Management Matters: Ask away! Tech Q&A for Missouri lawyers
Vol. 78, No. 4 / July - August 2022
Jeffrey R. Schoenberger
Jeffrey R. Schoenberger is a lawyer and senior consultant for Affinity Consulting. Schoenberger specializes in practice management advisory services, including content development, CLE presentations, and member consultations. He is also Affinity’s designated Apple expert. Schoenberger received a B.A. in history from Yale University and J.D. from the University of Virginia.
In speaking with Missouri lawyers during the 2022 Solo & Small Firm Conference in June, some common questions emerged, from which everyone can benefit. Below are six frequently asked questions, along with my typical answers.
My clients are comfortable with purely virtual meetings and communication, but I want to make sure I’m corresponding with them securely.
Answer: For email, review the email encryption paper on the Missouri Bar’s online Practice Management center. I use a version of Microsoft 365 for Business (E3) that simplifies encryption for the sender and receiver. Another good option is Identillect, which offers plugins for Outlook and Gmail. Missouri lawyers can even receive a discount.
For text messaging, options include the prominent WhatsApp and smaller apps like Threema, where you establish an encrypted channel between two phones by showing each other one-time, app-generated QR codes.
Another option is the new Clio for Clients app, which allows a lawyer and client to message and exchange documents – the lawyer via the Clio website and the client via a mobile app that includes a document scanner. Clio also offers a discount to Missouri lawyers via The Missouri Bar.
I see value in paperless, accessible-anywhere files. If I don’t have a scanner, what should I get? And, once I’ve scanned my documents, how do I find the one(s) I’m looking for?
Answer: If you’re seeking a desktop scanner, look to the sheet-fed and flatbed recommendations in the Practice Management Forms Bank on connect.MoBar.org. There are also portable printer and scanner recommendations. My default desktop recommendation is the ScanSnap iX1600. It works over Wi-Fi, scans up to 50 sheets at a time, and can automatically upload the scan to cloud storage providers. If you need mobility, try using a smartphone-based scanner app. Most smartphones have incredible cameras so a standalone scanning app, like Readdle’s Scanner Pro (iOS only) or SwiftScan (iOS and Android), often satisfy. Additionally, an increasing number of apps – like Apple’s Notes, Dropbox, and Clio for Clients – have document scanning tech built into them.
For finding the documents, I suggest two steps. First, use the resource on "Managing Your Documents Without a DMS" in the Forms Bank for guidance on good folder organization and file naming. Second, utilize a search utility more powerful than anything built into Windows or macOS. For Windows users, I recommend X1 Search ($79 per year). For Mac users, I recommend HoudahSpot ($34). Both programs let you build “stacked searches” like: all Word documents, edited in the last year, containing the phrase ‘summary judgement’ in the document text.
How do I protect my data from ransomware?
Answer: Suffering a ransomware attack means your computer is infected with a virus that encrypts your files. The attackers then offer to sell you the decryption key. Malware protection and backups are the best defenses. Enable the built-in firewall software on Windows or macOS. Additionally, for Windows, make sure the protections available in Virus & Threat Protection Settings are active. XProtect, macOS’ analogous feature, is always active. Find more details about using "AntiVirus and Antimalware Software" in the Forms Bank.
What tech do I need to be able to work on-the-go?
Answer: I don’t advise anyone to inflict work on their vacation. But, if you want a change of scenery, like working in a park or at a client’s location, I recommend: 1) an iPad Air with Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil ($749 for the cellular iPad; $300 for the Magic Keyboard; and $130 for the Apple Pencil); 2) comfortable headphones; and 3) an app that turns your smartphone’s camera into a document scanner (see Question 2).
What resources are available to keep up on legal technology happenings?
Answer: The bar’s Practice Management center is updated monthly with new content. The bar also offers many on-demand CLEs on practice management and technology. Outside of the bar, the Legal Talk Network offers many legal-oriented podcasts. Those with a tech-focus include the Digital Edge and Digital Detectives.
What if I have more questions?
Answer: We’re here to help! Schedule a 30-minute Ask the Expert consult or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no costs for Missouri lawyers.
 Jeffrey R. Schoenberger is a lawyer and senior consultant for Affinity Consulting. Schoenberger specializes in practice management advisory services, including content development, CLE presentations, and member consultations. He is also Affinity’s designated Apple expert. Schoenberger received a B.A. in history from Yale University and J.D. from the University of Virginia.