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November 2019

Round Up: Artificial Intelligence, Facial Recognition & Mobile Lawyers

SpiralI often write articles and blog posts for other outlets and am going to post a round up here from time to time (but won't include my weekly Daily Record articles in the round up since I re-publish them to this blog in full). Here are my posts and articles from November:


2019 Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers

Stacked3Here is a recent Daily Record column. My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

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It’s already that time of year - time to start shopping for the lawyers on your holiday gift list. Time sure flies, doesn’t it? But, good news! I’ve done the work for you. Here’s my curated holiday gift list for the lawyers in your lives. All you have to do is choose which gifts to buy. So without further ado, here are my recommendations.

First, let’s take a look at a few books. If the lawyer in your life is struggling to understand new Millennial hires, look no further than this book: “What Millennial Lawyers Want.” In this book, author Susan Smith Blakely explains what makes this generation tick and how managing law firm partners can change their outlook and embrace the many qualities that make Millennial employees a unique and valuable asset for law firms.

Another book to consider is “The 2019 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide,” written by Sharon D. Nelson, John W. Simek, and Michael C. Maschke. Lawyers are incredibly busy, and as a result finding time to learn about technology often seems like an insurmountable task. That’s where this book, which is updated and revised annually, comes in. It helps lawyers sift through their technology choices, which range from hardware options to legal software tools designed to simplify the lives of solo and small-firm lawyers.

Finally, there’s a really interesting children’s book for the lawyer who also happens to be a mother to young children: “My Mom, the Lawyer.” This book was written with children whose moms are lawyers in mind. It helps them to understand what it means to be a lawyer and describes the many different jobs and the important work that their mothers do day in and day out.

For the mobile lawyer in your life I highly recommend my go-to portable laptop stand: the Moft “invisible” laptop stand. This laptop stand permanently attaches to the bottom of your laptop via an adhesive backing, and when not in use it folds nearly flush to the bottom of your laptop so that It’s barely visible and lays flat at 1/9”. It can be folded in two different ways, thus creating two different height settings: one at a 25 degree angle and another at a 15 degree angle. This stand weighs only 3 ounces, and its dimensions are 170x224x3 mm. It’s intended for use with laptops that have screen sizes between 11.6" and 15.6”. The most basic version, which is devoid of patterns and bright colors, costs $24.99.

Next up, if if the lawyers on your list doesn’t yet own a pair of Apple AirPods, then you know what to buy them this holiday season. I love mine and have a hard time remembering how I got by without them. The first time I realized their potential was when I was on a call with a colleague and stood up to get something and, out of habit, reached for my phone. Then I realized I could leave my phone right where it was and walk around while I talked since I was no longer physically connected to it while using my AirPods for the call. Granted, they’re not cheap, but they’re worth it. The cost for basic AirPods with a wireless charging case is $199 and with a wired charging case the cost is $159.

Another tech gadget for the lawyer in your life is the Google Mesh Wifi Router, which will work equally well in a law office or at home. I recently bought this router for my home wifi and setting it up was a snap. The router is controlled via your smartphone, and the number of Wifi points that you use is determined by the size of your home or office. For a smaller space (500-1500 square feet), you’ll need one Wifi point. For a medium-sized space (1500-3000 square feet) you’ll need two. And for a larger space (3000-4500 square feet) you’ll need three.

In addition to providing reliable, consistent internet access - this router also offers a number of other great features. First, you can prioritize a specific device right from your smartphone.There are also family controls that are built right into Google Wifi that allow you to, among other things, pause Wifi access on demand for any given device or group, schedule internet timeouts for specific devices or groups, and block chosen devices or groups from accessing millions of adult websites. Even with all those features Google Wifi is surprisingly affordable, starting at $169 for a 1-pack or $349 for a 3-pack.

And last but not least, a keyboard created just for lawyers: LegalBoard. This keyboard has built-in shortcuts and abbreviations for common phrases and words typically used by lawyers. The wired version has been around for a few years now, but good news! A wireless version was just announced, and you can preorder the wireless version for $85.

So now that you have any number of gifts to choose from, what are you waiting for? Start shopping for the lawyer in your life today!

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney, author, journalist, and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase  law practice management software for small law firms. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a Thomson Reuters treatise. She writes legal technology columns for Above the Law and ABA Journal and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. You can follow her on Twitter at @nikiblack or email her at niki.black@mycase.com.