Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quick update on some cool things!

Okay, I haven't blogged in so long, it is almost embarrassing!  But I have been so busy with so many things, which everyone keeps telling me is a good thing.  Okay, it is, but then, I am not able to do everything I want.

So what is new in the world of lawyers and technology.  Well, everything keeps moving at the speed of light, of course.  I just got a Sony bloggie, and I must admit that I love it more than my camera.  The quality is pretty good, and I was able to get pictures of President Obama and video of him shaking my son's hand at Schiller Park (you can see Ben and Rick directly below the podium and to the right of the boy in red sitting on someone's shoulders) all from the same very tiny device.  I got it from, which has excellent sales, but make sure it is something you really want.  They feature one deal a day in a variety of categories.  You should check in everyday with them and with  I have purchased items from both, including computers, watches, and three bloggies!  The boys get to have fun, too, you know.  Don't tell them, though.  They are gifts that haven't been given yet.

Latest apps?  Ohio State Bar Association has a new app.  You download it from the App Store or Android Market (Google Play).  Every day it has an update.  It is a great way to stay current while waiting out in the hallway for your case to get called.

My mind was just exploding the other day as I watched schools for tomorrow.  I watched it live stream, but anyone can watch it now.  I highly recommend the session on what schools will be like in five years.  Watch that, and you can figure out some practical implications.

Still working on my new website,, a place where you can come and learn the basics of technology.  I am testing it with new users to make sure that it is user friendly.  I will keep you posted on what else is going on.

At any rate, those are my random thoughts for now.  What are you learning about or recommending in this brave new world?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Got the Kindle Fire!  And I love it.  It is actually more amazing than advertised.  Admittedly, Amazon is marketing it as a fun device for entertainment purposes.  I, however, have figured out a business use for it.

In addition to being able to download all of the fun apps, I have also downloaded Documents To Go. I got it free since Amazon offers a free app EVERY DAY. If you have an Android phone, even if you don't have a Kindle, you should be checking out the offers every day.  Lately it has been games, but every once in a while it is a significant app, like this one.

What is so cool about Docs To Go?  In addition to having all of the Microsoft Office capabilities, including Word and PowerPoint, you can access your Google Docs!  That's right!  And edit them!  And create your own docs!  Cumbersome?  A little, but still a really cool alternative to having to fire up the laptop when all you want to do is review and maybe edit a document.

In addition, you can email documents to your Kindle!  That's right!  Have a PDF that you like or that you refer to often?  That's why I emailed the Ohio Civil Rules to my Kindle.  And then I got an even bigger idea!  I started emailing my case files to my Kindle.  That's right!  Scan and email right to your Kindle.  Don't have to carry those big files around.  Don't have an excuse when talking with a client that I don't have the file.  I have it all of the time.  And documents emailed to the Kindle are only on the Kindle.  They are not saved in the cloud.  Once you have password protected your Kindle, you are good to go.

So, why wouldn't you get a Kindle Fire?  It is only $199 and it is saving my back from having to lug all of those files around.  And I can review proposed divorce decrees while listening to Pandora and than having a nice diversion of playing Words With Friends.

So, hurry up, go get that Kindle Fire.....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

HotDocs - how hot?

Okay, I signed up to use HotDocs as offered by the OSBA (of which I am a member) and here is what I think.

Admittedly, most of the issues I have could be addressed once I actually learn formally how to use HotDocs.  My problem right now is that I am stuck with the language that is provided.  However, for those forms for which you have no choice (like the Supreme Court required family law affidavits) HotDocs is great.  You just enter the info once and it fills in everywhere.  For the other things, though, like the shared parenting plan, you get just a basic document, but you have to go back and edit the rest of the document, by cutting and pasting.  Like I said, I think if I actually learned how to use HotDocs I could probably learn how to edit the stuff to get my language in. It does save some time by at least giving you a starting document, and I can see that it will have fabulous applications, so I am recommending that you try it, especially if you can get the deal through the OSBA.  The fee is pro-rated right now, so it is a chance to try it without a great deal of expense.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Got the phone

My phone took a swim a few weeks ago so I finally had to make my decision on the new phone.  I ended up picking out a Revolution phone.  This is an android phone so I have been having a lot of fun downloading the apps.  The reason I picked this phone is because of the availability so many apps.  In fact, I am using the option of writing this blog by dictating to my phone and having my phone transcribe it for me.  I am also using the Word Press app so that I can write this directly on my phone and then upload it.  Who needs a full fledged computer anymore?  The accuracy is fairly good although I have had to make a few corrections.  It is amazing what's up there are out there!  There are all of the usual suspects and then some that are quite creative.  I found an app that will tell you when the next bus is coming along.  It identifies your location and the bus routes that are servicing that area.  There is 1 called Columbulous that tells me all of the fun things going on right now in Columbus. 

