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Practice Management Resource Center
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Are you a dedicated Internet Explorer user with a spelling problem? Here is a solution: ieSpell is a free Internet Explorer browser extension that provides spelling assistance in web page text input boxes. Install this free add-in and you will have a spell-checker similar to the one found in Microsoft Office applications that can be used in interactive message boards, web-based email, posting to your blog or working on your website. After installation, the app can be accessed through IE’s Tools menu. Once launched, it spell checks the entire page. Read more Every week, the Practice Management Resource Center posts... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2012 at SBM Blog
Billing is probably the least favorite task on an attorney's to-do list. This often leads to an erratic billing “system” with unintended consequences. One factor you may not have considered is when it's best to send ou t your statements. If you bill once a month, when should the bills be mailed to your clients? Ed Poll, author of The Business of Law, recommends that “Billing statements should be mailed so that they reach the client on or before the first day of the month.” Since many people pay their bills on or shortly after the first of the month,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2012 at SBM Blog
Randall Ryder, writing for, makes an excellent case for investing in a Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo Printer. These handy label printers can be used in a variety of ways to increase the efficiency in your office. The 450 Twin Turbo prints both address labels and postage labels. There are a lot of uses for these handy little printers. Some offices have a label printer set up to print appointment reminder labels--print a label with the date and time of the client’s next appointment, stick it on the back of a business card and give it to the client... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2012 at SBM Blog
Every week someone has done something which helped, motivated or touched you. Send them an old fashioned snail mail note to thank them! Make it a Friday afternoon, winding-down-the-week scheduled task. If you encountered someone who needs encouragement, send them a note. If the court clerk was especially helpful or the security guard at the court house extended you a helping hand, send them a note. Ending your week with a random act of kindness is uplifting and good marketing! Every week, the Practice Management Resource Center posts a new Tip of the Week. (Here are the archived tips.) To... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2012 at SBM Blog
Gizmo is a website that reviews and rates some of the best free applications available. It also provides articles, tutorials and user guides. There are recommendations for applications that are available for productivity, security, education, and just plain fun. You can sign up to receive their newsletter or subscribe to their RSS feed so that you never miss the news about free applications that can help boost your productivity, protect your data, and provide some stress relief. Every week, the Practice Management Resource Center posts a new Tip of the Week. (Here are the archived tips.) To reach a practice... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2012 at SBM Blog
If you are a fan of Google Chrome and PDFs, you may have experienced a high level of frustration when trying to work with them together. Rick Borstein, author of the blog “Acrobat for Legal Professionals” has a new post which will show you how to enhance the Chrome-PDF experience. He describes how to turn off Chrome’s built-in PDF viewer and replace it with Adobe Reader or your version of Acrobat. The post also outlines the steps needed to improve printing PDF files from Chrome. The instructions are precise, well illustrated and easy to follow. Every week, the Practice Management... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2011 at SBM Blog
Jim Calloway and Sharon Nelson have created the 49th edition of the Digital Edge podcast in the gift-giving spirit of December. Their lively banter discusses a wide variety of tech items and gadgets, both useful and fun, that may help you with your December purchases. In addition to their podcast, the list of show notes provides links to all of the items discussed. Reid Trautz, Chair of ABA Techshow 2012, has also issued his annual Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers. This list provides some product comparisons and purchase advice. If you are looking for gifts in the productivity, food or... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2011 at SBM Blog
Time management may be one of the most crucial factors in determining the success or failure of every attorney, but especially the solo small firm attorney. There are books, seminars, blogs, software applications for your computer and your cell phone, plus time management specialists all devoted to helping you learn to manage your time. Who has time for all of that? If you recognize the need, but don’t know where to start, read “How to Manage Not to Waste Your Time” by Donna Seyle. Donna writes frankly and succinctly about her “less-than-productive time management system” and how she is working... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2011 at SBM Blog
