psychic burnout emotional trauma and law practiceToday I am pleased to share a guest post written by an Arizona lawyer. Josh Blumenreich (see his bio after the post) was happy to write on a topic on which lawyers need educating: stress management.

We’ve covered the topic in Arizona Attorney Magazine, and it bears repeating that psychic stress will take a toll on hard-working professionals (or anyone).

Without further ado, here’s Josh:

Stress is a leading factor of several health issues, including heart ailments, weight gain or weight loss, anxiety, nervousness, and much more. Especially for those in strenuous fields of work, employees may find themselves constantly haunted by all-consuming levels of stress. This is particularly true for practicing lawyers. With strict deadlines, around-the-clock work, pressure to meet billable hours, competition amongst coworkers, and difficult or stubborn clients, the stress may feel never-ending … and that’s just the beginning.

Thus, it is essential for those in the legal industry to focus on stress management. This is key for a lawyer’s overall well-being, both personally and professionally. Below are some handy ideas and techniques that can help aid in one’s journey toward effectively handling stress:

    • Set priorities – The workload of a lawyer can become wholly overwhelming. The to-do list is constantly growing as tasks and responsibilities are thrown from left and right. Setting priorities helps determine which jobs need to get done first, enabling the individual to focus on one thing at a time (instead of trying to juggle multiple tasks at once).
    • Don’t forget to take breaks – During work hours, it is important to find 10 or 15 minutes every day to take a break from the job. Take a walk around the building, lie down in a cool room, or enjoy a cup of coffee. This will help clear the mind and add a change of pace to relieve stress.
    • Utilize apps – There are several beneficial apps for those in the legal field that aid as stress relievers. The iPad and iPhone provide various technological options for lawyers to help organize schedules as well as provide legal news, dictionary terms, juror information, and more.
Josh Blumenreich Arizona defense attorney

Josh Blumenreich

  • Separate work from home – This is essential for stress management. More often than not, lawyers tend to bring the tension and worry from work back home with them. It can be difficult to stop oneself from thinking about everything that needs to get done the next day when they are off the clock, but you must try to leave work-related thoughts at the office. Actively make home a place of sanity and relaxation.
  • Find an outlet – In order to relieve tension resulting from the law firm, one must find somewhere else to release the stress. Each outlet will vary from person to person. For instance, some people may want to find someone outside of work they can vent to, while others will prefer to either write in a journal, spend time working out, or join a club.

These methods are beneficial for controlling stress levels in order to maintain a healthy, focused and successful life both at the law firm and at home. While work is an undeniable part of your waking life, it should not negatively impact the well-being of any individual. Practicing lawyers need to ensure their personal stress management, as explained above. The legal world is demanding, but it should not demand the health of its employees.

About the Author: Josh Blumenreich is an Arizona defense attorney and, utilizing his educational and professional background, he offers his skills and years of experience to represent and defend his clients fairly. He works diligently to protect the rights of each individual’s case, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony. Blumenreich also provides legal representation for DUIs, theft, drug charges, murder, domestic violence, and more.

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iPad

Can an iPad help your law practice?

Arizona has been abuzz over the opening of what some describe as an Apple plant (although, if we take off our booster hat, it’s really a non-Apple manufacturing facility. But that’s OK.)

As I followed the fascinating story (and how a school board in Gilbert nearly put the kibosh on the whole deal; read here and here), I was pleased to see how an Arizona law firm has been featured by Apple.

Of course, Apple is always pleased to relate stories of how folks in business make great use of its iPad. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that folks tended to think of the product as a luxury item that was enjoyable but not business-centered. (Yes, we at Arizona Attorney Magazine have tried to convey the contrary view, but lawyers can be resistant.)

That’s why I was doubly pleased at the coverage given to Phoenix law firm Fennemore Craig, especially via a case study (published in 2012) and a cool new video featuring partner James Goodnow.

(Viewing the great coverage of Fennemore by Apple, I asked the firm if it received any benefits from being in the Apple campaign. I got a response from one of the firm’s communications pro, the extremely helpful Linda Vejnoska, a senior account executive at R&R Partners, who confirmed that “the firm did not get any enticement or discount from Apple.” But how did the two get connected? “A story about Fennemore’s usage of the iPad was in the Republic,” Linda continued, “which got picked up on the Gannett wire, and Apple actually called Fennemore.” Thanks, Linda!)

