Small ideas on legal practice, research and technology

Search Tips That Will Get You Better Google Results

It is amazing how Google can search the web and find exactly what you are looking for. However, as amazing as Google is, you can do a few things to help it better find the information you are searching for – read on.

These things will help Google find the specific information you are searching for:

  • Use multiple search terms: Narrow your results with more search terms as Google will return only pages that include all of your search terms.
  • Make your search terms as specific as possible to the information you are looking for.
  • Remember Google uses stemming technology
Posted in: Technology

A Quick Firm Checkup: How’s Your Billing Realization?

Usually, when a firm’s billing realization rate starts to slip, this is an indication that the firm is using ineffective procedures to do the work, or the responsible time biller isn’t as familiar with the area of law as he or she should be, or both. Either way, it means it’s time to take a look at who’s doing the work and how he or she is doing it, to determine whether training or the implementation of new work processes is needed.
Posted in: Practice

Hyperlinking Citations With CanLex

I was asked to retrieve list of cases recently which reminded me about CanLex. As I wrote on Slaw a couple of years ago, CanLex is a website that hosts some Open API’s which offer tools that marry CanLII’s Content with LexUM’s Technologies. 

I like using the Reflex-API which lets you plug in a list of neutral citations and create an HTML output file with links back to CanLII.  It is a quick way to gather a hyperlinked list of material to then download or print.

This week’s tip is to use tools to make research gathering tasks faster …

Posted in: Research & Writing

Use Google Alerts So You Aren’t the Last to Know

The Google Alerts service is one of many very helpful Google apps. It allows you to monitor the web for interesting new content and it will send you an email update of the relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

  • Being aware of your name or your firm name appearing in the new or on the web
  • Monitoring a developing news story
  • Keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • Getting the latest on a celebrity or event
  • Keeping tabs on your favourite sports teams

To create …

Posted in: Technology

Don’t Use Email When a Face-to-Face Conversation Is More Appropriate

An email exchange is not the same as a phone call or a face-to-face conversation. At the top of the hierarchy of human communications are face-to-face meetings, then phone calls, then voice mail, and lastly email. Face-to-face meetings have the most impact. Not only can you hear and talk back to the other person, you also have the ability to see gestures and facial expressions etc. On the phone you don’t see gestures, but you can hear the tone and emotion in the speaker’s voice. Email has the narrowest communications bandwidth – it is only black and white words on …

Posted in: Technology

Switching Programs With Alt+Tab

Switching between open programs is one of the most frequent things we all do as we work on our computers. For this task most of us use a mouse to select a button on the task bar. There is a much faster way.

Pressing Alt+Tab (or on a Mac Option+Tab) will open a rectangular grey pop-up window in the centre of your screen. It will have an icon for each program that is running on your computer.

Press and hold down the Alt key, and then repeatedly press Tab to jump from one icon to the next in this pop-up …

Posted in: Technology