Let's Start a Law Firm, Episode 5: The Law Firm Electric, Part I

In this episode, Annie and Ben survey the computer hardware they use in their law practices. They begin by encouraging lawyers to use whichever platform—Mac or PC—with which they're most comfortable. (Turns out, starting a business is not a great time to master new systems.) Then, our nerds reveal the computers, monitors, printers, scanners, and, yes, power strips they use to covert 1s and 0s into justice for the little guys and gals of Kentucky.  

Show Notes for Episode 5: The Law Firm Electric, Part I

Annie had an Apple IIe growing up. Ben had an Apple IIc. Annie learned to type. Ben played Moon Patrol.  

Annie suggests using the Apple Store near you or MacAuthority for free tutorials on the programs on your Mac.  

Other resources for hardware and software in law offices

"We are the valkyries into Mac Power User heaven."  Maybe the best thing either Ben or Annie have said yet. And also true. Mac Power Users is a must-listen podcast for tech nerds and aspiring tech nerds. (Remember: all lawyers should be either tech nerds or aspiring tech nerds.) Hosted by two attorneys—David Sparks (MacSparky blog) and Katie Floyd—the Mac Power Users podcast's back-catalog on topics like read-it-later apps and services, syncing and sharing data, essential iPad apps, options for website creation, and gifts for geeks (like your favorite podcasters...) ought to keep you busy for months. 

Macs in Law Offices is the Google Group Ben mentioned. It was started by Ben Stevens and the late, great Kentucky gem, Finis Price

Ben recommends using hover.com (with the offer code DANSENTME for a 10% discount) to register your law firm's domain name and get yourself a legit email address. 

Ben rants a little about SEO (search engine optimization) and the common misconception among attorneys that SEO is some magic dust they can buy and sprinkle across their websites. The real key: do something useful IRL and share what you've learned online. Here's a link to a blog post about SEO with more links to great videos about how to build a website that is actually useful. 

One thing Ben failed to mention in his rant is that Squarespace helps you create excellent, useful metadata for your site that will naturally help with SEO.  

Here's Ben's post about Records Requests for Kentucky's Motor Vehicle Commission that he used as an example of what a non-skeezy, useful  blog post looks like. He used HelloFax to receive the  Commission's fax in his email inbox and pdfPen Pro to edit the Commission's fax. 

The Louisville-based Two State Champs (Twitter) are excellent graphic designers. They did the mark and design for the header on bencarterlaw.com, as well as Ben's letterhead and business cards. Amanda Bishop (one half of the two-person team) also does handpainted murals and signs.  

Both Annie and Ben use the Mac platform. Ben uses an 11-inch MacBook Air and a cinema display at the office. The Omni Group makes both OmniFocus and OmniOutliner.  

Printers and Scanners 

Both Ben and Annie use Fujitsu Scansnap scanners in their practice and Brother printers. Ben and Annie both have the Fujitsu 1500, but the Fujitsu iX500 is the newest model from the scanning champion. (It's also less expensive than the suddenly-costly 1500 for some reason.) Ben uses the black-and-white Brother HL-5470DW to print his artisanal briefs and thoughtful correspondence.

The other printer Ben uses all the time is his Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo. He actually owns two. At work, he uses the two label spools to print envelope labels and, very occasionally, file folder labels. At home, he prints envelope labels and stamps. You haven't lived until you've owned a label printer. 

Here's a post about using Evernote to tag legal research for future use.  

Doxie makes a good wireless, portable scanner.  

Get your cables from Monoprice.com unless you just like being a sucker and paying too much money for cables.  

THIS is how your power strip should look.  

Al Pacino's speech from "Any Given Sunday": 

In your law firm, you fight for those inches!

Show credits

Many thanks to Cast Iron Filter for letting us use "Tamarack" from their live album, "Live from the Highway", as our bumper music. CIF's music is available on iTunes and it is simply the best. If your travels take you down a two-lane highway, do not leave home without CIF.  

Photo credit for the "start button" image in our cover art goes to Mijn. Thanks for taking a cool picture and sharing it on Flickr.


Annie has a website and accounts on Facebook and Twitter

So does Ben: websiteFacebookTwitter.

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