4/5/11

Geeky Tip: Moving Data from MS Word to Excel

I’m going to share with you two little tricks that I learned many, many years ago that will hopefully save you a lot of time when dealing with large amounts of data. Both of the tips are pretty simple, and perhaps you already know them. However, I’ve found that most of the folks I run across don’t, and they spend an enormous amount of time manually entering data when they don’t need to.

Both of these tricks involve taking text from MS Word and transferring it into MS Excel. If you’re like me, you tend to do this sort of thing all the time (because for some reason, Partners really like to see the information in a spreadsheet.)

Tip #1 - Converting Carriage Returns into Tabs
The most basic elements of transferring data from Word to Excel is that the columns are essentially separated by tabs, and the rows are separated by carriage returns. The big trick is using the “Find and Replace” option in Word to help you clean up the data automatically, rather than going through line by line and doing it manually. So, let’s take a simple example of a single address:

1111 First St.
Apt. 4A
Houston, TX 77002

We could manually remove the carriage return at the end of each line, but why not just let Word's "Find and Replace" function do that for us??

With the address above typed into MS Word, simple open the "Find and Replace" option by typing CTRL+H (or locate it on your toolbar/ribbon). You may also want to turn on the "Show/Hide ¶" feature (which will show the carriage returns and tabs in the document) by typing CRTL+*, or finding the button on your toolbar that has a paragraph symbol (¶) in it.

In the "Find what:" box type in ^p
In the "Replace with:" box type in ^t
Hit "Replace All"



The "^p" is Word's code for the carriage return, and the "^t" is the code for a tab. So, all we're doing is removing the carriage return and replacing it with a tab.

Once you've replaced the carriage returns with tabs, the text should now look like this:


Copy that line and go to the cell in Excel that you want to paste it… but don't paste it yet… there's still one more trick to do. Because I don't like to bring in all the formatting from MS Word into my Excel spreadsheet, I use the "Paste Special" -> "Text" or "Unicode Text" feature. This will strip out all the formatting that a regular paste function would bring in. So, if you "right-click" -> "Paste Special" -> "Text", you should get something that looks like this:

That works great if you only have one address, however, you'll probably have an entire list of addresses that you want to move from Word to Excel. Here's a way to to that.

Tip #2 - Moving Multiple Address from Word to Excel
I'm going to make one big assumption here, and that is that each of the addresses you have in Word is separated by two carriage returns. With that in mind, what we need to do is add a step at the beginning and end of the procedures we did with the single address so that we can move the next address to the next row in Excel.

Here are our addresses:

1111 First St.
Apt. 4A
Houston, TX 77002

1111 First St.
Apt. 4B
Houston, TX 77002

1111 First St.
Apt. 4C
Houston, TX 77002

Step one is to remove the double paragraphs and replace them with a "line return." The reason is that we still need to keep the data on separate lines, and this will allow us to do so without messing up the ability to put the tabs in the right place. Now, for most of you, the carriage return and the line return look pretty much the same on MS Word, but trust me, Word knows the difference and we can take advantage of that.

Open up the "Find and Replace" function again.
In the "Find what:" box type in ^p^p
In the "Replace with:" box type in ^l
Hit "Replace All"


Just as before, the "^p" means carriage return, but the "^l" (that's a lower-case L) is the code for a line return.

Now we repeat our previous "Find and Replace" function to remove the remaining carriage returns and convert them to tabs.

In the "Find what:" box type in ^p
In the "Replace with:" box type in ^t
Hit "Replace All"

Now, you don't necessarily have to do this next step, but I like to do it just to keep the data clean and consistant. I like to convert the line returns back to carriage returns before I paste it over to Excel.

In the "Find what:" box type in ^l
In the "Replace with:" box type in ^p
Hit "Replace All"

You can now copy over the information from Word and do your "right-click" -> "Paste Special" -> "Text" in Excel and end up with something that looks like this:


Just as with most "tips and tricks" there are always little things that can pop up that throws the steps off a little, but most of the time you can work your way through those little hick-ups.

Hopefully, these two little tricks will help you out in the future when you have pages and pages of data that you need to move from Word to Excel. Instead of send that document over to your Secretarial Services to have them manually type it in, use this and save everyone the time and effort.

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4/4/11

I'm sooo confused!

I just saw the press release from LexisNexis announcing the addition of American Lawyer Media (aka ALM) content to the Lexis service. As a single-service shop (we only have Lexis), I have to say that I'm a bit confused. First this content was available through both Lexis and Westlaw. Then came the Westlaw "exclusive." And now the Lexis "exclusive." All the while, it remained available through ALM's Law.com platform.
I used to compare the ALM access situation to my iPhone. If I wanted it bad enough, I would use the service it was on. Like AT&T, people complain about the service but didn't have much of a choice. It was either go through Westlaw or through the google-type search engine on Law.com. Readers of my prior blog posts can guess which one I went with. I was willing to endure being inundated with results over the alternative.
ALM does have great content and I am pleased that it is available on the Lexis platform. Being able to run targeted searches on this content will be a wonderful change. However, I'm not so pleased that, after purchasing it in print and through Law.com (not to mention getting premium access to their surveys), I'll have to pay a third time to get it from Lexis. I think the best solution would be to follow the iPhone lead and make their content available at least on both of the top two platforms.