Are you thinking about upgrading to a new iPhone 4S? Check out this post by Jeff Richardson, author of the iPhone J.D. Blog. The post “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” not only provides you with Jeff’s insights, but also provides links to over a dozen additional reviews of the iPhone 4S. A word of caution: Don’t read these reviews if you think you will be dissuaded from ordering the new phone. It is likely that you will be queuing up online or at a store after reading these enthusiastic reviews. Are you thinking about upgrading your iOS5... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2011 at SBM Blog
Do you ever need to quickly capture a thought, list a to-do item or remember a parking spot location? Using an application like Tape-a-Talk for Android devices or Voice Memos for iPhones allows you to quickly create an audio reminder note. These apps can be very handy, making it easy to record a message and delete it after the reminder has served its purpose. Some of these applications also make it easy to send the recording as an attachment to an email. If you've ever found yourself wandering around a parking lot searching for your car—or hitting your forehead because... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2011 at SBM Blog
If you haven’t implemented a remote backup service as part of your disaster preparedness plan, this website might help you choose your provider. The world of backup providers is a bustling place with new players entering the market and others dropping out on a regular basis. How do you choose which service will be the best for your practice or home? Backup Review provides a top-25 list every month with the top providers for three groups--consumer, small-medium business, and enterprise. Each monthly listing is accompanied by in-depth reviews of several of the products, including instructions on how to install and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2011 at SBM Blog
So you went out and bought an iPad and now you are flummoxed trying to understand how it works. While it appears that very little documentation comes with an iPad there are a couple of surprisingly robust resources available if you have access to the Internet. Using the Safari browser on your iPad click on the Bookmark icon. The iPad User Guide bookmark is preloaded and listed in Bookmarks. Simply click on it and you are linked to a comprehensive online source to help you master your iPad. A second option is the complete PDF user manual available from Apple.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2011 at SBM Blog
Legal Office Guru recently created a tutorial “Don’t miss that important Microsoft Outlook email!” Setting up a couple of these rules will help you instantly identify important email from your boss or the court. The tutorial is easy to follow, and the results are impressive. Be sure to check out this Legal Office Guru tutorial, and while you are on the site take a minute to look at all the other valuable resources designed specifically for legal environments. There is even a section dedicated to WordPerfect devotees! Consider adding one of the Legal Office Guru feeds or joining their Facebook... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2011 at SBM Blog
Thinking about upgrading to Office 2010? Read this post, Acrobat and Microsoft Office 2010 Compatibility first. Rick Borstein has written a must-read explanation of the results of moving to Office 2010 without upgrading to Adobe Acrobat X. “Adobe Acrobat X is the first version of Acrobat to support Microsoft Office 2010. The Acrobat 9 PDF Maker toolbars do not function or appear in Microsoft Office 2010!” Turns out Acrobat 9 was released back in 2008! Rick’s responses to many questions help put this Office/Acrobat relationship in perspective. Add Acrobat for Legal Professionals, Rick’s blog, to your favorites or use the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2011 at SBM Blog
This free application is available for both iPad and iPhone. NOLO’s dictionary app was updated in October of 2010 and has even more definitions and features than the original 2009 version. NOLO’s dictionary will not compete with the $50 Black’s Law Dictionary application, but it does a good job explaining common legal terms in plain English. The NOLO dictionary is also available online from your computer. The application may prove most useful when attorneys are looking for the plain English definitions of complex legal terms to help their clients understand the legal lexicon. Every week, the Practice Management Resource Center... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2011 at SBM Blog
Jim Calloway’s recent column for Lawyers USA entitled Using Checklists in Your Law Practice is worth the read! If you need some inspiration to help you get organized or improve efficiency, take a minute and check out his column. If you really want checklist inspiration, Jim recommends reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. It is not expensive in paperback, but it is even less if you use one of the free reader applications to purchase and read it. Kindle and Nook both have free reader applications which can be installed on almost every platform including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2011 at SBM Blog
If you haven’t browsed the Internet using Google Chrome, consider giving it a try. It is free and installs in minutes, if you are using Windows 7/Vista/XP. Google Chrome offers faster browsing, enhanced security protections, and a streamlined search engine. There are also a wide array of add-ins, known as extensions, that help you to customize Google Chrome. Read the recent CNET review of the newest version of Google Chrome. Visit the Google Chrome site. Every week, the Practice Management Resource Center posts a new Tip of the Week. (Here are the archived tips.) To reach a practice management advisor,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2011 at SBM Blog
