Pesty Word Bullet List Problem

I am sure we all encountered the problem in Word that when you type a number in front of a sentence, as soon as you hit the space button, that number become a numbered list. If that is what you want, it is perfect because you automatically get a bullet point item. But sometimes we do not want a bullet list, or we want a bullet list, but we want a different number. So how to correct the auto behavior? In Word, there is an easy fix to handle two kinds of situations.

First kind is if you want your list to start with a different number, simply right click any where in the numbered paragraph, and choose either the option of restart at 1, continuing numbering and so on.

Second type is if you do not want the automatic numbering at all, go under the Word options and then choose proofing, and then AutoCorrectOptions, unselect automatic bullet lists and automatic numbered lists.

This will eliminate the stubborn Word bullet lists or numbered lists problem.


Social Media and Pitfalls for Attorneys

ABA Rules of Professional Conduct was amended in August 2012 to include a technology competency requirement (comment 8 to Rule 1.1). Up till now, that amendment for a duty of technology competency has been adopted by 14 states. But how to measure attorney’s technology competency and ensure that they have the technology competency? No exclusive lists of technology competency exist. But generally, the following knowledge lays down the baseline for technology competency:

1. Know how different social media sites work, at the minimum, facebook and tweet and of course there are others, such as Instagram. The security settings on those apps in your phones so you do not share with the whole world the confidential information about your client.
2.Social media knows no privacy, so act like a lawyer. And avoid behaviors that could be perceived as communicating or influencing judges, witnesses and other officials.
3. When providing legal advice, stick to general statement and not offer specific advice to avoid the forming of attorney-client information.
4.Watch out for the taboo words in advertising in social media, such as specialties when you are not specially certified.

The pitfalls exist for social media because attorneys think they can control the two lives, one public and one private, but most times they can not because the mobile technology is developing rapidly. The borders are merging between different ways of communications.


Surface 3 Pro and then Surface Hub

I am recommending our faculty members to buy Surface 3 Pro for their work on the go. This device, coupled with the Office 365, can be a powerful duo for people who mostly use emails and Word. When they work in their office, they can use their desktop machine which also uses Office 365, so files can be synced across multiple devices.

The one device I think is really appealing is the 84″ Surface Hub. That can really brighten up a presentation, but at hefty price tag of $20,000.


Technology Training for Lawyers

Continue the threat I started yesterday about lawyer’s technology competency level. Today I read the Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 and it touches on whether the bar should add technology CLE in the required CLE hours. In Minnesota, we do not have technology CLE requirement, but we have the hours for law office management.

It is hard to imagine that a lawyer can function well without knowing technology and nobody has any disagreement to that argument. The difference comes in at what level of competency should a lawyer be expected to operate? More specifically, should the technology training purely on technology skills or should it be integrated with specific tasks to be performed, for instance, how do you efile? And then teach the other skills along in the process of efile, such as file conversion, meta data and even PDF editing. The term that Vision 2016 used is technology competency in your practice area, which denotes that a lawyer can have different levels of competency, in some areas more and in other practice area, less.

I am firmly in this later camp. Law students already have many courses to take during their legal study and a course on pure technology might not do them much justice, let alone whether they will retain the skills they learn in the class. In addition, technology changes rapidly. What they learn in class might become obsolete soon.

But then technology can not really be taught the way we teach law students to think like a lawyer using cases from last century. Technology is skills-specific and tied to certain programs now in existence and are being used. You either know how to program in C++ or Java or you do not. Lots of law schools are now offering technology courses. At the recent and ongoing CALI conference at Denver, a session will offer a tool kit to show and teach you that you can teach technology at your law school. I am anxious to get my hand on the tool kit.


Lawyer’s Technology Competency and Ethical Duties

With mobile technology and social media an every day use, does a lawyer have an ethical duty to search on the internet to find out if potential jurors or seating jurors have committed a fraudulent act or dishonest act? ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility Rule 1.1 Comment 8 says that for lawyers to be competent, he/she should keep abreast of current technology which includes its risks and benefits. We often hear or read articles on how lawyers can follow potential jurors on social media and what is ethical and what is unethical in following the potential or seating jurors but very few have pointed out if lawyers should affirmatively look the jurors up. Is it required that lawyers should look the jurors up or research the jurors on internet? When searching the internet is so commonplace and does not require much of technology savvy, can it still be said that failure to search online will constitute lack of technological competence?

For the boundaries of how to follow potential jurors on social media, check out this formal opinion.