opportunities come quickly, and people have to act fast. Or, it’s an unplanned, abrupt termination. In either case, your best bet is proactive planning so you can compensate for these sudden absences. Follow these 5 tips.

1. Keep a company voicemail login information sheet

The confidential nature of client information means that much of it may be exchanged using the phone. You’ll want to make sure you have access to a departing partner’s voicemail to access the messages and their chronology.

2. Have your IT department clone their email

Back to that perfect world scenario. Malice and professionalism are mutually exclusive in the legal field—so it’s unlikely that it’s much of a concern. It’s more likely that a departing colleague accidentally deletes important email content with the intent of getting rid of clutter.

It’s in your firm’s best interests to decide which email messages are important and necessary, as you’ll be taking over for the person who’s moving on.

3. Ask them to list usernames and passwords for any external sites where case and workload information is stored

Your firm may already have policies in place that determine the allowable places where partners can keep digital storage. It also means your IT department should be able to access these files if necessary. Make sure, however, that your departing colleague shares any and all sources where they may have stored client- or case-related information.

This includes popular commercial sites, such as Dropbox. Don’t forget to ask them if they’ve stored any voice memos or notes on their mobile devices.

4. Ask them to or have your IT department delegate control of their docket calendar

There are discovery deadlines, depositions, closings, and all kinds of client meetings—and many have been on the schedule for months. They can’t be missed, so you’ll need to make sure they’re assigned to other partners.

5. Make delegated roles and responsibilities clear to those who assume them

Partners are busy, and assuming the caseload of a departing colleague only adds more tasks. It’s wise not to assume that someone should know the peripherals of what’s landing on their plate—especially if your firm decides to reassign responsibilities instead of entire cases.

You’ll also want to clarify what’s allowable or permissible with ongoing communications after this partner has left the firm. Most firms opt to continue those communications only if it’s vital, and they use the ex-partner’s personal contact information. Otherwise, there can be a conflict of interest if the new firm practices similar law.

Consider giving this responsibility to a senior office administrator, or to one of the firm’s partners. It’s something that should be handled firmly and with authority.

Someone leaving your firm shouldn’t be the cause of confusion and lost revenue. If your firm doesn’t experience a regular turnover of partners, you may not have a comprehensive procedure in place. When the time comes, it ends up being hit-and-miss, rather than a comfortable rollover.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner! For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

2018’s Hottest Legal Jobs

2018’s Hottest Legal Jobs on bossreporting.com

The best legal career opportunities for 2018

The past 5-10 years have been a bit of rollercoaster for those seeking work in the field of law. Fortunately, the legal industry is vast, with a wide assortment of roles for those with and without extensive legal educations. The trick is being flexible and knowing where to look.

Top 5 job prospects in the field of law

While many who pursuit a career in law have specific areas they want to be involved with, those willing to adapt to the job market have some exciting options. Here are five blooming legal careers – some require a JD, others don’t.

1. Court reporter. With less and less people entering this profession, a shortage is driving up demand for court reporters, and salaries right along with it. Court reporters use stenographic equipment to transcribe court testimony, speeches, and other legal proceedings at a blazing 200+ words per minute! An associate’s degree, or postsecondary certificate in court reporting and stenography is required.

2. Intellectual property lawyer. Intellectual property (IP) law is one of the most in-demand fields of law today. This is largely due to the fact that IP – a creative invention, design, work of art, etc. – drives our current economy. IP attorneys deal with trademark, patent, and copyright law, which apply to just about every industry open for business in 2018.

3. Legal secretary. As the call for legal services continues to grow, so does the need for administrative assistants, also known as “legal secretaries.” Legal secretaries have taken advantage of advancements in law office technology to enlist in greater and greater responsibilities within law firms, and the position usually only requires an associate’s degree or legal secretary certificate.

4. Compliance specialist. Remember the Enron scandal of 2001? To prevent anything like it from happening again, in 2002, Congress enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Among the results were a litany of new regulations and one of the most in demand job markets in the legal profession today. Compliance specialists assist corporations and consulting firms in ensuring their affairs stay nice and legal. Typically a bachelors in finance, business, or another related field is required.

5. Healthcare attorneys. The Affordable Care Act has created an in-demand niche for lawyers. Debates on the new law, embryonic stem cells, end-of-life care, and what’s considered legal medicine are fueling an exciting and ever-expanding call for medically-related legal counsel.

The value of versatility

As the legal market diversifies, so are must those working in the legal profession – professional success can be had by adapting to the changing environment.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner! For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

A Court Reporter vs. a Stenographer

A Court Reporter vs. a Stenographer on bossreporting.com

What’s the difference and what are their roles?

One role that is often overlooked in a hearing or trial is the court reporter or stenographer (sometimes called a transcriptionist). Perhaps you’ve watched a trial on TV or been in a courtroom and seen someone “typing” on a small machine off in the corner. Maybe you’ve even noticed the person in a fictional television show. So, what exactly does a court reporter or stenographer do? Are the two jobs the same and is one preferred over the other?

We’d like to clear up some of the confusion and explain the essential role they both play in our legal system.

A court reporter and stenographer defined

According to WiseGeek.com, “The terms court reporter and stenographer are often used interchangeably, although there are actually several differences between the two. In general, both occupations provide verbatim transcription services to transform spoken dialog into written legal documents.”

In other words, both people must transcribe – word-for-word – any discussion that happens in court, during a meeting, or deposition. The transcript becomes the legal record so it must be recorded accurately and completely. Once a transcript is finished, it is given to the court and will become public record. Often, the transcription takes place in real time, with the court reporter or stenographer sitting in the room. However, sometimes the proceedings are recorded and written out later. Most transcriptions are created using a stenotype machine that has shorthand codes, which are used to create a complete document. Another option is to use a stenomask, which allows the person to speak into a microphone and record what is being said.

The difference between a court reporter and a stenographer

The biggest difference between the two jobs is the amount of schooling needed. A court reporter requires 2-4 years of formal schooling. They must also pass an official exam and become licensed or certified, depending on the state. By contrast, becoming a stenographer only requires about 6 months of training.

The extra education and license for court reporters means they are able to perform other duties beyond transcription in court. They might offer closed-caption services for hearing-impaired individuals, notary services, or perform other administrative tasks. Some court reporters will often do legal research, assist attorneys or judges, and administer oaths to witnesses in court. There are even employment opportunities outside of a courtroom, including freelance work on a case-by-case basis, working for a law firm or television network.