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Once Were Lawyers

A few weeks ago I wrote a post attempting to define KM. It was simplistic and possibly naïve, but you have to start somewhere. Since then, I’ve come to realize that beyond a conceptual understanding of KM, you shouldn’t waste too much time trying to define it. The search for a single definition that will appease all parties is a fool’s errand. So with a conceptual understanding under my belt I began to focus on KM in a legal environment. How can we use KM within a law firm?
There are a couple of books on the subject and there is a close knit group of Legal KMers that are active on Linkedin, Twitter, this blog and the blawgosphere at large. These are brilliant people, who have spent a lot of time thinking about KM in law firms and they are willing and eager to share their experience and ideas. What more could a new legal KMer possibly want, right? Well, here I go again with my naïve and simplistic approach, but it seems to me that there’s a big chunk of the conversation that’s almost completely missing – The Staff.
I don’t have the statistics at the ready (don’t hold me too closely to the numbers), but experience tells me that non-attorney staff make up approximately 50% of law firm employees, while the Legal KM literature and ongoing conversations are about 95% focused on attorney knowledge flow. I hear a lot of…
· How do we improve knowledge flow within and between practice groups?
· How do we best capture the tacit knowledge gained after the transaction has occurred?
· What technologies will best facilitate collaboration between the attorneys, and between attorneys and their clients?
I don’t mean to say that attorney knowledge flow isn’t important, just that it’s not the only knowledge flow problem we have. Most of the non-attorney staff in a law firm are also knowledge workers. If we’re taking a holistic approach to KM within a law firm, shouldn’t we also be asking…
· How can we make it easier for non-attorney staff to communicate and collaborate?
· How can we more efficiently manage incident response within IT?
· How can we transfer the tacit knowledge of a retiring 45-year veteran legal secretary to the 22-year-old replacing her?
I do not hear many of these questions bantered about in Legal KM circles. (And for those of you keeping track at home, here’s where I’m really going to step in it.) I think that’s because the people writing the books and most of the KMers within the Legal KM-iverse are currently, or were at one time, attorneys. That doesn't make them bad people. In fact, it makes them well suited and qualified to handle the specific problems of implementing KM within a firm. Plus attorneys are much more likely to listen to another attorney talking up KM, than they are to their former IT guy. However, it also means that their perception of law firms is kind of skewed toward the attorneys. I’m not sure to what degree the non-attorney KM problems are even on the radar.
And yet, from my perspective as a non-attorney KMer with many years of support experience (and very little experience in KM), I see the problems of communication and execution amongst the support staff as the low-hanging KM fruit of law firms. Call it my “trickle-up” theory of Knowledge Management. I think we may be better served by building a culture of quality KM in the 50% of staff below the attorney level and then let the attorneys come along whenever they finally get it.
P.S. And this is a serious question. What percentage of KM leaders at the 2010 MAKE (Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise) winners are current or former practitioners of the company’s primary business? Engineers at IBM and GE, programmers at Google, Apple and Microsoft, accountants at Ernst and Young? Just curious.

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The Epsilon Risk/Benefit Scenario: Competitors' Eggs In One Basket Effect

If you were like me, you probably got one of these emails this weekend from a number of companies that were exposed to a hack from their outsourced email campaign company, Epsilon Interactive.

Here's one example I got from Robert Half Legal:


So far, I've received one from Robert Half, BestBuy, McKinsey & Co., and AbeBooks. However, according to Mashable, the list extends to many well know companies including, Kroger, TiVo, US Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One, Citi, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, Walgreens, LL Bean, the Home Shopping Network, and many, many more.

The idea that so many well-known and respected companies were using this single-source for their email campaigns made me wonder about the risks that are involved with this type of outsourcing and how substantial the effects of a single company's compromised information has on the multiple companies that use the services. The outsourcing of this type of service makes perfect sense when looked upon by a single company, but at what point does the risk overwhelm the benefits when an outsourcing company becomes a single point of failure for multiple companies?

This made me wonder about the outsourcing needs for law firms. On an individual law firm basis, it may make perfect sense to outsource a number of processes. However, when we stand back and look at the risks that an outsourcing company takes on for its entire customer base (multiple law firms) then the risks to the individual firm become greater. For example, if multiple law firms were to outsource their email systems to a single cloud-based system, or outsource all e-discovery to a single provider, or keep data from their client relationship management (CRM) tool on an outsourced system, the initial risk may seem very low, and the benefits very high. However, the risk may actually be much higher than you anticipate as more firms outsource their information to a single vendor.

Now, before you start thinking that I'm totally against outsourcing certain processes, there are a number of good reasons why firms outsource processes. Outsourcing, when used in the right way, can create a much more efficient process, can be overall less expensive, and can be scaled up and down according to the needs of the firm. Even the chances of someone hacking into the information can be far less likely from a well established outsourcing company's system when compared to the chances of a law firm's local information being hacked. So, there are substantial benefits to outsourcing that make perfect sense when looking at your firm's individual risk/benefit analysis.

The issues that confront an outsourcing group like an Epsilon, however, bring in risk factors that perhaps firms do not contemplate initially because they tend to think of their individual risks only, and not the risks that might happen if the firm's data is compromised and then commingled with data from a peer firm's compromised data. Just think of the conflicts checking that would have to occur if you had to include client representation from other firms' because their information was compromised along with your own. It would be almost impossible to clear a conflicts check in a scenario like that.

In many cases, efficiency will breed more efficiency, and in the outsourcing world, that means that fewer and fewer companies will be the "go to" companies for law firms to use. The potential for problems with putting alll those eggs in one basket could create situations similar to what happen to the major news networks during the 2000 elections when they all relied upon the Voter News Service to project exit-polling from the Florida election and projected Al Gore as President. As with that situation, there existed a single point of failure where one company influenced (embarrassed) many reputable other companies because of a single event.

The thing to remember is that when you place your eggs in a basket with other law firms through an outsourcing company, just remember that your risks have expanded beyond what is  contained within your individual egg shells. If your eggs and your competitors eggs get dropped, you are all now responsible for the resulting mess. Once those eggs are scrambled together, you won't be able to separate your individual eggs from all the others that were in the basket. Remember to add that scenario to your next risk analysis when outsourcing your firm's processes and information.

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4/1/11

3 Geeks and Law Firm, PC

After years of complaining at how inefficient law firms are, we here at 3 Geeks have begun work on a business plan to open a law firm in North Carolina. Although we would rather stay here in wonderful Houston, Texas, we have it on good authority that the North Carolina legislature is set to pass the "Allow Non-attorney Ownership of PC Law Firms" bill which will allow for up to 49% ownership of a law firm by non-attorneys. Add to that, the fact that the North Carolina flag is designed very similarly to the Texas flag, we've decided it must be an okay place to do business.


Toby and I have been saying for years that law schools produce lawyers that are ready for the bar exam, and prepare them to "think like a lawyer," but that their skills at running a business aren't usually as good as their ability to cross-examine a witness. We've tried for some time now to dole out information, tips, hints and tricks on making the operations of running a law firm better for both the client and the lawyer, but we feel that the North Carolina option will give us a chance to really put our ideas into motion, and potentially make a hefty profit along the way. We have one of the Financial Geeks looking into the tax benefits of creating an offshore operations in Grand Cayman that may enable us to expand into the UK market as well (Geeks seem to like New Zealand for some reason.)

Although the details need to be tweaked a bit, we're looking at a bevy of names for the firm:
  • Geek, Geek & Geek, PC
  • Geek³, PC
  • 3 Geeks and a Law Firm, PC
We'll have to check on the actual naming rules of North Carolina, but we're pretty sure we couldn't go with one of the suggested firm names of "We're better because non-attorneys are managing this firm, PC"

"It's a win-win situation," commented one of the Geeks in a recent conversation over margaritas. "Lawyers can focus on winning cases and bringing in new business, while we work on Alternative Fees, improving efficiencies, and coaching the attorneys on better business models that will attract more clients."


The initial idea for the firm is that 3 Geeks would recruit a core group of attorneys in the initial stages, and grow to a size of 51 attorneys, each as equity owners of the firm, each with a 1% stake. Although the Geeks would not have to vote as a block… let's face it, we'd be pretty stupid not to. So, although technically the Geeks would be minority owners, the idea is that we'd still run the show.

