The Real Reason You Need Cyber Liability Insurance

Another day, another hack. Yesterday brought news that four million current and former government employees may have had their personal information stolen by Chinese hackers. Of course, this comes on the heels of what has been a staggering 18 months of hacks. Starting with the Home Depot and Target hacks, we’ve been barraged with story after story about major companies and retailers being hacked for their customers’ data. It’s not just big companies and big-box retailers, though. Law firms are increasingly the target of hackers, due to a combination of factors including relatively lax security and large quantities of organized, valuable information. Too often when we hear about hacks, our first reaction is how much it would suck to have our own personal data stolen. We think about how much it will cost us to repair that person’s injury – particularly to things that are difficult to repair like credit scores and mental health. It’s easy to think about events like the Target hack, and think about how much Target might have to pay all those customers. You wonder: if your law firm was hacked, would you be able to afford paying for that? Unfortunately, that’s not the real reason you need cyber liability insurance. In fact, very few law firms even have a reason to insure against third-party liability from a hack. So what is the real reason you need cyber liability insurance? First Party vs. Third Party liability. There are two types of damages that result from a cyber attack: 1st party and 3rd party. You’re probably most familiar with third-party liability – the damages you end up... read more

9 Shameless, Uncensored Tips to Boost Your Paperless Office

It seems like the concept of the Paperless Office has been around for quite a while. There have been whispers about it ever since email gained wide use in the 90s, and a few daring individuals like Ernie Svenson demonstrated it was possible back in the 2000s. However, in the two years since I started this blog, there has been remarkable progress. Not remarkable enough, though, to allow Paperless Office advocates to quiet their gospel. Unfortunately, one byproduct of this situation is that there are only limited attempts to define Paperless 2.0 (in the event nobody has claimed that, DIBS! – although I doubt I’m first) really is. Most law firms aren’t really ready for Paperless 2.0. Too many of us are willing to achieve a business-development goal, and then bury our heads back in our case files for a few years, assuming the problem to be solved. But some are ready. Some technology-adopting lawyers are hungry for the next advantage, and seek out the new and untested. For you, here is my challenge: Take your Paperless Office to the next level! Will you accept my Paperless 2.0 Challenge? I accept the Paperless 2.0 Challenge! #NextLevelPaperless Click To Tweet 1) Your Paperless Office began with purchasing the right equipment… You knew that a Paperless Office was going to be digital-heavy, and you planned ahead. You purchased new computers, and if you were smart, you got those high-speed terminals without expensive hard drives. You replaced your many printers with one multi-purpose machine – but you use it mostly for scanning. You put desktop scanners at every workstation, and you use... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – May 2015

Hey everyone, happy June! According to my calendar, summer starts in about 20 days. According to the actual weather… been here for a while! I’ve been insanely busy these past few weeks, and have some exciting news to announce (which I end up giving away in this post, but you’ll need to read it to find it!) about new features coming this month! But I couldn’t leave everyone without your list of new apps! Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in May 2015: Multi-Platform: Google Photos by Google, Inc. (iOS, Android), free. Ok, so this one might not necessarily have too many lawyer-centric photos, but Google Photos is probably one of the coolest apps released this month (and it’s my blog, so I’ll include it if I want to!). Sorry, just a little tired. 🙂 Now a completely separate app from Google+, Photos is your complete photo collection, on-the-go. With unlimited storage, you can add as many photos as you want. Once uploaded, Google will tag the photos based on facial recognition, object recognition, and location. Apparently, facial recognition can even track the same person as they age! (This would be terrifying if they could identify everyone by name, which they claim they cannot.) Even your old photos, taken back in the stone age (prior to, say, 2001) become searchable, too. That old photo by the Eiffel Tower – Google has that location on file, so it comes up in your search for “Paris.” Pretty cool, huh? Not impressed? Ok. It can also recognize the breed of your dog. *Drops mic* QuizUp by Plain Vanilla Corp. (iOS, Android), free. (Update) A... read more