Reasons to choose one over the other

So now that you understand the difference, the question is…which one do you need for a particular job? According to Transcription Experts, “If an audio or video recording needs to be transcribed into a text document, use a qualified court transcriptionist. A court reporter is used if someone needs to be present at a deposition, hearing, arbitration, trial, or other legal proceeding to record live and read back if necessary.”

Cost might also be a factor. A stenographer (or transcriptionist) is generally less expensive, charging by the minute only. Court reporting often comes with more fees, including appearance fees and per page fees.

Still unsure if you need a court reporter or stenographer? Perhaps we can help. At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954-467-6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Is YouTube a Good Place to Market Your Law Firm?

Is YouTube a Good Place to Market Your Law Firm? on bossreporting.com

YouTube is a complement to your marketing strategy—it’s a powerful storytelling device that helps people connect with you on a human level

Lawyers win cases by presenting accurate and compelling information. It’s also how they win new clients. After all, a record of success will only get you so far. Sooner or later, clients have to decide if your personalities mesh.

How do you give prospective clients a taste of your operating style? YouTube was made for this. It’s a perfect way to demonstrate your skills as a litigator and an orator.

In good company

You can be forgiven if you think that YouTube is nothing but a giant ocean of cat videos and other such trivial digital media. It’s a communications channel not to be taken lightly. It was, after all, the venue both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton used to announce their respective bids for the presidency.

It’s unlikely that a law firm is going to amass as many followers as any of the Kardashian sisters, but subscribers shouldn’t be your objective. It’s a way for prospects to see lawyers as humans. It’s also a way talk to both prospects and existing clients about how you can add value. After all, people hire lawyers, not law firms.

YouTube is a superb way for lawyers to finally turn the tables and make their outward communications not about themselves. These can be short and informative pieces, or comprehensive interviews that cast light on areas of expertise. Your objective is to tell a story, and to explain your “why.” Ultimately, this is marketing, but at the outset, it’s simply a way for you to help people put your services into their worldview.

Why are you there?

If you don’t have expectations, you can’t measure benefits. The easiest and most productive route is to end your YouTube videos with a call to action. Make sure it’s obvious why you created the video. You’ve provided some kind of solution or shared valuable information as a subject matter expert for a reason. What is that, and how can the viewer put it to use?

YouTube continues to grow as a source for industry updates and breaking news. Videos that explain how a news event or new law will impact the public are a powerful way to connect with prospects and deepen your relationship with existing clients. It has created a new category of behavior and expectations. Is your sink clogged? Head to YouTube and find out what to do about it.

Take that analogy and put it to use for yourself. What scenarios would cause someone to seek out your services? Answer that question and you’ll never run out of ideas for YouTube videos.

High production values aren’t as important as relevance and timing. Interviews give viewers insight and perspective. Bring in outside experts to interview. It helps prospects judge your interaction skills.

It’s your style

Google gives ranking preferences to videos because it’s what people want to consume. Video engages. And, of course, there’s also the fact that Google owns YouTube. So, if prospecting is one of your marketing objectives, YouTube must become a part of your arsenal. Video that establishes you as a subject matter expert will be rich in content that highlights your SEO keywords. You’ll be found in search engines, and people will connect with you because your YouTube videos first help them validate that you understand their problem, and then that you are a solution to the problem.

Video puts lawyers in their best light, and YouTube reaches more adults during the prime time viewing hours than television. Your videos don’t have to be highly polished, but they do have to be sincere. The most popular videos on YouTube are made by nonprofessionals. The videos succeed because they were made by people who expressed passion about something they want to share.

If you’re still struggling with what your YouTube videos would be about, maybe it’s because you’re trying to make them more about marketing than storytelling. What’s the one thing you can’t wait to get home to tell your significant other about? You’ve just identified your next YouTube video subject.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Want to Start a Law Firm Blog? The Dos and Don’ts of Legal Blogging

Want to Start a Law Firm Blog? The Dos and Don'ts of Legal Blogging

You’ll see a return on your investment if you focus on a niche

Go ahead. There’s no one to stop you. Starting a blog about law is an excellent idea. According to NM Incite, you’ll be joining over 6.7 million people who publish blogs on blogging websites, who are joined by another 12 million people who write blogs using social networks.

Why are they doing it? There are few better ways to establish yourself online as a subject matter expert. It’s a way to get noticed. HubSpot reports companies that blog get 434% more indexed pages and twice as much traffic from email marketing.

But, who will read it?

That depends on who you plan to reach. You have basically four audience segments:

  1. Your current clients. Start a blog to keep them updated on news and cases in their areas of interest. From a marketing standpoint, you blog provides a cost-effective way to demonstrate your value by providing them with practical information.
  2. Prospective clients. People look to blogs to find subject-matter experts. Starting a blog can help establish you as one.
  3. Lawyers in your area of practice. A blog can help establish your reputation as a trusted contributor to the field. You may discover that peers refer clients who live in your area.
  4. The general legal population. A blog with regularly published new content puts you on the radar. You’ll appear in search engine results. Lawyers may look to you for information.

Each segment offers an opportunity. Can you target them all? It’s possible. To accomplish this, you’re going to have to nail these important tasks.

Define your target audience

This is the age of specificity. What is yours?

Your opportunity to build a sizable readership depends on clearly defining who will be interested in what you have to say. This is different than marketing or advertising. You don’t have to find this audience. If your blog posts are read-worthy, this audience will find you.

However, you do have to know who they are so you can put the mechanisms in place that keep your content specific to their interests.

Give it a specific twist

Readers want to find a way to relate to you. They’re looking for a subject-matter expert, but they’re also searching for someone who has a signal that rises above the noise. What makes you uniquely qualified to write the posts on your blog?

Most likely, you’ll find the answer is entwined with your personality and perspective. Here’s an example: If you practice small business bankruptcy law, your blog will compete hundreds or even thousands of others just like it. A quick Google search of “small business bankruptcy law blog” returned nearly 7.5 million results.

But, what if you’re writing this blog from the perspective of a single parent? Strive to be unique, where you are using the accurate meaning of the word. Unique actually means one of a kind. How close can you get to being like nothing else to be found online?

Add new content regularly

 You really do have to be as dependable as the sunrise in this respect. Your growing audience needs a regular feeding of a new blog post. Your challenge is to make sure that quality doesn’t take a back seat to quantity. Each article has to cater to your niche audience, and it must communicate an aspect of the uniqueness you’re seeking to carve out for yourself.