If the North Carolina project works out as well as we think, we would hire lobbyists to start pressuring other state legislatures to enact either a 49% non-attorney ownership rule, or even better, just do away with the majority ownership requirements altogether. In the end, we think that we've launched on this April Fool's Day an announcement that will be the future of how law firms are managed.

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3/31/11

Elephant Post: What Software Do You Wish You COULD Use At Work?

[Image (CC) by xxrobot]
In last week's Elephant Post, we asked what software you hated to use at work. So, this week we modified the question a bit and asked what software would you like to use at work, but for multiple reasons (most of which probably begin with the initials IT), cannot use.

The consistent answer was "something that makes my life easier." Now, really, is that too much to ask for?? (Apparently, it is.)

Take a look at what the contributors had to offer, and if you didn't have a chance to chime in with your favorite "non-authorized" software/hardware that you'd love to use at work.


Elaine Knecht
Librarian
Smart Software

As my friend the software developer says... ... I want to use the software that does what I MEAN instead of what I tell it do do!

Jennifer Stephens
Librarian & Geek
Movie editing software, MacBook Pro, iPad

Movie editing software - wouldn't it be great to make short "how to" videos for new associates/summer associates?
MacBook Pro - lots of power, battery life, simple OS. My newer MBP also has Windows 7 installed inside of Fusion (virtualization software).
iPad - wouldn't it be great to have a lightweight tablet to carry with me, to field reference questions or show services on the fly? I could go to the attorneys' offices to say, "look at the new..." (No, I don't own an iPad. Just two MacBook Pros, an iPod, and an iPhone 4.)

Cyndy M
Law Firm Marketing Technologist
Roboform

The much ballyhooed "single Sign-on" concept was a unicorn, a myth.
With every application and website requiring a login, I need a handy way to automate the process. This tool manages my passwords, logins and form fields.  Thank you, Roboform.

Greg Lambert
Library/Records Guy
Something Google-Doc-ish

I'd love to have some type of collaborative software that works as well as Google Docs, but is securely behind the firewall of the firm. I've worked an a number of projects with external folks using Google Docs and found it to be amazing in getting everyone on the same page (literally) and usually while discussing it on a conference call, we've been able to get hours of work accomplished in a matter of minutes. If we had something behind the firewall, I could get those inside the organization to collaborate in an easy and SECURE way.

Megan Wiseman
Law Librarian
Meebo

I admit my academic side is showing in this opinion but I felt I had to answer this week's question after sharing my software woes last week.
In a nutshell: I miss having chat reference.
Currently I'd estimate that about half the emails I send back and forth and maybe a third of the calls I get regarding reference requests could easily be replaced by a quick IM.  I know of companies that use "chat" software to facilitate communication when e-mail is just plain overkill, so it is possible to roll something like this out in a corporate setting...  but I'm just not sure how well it would work in my firm.  I can see drawbacks and benefits productivity-wise as well as the problem of having one more piece of technology to fold into people's work style.  But I miss not having to say "now can you spell that?" and being able to instead just copy and paste the name/citation/address/whatnot into my Google bar right from the chat window.

Saskia Mehlhorn
F&I Librarian
Camtasia

I think it is an excellent tool to bring training sessions  to the student and faculty (and anyone else who uses our website) so they can use it when they have a need for it and not just when we are physically available.
We could use it for all types of scenarios, going from "How to use the catalog" (followed after explaining to them that we actually do have a catalog), to the usage of the different databases, on how to perform legislative research up to international case search. The possibilities are endless.

Ryan McClead
KM
Microblogging Software

"Email is where knowledge goes to die."  - Bill French
I love this quote.  It makes me laugh and it's true.  Taken together with another truism, Lawyers live in Outlook, you can begin to see the problem.  All of that work, all of the knowledge disappears along with the regular IT data purge.  I dream of persistent, searchable, conversations which can be copied, pasted, linked to and generally re-purposed indefinitely.  I dream of group project discussions continuing throughout the week, rather than only happening once a week for an hour.  I dream of real-time spontaneous collaborations.  I dream of a flattened organization where the newest, most junior member of the company can easily converse with the CEO/COO/CIO and everyone else can share in their joint discoveries.  It's a lot to put on microblogging, but I think that's a good place to start.


Next Week's Elephant Post:
Tell us your favorite PowerPoint presentation story (good or bad… but, preferably bad!)
Toby's post on not using PowerPoint in a recent presentation garnered a lot of comments and traffic this week. Therefore, we thought we'd give everyone an opportunity to talk about some of the presentations that they've seen or given and what you've learned from that experience. Did you give too much information on the slide? Did an old version of your presentation get saved to your thumb drive? Or better yet, a completely different presentation? Go ahead and give us the dirt on what went wrong… or if you nailed a presentation because of PowerPoint, let us know that as well.

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So Anyone Out There "Liking" Google's "+1"?

Google just announced its answer to Facebook's "Like" button: the "+1" button.
What will happen is that the "+1" will display on your search results as long as you are logged in to your Google account and have opted to participate in the Google +1 Experiment.
I'm not so "like"-ing it. While investigating, I found out that I had to publicize my private Google account. And that all private Google accounts would be deleted by 7/31/2011. :(
As a suspicious, neurotic female, I am loathe to publicize my location information. Call me crazy, but even frumpy old me has had my share of quasi-stalking incidents: old boyfriends looming from the past, penal residents. You get my drift.
(As a side note, as a new female lawyer, I got my share of handwritten appeals mailed to my home address from Texas prisoners begging me to represent them. I quickly learned to unlist myself. As a newbie attorney, tho, it was quite a shocker.)
But I needed to check out this whole +1 craze for my job. I'm diligent that way. So I go check out my profile to make sure everything is copasetic. That's when I realize that Google is going to make me go public.
Google states, "If you currently have a private profile but you do not wish to make your profile public, you can delete your profile. Or, you can simply do nothing. All private profiles will be deleted after July 31, 2011."
WHAT?!?
I gotta come out of my nice, cozy, private world in order to play with +1? Heck, even Facebook let's me lock down my account.
So you know what I did, right? Fake data. I'm ageless, virtual and able to not just bilocate but multilocate.
Some tips to stay quasi-private:
  1. Don't use your real name
  2. Use a generic phrase to describe your business rather than giving a business names or school names
  3. Limit who can see your e-mail, home and business addresses. I set mine to contacts and family.
  4. Don't display the year of your birthday. You can limit display to only family and contacts.
  5. Don't specify your gender.
  6. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, do not display your customized URL. It shows your e-mail address.
OMG. I like Google, in a generic, gotta-have-it kind of way. And I know their mission is "do good". But just kinda have this itch in the back of my cranium that says in 100 years, Google is gonna be Hal.
You know, Hal for 2001 a Space Odyssey?
Ugh.

