There could be a multitude of reasons why you are leaving your current software program for another. Whether you are leaving for more streamlined services, better monthly prices, and the overall look, there are still a couple of other housekeeping rules to consider.

1.Getting the staff on board

Your staff needs to know if you are strongly considering making a change in programs. It gives them time to prepare and adjust to change. They could even provide their insight from an employee perspective on changes that come with switching software programs.

2.Organizing data before the switch

Know what data you want versus what you do not. Gathering data from years and years of service can be daunting but it is absolutely necessary. You may find that there is data you do not need to bring over. This also gives you and your staff an opportunity to become better organized with materials and processes.

3. Implementing the change

Yes! Okay, we got the staff on board and the software is in our hands. It can be scary dipping your toes into a new program or a new anything. Give yourself and the staff time to adjust and make room for improvement. Be intentional about working together and learning from each other during this time of fine tuning.

So, while there are many considerations to think about, you do not have to do it alone! There are many ways to go about informing your staff for support, organizing firm/client information, and implementing it all. Here at Practice42, we can help to tailor your materials and processes to best suit your needs.  Let us help! We encourage you to call us at 850-933-5072 to schedule a free Strategy Session with our team to find out more about what we can do for you.

Do you remember when Google My Business was simply Google Maps? And then it added photos… and reviews… and wanted you to participate weekly… and added rankings?!? We know! This strategic marketing campaign, which must be a part of your local marketing efforts, seems to be evolving at a breakneck pace.

First of all, we hope you claimed your GMB profile. If you did not, you need to do this ASAP to avoid a “helpful” Google Local Guide, who hates lawyers, doing it for you. If you have not taken this critical initial step to protect your business, or need advice on this, we recommend you contact us today.

Second, has your Google My Business been stressing you out since you claimed it? While maintaining your business listing is important to staying relevant in the Google universe, we know managing it can be stressful. Many lawyers share with us that they struggle to access accounts, verify business listings, combat fake / negative / unfair / biased reviews, and much more. 

Let us focus on reviews here and share a few different steps you can take for Google My Business help.

1. Check your state bar rules. What does your state bar say about reviews? Does it tell you how to respond? What you should or shouldn't say in your response? Is it silent? This is the first step to take.

2. Respond to the review. Even if it does not reflect your firm, especially when it does not reflect your firm, you want to respond. With the advice of your bar association that guides you on how you can proceed, write your answer internally first. Good or bad, do not respond emotionally and remember to only disclose what ensures you maintain privacy with your client. Be sure to also use this as a marketing opportunity. Share with clients and prospects how they can contact you and how you can help.
If it is a negative review and you believe it should be taken down, be sure to flag it. Use the platform itself to let GMB know if this review is not appropriate.

3. Want to do more? Especially for a less than 3 star review? Make a call to Google My Business support. Yes, the wait times can be long. Yes, the phone number can be difficult to find. As of the publishing of this article, it is 1-844-491-9665 Getting an actual Google My Business support team member on the line, however, can end up being an efficient way to get the assistance you need.

4. Take to Twitter. Like almost all platforms and businesses, Google takes its social media presence and reputation very seriously. Tweet @GoogleMyBiz about your questions and concerns and you should get a personalized response from a Google team member in about 30 minutes.

5. Send Google My Business a Facebook message. You can send the Google My Business Facebook page a direct message and you should hear back within 30 minutes or so.

6. Make use of the email support form. While you may not get an immediate response, it may take up to a day to hear back, you can always make use of the Google My Business email support form on their webpage. This can be a good way to get help when you may not have a more immediate need for answers.

7. Hire us! At Practice42, we can help you educate your clients on why reviews are another key form of education for others and maximize your Google My Business reviews presence. Do not forget that GMB is just one of the places you need reviews. We can do this for you, as well as monitoring your reviews, so we can step in and provide you with the answers you need when it comes to your reviews without needing to pull out your hair from the stress of it all.

Do you need Google My Business help? What about other social media platforms? Are you finding it difficult to access your reviews or respond to your reviews? Need the website architecture in place to pull it all together? The Practice42 Team is here to help! Call us to schedule a free Strategy Session at 850-933-5072 or fill out our Contact Us Form and we will call you!

This scam is so prevalent right now, this is just one of the reasons why I think it’s so important to raise awareness of it. First and foremost, this is almost certainly a scam. There are only a small handful of ways it could be an actual threat, which we will discuss a bit later here. Regardless, we know as lawyers the way to sue someone is not through a filtered email. 