Create a virtual village

It may be your blog, but you shouldn’t strive to do all the talking. Look for ways to facilitate interactivity. Can readers ask you questions? Can you reach out to peers and ask them to contribute? (And of course, you will reciprocate.)

Stoke this engine of interaction. Help your readers get to know each other. Make it easy for them to share your content with their own respective social networks, as well.

Are you up for the challenge?

If it sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. The New York Times reports that 95% of all blogs are ultimately abandoned. Maybe that’s not such a big deal if it’s a personal experience blog—but this will have an attachment to your professional reputation.

Apply the same level of research to the viability and benefit of maintaining a blog that you would do if you were researching a case. It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding work that offers a return on the investment.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Grow Your Law Firm Using SEO

Grow Your Law Firm Using SEO on bossreporting.com

5 tips for search engine optimization in the legal profession

No industry can escape the tech revolution. Even though the law is steeped in history and precedence, law firms these days must stay abreast of the latest tools in order to remain competitive. With the proliferation of the Internet, clients can now search for an attorney in drastically different ways. Search engines like Google have become a primary source of discovery, which has heralded the need for websites to include search engine optimization (SEO). As described by Forbes, “SEO is the practice of configuring on-site and off-site elements of a website so it ranks well in search results for keyword terms or phrases.”

Nearly every industry has adopted SEO practices for their websites, however, those strategies must be geared toward the legal profession in order for them to be effective and also adhere to specific regulations. Violating those regulations could result in fines or legal action.

Here are 6 tips to remember if you are looking to optimize your firm’s website.

1. Make use of keywords

Keywords are words or phrases someone might use when searching for a product or service online, whether it’s a new car, a book, or an attorney. According to a digital marketing design firm, “In order to choose the right keyword, you need to do some research with the help of a keyword tool to discover keywords which (a) have a high search volume, (b) have a low competition rate and (c) match your area of service.”

Some tips to follow in your research according to the Forbes article mentioned above:

  •  Find terms related to your practice area
  • Compare variations of your target keyword phrases
  • Use phrases with high search volume but moderate competition
  • Find low competition keywords that can be targeted
  • Use phrases and terms related to your main target keyword phrase for a page (words that are synonymous)
  • See what phrases your competition is ranking for and try to make your content better than theirs

2. Have unique page titles and meta descriptions

Metadata is basically content that tells the search engine what a webpage is about. Title pages and meta descriptions are two types of metadata. “The titles and descriptions should be unique for each page. If you have the same metadata on every page, you decrease your chances of ranking well in search results for any of them.”

3. Use schema properly

Schema refers to HTML code that is used for website content to make it machine- understandable. This allows search engines to determine the relationships between different pieces of content. The legal profession has a specific set of schema so that search engines understand that content should be applied to law firms and attorneys. Apply schema to phone numbers, addresses, email, reviews, as well as attorney names and bios. Doing this will increase click-through rates.

4. Organize your website logically

Google is very methodical in the way it does searches. Customers like a website to be “user friendly,” and so do search engines. Organize firm websites with a page for each area of practice. Have one overall theme throughout (such as personal injury, real estate, workmen’s comp, etc.), and then whittle down to subtopics that revolve around that central theme.

5. Create a strong CTA

A call to action (CTA) should compel a customer to do something, such as pick up the phone or place an order. Your website needs a strong CTA that includes a phone number. The number should appear on every page of the site and be placed before the point at which the user would have to scroll down in order to keep reading for prime visibility. It’s best to have multiple ways to make contact, so in addition to a phone number, include an electronic contact form and a direct email. The point is to make it easy for the customer to contact you.

One more tip … Make sure your website is mobile friendly.

These days, a majority of people use smart phones and tablets to do Internet research, so make sure your website is optimized for these users. In other words, it should be “mobile friendly” so that it is easy to read the content on a phone or tablet screen.

Use this Google tool to see if your website is optimized for mobile users.

You can also find out what percentage of traffic to your website comes from devices other than computers. If you find that more users come via a phone or tablet, you definitely need to redesign for these devices.

See in Google Analytics > Audience > Mobile what portion of your traffic comes from non-desktop devices.

These are just some of the ways SEO can help grow your legal practice. Implement changes now in order to create more visibility online and drive traffic to your website.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Could Webinars Be the Perfect Marketing Tool for Your Firm?

Could Webinars Be the Perfect Marketing Tool for Your Firm? on bossreporting.com

How your legal expertise can go global 24/7

When you market yourself, you want to achieve three things: get yourself noticed, establish expertise in your field, and convince the crowd you have what they need. Webinars give the modern law firm a powerful online platform for self-promotion and audience engagement/education. Unlike the traditional seminar, webinars are never over and impossible to miss: the click of a button makes it immediately available for all future viewers. They’re a finite investment of your time that, once uploaded, can be viewed anywhere, at any time.

In an ad-saturated world, webinars could be the edge you need to give the public something. There are as many ways to present one as there are personalities behind them. There are, however, key questions to ask yourself and firm rules to follow in order to make your law firm webinar a truly effective marketing tool.

Why webinars?

In the modern marketing sphere, advertising is dying as consumers are overwhelmed by more and more sales messages. In fact, as many as 84% of modern consumers don’t trust traditional advertising. When every other law firm is advertising themselves, webinars stand out from the crowd by providing something of value.

A prospective client is more likely to identify and do business with a firm that offers them information, guidance, and even a little entertainment. It’s not enough to be well-versed in your field when creating a law firm webinar. Thinking like a marketer will allow you to generate compelling content, and here’s how.

Prioritize your promotion

You don’t have to hire out a hall for a digital seminar, but you still need to initially advertise it. Promote your webinar like an effective marketer by:

  • Notifying existing clients – Let every member of your email list, Facebook page, and Twitter audience know that a webinar is on its way. A daily reminder across social media in the week before launch will keep it fresh in their minds and give them advance notice to set time aside. Note: making each successive reminder different from the last (varying graphics are effective here) will build excitement and maintain engagement.
  • Going beyond existing clients – There are online sites such as Webinar Base and Webinara which offer assistance in promoting your event, while other compelling sites provide free or affordable help. Every platform you can use will be to your benefit.
  • Creating a trailer – Your webinar is a visual event for your audience, so why not create a short advance trailer touching on the key points you plan to deliver?
  • Offering an incentive – Providing your legal knowledge and insight for free is a great way to connect with existing and potential clients, but it’s also wise to offer a further incentive in your webinar. A couple of examples here may be a download link to a free white paper, or a free in-person consultation.
  • Limiting the initial audience – A complimentary step to providing an incentive, making your initial broadcast available to a limited number of attendees can position you as an exclusive content provider.

