Virtual Paralegals and Law Clerks as a Recruiting Tool
Being a Lawyer in the Summer

The Greatest American Research and Development Project for Law Firms

One of the best parts about my job is the fact that I get to play with technology. Most lawyers and law firms don’t have the heart or stomach to not only implement technology but to use it once it is implemented.  Technology is simply a vehicle. It is the process that goes on to the technology which makes the difference and provides efficiency. We are constantly integrating the latest and greatest technology into our law firm model. I feel like a kid on the biggest play ground in the whole world.

One of the best new tools which I have had an opportunity to play with is gotomeeting.com.  I have run a significant number of meetings with clients, co-counsel and staff through gotomeeting.com. I cannot begin to tell you how powerful it is to be looking at the exact same document at the exact same time you are discussing language or issues. Just like the commercials say, you do not have to travel to be together in the same virtual room.  Better still, my clients are blown away by the power and depth of our discussions when we are literally typing out a comment on an Adobe PDF together in our virtual meeting.

The next best thing to being there is gotomeeting.com. I would encourage any attorney to subscribe to this service which is $49.00/month or $468.00/year

Another tremendous tool which I was thoroughly surprised with is Mindjet MindManager Pro 6  at mindjet.com.  Essentially, this is decision tree software which allows you to solidify such things as: client choices, strategy diagramming, and workflow. It seems silly and simple.  However, we all face the same problems with clients.  It is hard to describe for them what their two or three options might be on a particular issue, and what the advantages and disadvantages would be of each of those options. With the Mindjet software, you simply diagram each option out, assign it a priority number (1-5) and then list advantages/disadvantages to each approach.  It is like a super charged graphic outline which makes decision making incredibly easy for the client.  I also use this software to show virtual workers how to structure a contract when they are doing the initial draft.  The outline contains levels and sublevels. You simply create a level for each contract term and then identify the essential point on each term.  Again, it turns out that this is way more powerful than an outline. Why? Because you can drag and drop the flowchart diagrams all over the place.  This is way easier than editing an outline.  Because it is graphical, it is more visual and easy to understand for everyone involved.  It is highly recommended.

It is days like today where I really envy Dennis Kennedy at DennisKennedy.com. For those of you who don’t know, Dennis Kennedy is one of the top, if not the top, technology gurus practicing law today.  He gets to play with technology all the time and, on my best information, probably gets paid good money to do it. I don’t get paid for it, but I sure enjoy it.

Comments

Max

I'm a big fan of using mindmaps during case research. But, before you shell out $230-$350 for MindManager, take a look at Freemind, an open source solution:
http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

No worries about compatability -- it's Java-based. The interface is also customizable.

Greatest American Lawyer

thanks!

David

Hi,
I used MindManager in my undergraduate law degree in the UK, as well as on my solicitors' training course or LPC. My friends and I decided to share our maps with other students, and our site www.lawmaps.org has quite a few maps available covering Torts, Constitutional Law, Crime, Contract, Evidence, Land, Trusts, Company, IP for the UK LLB program, and the core subjects for the LPC: business law and practice, property law and practice, civil litigation and criminal litigation. Early in 2007 we'll also post our maps for corporate finance, corporate commercial, mergers and acquisitions, e-commerce and employment.
We hope other students will use our maps, perhaps some of them will even consider sharing back their updated maps to our site - it's all free, all in the interest of sharing information and experience.
Regards,
David

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