10 Simple Ways Twitter Will Make You a Better Lawyer

Twitter is probably my favorite social network. Sure, when I’m at home, I might spend more time on Facebook than Twitter. LinkedIn may be a more “professional” way to network with other professionals. And Google+ is much easier to make fun of. Yet I always come back to my Twitter feed (displayed nicely on TweetDeck). There are a lot of really nice things about Twitter, most of them completely contrary to the negative opinion that many lawyers I talk to have built in their minds. There are a ton of people there, the news comes fast and furious, and there’s always something new. But most importantly (particularly for this post), it’s simple. It’s easy. Really, it is. What you see is what you get. You don’t have to worry about which one of your privacy settings were just reset, without warning, by Mark Zuckerberg. Every Tweet is public, so no worries about someone pulling a SnapChat and holding your private posts for ransom. It’s simple. And amazingly effective. Best of all, you don’t need to be a computer programmer or social media guru to get the most out of Twitter. Here are 10 simple ways Twitter will make you a better lawyer: 1) Generate more leads by interacting with prospective clients and using targeted ads. Your clients and prospective clients are on social media. While they may not all be on Twitter, a lot of them probably are. As I’ve mentioned countless times before, social media marketing is more about being social than about marketing, so engage already! Reply to Tweets, and respond to those who reply to yours. It’s a conversation. Beyond simple... read more

How to Draft the Right BYOD Policy for Your Law Firm

I’ve always been amazed by insurance companies in litigation. Despite the fact that a ruling in one particular case went badly for them, they usually won’t appeal it. Even if it’s clear that their insured is worse off as a result. Even when it’s obvious that the ruling was contrary to law. Even if there’s a near certainty of victory in a higher court. They have a reason: it makes more sense to endure one (or more) bad ruling than to risk the bad ruling becoming a bad law. Believe it or not, the same principle applies to your office’s security policies, especially any policy you have addressing “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD). While I generally feel that any policy is better than no policy, the wrong policy can actually be quite destructive. It can decrease employee satisfaction, decrease productivity, increase costs, and even increase your security risks. So it’s a no brainer. You need the right BYOD Policy for your law firm. What is the right BYOD Policy for your firm, you ask (even if you didn’t)? It’s probably different for your firm than the next. Here’s how to create the right BYOD policy for your law firm: Download a Free Copy of our BYOD Policy for Law Firms Template 1) Identify and clearly state your BYOD Policy’s purpose. One of the most important parts of any effective security policy is buy-in. If your employees don’t have a role in crafting your BYOD Policy, you’ve already made a huge mistake. But even if you’ve brought in your employees, you need to make sure they know and understand why... read more

Net Neutrality: In Support of the 2015 Open Internet Order [Slideshow]

Yesterday, I participated in a debate sponsored by Johnson & Wales University and the Bastiat Society, a libertarian organization, regarding Net Neutrality. Specifically, I argued in support of the recently adopted 2015 Open Internet Order. I don’t envy opponents of Net Neutrality. For the most part, opponents seem to be either direct supporters of the Internet Service Providers, or those who have a more general objection to government regulation. My opponent, Brent Skorup of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, made a strong presentation aligned with the latter, indicating that he doesn’t trust the FCC to ensure protection of the internet. As I said in the debate, I don’t envy those who have to argue against the rule. Wisely, the FCC kept the application narrow, and specifically countered some of the strongest arguments that those opposing reclassification of ISPs as common carriers generally make. The reason they’re strong arguments is that they’re good points. Check out my presentation and information (including sources) from my presentation below: The internet will not be the same without net neutrality. Net Neutrality: In Support of the 2015 Open Internet Order from Brian Focht Following the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Verizon v. FCC, 740 F.3d 623 (D.C. Cir. 2014), striking down the 2010 Open Internet Order, the FCC sought comment on new proposed rules for protecting the open and innovative nature of the internet. Among the questions to be considered was whether Broadband Internet Service Providers should be classified as “telecommunication services,” and thus being subject to “common carrier” provisions. The FCC ultimately decided to reclassify both wireless and wire... read more

5 Tools LinkedIn is Giving Away for Free

LinkedIn’s publishing platform has been an absolute gift to a lot of people in the B2B (Business-to-Business, for those, like me, who had no damn clue until a few weeks ago) world. If you’re on LinkedIn (we’ve been over this… if you’re a lawyer, you’re on LinkedIn!), you’ve seen the updates come through when one of your connections posts something new. While I particularly enjoy my WordPress platform, there’s a lot to like about LinkedIn’s publishing system (as I’m learning – a version of this post will be my first LinkedIn article!). However, what really caught my eye this week was a recent update to their already impressive (but not yet Google Analytics-like) trackers. A good analytics program will give you information about what happened in the past. A really good analytics program will thoroughly educate you about why those things happened in the past. But a truly great analytics program will tell you all those things, and give you the tools to be even better tomorrow. Wow. Ok, motivational speaker mode OFF. Here are 5 Tools LinkedIn is Giving Away for Free:  1) View performance statistics for each post you’ve published There’s only one real way to know what your connections are interested in. Try a bunch of different things, and see what gets the best response. There are no guaranteed winners, and frequently you’ll be surprised by what makes the biggest splash. (My biggest post, by far, was a relative afterthought on a Sunday afternoon). LinkedIn Publisher’s update allows you to view analytics for any of your old posts, with data and stats going back six months. Oh,... read more

Will Your Vendors Cost You Your Law License?