How to craft an engaging webinar

It’s important to remember that your law firm’s webinar is a digital marketing tool and so is subject to greater consumer control than a seminar. If they don’t like what you’re saying or how you’re saying it, you’re gone in the click of a button. Clarity is key in successfully communicating your value proposition. Simplify your message down to the basics: problem/situation, solution/service, and call to action.

You may want to address a legal issue head on, or perhaps tie a legal solution into an existing problem or situation that is topical. Demonstrating awareness of the issues that can lead to litigation will prevent your webinars from becoming too narrowly focused. Yes, webinars plural. The first one will be the toughest to get right but will give you a template with which to continue marketing yourself with follow-up events. If you want to market yourself successfully you’ll have to keep the content coming.

You’ll want to be prepared on the technical side too, so check out which webinar software will help you provide not only the best audio and visuals, but open effective features such as video presentation and audience interaction.

Don’t forget the Golden Rules

Remember that your webinar is a marketing exercise. Make sure to employ the number one moves in the marketer’s arsenal. These are to put your customer first and create a sense of urgency or scarcity that will motivate your viewers to seek you out. It may seem a little manipulative, but remember you’re giving away your expertise for free so it’s OK to expect some return on that investment.

As a provider of legal services, it’s likely your viewers are either already in need of your services or are aware they may be, one day. If you’ve filled your webinar with valuable content that details what you offer and how it can improve the lives of your audience, you’ll have properly established how valuable you are and how risky it might be to pass you by.

Webinars are a very promising tool in your marketing strategy. Client centric, content focused and available around the clock, they’re ahead of traditional forms of advertising. Know your audience and what they can gain from your service. Present it well and your law firm has everything to gain from producing regular and targeted webinar content.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations, and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Client Presentations and Speaking Engagements

Client Presentations and Speaking Engagements on bossreporting.com

How attorneys can up their game

There are certain characteristics of being a lawyer that lend themselves to public speaking. After all, it’s part of the job, at least for trial attorneys. An attorney often has to present their case to an audience, and present it compellingly; convincing listeners with surety and authority. We’re only human, however, and when it comes to out of court speaking engagements, nerves can take over.

At other times, we may be calm but concerned about the quality of our presentation. From coping with performance anxiety to presenting top-flight content, here are some speaking tips for attorneys.

Step One: Dealing with physical nerves and recall

If your nerves are an issue with public speaking or presentations, you’re not alone. Millions of us deal with glossophobia, with 74% suffering from speech anxiety. Getting in tune with your body can be key to making a good physical impression. A few effective preparatory tips are:

  • Breathe slowly and deeply and move in a relaxed manner
  • Bullet point introductory, transitional and critical key words and phrases
  • Utilize bold physical gestures or hold common office items like coffee or pens to mask trembling
  • Wear dark colors and minimize layering if you’re prone to sweating
  • Avoid any foods beforehand that may have your stomach working audibly

Outlining the key points of your presentation will reduce recall stress which can make you freeze up in front of an audience. Have a well-defined but loose guide which will take you from point to point without pages of material to memorize.

Step Two: Forget about yourself and remember the story

Your whiteboard won’t be nervous. Your marker pen could do this in its sleep. If you want an effective performance, then try classing yourself as a tool in the presentation and not the center of it. The center, after all, is your audience. Think and focus on what they want to hear, see, and learn. Storifying your presentation can be an effective approach.

“Storifying” isn’t a real word but it’s a worthwhile concept to consider. A speaker who casts themselves as a storyteller automatically:

  • Renders themselves a means to an end and puts focus on the listener
  • Sets in place positive audience triggers like characters, goals, risks, and morals (the takeaways for the audience)

Not only those, but treating your presentation like a story will help you add a bit of character and avoid making it a lifeless presentation of facts and figures. Alternatively, try flipping the scene and putting yourself in the audience. Be the speaker you want to witness.

Step Three: Structure towards the destination

Structure is vital in a successful presentation. Not only will it aid your recall, it will do the same thing for your audience. Starting with an overview of the subject and gradually zeroing in on your topic can be a strong opening (so can the reverse). Make a list of all the points you want to cover in a logical progression to your final statement.

Structured content is a great compliment to adding a story element. Where story is the imaginative hook that will engage your listeners, structured content is the supporting material like graphs, fact sheets, relevant individuals, and so forth.

This may seem like a common sense speaking tip but it bears repeating: If there’s any bad news in your presentation, get it out of the way at the start and structure your engagement upward toward a positive solution.

Step Four: Include your audience

Asking questions of your audience is a great way to improve a presentation, as it has multiple benefits.

First, it includes them; elevating your listeners from a passive to an interactive position. Second, this will add an organic element to your presentation as they field their queries (without which your talk may be a simple bullet-point run to the finish line). Set the tone from the beginning of your talk, though: Will it be a “questions whenever they arise” situation, or an “allotted time for questions” approach?

Remember, we’re in the Age of Interaction. Could you add a social media angle to your presentation to encourage audience participation through Facebook, Twitter, etc.?

Step Five: Brevity and levity

Even the hardest presentation topics will benefit from a little well-placed levity; especially the harder ones. Nobody wants a non-stop negative experience. Your audience is more likely to respond well if you factor in:

  • Brevity
  • Positive emotion or humor from the outset, and occasionally throughout
  • High energy without compromising the gravity of your topic
  • Visual aids which can add color in the form of images, animations, or short films

An issue at your firm, with a client or the world at large will vary in its degree of severity, so use your judgement on where best to inject a little laughter and color.

Step Six: Remember you’re in charge

Finally, be proud of yourself for being up there and giving the presentation in the first place! All eyes are on you to pay attention, not to judge. Center stage is a position that commands audience respect and you can draw from that. The art of the perfect presentation is attainable when you follow a few simple steps.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Virtual Reality and Attorney Training

Virtual Reality and Attorney Training on bossreporting.com

A growing force in the future of the courtroom

Virtual reality (VR) is living up to its name by getting set to make big changes in how we live our lives. The typical image of the high-tech headset is taking hold with major companies from Facebook to Intel, while Google and Apple work away on their own versions. Many people view VR as a way for game players to unwind or to enhance other entertainment experiences, yet in reality, VR is also looking to prepare professionals for the job ahead. The medical field is using the tech to provide training, and even as a form of medication to aid both physicians and patients.