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3/30/11

The Ethics of Using Gmail Revived

The Lawyerist has revived the dialog on the ethics of lawyers using free email services like Gmail. It's good to see this debate continue, and I'll state up-front that the Lawyerist disagrees with my opinion on the subject. I still hold the position that a lawyer using an e-mail system that includes granting "a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence" of the e-mail content to a third party is a problem. One of the Geeks recently shared this language with ethics counsel who laughed out-loud. His response was essentially that any lawyer who uses e-mail under this arrangement is crossing the line.
I realize bars and courts are still treating e-mail like it's mail. To demonstrate this thinking I suggest you ask them the ethics question a bit differently. I like to turn these questions around and direct them at a paper process to see how they sound. In this case: Would it be OK to grant FedEx an irrevocable license to the content in all of a lawyer's documents and letters it transports? I'm guessing you will get a different answer since Rule 1.6 is pretty clear on this issue: A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent. FedEx agreeing not to show this content to other people would be irrelevant, since the act of 'revealing' has already occurred.
I'll reiterate my prior advice to lawyers (and the Bar): if you want to hold yourself out as a profession with higher duties of care - then act like one.

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Law Librarians Take Note. Or "Captcha" This.

You know that irritatingly fuzzy words that you have to enter before you get those oh so desired NCAA tickets? You know, those "Captcha" words?
What if I told you that you are participating in an actual job--that you were, in fact, working for Google? Yup. In yet another brilliant crowdsourcing scheme, similar to their Goog-411 project (remember calling 1-800-GOOG-411 for free information? they were using your voice to teach their search engine how to perform search by voice), Google has us, the unsuspecting common man, to decipher inscrutible text in the Google Books project.
According to a New York Time's article, "Deciphering Old Texts, One Woozy, Curvy Word at a Time," Captchas was a project developed by a computer scientist Luis von Ahn and his team at Carnegie Mellon University.
The now ubitquituous reCaptchas program was created after the New York Times asked von Ahn's group to digitize their archives. Now, any of you who ever scanned a document know, it is an imperfect science. When I worked in records early in my legal career, I learned the hard way how difficult it is to OCR docs. There are always drunken looking words that hang in the inner margins, stamps that are difficult to read, old typewriter ribbons that smudged.
So von Ahn (don't you like that name? It think it rhymes with "Ah-Hah!"), converted the unreadable to a bitmap image, convert it to OCR (optical character recognition), then converted it to a Captcha (completely automated public Turing test to tell computers and humans apart (Turing being the British computer pioneer)). Then it is a simple matter for a human to look at the text and decipher.
The only catch is that there are gazillions of these words stretched across time. So von Ahn figured a way to do it. An extremely profitable way. ReCaptcha is the go-to authentication service for web sites.
Von Ahn figures that 200 million Captchas are figured out each day, at a rate of 1 Captcha decoded every 10 seconds. He started his little project in 2006. He sold the little start-up in 2009. To Google. For an undisclosed amount.
Yeah, baby.
Maybe our own smarty-pants in legal land can figure out how to Captcha our own OCRs by our unwitting staff. Hmmm. The mind boggles.
All I want to know is can I get Google to give me back pay for all of this?

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Changing the Message

[Please welcome Guest Blogger Colleen Cable from Cable&Clark, and blogger with Law Firm Bottom_Line]

Oftentimes we get stuck in a rut and just don't know how to get out. I sometimes feel this way about the current status of law librarianship and how we communicate with firm management. This is especially true these days as we try to defend our budgets and perhaps our very existence in the organization.

So what should we do? Since most of us are in the same rut, I'm always a big fan of looking outside our profession or industry for inspiration and new ideas. Recently, I came across this video (also embedded below) on Twitter and it immediately resonated. The basic message from Laura Patterson is: impact not output. While the video and the topic might be geared toward redoing a marketing budget, the general message applies perfectly to law librarians. Like many, we typically think about the 'numbers' from an output perspective. For example, how many reference requests did we have during the month of February? How many new titles were added to the catalog this month? But I wonder if this is enough? Is this meaningful to anyone? Does it show value? It hasn’t worked, so how do we change the message?
In the video, Laura recommends focusing instead on these three things:
  • Acquiring new customers
  • Customer retention
  • Customer growth
This could be a real game-changer for librarians. Instead of the number of reference requests, what if we focused on increasing the number of new attorney users to a recently purchased product? How can we grow the customer base? You could then measure the cost of the subscription on per attorney basis and watch the value increase month over month. Another opportunity: We know that only a fraction of the potential customer base uses the library, so how can we acquire new customers and retain them? How can we expand our services to existing customers? How can we increase the IMPACT of the library on the organization?
Bottom line: stop measuring the ‘stuff’ we do and start measuring the outcomes we achieve.



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3/29/11

The Compelling Presentation: Don’t Use PowerPoint

I know … everyone loves to hate PowerPoint and much has been written about why it’s such a bad thing. Yet everyone still seems to use it. My use of PowerPoint has evolved over the years and I generally follow the Best Practices out there, avoiding too much text, keeping slides simple, using compelling graphics and basically using PowerPoint to emphasize my point – not to make it for me. So recently as a challenge to myself, I made two presentations without using PowerPoint. Both of these presentations were on cutting-edge topics, brand-new presentations for me. This meant they would be challenging to present in any event.
First off – instead of submitting a slide deck for the handouts, I actually produced two case studies / articles. This did require more effort on my part, but instead of telegraphing everything I was going to say in advance to my audience, I actually provided them with a valuable take-away.
When I gave the presentations, I used flip-charts and white-boards to illustrate any points I wanted to emphasize – mostly drawing graphs (one of my economist failings I suppose). I enjoyed this aspect of the challenge, as I was able to bring the ideas to life as I described them. I was also able to move more fluidly to different aspects of the presentation in response to questions, instead of saying “I have a slide later on that shows that.”
The Results:
On both occasions I received very positive feedback. Attendees made a point of coming up to me to thank me for not using PowerPoint. One person said it made them focus on what I was saying, instead of the screen. And instead of having a crutch to lean on, I became even more involved in my presentation. So the quality of my presentation went up for the audience and I had fun getting out of a rut.
The real epiphany came after the conference. Realizing I was the only one not to use PowerPoint made me truly stand-out. It was a definite differentiator, so much that one attendee offered me a job on the spot.
So if you are trying to make your presentations stand out in a crowd, you might try one or two sans the PowerPoint crutch. You will get noticed and you might actually enjoy it.