You do everything you can to practice law ethically. You know the rules, you attend the local bar association CLEs, you even feel your moral obligation to do the right thing. But most of all, you know that if you do something stupid, it could cost you a lot: Your reputation. Your money. Your livelihood. Yet when you put your clients’ confidential information in the hands of third-party vendors, you’re taking a pretty huge gamble assuming that they feel the same way. When was the last time you put your third-party vendors through a security audit? When was the last time you asked about their specific policies and procedures regarding physical and data security? When was the last time you even asked: “hey, so where exactly do you keep this data?” Unless your answered “less than 12 months ago” (or some similar response, in the local vernacular of course), it’s time to do it again. Every third-party contractor that has access to your clients’ confidential information is a potential security vulnerability. Your vendors (probably) don’t practice law Although some of your vendors deal exclusively with attorneys (or have a massive attorney client base), most of your vendors don’t completely understand the unique privacy issues lawyers deal with. They certainly don’t take those issues into consideration by default. However, under your state bar’s rules, it’s very likely that you have an obligation to “oversee” your vendors to protect your clients’ information. Sound like a daunting task? It certainly can be. The key is to make sure that you’re taking all reasonable precautions. The best way to do that? Read through your third-party vendors’ terms of service.... read more

Dropbox for iOS Gets Overhaul, Microsoft Office Integration

Ever wanted to start a Microsoft Word or Excel document right on your iPhone and save it to Dropbox? Well, thanks to a massive overhaul of the Dropbox iOS App, you’ll soon be able to do that, and more. Today, Dropbox announced a major update to the Dropbox iOS App designed to take advantage of their recent surprise partnership with Microsoft, as well as improve the collaborative tools of the app. All while improving the app’s functionality. Dropbox has become synonymous with “cloud computing,” particularly for personal or small business use, over the past few years. Its great price (free for 4GB), combined with its easy-to-operate interface, has made it a massive hit with consumers. While there certainly are (fixable) security issues with Dropbox, it is an undeniably easy way to keep your files, documents, and other important information available at all times. Collaboration with co-workers in remote offices or locations is much easier, and you can easily transfer important documents from your desktop to your laptop, smartphone or tablet. The update adds several important tools to your Dropbox iOS App: View Your Most Recent Files One of the most painful parts of using Dropbox on my iPhone has always been that I have too many individual files to sift through. Also, I have a strange propensity for saving my more important files by names beginning with ‘S’ or ‘T’, making them a royal pain to locate. Plus, sometimes I really need to find the document I just annotated… among 400 similar deposition notes. Well, goodbye static file list, hello “Recents” tab! The new home view of the Dropbox iOS... read more

Best New Apps for Lawyers – April 2015

I’m back! For everyone who missed me over the past two weeks, I’ve completed a hellish move into temporary housing until my wife and I move into the house we purchased in mid-August. For everyone else, well, there were some nice apps released last month. Here are my best new apps for lawyers released in April 2015: Multi-Platform: Facebook Messenger by Facebook, Inc. (iOS, Android), free (Update). Facebook’s first foray into breaking its social capabilities into multiple apps got a major update last month. Messenger, the stand-alone app that allows you to send individual or group messages to your Facebook friends, added a video calling feature. You are now able to start a video call directly from an existing message, expanding on the recent introduction of voice calls through messenger. Probably the most valuable element of this new feature is that you’re able to conduct video calls between any mobile devices, regardless of the brand, OS, or network. LinkedIn Elevate by LinkedIn Corp. (iOS, Android), free. Does your law firm create its own content, via blog or social media? Do you routinely share articles and stories relevant to your law firm’s practice areas with your employees or clients? Are you simply looking for a way to share valuable content? LinkedIn Elevate might be just the platform for you. Taking advantage of your employees’ social networks, LinkedIn Elevate allows you to share the unique or important content you create or discover with a wide audience. Using state of the art analytics, find out the best times to post content so it gets the best audience, boosting your circulation and enhancing your employees’ authority with their... read more
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