YourABA December 2012 Masthead

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Law Technology Today

3 tech tips to save time
and money

By Joshua Poje
ABA Legal Technology Resource Center

There are some easy ways you can save both time
and money in your practice using technology. Here are three places to start:

Simplify your scheduling. Scheduling a meeting in the email era can be a nightmare. The scenario is all too familiar: A meeting organizer suggests a date and time, and each attendee responds with a different, typically conflicting alternative. That process then repeats itself, often several times, before the group can find a date and time that works for everyone.

But what technology complicates it can also simplify. A variety of free, easy-to-use tools are available to help you schedule meetings painlessly. With these tools, the organizer usually sends out an invitation to a group asking them to mark their availability on an online calendar. The organizer then looks at the entire group’s availability in one central location and chooses a time when he or she knows everyone will be available.

Here are three of the more popular meeting planning tools available:

Share multiple links easily. Need to share a list of links? Normally this is easy: Just open an email or Word document and paste the links. But how do you share that list of links on Twitter or Facebook? The obvious but less-than-desirable answer is to spam your followers with a series of posts or status updates, each of which includes one or two links. This may get the job done, but it’ll surely also earn the ire of your friends and colleagues.

Try an easier method: a link combiner. With a link combiner, you enter the series of links into a simple Web interface, and the combiner will generate a single short URL you can share. When your recipients, friends or followers click on the combined link, they’ll be taken to a page that provides the full list.

Three free combined linking tools to explore: KrunchdHiperURL and MultiURL.

Where can you use a combined link? Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a combined link to all of your social media profiles and include that URL in your email signature.
  • Prepare a combined link to resources that address commonly asked questions (e.g., where to find free legal help).
  • Set up your own “quick reference” page with links to websites and online tools you frequently use so you only need to remember a single URL.

Comparison-shop online. When it comes to boosting the bottom line, firms usually focus on revenue. Sophisticated time-tracking tools are used to make sure no hour goes uncaptured, while productivity improvements make lawyers more efficient and thereby free them to bill more hours or complete more flat-fee projects.

But there’s another side to the equation: costs. Firms can easily boost profitability by making smart investments in the goods and services the firm needs. In the past, that meant spending a day in the car or on the phone contacting local stores to check prices. Today, the Web puts thousands of retailers at your fingertips and, more important, gives you simple tools to search all retailers in seconds.

There are several online price comparison tools to try:

To get started, just visit any of the price-comparison tools and type in the product you’re interested in (e.g., “Fujitsu Scansnap S1500”). You’ll get a list of all matching products with the lowest prices identified. Just be sure to check the seller’s rating, if available, so you’re confident you’re buying from a reputable vendor.

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