Monthly Archives: July 2011

Attorney at Work

Since I have written about Fastcase, LinkedIn, and LawPivot the last few weeks, I thought I would mention one more resource – Attorney at Work.

The premise behind the website is pretty simple – put a collection of experts together and deliver one good idea a day.[1] Not surprisingly, Robert Ambrogi is part of the project – along with a number of other noted professionals. For a full list of people taking part in the collaborative project click here.

According to the website, the ‘minds at work’ provide ideas on everything from coping with burnout to cloud computing. The majority of posts seemed to be centered on productivity, marketing and technology in the legal workplace.

Here is a small sampling of some of the posts:

It seems like Attorney at Work has assembled a nice collection of professionals.  Let’s hope they can continue to expand in the future.


[1] According to the website, “Attorney at Work was created by a small team of practice management experts and communicators who, in concert with experts from around the globe, seek to offer you the help you’ve been looking for to create a law practice — and life — you can love.”

Fastcase: Alternative to LexisNexis & Westlaw for Legal Research

The Fastcase 50 has been making news of late.  The Fastcase 50 was sponsored by the legal research company Fastcase to honor the law’s “smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders.”  The diverse list runs the gamut from judges to law librarians and includes Robert Ambrogi, Monica Bay, Ari Kaplan, Larry Lessig, Bill Neukom, and Richard Posner among others.  Somehow, yours truly was left off the list … but there’s always next year.

If you are not yet familiar with Fastcase it is one of the top new legal research services available right now. In addition to the affordable price, the service makes it much easier to find the cases and statutes that you are looking for because the company offers easy searching, sorting, and visualization tools. Further, the Fastcase library is searchable by keyword (or “Boolean” search) natural language search, or citation lookup depending on how you are most comfortable searching for information.

The company’s library includes primary law from all fifty states and includes in-depth federal coverage of statutes and case law. In addition to the law, users may also also access to a newspaper archives, legal forms, and a PACER search of federal filings. A new utility was also just released that enables one-click printing of any case from any source on the Web or in any Microsoft Word document. The Fastcase Cloud Printing utility allows users to print or save a clean, two-column version of any case.

The best part is that you may have free access to the research tool and not even know it. Fastcase has partnered with twenty state bar associations and a number of other voluntary bar associations to provide legal research as a free benefit for bar members, including the state bars of Oklahoma, Arizona, Florida, Oregon, and Virginia to name a few.

These are some of the benefits of the service:

  • Save, print, email, or download documents easily
  • Clean, functional, modern interface
  • Sortable results allow for quick and efficient research
  • Integrated citation analysis
  • Much more affordable than LexisNexis or Westlaw
  • Flexible subscription options
  • Interactive timeline helps to find the most pertinent cases easy

Along with its web-based legal research, Fastcase also offers a free app for iPhone users. The app is free to any iPhone user and no Fastcase subscription is required to use this legal research tool.

LinkedIn?

I know that Google+ is all the rage right now – and I should probably be writing about it right now. However, I have to admit that I have not really got around to taking it for a spin yet.

Instead, I wanted to write about a more seasoned social network – LinkedIn. I read an article this week on Law.com about utilizing LinkedIn to connect with clients and stay in touch with colleagues.  I myself realized that while I am signed up for LinkedIn, I don’t really proactively use it.  It does seem like every week I get a few requests from other professionals to join their network.

“Top executives and general counsel from just about every Fortune 500 company are among the 100 million people and organizations using LinkedIn … that includes 127,500 general counsel, she said. A search of LinkedIn reveals 12,086 law firms with a profile page, including most major U.S. firms.”[1]

In a nut shell, the article indicated that LinkedIn can be used like an electronic rolodex to network with other professionals and stay current with your practice area.

Using the website is one easy way to stay in touch with contacts, including current clients, past clients and referral sources.  I also have met a couple of really great people through participating in the LinkedIn discussion groups.

Benefits of LinkedIn:

  • Maintain and expand contacts with friends and associates
  • Stay current on developments in your practice area
  • Provide assistance to others
  • Participate in LinkedIn Discussion Groups
  • Increased visibility and website traffic
  • Research competitors, opposing counsel or potential clients
  • Research potential jurors during voir dire
  • S.E.O Gains

One ethical concern is that LinkedIn could present client confidentiality concerns. Some attorneys are concerned that allowing your contacts to be made publicly available could violate confidentiality obligations, since there could be a number of clients in your network. However, other people don’t know the specific relationship between you and your contacts – they just know that they are in your network.  And you can also adjust your settings so that your contacts remain private.

Right now I only have 57 contacts, so I definitely have a long way to go.  Some attorneys have over 1,500 contacts!

Click on the links below for further resources:

Linkedin Discussion Groups

How Lawyers Can Use LinkedIn to Connect to New Clients

LinkedIn Learning Center

Social Media for Attorneys: How to Use LinkedIn to Build Your Network

Link In to Social Networking

Wilson Sonsini Reaps Benefits from LinkedIn IPO Connection


[1] How Lawyers Can Use LinkedIn to Connect to New Clients

http://www.law.com/jsp/law/article.jsp?id=1202499105442&How_Lawyers_Can_Use_LinkedIn_to_Connect_to_New_Clients

Does the Casey Anthony Decision Strengthen the American Legal System?

I didn’t wake up yesterday morning with the Casey Anthony case on my mind – I have barely followed the case. I spent the weekend with my family celebrating an incredible Fourth of July weekend commemorating our independence and the birth of our country.

However, as soon as I woke up yesterday and looked at my Twitter app on my Yahoo mail, the first thing I noticed was the Casey Anthony case and the impending verdict that was to be handed down at 11:45 a.m. Pacific Time. Like many of you I remember exactly where I was the day that the O.J. verdict was handed down and this case will live on in the American psyche as O.J II.

Like many others out there my initial reaction was shock. How could this woman be found not guilty of the major charges? From everything that we have seen in the media and the facts of the case it seems like she is incredibly guilty. And there are a lot of people across the country who feel the same way. Twitter erupted after the verdict, here are some of the responses:

  • Never has a trial left lawyers looking more foolish and the public more ignorant. We are all the worse for this case, except Jose Baez.
  • “Casey Anthony verdict:one more sign to many Americans that US is going crazy, no longer makes sense.Didn’t report missing child for 31 days?”
  • RT @jimbradysp: We may have just found the OJ SImpson of a new generation.
  • So Casey Anthony walks but @plaxico Burress serves two years for SHOOTING HIMSELF?!
  • So…how long before the “Keeping Up With the Baezes” reality show creates a bizarre national obsession with his daughters?

Some of the more poignant comments may come from Timothy B. Corcoran:

  • “You cannot convict someone until they’ve had their day in court” – whether you like the verdict or not, this is what makes America great
  • I don’t know if the verdict was right but as I explained to my kids: in the US we’re thankful for the rule of law and impartial juries

In some odd way, the Anthony case may strengthen American jurisprudence. In this country we are not tried by a panel of government judges or by the media. In America our guilt or innocence is determined by an impartial jury of your peers as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. And it is the prosecution that has the burden to prove the charges levied by the State, not the defendant.[1] Here, in the Anthony case it does not seem that the State proved their case.

The next time you try to get out of jury duty remember this verdict.


[1] The Casey Anthony verdict: The jury did the right thing

http://news.yahoo.com/casey-anthony-verdict-jury-did-thing-090411811.html