Because Apple is nothing if not multimedia, why don’t you start by clicking here to watch the video.

James Goodnow (on left), Director, Fennemore Craig. (Photo: Apple)

James Goodnow (on left), Director, Fennemore Craig. (Photo: Apple)

And here’s an excerpt from the case study that describes the work of Goodnow and partner Marc Lamber:

“Lamber and Goodnow, who focus on catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases, provide iPads to clients creating instant ‘red phone’ access to the Fennemore Craig legal team. The iPads enable clients to provide key information as it happens such as photos, video logs and signed release forms. It’s instant access to information for clients to receive and provide information and a lifeline helps level the playing field against those with limited resources. In courtroom situations, they can link their iPads to multimedia systems bringing exhibits and presentations to life on individual screens for juries, opposing counsel and the judge.”

Here’s more from the case study:

“If there’s one thing lawyers have too much of, it’s paper; boxes and binders, folders and reams and piles of paper. But at Fennemore Craig, a full-service legal firm based in Phoenix, Arizona, iPad is enabling them to go paperless, saving money and becoming more efficient.”

“‘You used to have three or four copies of everything,’ explains Marc Lamber, one of the firm’s Directors and Chairman of the Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury Practice Group. ‘You could have ten thousand pages of documents for each case. But now it’s on the iPad. You want to highlight a document, underline something, annotate it, or add a note that this page is important? Now you can do all that on an iPad.’”

Keep reading here.

That all makes me wonder: How is technology transforming your practice? Maybe you’re handling matters in an innovative way—so much so that we should cover your work in 2014 via our NextLaw coverage.

Curious about NextLaw? I’ll write more about it in the coming week.

Contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

iPadLast week I wrote about a paperless initiative of the State Bar of Arizona. As part of it, the Bar will no longer print hard copies of CLE materials.

As you might guess, I got an earful—though a good number of Arizona lawyers told me they supported the move.

One question that arose in the blog comments (where the good stuff usually lies) was in regard to the ability to annotate the electronic materials. After all, we’re all used to marking up our printed materials during the CLE presentation. What do we do if we are gazing at a PDF, and we con’t happen to own Adobe Acrobat Pro?

A blog post by Nicole Black this week provides some solutions for those accessing the PDFs on an iPad. She points to a few rather inexpensive tools that will have you commenting and noting before you know it. As she says, the four tools “are just a few of the many apps available for reading, storing, organizing, and marking up PDFs and other documents on your iPad.”

You can read her post at Lawyerist, here.

Not only is this a Change of Friday, but it’s also the last day of the month. And on that doubly good occasion, I decided to try something different: I made a video.

Don’t get too excited; Martin Scorsese doesn’t have to worry about me upending his legacy. Instead, I got to try some funky animated functionality to convey some good news, which is: We at Arizona Attorney Magazine are going to improve even more our digital offerings. That’s right, an app is on your way.

Our digital edition already can sense (through computer magic, I guess) when you reach the site through a mobile phone. At that point, it opens up a version that is extremely readable. Still, we thought we could do better.

The app will be accessible via many devices, both iPhone (and iPad) and Android. And it will include not just the content from the print magazine, but feeds from a variety of our news channels.

I’ll send out more information as we get closer to our launch. But for now, enjoy a brief video that has two lawyers (O’Connor and Simpson) explaining the new effort.

Go on; click to watch the video. You can afford the minute and a half on a Friday!

Have a great—and animated—weekend.

Today, more of a question than a talky talky post: Do any of you use an iPad for work?

I ask for a few reasons.

First of all, we are working on the October issue of Arizona Attorney, in which we’ll have some IT for lawyers content. And unlike last year, when we had an iPad story, we don’t have one this year. A reason for that was that no one ever said to me, “Right on, finally some content for the iPad lawyer!”

I would have been happy even without the “Right on.” But it was pretty quiet out there.

Another reason is that I came across this great article, which explains some nifty ways to present using your iPad. That made me think, we should have done something like that in the upcoming issue. But then I remembered my first point above, and I wasn’t so sure.