In a profession such as law, it may seem unusual that simulations would be effective, but VR training for attorneys is gathering steam quickly. There’s already proof of it’s promise in practice. What’s exciting is just how far VR may be able to go in advancing the practice of law.

The trial of virtual reality

The Young Lawyers Section of the MSBA in Maryland has been taking its first steps into VR training. Project heads Matthew Stubenberg and William Buschur are tackling the problem of those intimidating first cases by offering virtual dry runs in family law, consumer protection, guardianship, and expungement. Their video project is intended to allow new attorneys to see procedural matters taking place inside a courtroom. The footage was taken with a 360-degree camera and is best viewed with a VR headset. The training is geared toward increasing the confidence of new and prospective lawyers in a manner that’s more effective than traditional instruction.

The experiment is a fledgling attempt that shows real promise. It hints at VR’s wider educational potential while intending to “demystify the courtroom” and inspire young attorneys to represent low-income clients. This cost-sensitive approach is thankfully also adopted by Google, whose “Cardboard” headset is very affordable for any young attorney seeking to experience VR.

How VR stresses results over tension

This interesting article similarly focuses on the stress-relieving aspects VR can provide professionals. Effective training succeeds in keeping trainees cool under fire. If VR is good enough for the military, astronauts, law enforcement, and corporate decision makers, then it’s ideal for the high-pressure environment of the courtroom. Attorney training may even take on aspects of gamification which has proven to be highly effective in communicating information and skills in a more relaxed and interactive manner.

More possible practical applications

Beyond providing VR training for attorneys, the tech has some intriguing implications for other aspects of the industry, such as:

  • Possibly speeding up the legal system by allowing attorneys and juries to take part in cases remotely or participate at more flexible times
  • Offer large-scale training to an audience of new attorneys 24/7, worldwide
  • Allow reconstructions of relevant case data in 3D
  • Greater safety for high-risk witnesses who may participate in a trial from a secure location

With the current rate of technological advancement and the legal profession’s commitment to bringing a jury into the heart of the matter, the possibilities for VR in court are potentially limitless.

The shape of future law

Truly powerful VR won’t come cheap; to outfit every courtroom with the necessary hardware wouldn’t be an overnight process. However, with technology like Snapchat’s Spectacles, Google Glass and even concepts as radical as neural implants for lawyers and the fantastic future outlined by Elon Musk’s Neuralink either here or on the horizon, VR is becoming an increasingly believable way to improve the legal profession in the years to come.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations, and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Modern Presentation Tools for The Courtroom: iPads, Apps And The Latest Technology For Legal Presentations

Modern Presentation Tools for The Courtroom: iPads, Apps And The Latest Technology For Legal Presentations on bossreporting.com

Modern technology has made its way into the courtroom, just as it has in nearly every facet of society. Advanced tools like tablets, specialized programs and apps, as well as video and audio equipment, have revolutionized the way attorneys prepare presentations for trials and other legal proceedings. We’ve put together a brief rundown of some of the tech tools that can help you close the case.

The tablet revolution

Any discussion of technology in the legal field must begin with the iPad. There is really no dismissing the impact that Apple’s tablet has had on our industry since its introduction in 2010. The iPad – along with computer programs and apps that were developed specifically for trial preparation – allows attorneys to give more dynamic, efficient presentations. These tools also allow you to go paperless. There is no need to carry huge folders, files, and banker’s boxes into the courtroom, because everything for your trial can be stored on a laptop or iPad for easy access. Along with trial preparation programs, there have been dozens of other apps developed for legal research, jury selection, social media research, word processing, note taking, dictation, and more.

The tech tools don’t stop there. PowerPoint is still a standard program, but others have upped the game in terms of presentation software, including Apple’s Keynote and Prezi.
In most cases, all of these programs can be used on a laptop and then transferred to an iPad when it’s time to go to trial.

Trial preparation apps

The two leading preparation apps are TrialPad and TrialDirector. Both programs help you organize, manage, search, annotate, and store documents, files, and videos, while leveraging the portability of an iPad. Both tools allow you to find and select any file easily, which mean you can skip from one point in your presentation to another seamlessly. So, if a question comes up later in cross-examination or redirect, you can quickly locate the corresponding file.

Why are these tools so powerful? They allow for more dynamic, seamless, and organized presentations. According to Above The Law, “Complex concepts or case theories can be distilled into demonstratives, such as graphics or animations, that can quickly convey the essence of a case. Technology lets us quickly arrange and rearrange our view of the case file by what each exhibit is relevant to: issue, standard of care, proximate cause, damages, or witness bias.”

Some highlights of TrialPad and TrialDirector capabilities include*:

  • Easy document storage, navigation & management
  • Callout, laser, highlighting & redacting tools
  • Display a section of a transcript for emphasis
  • Overlay exhibits for easy comparison (such as comparing handwriting samples)
  • Show split screen for side-by-side comparisons
  • Bookmark exhibits for quicker access
  • A variety of shapes, lines & drawing tools
  • Freeform drawing on a virtual whiteboard
  • Importing photographs and videos, as well as different types of files, including: JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF, multi-page TIF and TXT, DOCX, XLS, PPT, Keynote, Pages & Numbers

Projectors, screens and audio equipment

All the technology in the world won’t help if you don’t have the right equipment to display your presentation. Start by choosing a good LCD projector, as they produce the best picture quality. They can also be set to full brightness or dimmed to show darker colors, contrast or shadows according to the lighting conditions in the courtroom. If possible, choose a projector with a wide-screen (16:9) format, as the standard format (4:3) will leave you with a blank space at the top and bottom of the screen. Another good idea to consider is a short-throw lens, which will allow you to place the projector closer to the screen. This way, you can avoid walking in front of the projector and possibly causing a distraction.

You also need a good screen in order to display your presentation. These days, many courtrooms are equipped with built-in screens, but check the size, as they might not be big enough. You want at least a 7-8 foot screen. There are types in which the screen is stored inside a tube. The screen is pulled up from the tube so there is no need for a separate tripod or stand.

Often courtrooms will have a TV monitor rather than a screen. These are generally not big enough to be viewed very well in a large courtroom, however they do have the advantage of showing color and clarity better than a white screen. If you will be using a TV monitor, consider setting up individual monitors for the judge, jury and at the counsel tables. This ensures everyone has a good view of crucial evidence. According to Trial- Technology.com, “The added benefit is that this system may be used to preview evidence before it has been admitted into evidence, leaving the projector off. Once an exhibit has been admitted, the projector is then turned on for the jury.”

