December 01, 2011

THE CHAIR’S CORNER: Get More Efficient. Get More “Me Time”

Laura V. Farber


Welcome to the last issue of the freestanding Technology & Practice Guide—just in time for the holiday season. The General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division has restructured its publications to replace these freestanding issues with regular technology updates and articles in every issue of GPSolo magazine, tied to the issue’s theme. We believe this will be an important change that will greatly benefit our members by providing timely, interesting, and important technology tips on a regular basis. Along with the restructuring of our print magazine, we have also restructured the GPSolo eReport, which is now a monthly electronic newsletter that combines technology, substantive law, law practice management, and news from our Division on a regular monthly basis. So for those of you who crave technology, you will have it regularly and often!

In this final freestanding Technology & Practice Guide issue, we hope you will be inspired to turbocharge your practice. You will learn how to do so on budgets as low as $1,000 and as high as $5,000 and will read firsthand accounts from lawyers who have really put technology to work in their practices. Our Editorial Board presents their picks for essential software you should be using right now, and you will discover more about resources in the clouds and the benefits of a virtual office.

And what would December be without our annual Techno-Gift Guide? You need not contemplate this question—the Gift Guide can be found on page 36 of this issue, and it will continue to appear in all its glory, each holiday season in GPSolo magazine.

Speaking of the holidays, this time of year is always one of reflection. As I sit here in my office (which still needs to be turbocharged), I am thinking, “Will I have any regrets this year? Are there any items that I need to check off my bucket list? Are there items I need to add to my bucket list? If I turbocharge my office, will it give me more time to focus on my bucket list? Will I be better able to serve my clients, my family, my community, and still have time for me?”

I believe that for someone who is in desperate need of turbocharging, “me time” tends to be the time that goes by the wayside. So I would like to remind each and every one of you how important “me time” is.

This past summer, my husband and I had the opportunity to have our 14- and 12-year-olds go away at the same time for three weeks. It was interesting. At first, we did not quite know what to do with ourselves—we did not have a child to drive to a practice or a music lesson or to help with homework. When my husband called me at the office asking if I wanted to have dinner, I went through my mental checklist before I finally said, “I think that would be fine.” It was quite an adjustment, but one that made us both realize that “me time” for each of us had slowly disappeared during the last 14 years.

So, we decided to join our local gym with a family monthly membership, and we started to work out. Interestingly, our gym was “turbocharged.” The gym has a new fancy system that is computerized. Once they obtain your background information, your name is programmed into this computer system and you are assigned a magic number. Every time you go to the gym, you punch in that number, and it tells you what progress you are making on all types of exercises (including at the gym and the ones that you can manually add for activities away from the gym, such as swimming, hiking, walking, and perhaps some other creative ideas that I have yet to come up with). It is interesting how this computer system has revived this gym and its members’ commitment to exercise. I know that I find myself frequently focusing on the points I have accumulated every week, how many times I go to the gym, and what that next prize level may be. (I think the first prize is a small towel, and the grand prize is a gym bag or sweatshirt.) I assumed that, once school started again and we were back into our daily routine of drop-offs, pickups, homework, dinner, time sheets, office bills, etc., I would not have time for exercise, but lo and behold, I have actually been making time for me! I am confident that the gym’s turbocharging has been a factor.

Making our lives easier by adding the tools needed—whether in our offices, in our cars, at home, or in a gym—will help us all better serve our clients, our profession, our community, and our society. And of course, we will be better people when we are at home because our new efficiency will give us the time to spend not only with our families but also with a focus on “me.” It is in this spirit that I encourage you to turbocharge away, especially if it makes your practice easier.

In the Division, we will continue to provide ways to turbocharge your office to improve your practice. All of our CLE offerings this year will be webcasted and video-recorded so that you can obtain any continuing education program whenever it is convenient for you. Go to to check out more than 20 CLE hours offered at the National Solo & Small Firm Conference, including “10 Ways WordPerfect Can Make You Better, Stronger, Faster,” “60 Technology Tips in 60 minutes,” “Setting Up a Law Office,” “Technology for the Solo and Small Office,” and “How to Avoid Electronic Malpractice,” among many other offerings.

Also, remember we have virtual brown bag luncheons every month on the second Wednesday at noon Central Time. Check out the free audio recordings of September’s “Technology Tips, Tricks, and Tools” virtual brown bag and October’s “David vs. Goliath” virtual brown bag on the Division’s website. These are the ways that our Division is providing you with the turbocharge you need to become more efficient and to level the playing field so that solos and small firm lawyers can do what they do best: deliver excellent, reasonably priced legal services, efficiently.

On a final note, I wish you an enjoyable, safe, and fun-filled holiday season with family, friends, and good cheer, but most importantly, enough turbocharge for plenty of “me time.”


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