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LexisNexis Client Analysis - My Sneak Peek Before 4/1 Launch

After seeing the initial product some two years ago, I got to walk through the new LexisNexis Client Analysis (LNCA) products with Lexis' Chris Whitmore. The product was beta tested throughout 2010 and is set to go out for general release on April 1st, and Lexis pushed out a press release on it yesterday. I wanted to go over some of the features that Whitmore showed me and add in some comments on what the product is set up to do from a Business Development perspective.

The idea behind LNCA began after Lexis purchased Redwood Analytics and decided that all that financial data was great, but could it be married up with other products like the firm's Client Relationship Management (CRM) tool [InterAction] and external client information that is housed in Lexis' product atVantage? By combining the different products business development professionals (or law firm partners if you're in a pinch) could break down that data and create self-service analysis reports, cross-selling opportunities, client profiles, and trends analysis reports. Those just happen to be the four general features of the LNCA product.

While I was talking with Chris Whitmore, he mentioned that the demand for intelligence and analytics is on the rise in the legal field within the area of business development, and that Marketing has evolved from generic tactical approach to a more analytical and intelligence approach. In other words, firms are realizing that client development, cross-selling and retention can no longer be accomplished through a shotgun approach where the idea was to scatter the firm's resources and talent over a wide batch of clients. Instead, firms need to focus like a laser on existing clients and then isolate potential clients where the firm's services fit their needs.

Many firms have been doing these types of deep-analytical reports, but they tend to be manual processes based on data that may not be relevant to the real needs of the firm in a biz dev approach. The most common of these are the famous "Top 25" or "Top 50" client projects that firms take on to see what kind of opportunities in cross-selling can be made for those clients. The typical pattern for pulling these are based on the past year or two financial data with a few clients sprinkled by some of the firm's top Partners.

Although the idea of using last year's financial data may be the easiest way to pinpoint who the firm is doing the most business with, LNCA is set up to do a deeper analysis of that data and identify those key clients, along with attempting to do analysis of those clients that are at-risk of leaving the firm, or trending in a way that shows significant reduction in work going to the firm. According to some of the Redwood studies, it is typical for clients to reduce their legal spend with a firm somewhere in the average of 15% every year. So, firm's are constantly looking for ways to stop this reduction in work.

LNCA uses that financial data, over an extended period of time (1 year, 2 years, 5 years) to help label clients based on their trends over those periods. Clients are profiled into one of four quadrants based upon the hours of work performed for the clients and the weighted average hours of work per year based on partner rates, the breadth of work, and key partner participation. The best clients fall in the first quadrant, and the clients with the least amount of work trickle down to quadrant four.


Once the quadrants in eight potential areas:

  • Acorns - clients that start small and grew into very large clients. (more on these later)
  • Backsliders - Started in Q1/Q2 but are now in Q3
  • Cross-Sell Legacy - Where clients with have fluctuated over the past two or three years and have worked with more than two practice groups during that time.
  • Cross-Sell New Opps - Newer clients that have worked with more than two practice groups in the past two years
  • Cross Sell Ongoing Opps - Older clients that still use the firm, but haven't used more than two practice groups at any time
  • Fallen Star - Clients that were in Q1, but have fallen below certain sub-quadrant scales
  • Growth - Current Q1 or Q2 and have increased in scale since inception (excludes those labeled as Acorns)
  • New High Activity - New clients currently in their first 12 months of activity that have more than 10 active matters, each with more than five hours.

LNCA starts with this financial information, but begins to integrate the CRM and other data that helps narrow along the lines of two important metrics that firms need to know about their clients – Relationships and Attrition. InterAction information is isolated to see who knows who and determine the relationships. Are they all with one person, or does the client have a more varied relationship throughout the partnership? The idea is that if all of the relationship is with one partner, the higher the risk is for attrition with this client. If that can be identified, then the firm could work to expand the relationships with that client beyond the core partner.

Now, I'm going to have to stop here and point out the obvious that InterAction is one of those resources that many firms have, but where the data is suspect at a minimum. For firms that have nice clean InterAction data, this may be a gold mine, but for those firms that I've talked to that have InterAction, I'm not sure how much good information can be pulled from this resource.

Self service analysis... Build your own list

The Self-Service Analysis tool is set up to allow for the filter of  the data you want pulled. Analysts can focus in on each quad, and within specific bubbles within those quadrants. The financial data also is set up to be sorted and filtered. The analysis also looks at partner billing data and gauges the relationship between the partners and the clients. Finally, external information from LexisNexis' atVantage product is matched up with the client data to give a quick indicator of if the legal work is growing or shrinking, and how much the firm is getting of that work. 

Once you have a list (and everyone knows how much Partners love lists!), you can export the lists to Interaction to begin the marketing push. The basic idea behind the self service part is for the analyst to have access to the data, and allows the analyst to set up reports in a number of ways (charts, pivot tables, etc.) This should help identify and rate clients on a number of predetermined categories and make the final results more consistent as you look at a cross section of clients. 



Cross sell analysis ... Slice and dice the data

The Cross selling analysis tool breaks down exactly how cross sold the clients really are (practice groups, partner relationships, etc.) There are multiple ways to split this data in order to determine where the strengths and weaknesses are for specific clients. 












Trend analysys ... Identify the trends

The Trend Analysis portion charts out where the clients fall over set period of time. Charts can be graphed in different ways. By comparing the work performed for the client over a number of months or years, the idea is to get an early warning on when the firm is starting to lose work for specific clients. It also works the opposite way in helping identify trends for the client that may serve as opportunities for the firm to gain work in different practice groups, or differnt offices.





Profiles piece ... Where it all comes together
Profiles attempt to sum up the lifetime value of the individual clients. Clients that are high performers, clients that are at risk, and those that fall somewhere in between. The profiles portion is set up to help the firm work toward building better relationships with the client, or even determine that the firm needs to reduce the time the spend attempting to attract new work from clients that have weak ties to the firm.

InterAction, Redwood and atVantage… Do you have to have all of them?

Obviously, not everyone has all three pieces of the LNCA pie. Whitmore explained that LNCA comes with Redwood. So, if you don't have Redwood already, then it will be a part of this product. In addition to bringing in Redwood, LNCA will bring in a limited portion of atVantage if your firm does not subscribe. The limited version is not as broad as the full version, so there will be some reduction in overall capability of LNCA, but there should be enough to point you in the right direction on legal work for those clients. If you do not have InterAction, however, then that piece will not be brought in with LNCA. There is also no plans to integrate LNCA with any other type of CRM resources.

Cost? Setup?

LNCA is a web-based product set up on the Microsoft Silverlight platform. It is a subscription based product  that is normally set up on a three-year license agreement based on number of users within the firm. There is no installation fee, so the monthly price will include the set up of the product.