Nonetheless, it's a terrifying email to receive. 

We don’t want to make light of the fact that the licenses, privacy, and usage rights incorporated into the materials you use do matter. It is incumbent on each of us to know we have the legal right to use what we put on our print and integrated digital media collateral. If you don’t know, that is the first step here. You need to be absolutely sure that you own your content or have a right to use it in the format that you choose to use it in.

Let’s dive in and address three key things you need to know right now as it relates to this scam.

1. You cannot use images you don’t own. To follow up on the above statement, take a minute this weekend to read the terms and conditions surrounding the images you use. What does the license say? Do you have the absolute right to use them how you see fit? If not, what are the limitations?

Further, are you working with a marketing company? It is time to ask it important questions. What does your contract say with the marketing agency? If this claim proves to be true, where is the blame? Is it on you? The agency? Does the agency have a plan to address issues like this? You need to know where you stand. 

2. You need to know the terms and conditions surrounding the images that you use. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just download something from the internet. Just because something exists on Google or Yahoo or Facebook or Bing, does not mean you have the right to use it. Do you have a public license? Do you have a business license? For print, do you have a redistribution license, and for how many publications?

3. You need to stop responding to email that is going to subject you to ransomware or other cyberattack. When you read this email, concerning as it is to receive, you probably knew deep down it was a scam. What did you do next, though? Did you react? Did you respond? Did you contact the person? Or did you report it to the authorities? The latter is the only step to take here. If you need to who to report it to, just ask us. The main players are the FBI Cybercrimes Division, your state’s Attorney General’s Office, and the Better Business Bureau.

This is just the first part of this conversation. We plan to send out an email next week too with our ABCs of Cyber Security as it seems a very appropriate time to dive into as a cyber refresher. We are also putting together an updated Cyber Threats Webinar and will let you know the date and time. Stay tuned!

Here at Practice42, we can help to tailor your materials and processes to best suit your needs.  Let us help! We encourage you to call us at 850-933-5072 to schedule a free Strategy Session with our team to find out more about what we can do for you.

We are now in a digital law practice era where there are rapid technological advances which can be overwhelming for many. There are new products that are released everyday, on top of the information that follows. Whether you stay up on the latest news sources or testing new products, you may think you are never going to cover it all.

You will not.

No one can.

And let us start by reassuring you. It is alright.

It is so easy to become lost in the vast world of information and products that we often forget what is truly best for us and our team. Once we see or hear something new that worked for someone else, we want to run with it. We want it to work immediately, and easily.

Often, we launch this new idea with no forethought. There is no time for discussion, second opinions, or taking a moment to consider if it is right for the practice. Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting recommendations from others. There is nothing wrong with “throwing something up” but, you know as well as we do, this strategy can be fraught with challenges. Just because the process or software or shiny new distraction was a success story for one firm, does not mean it will be a success story for all.

We can learn from others while also taking into consideration that it is going to most likely be a different journey. Keep an open mind about differing opinions, whether they are from referrals, colleagues, or clients. You will find as you listen that many will think one product or service may be significantly better than another. Take the time to think about the key question that drives our law practices:

What do you need and what do you not need from a product or service you are considering?

This will then allow you to narrow down exactly what you are looking for in a new digital law practice era where almost anything is attainable.

Here at Practice42, we can help you find the bottlenecks in your practice areas, find processes that are right for you, and attain goals you thought were not possible. So, while there are many considerations to think about, you do not have to do it alone! Let us help! Call us at 850-933-5072 or fill out our contact us form to schedule a complimentary Strategy Session.

Research tells us the average person spends over four hours on the phone every day. When it comes to using a smartphone, many of our clients let us know that they have serious concerns about security. Therefore, we would ask, how long do you spend on your phone? More importantly, if you are spending most of your time on your iPhone, how secure is it?

Do you have the new iPhone X? Have you installed the iOS 11 update? We encourage you to consider making security a priority. You may want to take a few minutes today to clean through your security settings to ensure your device is as safe as you can make it.

Ready to learn more about security on this device? Check out our seven tips to maximize the privacy on your iPhone today!

1. Update your apps. Many of us have a tendency to ignore the number that overlays the top right of our App Store app. This is a notification to let you know it is time to update your phone! Take a minute to actually update all of your apps that have alerts. These updates can fix any bugs within the apps, as well as, update any Security settings.