Lastly, make sure you have good external speakers if you are using video evidence or testimony. The sound will not be adequate if you rely only on a laptop or iPad.

These are just some of the latest tools available, which can enhance your legal presentations. Explore your options to ensure you are incorporating them into your trial prep so you can really make your case.

*Note: Not all features are available with both apps

Blockchain And Your Legal Practice: Innovative Ways Blockchain Technology Can Be Used in Law Firms

Blockchain And Your Legal Practice: Innovative Ways Blockchain Technology Can Be Used in Law Firms on bossreporting.com

The last ten years have seen monumental changes when it comes to technology. The digital revolution has transformed how we use computers, phones, buy and sell, bank, listen to music, read books, and more. There is another technology causing a big sea change. It’s called blockchain, and it could have a huge impact in the legal field.

What is blockchain?

First, blockchain is not actually new. It’s been around since 2009, however it has recently come into the mainstream as more companies seek to streamline data and make it more secure in an age of increased cyber attacks and data breaches.

Blockchain is also known as “decentralized cryptocurrency”. It uses a database to keep track of all transactions in a distributed ledger. According to law360, “Blockchain is essentially a computerized public ledger that can apply to almost anything a person might typically save into a database or spreadsheet. Whatever content is uploaded to the blockchain is shared among users so that all participants to the transaction can view the blockchain and be in sync.”

Since the ledgers are distributed across multiple networks, there is no centralized keeper of the data, like a bank or store. Bitcoin and PayPal are some of the most well known companies using blockchain technology today, and more companies are incorporating the technology in the computer, music, energy, healthcare, and real estate sectors.

Blockchain and the protection of data

Blockchain offers a better way to safeguard sensitive information. First, all data in the ledgers is encrypted. Second, it is almost hack-proof. According to Law Technology Today, “A blockchain is time-stamped upon creation and the data can never be changed. If someone attempts to change the data it will be rejected by the network…Once data enters the blockchain, it is resistant to alteration, hacking, or deletion.”

Using blockchain in the legal industry

Blockchain can have many uses in the legal profession:

  1. Record keeping – Storing and sharing documents among multiple parties could be easier and more secure than ever. Changes can be made to documents as long as all parties agree to them. It could minimize human error and reduce the need for reams of paperwork. Blockchain might also be used to process legal notices, especially if a party involved does not have a set or known address.
  2. Legal contracts – Think of this as “smart contracts.” First, distributing a contract through blockchain makes it instantly transparent. Enforcement can also be automatic. According to law360, “If the parties to a contract agree that a certain amount of money shall be transferred to a party from the other party on a certain day, enforcement of this payment can be made automatic through blockchain.” This can apply to everything from the sale of real estate, stock trades, banking, health care services, and more.
  3. Intellectual property management – Blockchain is the ultimate copyright. In fact, it might be better because it provides an immediate trademark that is time-stamped to protect things like music, books, video games, and hardware/software, etc.
  4. Storing land records and deed management – First, it would provide a digital database that would be easy to share among all parties. It would also simplify the process of conveyances, liens, and title searches.
  5. Financial transactions – Bitcoin may be increasingly used as a form of payment from client to firm and client-to-client, especially for international parties. Other areas of the law that deal most often with the distribution of assets – such as estate planning, probate, divorce settlements and bankruptcy – might find uses for blockchain technology as well.
  6. Identity – Identity theft is a huge issue these days. Blockchain technology could be used to prove you are you, without revealing sensitive personal data.
  7. Chain of custody – One of the most important elements of any legal case concerns where and when information or evidence was moved and who had custody of it. Blockchain can be used to track and timestamp exactly who had control of certain data or evidence in real time.
  8. Blockchain is just one of the new technologies coming on board that can be applied to the legal field and your practice. In the coming years, law firms across the country may be using it in all aspects of business.

Partner Efficiency – Finding the Sweet Spot

Partner Efficiency – Finding the Sweet Spot on bossreporting.com

Which tasks are best suited for delegation at your law office?

Delegation is the art of getting more work done by personally doing less. It’s often a difficult thing for a leader to do. After all, if your first instinct wasn’t to shoulder most of the burden you wouldn’t be a leader. Many who are in positions to delegate have to fight that instinct to over-perform while also maintaining faith that their team can perform as well as required.

The term “doing less” means designating tasks so the entire firm can achieve even more, integrate successfully and grow profitably.

The costs of poor (or no) delegation

If the efficiency of your firm is low, then your reputation and bottom line will be the same. A heavy workload can place the full weight of various client demands firmly on the senior partners. While it’s good to be in demand, this scenario sets your firm up for lower efficiency overall.

As a senior partner, you’re in a good position to gauge what your junior staff can handle. The greater the importance of a case, the higher up the chain of your firm it should be handled. If you’re successfully diversifying your client base and case type (a smart and safe practice) you’ll be able to allow more junior partners to handle lesser cases. This allows for a more selective (and ultimately profitable) focus by senior practitioners in how to allocate their services and time.

If you’re finding it tough to delegate, then you may even be harming your own reputation with your staff. You may think it’s the better option to handle the bulk of the workload but consider for a moment the feelings of your employees. They may be wondering if you see them as capable, and that kind of uncertainty can become doubt in their performance or unhappiness with their position in the firm.

The internal benefits of delegation

We’ve discussed delegation as an efficient allocation of resources and time. More important than the health of your profit margins is that of the people who create them. Delegation can help you create a very healthy balance in your firm between the professional, the mental, the physical and the emotional. The American Institute of Stress cautions against the severe effects of work-related tension in high-stress occupations (of which the legal profession is certainly one):

“The severity of job stress depends on the magnitude of the demands that are being made and the individual’s sense of control or decision-making latitude he or she has in dealing with them. Scientific studies based on this model confirm that workers who perceive they are subjected to high demands but have little control are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.”

A great contributor to combating these negative effects is introducing organizational change which promotes the feeling of being more in control of one’s work tasks. For senior partners in a law firm the reduced stress of delegation will allow them to narrow their avenue of focus and gain some breathing room, while their delegation has the added benefit of increasing both a sense of control and morale for those beneath them. Communicating with your team and guiding them with their increasing projects will pay off.

Delegation develops talent and trust

Younger partners will feel trusted, capable and able to grow in experience and confidence as their workload increases. This in turn creates trust toward management among lower-tier employees that their superiors have faith in them. Delegation breeds a more experienced, effective staff and ultimately a more successful firm. The hard facts continue to back up the positive impact of delegation. Depending on the size and expertise your firm’s earnings could increase anywhere from 20% to 50% according to this study by the Harvard Business Review.

