The Friday Five
Mac-loving lawyers recently gathered from all over North America for the 2012 edition of the MILOfest (Macs in Law Offices fest) conference. Organized by attorney and Mac guru Victor Medina, the conference features a wealth of fresh ideas and practical tips for leveraging the power of the Mac ecosystem in a law practice. It’s also a great opportunity to get together with some of the best and brightest in the legal profession, all at Walt Disney World Resort.
Five Hot Mac Tips from Orlando
Here are a few highlights (of many) that I took away from this year’s conference:
- Ninja presentation tips from Brett Burney. Always a model of good presentation, Brett shared tips for creating a compelling presentation using Keynote. Kicking off his session with a hilarious YouTube clip from comedian Don McMillan on how not to create a slide deck, Brett provided some excellent “ninja tips” on how to use slides as engaging visual support instead of as information-dense talking points. Those present will never again find themselves narrating bullets from a slide to a sleeping audience.
- Wisdom from Apple’s service strategy. If you’ve ever found yourself drawn into an Apple store, you are sure to have realized that Apple takes its brand experience very seriously. From their artfully crafted hardware to their predictably exceptional customer service, they have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that Apple evangelism is no accident. Thanks to a leaked Apple “Genius” manual, the Internet was given an uninvited glimpse into the methods that drive Apple’s service consistency and perfection. This, along with some cues from Zappos’ legendary service strategy, formed Jack Newton’s presentation on what law firms can do to use service to differentiate in an increasingly commoditized market. As Jack put it, “Law firms should be service companies that happen to sell legal advice.”
- Save hours with efficiency-boosting tools. It’s probably a good thing that most of us don’t regularly audit the time we spend doing inefficient and repetitive tasks on our computers; if we did, we’d probably be horrified. From something as simple as searching for applications and documents to typing common phrases, every action that goes unoptimized equates to valuable time lost. Thankfully, several MILOfest presentations highlighted great Mac-based tools available to help attorneys become ruthlessly efficient computer users. Two such tools struck me as particularly useful: Alfred and TextExpander. Alfred is an easy-to-use search tool that can be leveraged for rapid file discovery and application launch, and it can be configured for much more complicated tasks, including legal research. TextExpander is a must for everyone who has found themselves exhaustively retyping the same word combinations in emails and documents. It lets you set special key combinations such as “LTC,” which can be set to auto-magically be replaced with a stored word combination such as “Letter to Client,” or much more complex text blocks that can even include interview-style logic. Both applications are affordably priced, and are a must-have for any attorney looking to optimize workflow.
- Hack your mind. No, I’m not talking about brain surgery or hypnotism. I’m talking about tricks of human psychology that can be exploited to drive certain predictable behaviors either in yourself or in others. In an eclectic and fun talk, Larry Port of Rocket Matter reviewed a number of ways to boost efficiency with the Pomodoro technique; increase happiness by making friends; expand memory capacity using the method of Loci; and succeed in negotiation using reciprocity. With lots of audience participation, Larry proved out the Birthday Paradox, led everyone through a progressive relaxation exercise and demonstrated anchoring theory using Ghandi’s birthday. Though not necessarily Mac-focused, Larry’s talk was certainly enjoyed by everyone.
- Learning from Ruby’s culture of “Wowism.” A favorite provider of virtual receptionist services to the legal industry, Ruby Receptionists was recently named the best Small to Medium Size workplace in the U.S. by Forbes magazine. Jill Nelson, founder and CEO of Ruby, made a guest appearance at MILOfest to share some of the exceptional work culture that has helped Ruby to be loved by staff and clients alike. Among the secrets to their success: a commitment to a happy, like-minded workplace with aggressive client-to-receptionist staffing ratios; a healthy work-life balance; and an empowered workforce with the freedom to practice “wowism,” such as accessing a prepaid Amazon account to send spontaneous, thoughtful gifts.
If you don’t have MILOfest on your itinerary for 2013, you should. Learn more about MILOfest 2013, and watch for next year’s registration announcement, at MILOfest.com.
Rian Gauvreau is the co-founder and COO of Clio, the leading cloud-based practice management platform for small and mid-sized law firms. Rian has more than 10 years experience working in the legal technology industry, and enjoys helping legal professionals become more efficient through the use of cloud-based technology.