2. Take advantage of the privacy feature. Whether you have an iPhone X or only the iOS 11 update, you can now have access to a privacy tab that shows you what permission you have given to each one of the apps on your phone. As you search through your Privacy settings, be sure to ask yourself which apps should have access to what. Considerations can include access to things such as your Location, Photos, Microphone, and more.

Further, look for the Analytics and Advertising tab located at the bottom of your privacy settings screen. Within the Analytics tab you can decide if you would like to allow Apple to gather your data. Turning off this feature means you may no longer receive targeted ads that follow your interests.

3. Unlock your phone the hard way. While using facial ID and thumbprint can make unlocking your iPhone a lot easier, it is not your safest option. Your safest option may be to have a passcode on your phone and only use the passcode to unlock your device. You may disable your fingerprint and Face ID in your Settings app.

4. Take advantage of your emergency lock. If you find yourself in a situation where you do not want someone to have access to your phone or someone attempts to take it, tap your power button to lock your phone. Your phone should be locked until you enter in your password.

5. Turn on your emergency SOS features. Go into your Settings app and select Emergency SOS. You can add in emergency contacts that can be contacted upon an emergency. You may also turn on the “auto call” feature which will dial 911 upon using the SOS feature.

To use the SOS feature, press the Sleep button five times rapidly. This can trigger the Emergency SOS feature which sends a message and reaches out to your Emergency contacts, as well as 911, if you have auto call turned on.

6. Turn off your messaging previews. You may go into your notification settings and turn off your iMessage preview to ensure that your messages are kept private. You may also set an expiration on when you would like your messages to be deleted rather than saving all of your messages in your phone forever, unless you want to.

7. Take advantage of Safari’s safety features. The browser Safari gives you different options to help boost your privacy on your phone. Go into Safari in your Settings app and access these settings which include blocking cookies, fraudulent website warnings, and more! Next time you are in your Safari app, take a second to clear your website data and history.

Through investing a few minutes into organizing your data and privacy on your iPhone, you can improve your safety within your device. Consider making these changes sooner rather than later. Does this article raise more questions than it answers? Do not wait to ask us your questions!

When it comes to your engagement agreement in your law practice you’ve probably thought of just about everything. From billing practices and administrative expenses to office practices and describing your services, you have it all. When it comes to hacking, cybercrimes and security breaches, however, have you addressed them in full detail too?

At any time any of our firms could be attacked. Each of us could suffer significant losses to data, client files, and confidential information despite our best efforts and preparedness. Now is the time to think about how you manage client information, the security practices you follow daily, and what your message on your security practices is to your clients and professional relationships. There is no sign of cyber crimes decreasing in the near future and to best protect your firm, you need to consider adding a clause in your fee or engagement agreement related to security.

What should be included in your engagement agreement? Check out our five best practice ideas below.

1. Clarify, in writing, nothing is 100% secure.

It’s true. Even though you want to be able to promise absolute privacy and security, none of us can. Let your clients know you will do the best you can to maintain security, including, but not limited to, adhering to industry-standards for your business, installing security updates and utilizing the software you need to protect your practice.

2. Share your office policy and procedures.

Let your clients know each of your employees is trained on how to recognize cyber threats and that all of you are working as a team to best protect their information. Mention your email, attachment, and digital transactional policies, although you do not need to go into great detail. (Quick practice management pointer here: make sure you do have a training program for your employees on cyber security).

3. Accepting the assumption of risk.

There is a risk involved in any digital transactions and in working with any business today. Your client assumes this risk by working with you. Now is the time to get him or her to affirmatively decide to move forward.

4. Identify what your client can do to limit the risk.

During a hack, information may go out to a third party from you without your knowledge. Communication is key here. Let your clients know your standard communication policies and ask for their help. If they see something from you that raises suspicion, ask them to notify you immediately over the phone or in person.

5. Hold Harmless Clauses.

If it is allowed in your state under the bar rules, this is the time to consider including a hold harmless provision relating to threats, breaches, loss of privacy, and loss of financial information. This can include instances where personal and financial client information is stolen.  Be sure to read your malpractice or cyber terrorism insurance policies as well because, by policy standards, these clauses may be required for them to be in force.

Curious about what this clause looks like? Need an example? Just contact us to let us know and we’ll be happy to share sample language with you.

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