Some further thoughts

In the end, only you can decide which tasks to delegate and to whom. Every firm is unique with equally unique staff. Ultimately all leaders must take responsibility. The question is: what would you like to be responsible for? Mistakes are unavoidable in business but through effective delegation you’ll become responsible for far more progress than you will problems.

You can have the same faith in your team as you have in yourself if you invest your time, experience and budget where necessary. Start small with delegating if that’s what makes you comfortable and leave room for development, questions and error. Let your people grow and you’ll free yourself and your practice to grow right along with them.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Video Marketing for Lawyers Can Be Effective

Video Marketing for Lawyers Can Be Effective on bossreporting.com

…but only when it’s done right

When Forbes magazine labels something as the future of content marketing, it’s a good idea to take notice. The figures in favor of business video marketing are fantastic: a video in an email can increase clicks by up to 300%, video embedded website landing pages convert 80% more visitors and putting a face to a name increases recall by another 80%. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then one minute of video marketing is worth 1.8 million. With the average business producing 18 videos every month (and more eye-opening statistics), is your law practice keeping up a visible profile?

Business video marketing is the firm handshake with eye contact for the modern firm. As a lawyer, video marketing is your opportunity to connect to a vast potential audience. If you’re an established practice you can let people know and draw in even more clients. If you’re on the rise, a well-produced video can project just the professional image required to attract new business.

The way to create winning video marketing

The one thing to remember above all others when creating your business video marketing is that this video spotlighting you, starring you and promoting you is not about you. It’s about the client’s need for information and assistance. When the camera rolls, the best legal video marketing will put prospective clients’ potential problems front and center while stating clearly how you can help.

Inform, empathize and incentivize. Show them you know what they’re going through, that it’s your business to help, and finish with a strong call to action (CTA) as to why you’re the best firm for a solution.

Time is a major factor

Secondly, keep it brief. You don’t want to rush your video marketing message. However, you’d be wise to remember the attention span of the modern content viewer. Such is the proliferation and speed of modern media that the average attention span is less than that of a goldfish. This doesn’t mean you should hurry or cut valuable content; just trim the fat and don’t ramble.

This awareness of your time window will help you craft a more concise message. If you’re dealing with a small budget and therefore serious time constraints, the simple inclusion of a GIF in your social media marketing can still help your exposure and business take an upturn.

Look and sound the part

The quality of your visuals is a crucial element that goes hand in hand with a well-written CTA. A strong message with quality sound won’t matter if your video looks terrible. Make sure you use the best possible camera equipment available to you, and select an uncluttered background. The variety of available options available for visual recording puts quality video content within reach of every lawyer intent on achieving it.
How your content looks also depends on how you visually present yourself. Consider the impression you want your clothing, stance and mannerisms to make. There are many approaches to suit the myriad personalities and practices out there. Just remember to always be clear, concise, calm and sincere.

Seek feedback on your video from neutral parties

Finally, you want to find out the impression your content is making before it reaches its audience. The odds are you will either be too kind or too hard on the finished product if left to grade its quality alone. Friends and family may let pride or tact interfere with their own appraisal of your video.

Thusly, unbiased feedback on your video marketing is extremely valuable. If you’ve enlisted the help of a marketing team you can be sure they’ll make you look your best. If you’re handling the video yourself, it’s very important to gather the opinions of neutral parties. Any criticisms can be used to strengthen your message and the impact of your marketing content.

Following these key pointers will bring you into line with your competitors who are likely already using business video marketing to positive effect. If they’re not, you’ll be ahead of the game.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Does Your Law Firm Need New CRM Software?

Does Your Law Firm Need New CRM Software? on bossreporting.com

Here are some of the best choices

Is there a more important factor to the success of any business than managing customer relations? For the modern business, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the digital extension of those vital people skills. CRM software not only helps streamline a firm’s operations and increase efficiency by storing and managing your clients’ data, it can assist in staff training and generating new leads and contracts, among other invaluable features.

Strengthening your connection with, and awareness of, your clients and their needs is beneficial for both parties. CRM software is available for both large and small firms with varying degrees of options and features. Here are some of the best CRM choices if you’re thinking of investing or reviewing your current package.

The best options for your CRM

We’ve taken note of the best-reviewed law firm CRM software out there to provide a list of possible options for your firm. From free packages to industry-leading multi-tier programs there’s something to consider for every practice interested in cultivating customer relationships.

Bitrix24

If your firm is dealing with a tight budget you may find this free CRM software just the thing to assist you. With features such as free email marketing, unlimited records and optional Cloud storage, Bitrix24 offers far more besides. It’s a viable option if you’re looking to get the basics of CRM in place without breaking the bank. If this sounds like a good fit for your firm, the full software manual is available for review.

Lexicata

Lexicata offers an all-in-one CRM package designed to streamline client intake. Ease of form management is their strongest feature, with clear client contact and lead management, lead sourcing and the ability to keep everyone in the firm up to speed with developments. Lexicata’s rates are dependent on the size of the practice planning to use the software. They offer a free quote to find out how much you’ll need to pay for unlimited contacts, matters, intake forms and e-signatures.

Firm Central

This Cloud-based software from Thomson Reuters offers user-friendly and fully integrated CRM software. Of particular note is their integrations option which grants users access to further Thomson Reuters resources such as Westlaw: a premier legal research platform with over 125 years of available legal analysis. Add this to practical law material created by over 100 legal experts, and extra assistance against drafting errors in your documents, and Firm Central shapes up to be worth its free trial.

Abacus Next

They’re one of the largest providers of law firm CRM on the market and offer a very impressive range of packages. They’re partnered with Microsoft, Thomson Reuters and Sage and provide tailored bookkeeping services alongside customizable cloud solutions. Their Amicus Attorney option is feature-laden and offers over 30 excellent features to empower your firm. If you select their Abacus Law service you’ll gain a multitude of options designed to streamline your case management.

Practice Panther

Practice Panther offers a website that’s as vibrant as their name and their CRM software provides features to place it strongly alongside the competition. The lesser length of their free trial (only seven days) is offset by no charge for set up, training and migration costs plus free future upgrades. Users can cancel or upgrade at any time and no credit card details are required to take advantage of the free week.

