Hannah Kiddoo 2015-06-02 12:32:36
Geek Gathering Key takeaways from the 2015 ABA Techshow. Attendees at the American Bar Association Techshow 2015, held April 16-18 in Chicago, learned insider tips from tech-savvy lawyers and professionals and got a glimpse of the latest products and services from expo exhibitors. Online reputation management. With the growing number of consumer review sites like Avvo, Martindale- Hubbell, and Yelp, lawyers need to be on their A-game regarding their online presence. “It’s becoming more likely that people are going to write something about you online,” said panelist Gyi Tsakalakis, cofounder and director of AttorneySync, during “Shaping Your Narrative— Online Reputation Management.” One of the most important steps in protecting an online reputation is being aware of what’s already out there. Google Alerts and sites like getfivestars.com and en.mention.com are helpful services for keeping track of this, he noted. Have a bad review? Don’t panic— and certainly don’t be combative. “When you start arguing and getting defensive, you put a spotlight on that negative review,” said panelist Allison Shields, president of Legal Ease Consulting Inc. Instead, she said, be brief and show concern. “You’re really not responding to the person who is giving you the negative review. What you’re really doing is responding so that other people who see that review will see how you responded.” Shields also suggested staying mind- ful of local ethics rules and confidentiality expectations. For the most part, the panelists noted, positive writeups can outweigh a single negative post, and it’s fine to ask a happy client to compose an online assessment—so long as the request is reasonable and the customer’s evaluation is not false or misleading. Using data for persuasion. “We have years to master our cases; jurors have hours to understand what we’re talking about,” said panelist Randy Juip during “Data, Logic, and Persuasion— The Analysis and Presentation of Complex Data to a Lay Audience.” Juip, a member in Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip, recommended using entertaining and effective charts to break down complicated evidence for juries. “It is impossible to communicate a complex set of facts in an hour without using visuals,” Juip said. “If we fail them, we fail our clients.” He stressed the importance of keeping slides short and to the point. Helpful tools from his data visualization arsenal include Visually, FiveThirtyEight, and Dadaviz. Juip also showed examples of misleading and unethical uses of data, which could jeopardize the outcome of a case. “You want to be really careful,” he said, “not just because it’s wrong, but because if you get caught manipulating data, it will destroy your client’s case. One lie is all the jury needs to discount everything they hear.” Security on mobile devices. If a cellphone, laptop, or tablet is used to do legal work, it carries sensitive client data and is at risk for breaches. According to panelists of “Pocket Confidential—Securing and Protecting Information on Lawyers’ Mobile Devices,” many instances of data loss are the result of user error. During the session, John Simek, vice president of Sensei Enterprises, and Debbie Foster, partner in the Affinity Consulting Group, noted that one solution is to be diligent about strong passwords and user authentication. “Encryption is your friend,” Simek said. “As long as you control that encryption key, no one’s getting after it.” Simek cautioned against clicking unknown shortened links or scanning random QR codes, which could redirect a user to a malicious website. Additionally, he recommended that lawyers take precautions when using Wi-Fi, such as turning off the function when not in use and avoiding unsecured connections. “The problem with Wi-Fi is you don’t know who’s on the other side of that wall,” Simek said. “You want to make sure you pick the right network.” Foster urged attendees to understand permissions before installing or updating apps, some of which ask for large amounts of access on a device. “I have to decide, do I want the app or not? And sometimes the answer is going to be no,” she said, adding that lawyers should take the same precautions that they would in any situation where they give blanket access to things that could potentially be subject to attorney-client privilege. “Understanding what the threats are out there is half the battle,” Foster said. SEO website wizardry, amped Web searches, and LinkedIn’s next level. When building a website, lawyers should include strong keywords in the headers but avoid “keyword stuffing”— a practice of overloading a page with keywords in the hopes of getting picked up more in Web searches—which can be read as spam. Additionally, a site’s message should be shaped with the intended audience in mind. “You’re not attracting lawyers; you’re attracting regular people,” said panelist Jennifer Ellis, an online marketing manager and attorney with Lowenthal & Abrams. One helpful tool to try is Google AdWords. Each time a person presses the space bar when entering words into a search engine, an “and” is automatically generated. Something so small can really alter search results, but there are ways to get around it. Carole Levitt, president and founder of Internet for Lawyers, offered some shortcuts for Google searches: adding a minus sign before a word will eliminate it from results and typing AROUND(#) between search terms, with a specified number in place of the pound sign and quotations around the entire string, will tap into Google’s proximity connector. For an engine that doesn’t filter results by previous searches or location, try DuckDuckGo. How can attorneys up their LinkedIn game? According to Shields of Legal Ease and Dennis Kennedy, a lawyer with MasterCard Worldwide, they need to be actively connecting with others by starting and participating in groups, endorsing current and former colleagues, and tapping into alumni networks. Adding some individuality to a profile is also important, they said. Users should personalize invitations to connect and write a first-person bio with action-oriented words.
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