At home, we have a few iPads, and they are terrific. But it hadn’t really crossed my mind to use them for work stuff, let alone in presentations.

So how about it? Do you use one for work?

Tougher questions now: Have you used them for courtroom presentations?

Would you?

As we look toward 2013 and beyond, technology is certain to remain one of the biggest challenges faced by law firms. But it will also be one of the greatest levelers, allowing small firms and solos to take on matters historically the purview of the biggest law offices.

In this blog, I’ve asked before about the firsthand experiences of Arizona lawyers, and today I’m pleased to post the insights of one such attorney. Here are the impressions of David Michael Cantor in regard to tools that increase his office’s productivity.

Increasing Technology Options for a Connected Law Firm

With the recent technology advancements in the last couple of years, law firms have the opportunity to ride the wave or eventually sink to the bottom. The overall business landscape has changed, and the companies who can adapt and become more ‘mobile’ stand a better chance of success. Law in the State of Arizona has become increasingly more competitive from a criminal and family law perspective, so you need your practice to be as efficient as possible. At The Cantor Law Group, we recognize the need to be on the forefront of technology in the transition to a digitally based law practice.

In the quest to have access to everything at any time we’ve added a few tools to our toolbox, here are a couple of them:

  • Secure Remote Access – An issue we encountered right away is the need for secure access to files accessed outside of our internal network. Lawyers need access to files when they are in court or on the road so we needed to find a way to maintain the security of those files. Our IT consultant recommended Copiun TrustedShare, remote file access software. This software lies on our network and our employees can access, sync and share documents instantly and securely from mobile devices, including tablets, smartphones, and laptops. And any sharing of documents is private and secure.
  • iPads – The goal all along was to give each lawyer their own iPad. First we had to upgrade our remote access software to allow for secure sharing across all platforms. The iPad is a wonderful tool for lawyers (and most everyone!). In most cases it has eliminated the need for a laptop. There are also a wide variety of applications that can be downloaded to increase productivity including Evernote, Dragon Dictation, Trial Pad, and Quick Office Connect (allows for editing of Microsoft files). If you’re using Quick Office Connect or another Microsoft document editing app, make sure your IT staff or contractor has checked your Microsoft Word files or templates to see if your chosen iPad app maintains the formatting and markup of the document; otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time re-creating that formatting (more on iPads and word-processing can be found here). One more piece of advice: Spend the extra money and get the 4G- or 3G-enabled iPads. Using Wi-Fi can be unreliable and often times very unsecure.

  • Full WestLaw Account– Our firm uses WestLaw for our research and having the iPad App, allows our lawyers to have access to new case law or research while they are sitting in court. Again, it’s highly recommended to spend the extra money to upgrade accounts so you have instant access to this type of information.

    Arizona Criminal Lawyer David Michael Cantor

    David Michael Cantor

The real revolutionary tool in this list is the iPad. You have the ability to be mobile, receive new case law, get emails, have a face to face conversation, be able to dictate, all on the fly. These technology advancements will allow your firm to be more efficient, and be more effective in satisfying the needs of your clients which is the ultimate goal.

This guest post is provided by Arizona Criminal Lawyer David Michael Cantor. The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Mobile lawyer stories welcome here.

Should your lawyer app be here?

That’s the idea, anyway, for some upcoming articles we’re seeking for Arizona Attorney Magazine. This fall, we’d like to run content on:

  • Mobile lawyering
  • Lawyer and law firm apps

Is your practice improved by these tools? Have you had law practice success due to developing new mobile skills? Or has your firm developed an app that’s altered how you do business?

Contact me with your thoughts on app success (or its opposite). Write me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Do you have a great story to tell but no time to tell it yourself? Contact me. Let’s talk. We may agree that the magazine should write a story about your topic, all without your lifting a finger (to type or even text).

And on a broader scale, we’d appreciate your thoughts on:

  • The role of apps in law practice
  • Ethical pitfalls to avoid in a mobile practice
  • How mobile tools have leveled the playing field between big firms and everyone else

See? So much to cover. Call, text or post; I’d love to talk with you.