I asked if this resource is also designed to help identify potential billing rates or alternative fee arrangement opportunities, and was told that LNCA isn't designed to do that, and that type of information was something that the Redwood Planner platform (separate service) was set up to do. Also, the data generated by LNCA is usually generic so that it won't expose sensitive billing or realization information on individual rates between partners.

The product goes out on April 1st. Hopefully, I've relayed enough information from my preview to let you know whether it fits the business development needs of your firm. I'm sure you'll hear from your Lexis sales rep before too long!

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3/28/11

The Next Thing: Your Own QR Code?

Step 1: This weekend I attended the Bayou City Arts Festival. After seeing a 100 or so QR Codes, I finally noticed how prevalent they were. Good marketing I thought.
Step 2: Greg invited me to attend lunch with Debra Kolah and him at the Hubcap Grill today (Mmmmm – good burgers). Debra is doing some really interesting stuff at Rice University and was sharing her ideas. One of them is that she is trying color coded QR Codes – which is very forward thinking.
Step 3: The little light bulb went off. So I asked Debra about getting my own QR Code. She said - easily done.
Step 4: So back at the office, I found the Kaywa QR-Code generator, and made my own. This code takes you to my LinkedIn profile, but could instead be configured to send a text, a phone number or an SMS (text message).
So for all you marketers out there, time to think about integrating QR Codes in to all of your collateral. I just need to figure out how to get it on my business card now.

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3/27/11

New and Emerging Legal Infrastructures Conference (NELIC)

Toby was kind enough to highlight for me a very interesting conference scheduled for April 15 at Berkeley Law School. It's called the New and Emerging Legal Infrastructures Conference (NELIC), and is hosted by a legal startup called Robot Robot & Hwang -- two of the partners are 'robots'; the third is Tim Hwang, formerly a researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, and currently a strategist and analyst at The Barbarian Group.
The firm's mission is "to marshall a universe of thinking from the world of technology, startup, and computational science to bear on the often staid and conservative world of legal practice." And the sessions for the conference dovetail nicely with this:
  • Quantitive Legal Prediction: "How might recent work in machine learning and natural language processing influence legal practice and strategy in a big way? To what extent can judicial and legal decision-making be reduced to statistical modeling and prediction?"
  • Legal Automation: "What is the current state of the automation of legal tasks, and how far can it scale? How much can be replaced by these applications, and what does the legal profession look like in a world of broad automation and commodification?"
  • Legal User Experience and Interface Design: "The design of easy-to-use 'human-readable' user interfaces to manage complex legal tasks holds the possibility of radically democratizing access to the legal system. What is the broad impact of abstracting from legal text? What are the best practices in the design of these interfaces?"
  • Legal Finance: "As banks and other firms continue to experiment with the finance and investment of lawsuits, what is the long-term impact on the legal marketplace? Could it open the door to securitization and larger tradable legal assets? What would be the opportunities? The risks?"
A pretty interesting line-up, and a varied set of speakers as well. I'm scheduled to speak as part of the Legal Automation session, and will try to blog about as much of the conference as I can.

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3/25/11

The Value of Law Firm Experience Lists and Other Musings from an AGC

I had the pleasure of hearing Paul Beach, Associate General Counsel for Litigation for United Technologies Corporation (UTC) give a wonderful and informative presentation on AFAs. Bottom-line: Paul and UTC have it right when it comes to AFAs. In concert with AFAs, Paul talked a lot about value. In addition to what provides value, Paul gave a list of things firms do that they think provide value to clients, but really don’t - at least for him. Here is my abbreviated and paraphrased list:
#1 – Firms send him long “experience” lists, showing what cases they have handled and how they won them. He estimate somewhere between 50 to 95% of these cases are not worth mentioning. He views them as too much information, and information he doesn’t necessarily trust and really doesn’t value. As he said it, lawyers typically talk about every case as a win, since a resolution is a win. I read that as - don’t send him long experience lists or don’t even send him a list at all unless it’s relevant/valuable to the situation.
#2 – Don’t send him hard-copy, leather-bound books authored by firm lawyers. He described these as “too heavy, with no search function.” He mentioned one he received that already had a pocket-part inserted. He read that as “out-of-date.” Books are knowledge that is not shareable, current or mobile. Even with the leather – he was not impressed.
#3 – Billing him for providing training for his internal staff. Enough said.
#4 – Entertainment or gifts. Most legal departments are charged with enforcing Procurement’s rules, which state, “no gifts from vendors.” So why are you offering gifts to the Legal Dept.?
#5 - Writing off time. This one was his “favorite.” When a lawyer calls him and tells him that a lot of time was written-off, he assumes they are trying to impress him by voluntarily reducing waste from his bill. Instead, what he hears is that they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s an indicator of bad process and bad management.
So … in addition to truly getting AFAs, Paul also knows how to ‘cut to the chase’ on what value means.
Bravo Paul.

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3/24/11

Elephant Post: What Software Do You Use That You Wish You Didn't Have To?

We go to work… we log on to our computers… we open up our standard software… then we shake our heads at how bad that software is, or how we really wish we could use something (anything!) other than this program. So, that was our question for you this week, what do you have to use, that you really wish you didn't. We received a number of different perspectives this week, from old legacy programs to server-based software that just doesn't quite understand what we need to accomplish in our day-to-day operations.

Enjoy the contributions, and scroll down below them to see next week's Elephant Post. If you enjoy reading other perspectives, then chime in with your own (it's easy!!) In fact, next week's question is almost the opposite of this week's. "What Software Do You Wish You COULD Use At Work?"



Megan Wiseman
Law Librarian
DBText

First off: my firm's version of DBText is a leftover dinosaur from the mid-nineties.  Yes: di-no-saur.  Those who came before me merely kept it going ... honestly I have no idea what the situation was: whether they looked for alternatives/updates or not.  Perhaps there was no buy-in from others regarding change.  And, yes, technically it works.  We're only using it as a catalogue which means the pressure to make a change is relatively low.
However, as a librarian, I am in the business of making information available, and our current setup effectively hides the catalogue from anyone except myself and my library assistant - talk about a terrible practice of information control!
But this isn't merely a "boy, have I got a bad piece of software" rant.  As I have said, the program is good and does what it promised.  In the 90s I am sure this was a great idea, but then, I didn't even have internet at home until around that time.  Putting it in perspective, I would do better having a card catalogue in the library: at least my patrons could use it!  Luckily, I have the option to change as long as I can cut through all the red tape.  Currently, I am looking into open source options - something our tech person is being very supportive on, despite the scary lack of documentation and details some open source software provide.  It's amazing how many little things can get in the way of choosing Koha or Evergreen...migration work aside.  So I guess I may have answered my question after all regarding why we've never changed this piece of software.  (Kudos to tech people everywhere!)