I picked the phone because the android market seemed to have The most apps that's where along the lines of what I would use and because the phone itself was recommended as being a real work life. 

So far I am very happy with this choice.  Have you had to pick out a new phone lately?  Are you facing that decision now?  What are you concerned about?  What features are important to you?  Let's talk!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Using Evernote

Today I want to talk about Evernote.  It is a really useful software application that let's you keep notes on your phone or computer and it syncs everything.  There are many creative ways to use it.  For example, you can take pictures of things and save them in Evernote.   You can use web clippings, which saves either the URL or the web page itself as an Evernote.  You can categorize them, you can personalize everything.  And it's FREE!  The premium upgrade is pretty cheap, too.  There is so much to tell you, so let me tell you in this video.  Also, you can find out much more from other videos also on YouTube.  Just search for Evernote!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Establishing a Social Media Policy

Establishing a Social Media Policy   

After starting a website, getting on to Twitter and then starting a blog, it occurred to me that it was time to develop a social media policy.

Before your eyes glaze over, let’s talk about what a social media policy is.  For some, it can be a series of rules of engagement.  That is a cumbersome approach and does not really provide a good framework to anticipate changes in technology.  For others, it can be a broad general philosophy, but it needs to be focused on being a policy for the use of social media.

It may seem ridiculous to have a social media policy, but now that you are using the written word to express your ideas, you need to be cognizant that all of these media outlets are permanent.  Once you have sent out a tweet or written a blog, it can be re-tweeted, copied and sent out everywhere and will live in perpetuity.  Too avoid bloggers remorse, it is important to spend a little off-line time thinking about what your personal policy will be so that you have a benchmark to measure your behavior.

My personal social media policy is to make sure that what I am writing about is contributing to the dialogue, is engaging, is affirming of others, and that I make no personal attacks.  Remember, that opposing counsel who is making you crazy might just be reading this as well.  Even if you think you have protected your tweets and posts.  Even if you have locked down everything, somehow, somewhere it could still get out.  If you don’t want someone to read what you have written, DON’T PUT IT IN THE INTERNET.  You wouldn’t publish it in the paper and hope that on that particular day certain people will not have time to read that particular edition of the paper.  With RSS feeds and other devices to keep people on top of what they are following, including Google Alerts, it is just ridiculous to think otherwise.

By the way, if I am in a stressful situation, such as a trial or a personal matter, I opt out of social media for a while.  I don’t want to make a mistake.  I write my blog posts off-line in the evening, review them in the morning and then post.  As for tweeting or other social media that is more immediate, I just make sure that I am in the right frame of mind.  Does this mean I never disagree with others? Not at all.  It just means that I focus on the issues at hand, and I do not attack others personally.  I save that for my private conversations with my husband! 

If you think about it, a social media policy is simply a social policy.  My parents taught me to leave the world a better place.  This means that I clean up after others in public places, I pick up trash off the street, I offer to help others who appear to be struggling and I make sure that I say nice things.  Why not find something complimentary to say about someone?  What is wrong with commenting on a tie, haircut, nice handwriting?  Say something nice, get started on the right track, begin your conversation with a compliment. 

Of course, I also encourage you to look at other social media policies.  The classic example is the Coca-Cola policy.  And Nate Riggs has posted in his blog on a really great and yet simple social media policy from Mike Brown.  

Finally, make sure your write the social media policy down, even if it is only a few words.  My written policy is “Play Nice.”  Simple.  Complete.  Applies to all settings.  It encompasses playing fairly, taking turns, acknowledging others and avoiding inappropriate comments.  Even a kindergartener can appreciate this social media policy.

So, the next step in my on-line journey was to go off-line and decide how I wanted to best present myself to the world.  In the process, I gained personal insight into my own approach to work and, more importantly, to life, and I know that I am a better person because of this.

How have you defined your own personal social media policy?