LexisNexis

This company provides a CRM service with an emphasis on insight and intelligence. With Lexis Interaction you’ll be able to fully capitalize on strengthening relationships within and without your firm. Whether it’s your staff, another practice, or your clients, LexisNexis claims you’ll build powerful partnerships that will pay off. The atVantage feature could help you stay one step ahead of the competition by keeping you up to speed with news and developments in the legal sector.

Clio

Clio also offers a free trial of their feature-rich CRM software offering bank grade security, mobile apps and a campaign tracker. Their software is suitable for firms no matter what area of law they operate in, and their resources page offers a wide array of in-house white papers covering vital areas of practice along with guides, articles and webinars.

Houdini Esq

With the immediately attractive feature of a 30-day free trial, Houdini Esq offers a wealth of features including time tracking, automated documents and templates, calendaring and staff, security and client management. It supports several operational platforms including Windows and Linux and is payable as a one time, monthly or yearly expense. Cloud-hosted and serving small, medium and large business models, Houdini Esq also offers training in how to use the software.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can help.

Dressing the Part: Fashion Tips for Lawyers

Dressing the Part: Fashion Tips for Lawyers on bossreporting.com

Dressing smartly can accelerate a lawyer’s success at any stage of their legal career

On TV, lawyers are some of the best dressed people on Earth– but real life doesn’t necessarily mirror that trend. While some lawyers dress extremely well for work, others don’t quite know what to wear– and their lack of legal fashion sense could seriously be holding them back. If you’re an attorney, dressing well isn’t just a good idea; it’s the only way to maximize your chances of career advancement and solidify your reputation as a qualified legal professional.

 

Offices across America have become more casual, but law firms haven’t (for the most part)

While appropriate office workplace attire has become significantly more casual in the last few decades, in America, law is still an extremely conservative profession. This is especially the case at older and larger firms, which often have a particularly entrenched culture and a unique dress code. Additionally, legal fashion customs vary by region, practice area, and specific firm. For example, employees at a mid-size real estate law firm in Honolulu might wear sandals every day to work, while employees at a NYC criminal law firm don’t go a day without a suit and tie.

As a lawyer, it’s better to overdress than underdress, especially if you’re a young and hungry attorney still trying to prove yourself. While it’s important to dress well every day, displaying good legal fashion sense is especially important for interviews, performance reviews, big meetings, and courtroom appearances.

Women and more experienced lawyers have more fashion options– but greater opportunities for error, too

In the game of legal fashion, women have more options, but more opportunities to mess up– as they can wear both suits, dresses, and skirts. Additionally, more established lawyers, law partners, and solo practitioners have significantly more options than entry level attorneys. However, these more experienced lawyers still need to make sure they don’t sabotage themselves by dressing sloppily. Unlike younger lawyers, senior attorneys and partners may not be fired or reprimanded for not dressing well, but doing so may hinder their career advancement by turning off potential clients and other important decision makers.

Legal fashion for men

While it might sound stale or old-fashioned, the truth is that most entry-level male law associates (especially those at big firms) still need to wear a well-pressed suit and tie pretty much every single day. Legal career experts recommend that first-year law associates stick to a formal dress code (i.e suits), even on birthdays, holidays, casual Fridays and any other time the firm allows employees to dress down.

Since you’ll likely be wearing a suit nearly every day (at least for your first few years as a lawyer) you’ll need to buy quality. That doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, but if you’re not willing to plunk down top dollar for a suit, you’ll probably need to invest a lot more time searching for quality items at a reduced price. It’s a good idea to mostly stick to grays and blues for most of your suits– charcoal is an excellent choice, as it’s subtle, elegant and can seamlessly coordinate with a variety of shirt and tie colors. You may want to have one black suit– but if you do, you’ll need to use it sparingly and make sure to coordinate good corresponding colors for your shirt and tie. Done right, black suits can look elegant and professional– but done wrong and they can look overly flashy or even funerary, both things you’d probably like to avoid.

Wearing a suit also means wearing a tie, and smart attorneys think before deciding which ties to purchase and wear. If you’re a younger lawyer, you’ll likely want to avoid wearing red– it’s a power color and could be viewed as cocky or even aggressive by your senior colleagues. As a junior attorney, you’ll also typically want to avoid bold patterns, printed words or images, and garish colors. Shades of light and dark blue, as well as yellow, are generally safe bets, but you can go with almost any color (other than red) if the tone is somewhat subdued and the pattern is subtle. In comparison, senior attorneys and solo practitioners usually have a lot more leeway when it comes to tie colors and patterns, but they should still be careful not to let them become a distraction.

Legal fashion for women

Much like their male counterparts, many female lawyers may find themselves wearing formal suits during much of the first year or two of their legal career. Female attorneys, however, aren’t limited to pantsuits and dress shirts– especially if they’re more established in their profession, they can branch out to blouses, and even dresses, if they’re business appropriate. In terms of accessories, experienced female attorneys may want to consider pairing dresses with plain or patterned tights, necklaces, and earrings, and footwear including work-appropriate heels, pumps, or flats. For both men and women, watches can be a nice accessory, but they shouldn’t be too flashy or distracting.

Practicing good legal fashion can help attorneys avoid getting attention for all the wrong reasons

Law, as previously mentioned, is somewhat unique in its continued formality despite decades of increasingly casual workplace dress policies. That means that for lawyers, it’s better to risk blending in than to stand out for the wrong reasons. Part of this is because of the important and sensitive nature of legal work. Lawyers are expected to be calm and professional while guiding their clients through a variety of stressful situations– so they need to be mindful to keep everyone’s focus on helping the client, not on their attention-getting sartorial choices. Bad, strange, or outlandish outfits can detract from a lawyer’s appearance and professional reputation, making them appear less dependable and trustworthy– especially in the courtroom.

No matter what, make sure your clothes are reasonably new (i.e. not overly worn or distressed), clean, and well-pressed, ironed, or dry-cleaned on a regular basis. Many attorneys have all work clothes dry cleaned to ensure a professional appearance at all times– and this isn’t a bad idea, if you can afford it.

Good legal fashion sense isn’t rocket science, but it can help propel your career in the right direction

Having good fashion as a lawyer isn’t rocket science; all it takes is common-sense and a little effort. Surprisingly, however, many lawyers of all genders, ages, and types just don’t “get it” — often harming their career in the process. Like everything else you do, you want your clothes to make a statement. If you make sure they’re saying the right things, you’re in the clear.

To learn more career advice and tips for attorneys of all ages, as well as our law practice management strategies, contact Boss Reporting today for a free consultation.