John Hafen
Lawyer
Microsoft Outlook


Outlook is both the most crucial and most despised piece of software in my practice. I am in it all day. But it is slow, bloated and constantly freezes (even after my recent computer upgrade).
Three simple improvements would vastly improve my Outlook experience: more speed, less freeze and better search functionality.


George Carter
Lawyer
Word, Windows


WordPerfect is a  much better word processor and Ubuntu is much better than Windows.  I want Google to put key strokes as WordPerfect's Alt-F7, Shift-F7, etc and reveal codes into its Docs.  Word is not for people who want to type starting with a blank document.


David Whelan
Information Pro
Lotus Notes


Lotus Notes is my work  e-mail client and, because e-mail is a primary communication and organization tool for me, Notes 8.5 is a negative drag on my productivity.  I know it's not an e-mail program, it's a database.  But that's no reason for it to offer the promise of e-mail management only to pull the carpet out, laughing, providing fewer features than Google Mail when it was in beta.  To be fair, how software is implemented across an enterprise, which may block or break features that are available, is part of the problem.  We have not fully implemented the latest version because it requires more powerful hardware than our PCs have.  Even the Web version(s -I am offered 3 interfaces when I log in, none of which offer the same suite of functions nor work in all browsers) are substandard, although at least they remove the hardware issues.
How bad?  Threaded messages often show the wrong messages in the threads, wrong topic, wrong senders/recipients.  If you sort by the subject line of messages, messages with "re:" or "fw:" are sorted by R or F, respectively, not the real subject line.  Some columns (like sender name) do not always sort, so you can scroll down sender names and find names out of alpha order.   It's not even that Lotus Notes is worse than Microsoft Outlook/Exchange.  It's that Notes isn't even as good as free e-mail clients like Thunderbird or Google Mail.  E-mail is such a cornerstone tool that when the e-mail client negatively impacts productivity, it should be tossed.


Fiorentino
Analyst
IE6


Until recently, my company had been on IE6, the biggest piece of garbage software I have ever used.  It rendered half the webpages properly. Just horrible.


K DeLia
Marketer
Lotus Notes

Enough just saying the name - no need to elaborate! I think we can all agree Outlook is a better corporate email system. While Lotus Notes, claims more security from hackers, etc., the sluggishness and multiple crashes are trying. Further, creating content management systems and centralized repositories in databases is just passé...


Ayelette Robinson
Knowledge Management
SharePoint

I have two bones to pick with SharePoint: (1) it's not user-friendly, and (2) it purports to be user-friendly. The first reason wouldn't be so bad if it was marketed as a tool for the technology-fluent. But the first reason in combination with the second really gets my goat. I know there are good enterprise and industry reasons to use SharePoint, but the trials and tribulations we all go through to get it to do what we want just doesn't seem right.


Stacey Burke
Lawyer/Marketer
Blackberry Email on Phone


Our firm does not have a Blackerry Enterprise Server therefore my emails are routed through some *place* online and dump a few at a time every 5 minutes or so.  I get them WAY too late.  The partners have mostly switched to iPhone and they get emails on their pda's before their desktops sometimes.  I simply cannot let go of the tactile Blackerry keypad so I have to keep it.  Yet each time I step away from my desk, even to travel down the hall to the main scanner, I know I am missing or experiencing an unnecessary delay on email web submissions from my sites.  It irks me.  We just upgraded to a 2010 Outlook Exchange Server.  I am told by our outsourced IT that it will impact our pda's but not what that means.  I wish I may, I wish I might that it might make my Blackerry emails more instant. I doubt it.  Rant over.


Toby Brown
AFA/KM
IE7


Based on some internal applications, I need to use IE7 daily.  Separately I run Chrome.  Watching these two browsers side-by-side was quite revealing.  IE7 is significantly slower and sometimes chokes on websites, etc.  One time I was having a problem with an internal app running in IE7, so on a whim I tried it in Chrome.  It worked fine there.
I assume upgrading to the newest version of IE would help alleviate some of this.  But then we would have compatibility problems with some of our apps.  And I recall hearing in the not-so-distant past how the next IE would no longer be slow and cumbersome.  So count me as a skeptic that upgrades are the answer.
So I suppose the real answer to the IE problem is: Chrome.


John Nann
Librarian
Word


Well, it's really a tie between IE, Outlook, and Word.  Why? Let's see: slow, clunky, slow, limiting, slow, susceptible to crashing, slow, susceptible to crashing, slow, constraining, and, let's see, yes, they're a little slow…


Kingsley Martin
Attorney & Software Developer
Security by hidden trick / Software that imports data easily, but makes it hard to extract


As a software developer, I should probably not throw stones. But, in this case, I’ll throw caution to the wind and offer a couple of bricks.
  1. Security by hidden trick. NT is known for its enhanced security. It’s frequently more of an enhanced waste of time. True security is not a matter of undisclosed tricks. For example, turning off wireless networking by default in Windows Server 2008—and without notification—simply wastes time. Selectively disabling javascript functions appears to be an example of the security maxim: “for your added protection, we haven’t told you that we disabled some javascript functions. Once you’ve discovered this nifty disabling feature, next guess which function calls we hobbled.” Fun for all the network engineers!
  2. Software that imports data easily, but makes it hard to extract. One of the most important principles of technology is that information has a longer live span than applications. Legal forms, for example,  can date back 100’s of years and will likely be handled by numerous successive applications making switching costs one of the most important considerations when choosing technology. A good example of this is Adobe PDF. Of course, you can’t place the entire blame on Adobe: who in their right mind creates an electronic document, prints it, signs it, and then scans it: without preserving the original electronic file! Companies are going to make millions OCR’ing these documents back into machine-readable form. This principle also has a cautionary lesson for law firms considering SharePoint. Each of the applications being built on the SharePoint platform will likely capture information that will be later be ported to some successor—perhaps cloud-based—app. Hopefully, this is not a case of déjà Lotus Notes all over again.


Next Week's Elephant Post:
What Software (or Hardware) Do You Wish You COULD Use At Work?
We've listed out a number of things that we hate to use this week, so we thought we'd turn the issue upside down and see what software, hardware, devices, etc. that you'd love to be able to use at work. I'm still trying to think of a really good reason to have NetFlix streamed to my work desktop, but I'm having a hard time coming up with a sustainable business reason… However, I do love using Chrome as my web browser and would love to be able to take advantage of some of the extensions that are offered on it or FireFox without my IT group coming down on me like a ton of bricks.

How about you? Got something you use at home, or have "unofficially" installed on your desktop? What makes it so useful that you think that IT should look the other way when they come to fix something on your computer?

As always, we put the form right here for you to fill out, but you can also:



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Point, Click. It's Yours!