Dan Pinnington, Practice Management Advisor and practice PRO Director for Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company in Toronto, Canada, recently linked to a list of resources designed to make blogging easier. If you are a blogger or interested in improving the quality of your blog, take a few minutes to read “20+ Essential Tools and Applications for Bloggers.” The list includes resources to help you to organize your thoughts, develop interesting content, find keywords for search engine optimization, share your content, and publish and edit your posts. Even if you don’t blog, the list includes information regarding how to create documents using... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2011 at SBM Blog
The ABA recently published an updated chart comparing practice management case management software and time and billing software for the benefit of solo and small firm practitioners interested in investing in software applications to improve management of their law practices. The consolidated document, which compares several software applications on the basis of price, technical requirements, compatibility, and technical support, may be downloaded free of charge here. (Note: Page 6 in the original document is a blank page.) The chart includes a description of Clio, which is an SBM Preferred Partner. All members of the State Bar of Michigan receive a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 7, 2011 at SBM Blog
The keystroke combination for capturing a screenshot on a Mac is “Command+Shift+3.” This combination of keystrokes will produce a shutter clicking sound and the resulting screenshot will be captured in a file, which is automatically placed on your desktop. The keystroke combination of “Command+Shift+4” will change your cursor to a crosshair symbol. When the crosshair symbol appears, use either of the following options to create a graphic file on your desktop. You can click and drag the cursor to select the area of the screen you want to capture or press the spacebar to capture the window or too lbar... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2011 at SBM Blog
Have you ever wondered how the “Print Screen” key functions? This key can be used to capture a “screenshot,” an image of your desktop or the active Window of the software application that you are using. (The “Prt Scr” function key may operate differently depending on the operating system installed on your PC or laptop, and whether you are using a 32 bit or 64 bit computer. Also, the appearance (e.g., “PrtScn”) of this function key can vary depending on the model of your external keyboard or your laptop keyboard.) If you are using a laptop keyboard (instead of an... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2011 at SBM Blog
“60 Tips in 60 Minutes” and “60 Sites in 60 Minutes” are popular sessions at TECHSHOW, the ABA's annual three-day technology and CLE conference and exposition. The PowerPoint presentations from these two sessions are now available online in PDF format along with materials from other presentations, including “Going Beyond Microsoft Word on the Mac,” “Getting the Most Out of PDF Software,” “2011 SmartPhone Shootout,” and “Getting the Most from Speech Recognition Software.” Every week, the Practice Management Resource Center posts a new Tip of the Week. Visit to view current and archived "Tips." To reach a practice management advisor,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2011 at SBM Blog
Tom Mighell, co-host of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, a legal technology podcast, authored “iPad in One Hour for Lawyers.” Mighell’s book, published by the ABA, is a good resource for attorneys who want to quickly understand both the operational basics of and uses for the iPad in a legal environment. His book may be borrowed from the PMRC Lending Library or purchased from the ABAWeb Store. Every week, the Practice Management Resource Center posts a new Tip of the Week. Visit to view current and archived "Tips." To reach a practice management advisor, call the PMRC Helpline at (800) 341-9715... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2011 at SBM Blog
If you use an Android phone, here are two settings changes to quickly mute incoming calls. Both of these settings are found in Settings > Sound >Smart Sensor Settings. The first setting, Double Tap to Silence, allows you to tap the screen twice in quick succession to silence the ring tone on an incoming call. The option to answer the call remains visible but there is no accompanying sound. The second setting, Smart Profile: Face Down, allows you to silence an incoming call by simply turning the phone face down. The Face Down setting only works while the phone is... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2011 at SBM Blog
Jeff Richardson, author of the blog iPhone JD, has posted a list of applications for iPhones and iPads presented during the 2011 TECHSHOW session entitled “60 Apps in 60 Minutes”. Mr. Richardson, Reid Trautz, and Josh Barrett breezed through 61 apps in an engaging presentation before an enthusiastic audience. The blog post also includes links to apps from the 2009 and 2010 TECHSHOW presentations, which provide the reader with a total of 180 applications! If you use an iPhone or iPad, you may want to check out this list of resources. Every week, the Practice Management Resource Center posts a... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2011 at SBM Blog