Pam is always happy to talk one on one about these ideas, and welcomes your comments here as well.  She is writing a manual to help lawyers pick up and engage in social media, and can also offer consultation services to help your small family law firm improve its on-line marketing.  For more information, feel free to contact her at, or by calling 614-245-0488.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blah, blah, blah, blog

That’s the first reaction I used to get when I would talk to people about blogging.  Most lawyers aren’t really sure what value a blog has to offer.  There are plenty of commentators out there regarding types and styules of blogs, but once I had my own website and once I started Tweeting (which is just a blog with 140 characters), I wanted to find out about blogging.

Since I was using Yahoo Web Hosting, it was relatively easy to start blogging through  I went to the website and, by now, understood a little, but not a lot, about setting up a profile and layout.  I experimented with different looks, but have to admit that my eyes glazed over when confronted by the many gadgets that were offered.  I decided to just skip that until later.  Once the blog was set up, then it was time to start writing. 

So I pulled up my chair and came face to face with the blank page.  Me and my blank mind.  I thought and thought.  Should I talk about being a family lawyer?  No, too boring.  What should I say?  I wanted something useful for clients.  I scoured the internet to see what others were saying.  There were some amazing blogs out there that spelled out in great detail the ins and outs of divorce practice.  They were informative and on point.  Maybe another blog was the last thing they needed.  Then I realized a very important point. 

The point of the blog had to be the content.  I had to think about and develop a reason to have a blog.  Anyone can have a blog, and many lawyers don’t.  So it was important to figure out what the blog was supposed to be.  Was it to toot my own horn?  Having read many blogs that did that, I knew that I really wasn’t interested in doing that.  What I wanted was to have the same conversation that I have every day with clients; I wanted to engage in a dialogue that would help my clients understand what was going on in their case.  I knew that there were certain things that I said over and over again to clients.  Whether it was an explanation of how spousal support is calculated or what paperwork is needed to start a divorce, I knew that this was the kind of information clients were asking, even when there was so much already available on the internet.  After giving it some thought, I also decided that it was important to explain it in my voice, in my terminology, using my personality.  That is what would set my blog apart from the other very professional sounding blogs that could have been written by any legal scholar.  I wanted my blog to be an extension of myself.  I wanted a client to come to me after reading my blog and feel like we had already talked before.  I wanted to sound familiar to them.

So after I identified what my voice would be, I picked a topic.  I decided that I could not do one blog that covered everything there is to know about family law.  So I picked a topic that had come up frequently in the previous week.  I wrote about it, provided the detailed statutory language and put my own spin on the explanation.  I wrote it as if I was saying it to the person sitting across the table from me.  I tried to make it conversational rather than scholarly.  This is what I believed for me was the reason that I should do a blog, rather than just linking people to other blogs off of my website.

Again, this was one of those experiences where you just have to drop in.  Unlike Twitter, I could not really lurk, but I could look at other blogs, see what comments people were making and get some good ideas.  And over time, I have learned so much more.  For example, I think it is important to let people comment on your blog.  My blogs, in general, allow foe people to post comments.  I make sure I get an email to tell me that someone has commented, and, except for those comments that are clearly self serving, such as lawyers commenting by saying that you can contact them for more information, I let the comments stand.  The idea is to engage in a dialogue.  By asking questions and sharing information, I become a better lawyer and clients are better served.

Of course, you have to remember to abide by the Code of Ethics, don’t give legal advice, make sure that you have appropriate disclaimers, avoid slander or other bad behavior.  In other words, play nice.

Since my first blog, I have started up four additional blogs, I have another one on the way, and I have used different blog services.  Currently I am a big fan of WordPress, especially since for only $25 a year, you can set it up as a website by getting a distinctive url.  It also might be worth paying a little more for web design, or taking the time to learn html so you can really spiff the thing up. 

The most important thing about the blog, and any social media that you use, is to remember that the number one thing to do well is content.  You can have the most fabulous design, but if the content is blah, blah, blah, you won’t really add to the dialogue, you will not get quality followers and your blog will likely die a slow death.  Also, because I did focus on content on my family law blog, I have found that I can ignore it for long periods of time, because the content is still sound.  On the other hand, on some of my blogs, all I am doing is introducing and idea and asking a question.  I am so please with the feedback that I get, which often includes ideas or answers to my questions.  Again, social media, whether Facebook, Twitter or your blog, works because it is like being at the largest cocktail party.  You can overhear what others are saying and they can over hear what you are saying.  Just jump in and engage in the conversation.

Tell me about your experience.

Pam is working on a manual to provide more details to get small family law firms on board with social media to improve their marketing.  She blogs regarding marketing for small family law firms at  For more details or information, feel free to email her at