As I was reading the NY Times this morning (in print, no less!), I came across the business section's front page article, "Swiping is the Easy Part," a story about using your mobile device like a credit card. And the ensuing struggle between banks, retailers, credit cards and mobile phone carriers who all want a piece of the pie. Some banks are getting around the whole issue by giving customers chips that they can install into their mobile device; thereby, diverting mobile operators. Oddly enough, just yesterday I Stumbl'd across Jack Dorsey's app, Square. Mind you, I'd read about Square when it first came out but I put it aside as interesting but not yet applicable to me or my business. For those unfamiliar with Square, it is a small device that hooks into your mobile phone and allows you to accept credit cards from you mobile device (it's only built for iPhones, iPads and Androids). For me, the common thread between these two items is vocalized by Jan Chipchase (perfect name, right?), the executive creative director at the design firm who studies mobile payments. "Is it possible to make a system that's too easy to use, where you reduce so much friction from the transaction process that people aren't necessarily aware of what they're spending on something?" Even Jack and his gang of ..., well, techies caution users on the reality of their product.
"Let's spin a little story here: you are an excellent person, therefore you downloaded Square. Your reader arrives, and you immediately want to show it off. You run into the kitchen, where your visiting Aunt Myrtle is busy doing her crossword puzzle." "You mesmerize her by swiping her credit card through the reader on your phone, jokingly charge her $10,000, and quickly cancel the transaction before it is authorized. Whoops! You just put a hold of $10,000 on her bank account!" "Aunt Myrtle isn't quite so docile anymore. Thankfully, you didn't actually charge that money, but nevertheless that hold remains. Now you have an angry aunt, no extra money, and you could have avoided this whole situation (and made a buck) with a simple test swipe of a single dollar."
That's kinda why I don't like Kindles, Nooks, iTunes and the like.
I am afraid of my own financial temerity (if that even makes sense).
With barely a swipe, point and click, I would buy a $500 books in a week-end, $100 worth of tunes and $10,000 worth of clothes. And that's low-balling it!
I know, I know. We always say that you can't legislate people from being stupid. And this is the same kind of thing.
But really: Is it all just too magically delicious?
Really.

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3/23/11

Hey Local Newspaper – You're Not Really Local Anymore…

I'm about to go on a rant about local newspapers that publish on the Internet, but don't give the "out-of-towner" reader any idea of where the newspaper is located. I'm going to pick on The Daily Journal, but they are by no means the first local newspaper that I've had to scour to find out where exactly they are located. So, here's a little back story.

I got a news feed alert on a story entitled "Freeholders concerned about closing library." So far, so good… I'm interested in any story that discusses how communities are looking at closing libraries to shore up shrinking budgets. When I arrive to the story, I see the name of the town, but not the state in which the town is located.


Alright… "Bridgeton" doesn't really sound familiar to me, so I start looking through the story to see if there's something in there that names the state. Nothing.
Next up… look at the banner for the website to see if it mentions a state. 


No state mentioned either in the banner, or in any of the other links at the top of the page. And with a generic name like "The Daily Journal.com - A Gannett Company" this paper could be anywhere.
So, nothing in the by-line… nothing in the banner… nothing in the top links.
How about looking at the ads? Maybe there will be an ad for a local company that will mention the state??


Hallelujah!! It's Georgia!!!
No!! It's not Georgia. Seems that the ads are set up to look at my IP address and identify that I'm coming in from a Georgia IP address. Two problems with this:
  1. I'm not in Georgia… my firm is… I'm in sunny Houston, Texas!!
  2. The fact that the newspaper has ads that adjust for "out-of-towners" lets me know that they understand that people from outside the community are going to drop in, but that they don't really care to make it clear where they've landed.
So now I'm getting a little ticked-off…
I look at the "Help" and "Terms of Service" pages… no luck.
Holy crap!! How freakin' hard does this have to be??

New Jersey!!
Finally… finally… finally, I see an image near the bottom of the original page that tells me I've landed in New Jersey (by this time I'm saying "New Jersey" like the Fred Armisen impersonation of New York Governor, David Patterson.)

From start to finish, it probably took me three or four minutes to track down where this newspaper is covering. Granted, not a lot of time, but completely unnecessary. 
This was my drawn out way of asking that local newspapers that publish out the Internet to realize that you're now a global operation. Please make it easier on those of us that aren't locals by making it obvious where you're located. It will result in at least one less frustrated librarian in the world.


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Private Law Libraries Summit II: Change as Action, Change as Opportunity (7/23 - Philly)

Go ahead and block off July 23rd, and schedule your plane, train or automobile trip over to Philadelphia for a day long meeting focused on the issues that confront private law firm libraries, librarians and administrators. Anyone that went to the first PLL-SIS (Private Law Library - Special Interest Section) Summit in Denver last year can tell you that this is where the magic happens, and where not only the law firm librarians need to show up, but they also need to bring along those non-librarians (library partners, IT and KM directors, CIO's, COO's, etc.) and share in the wealth of conversations that go on during the sessions.

To sweeten the pot a little bit, the lunch time “entertainment” happens to be a couple of co-bloggers here on 3 Geeks. Toby Brown, Scott Preston, and I will talk about some of the PLL-SIS webinars we've presented (still time to sign up for Scott's webinar), as well as anything else that happens to pop into our geeky little minds at the time. Other speakers include Esther Dyson, Jim Jones, David Curle and Sabrina Pacifici. If that's not enough for you, show up on Friday night (7/22) for a reception hosted by BNA (that's probably where my best work will occur!!)

Here's the press release along with all the links you'll need to register. Hope to see you there! Don't forget to invite someone else to go with you!!


PLL-SIS Summit II:  Change as Action, Change as Opportunity

Registration is now open for the Private Law Libraries Change as Action Summit held in conjunction with the 2011 AALL Annual Meeting on July 23, 2011, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.  Join us for a jam-packed day, filled with thought-provoking speakers and vibrant discussions on PLL-focused programming!

We are tremendously excited to announce that Esther Dyson, legendary technology visionary, will be our Keynote Speaker, sponsored by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business. We’ll also be hearing from Jim Jones of Hildebrandt, David Curle of Outsell, Inc., Sabrina Pacifici of BeSpacific, the Three Geeks, and many more dynamic and intriguing speakers.

In addition, break-out sessions, based on the current PLL Law Firm Management webinar series, will allow attendees to engage in open dialogue on their favorite webinar topics, from law firm financials to knowledge management and client marketing.

In the afternoon, we will offer concurrent programs in three areas: administration, research/reference and technology/technical services on practical topics such as metrics, project management, legal publishing trends, and social media.  

The $145 registration fee includes all programs plus a Friday night BNA Welcome Party, a breakfast sponsored by Priory Solutions, lunch sponsored by LexisNexis and an afternoon break sponsored by Law360.  Registration is required by June 17th.  Sign up now to take part in this exciting event!

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