The Zivley Law Firm is Officially BLOGGING!

A major milestone in the Zivley Law Firm technology upgrade has occurred today – Perry Zivley published hisfirst blog post!

When you have a moment, click on over to The Zivley Blog and show Perry what it feels like to receive comments.

The Photo above is featuring Craig Whitley of Texas Website Designs showing Perry how easy it is to publish a blog post using the WordPress platform.

Today was a great day =)

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Nov 21, 2006 at 01:10 AM

Do Real Lawyers Still Need a 1.0 Website if They Have a 2.0 Blog?

For anyone who has followed Real Lawyer News since its conception in September you may be wondering what has been going on with the Zivley Law Firm’s technology transition.

Even if you’re not wondering – I received an e-mail this morning from Massachusetts’ infamous media and technology lawyer Bob Ambrogi over at LawSiteswhich has prompted me to write the following post.

Ambrogi Asks:

“What’s happened with your experiment with the Zivley’s? Can’t tell from your blog whatever came of it.”

– Bob Ambrogi

Thanks for your inquiry Mr. Ambrogi.

From the outside The Zivley Project may appear to be on slow M..O..T..I..O..N… but from the perspective of the halls within The Law Office of Perry Zivley everything is really coming together faster than they expected.

Thanks to Craig Whitley over at Texas Web Designs, the primary landing site for ZivleyLaw.com is nearing its final stages of development.

To give you a preview Perry has decided to go ahead with the ‘beta‘ launch ofThe Zivley Law Firm website. Click on the link to take a look, but please keep in mind that he is still adding a few multi-media elements like clips from deposition videos as well as a couple of other articles that he’s authored and various other points of interest.

You can also find a section on the new Zivley Law website in the top navigation bar, under the “media” tab directing readers to the Zivley Blog.

Although The Zivley’s venture into the blawgosphere has still consisted primarily of reading blogs, please do bare with them. They are both very excited about publishing their blog and are really looking forward to interacting with the community and fellow blawgonauts.

I know it has seem somewhat silent around here lately… but rest assured, I am working on a few interesting posts for the future – just been getting all of my pixels down the right paths.

I’d like to thank all of you who have subscribed to Real Lawyer News and who have linked or told people about my blog. I enjoy reading all of your blogs and watching the wonderful conversations that blossom around them.

Until next post, may all of your conversations be real and meaningful!

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Nov 16, 2006 at 09:01 PM

We Want Real Lawyers – NOT Ridiculous Rules

Meet Kevin O’Keefe, he’s a veteran trial lawyer and the founder of LexBlog. I actually found out about Kevin a few months ago when the idea first crossed my mind to begin publishing Real Lawyer News. While running a Google search for ‘Real Lawyers’ I was welcomed by an army of posts plastering Kevin’s name all over my screen.

If there is anyone that deserves the title ‘Real Lawyer’, Kevin is by far a nominee. He and LexBlog are an essential catalyst responsible for driving the American legal arena into the blawgosphere. LexBlog has developed a ton of weblogs for attorneys all over the country and every one of the LexBlog sites that I looked at are slick, clutter free and well executed.

The reason I decided to write about Kevin today (I’ve been meaning to write about him for a while) was due to an alarming bit of news that I found via his blog regarding the on going controversy of what constitutes ethical advertising for lawyers as defined by the New York’s Administrative Board of Courts

Kevin writes:

“Lawyers’ foolishness in clamping down on lawyer blogs has made its way to the tech community. Slashdot, a highly popular technology-related news website, shared the absurdity this evening.

An anonymous reader writes:

‘While you might not guess it from watching late night TV, advertisements by lawyers are regulated by a web of regulations intended to protect potential clients from deceptive claims in such ads. Generally, these rules require lawyers to submit their ads to a review board, often with a filing fee paid with each new advertisement. The New York bar has proposed new rules which woulddefine blogging as advertising. Should these rules be enacted, any New York lawyer who blogs on any legal topic in New York would be required to submit any new blog post to the New York Bar for review. For New York lawyers who write frequently updated blogs, this could force them to make multiple (and potentially expensive) reports to the New York Bar every single day.’

We’ve got to get with it guys. It’s okay to run garbage ads on late night TV, on the side of busses, and on the walls behind urinals (yes, ads for dui lawyers), while we’ll clamp down on lawyers providing helpful info via blogs. Defies common sense. But suppose that’s how we got the reputation we have.”

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My response is simple: I believe that there’s an abundance of real lawyers in New York that can prevent this rule from being passed into effect if they care enough to fight it. Secondly, how can this trash be legal? Lastly, a post found on The Greatest American Lawyer pretty much sums the future of lawyering up, here’s a quote:

“If you fall into this group of people who have a great excuse not to blog, you will soon be in the minority. It’s just a question of time. Look at the number of people using MySpace or Youtube Look at how many people are blogging, sharing their lives online. Remember that a blog started in many ways as an online journal. It was far more personal in nature. The concept of debating “blogging for business” has only come later in the game. There is a giant wave coming and building. The early adopters will be in a much better position to ride that wave.”

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Rich in content, rich in results, rich in rewards for everyone. This is web2.0 – Law2.0 – Life2.0. Thanks to leaders like Kevin O’Keefe and countless others who are blogging (or ‘blawging’ however you want to describe it) the web is becoming a much more reliable and useful place. I propose that having a ‘user certified’digital identity will soon be seen as a prerequisite for any lawyer truly seeking to maintain or establish credibility among their peers and countrymen and women.

Until next post may all your days be REAL and Meaningful!

Further Research:

  • To learn more about LexBlog and Kevin O’Keefe visit http://www.lexblog.com
  • New York lawyer Ray Beckerman’s blog about the proposed new rules
  • The Greatest American Lawyer Blog
  • The Proposed New York Rules encase you missed it above

-Authored by Jamie Parks on Oct 27, 2006 at 04:16 PM 

This Wave Is Yours

…but you gotta be willing to jump in and swim if you want to catch IT.

A few weeks ago I was linked in to an attorney blawger that I believe all solo practitioners and big firm lawyers should closely be paying attention to. His name is Charles “Chuck” Newton, he is a Texas lawyer, a father of four and husband to Jane who is also a lawyer.

Chuck does not maintain a traditional office that most consumers typically associate with law firms. He has no waiting rooms for clients to cool their heals, no reception area in which to be ignored, no meeting rooms for client visits, no file room in which to lose files, no law library, no messy private office for the firm’s attorneys to hide. There are no walls with licenses and diplomas hanging on them, no rec room to chat with staff over coffee and donuts, and his firm’s shingle hangs from no building. Go look in any phone book and you will not see acheesy ad for Chuck’s law firm. He answers his own phones, reads and responds to his own email, faxes and snail mail.

How does Chuck’s law firm accomplish such a thing? Well IMHO, it looks like hegets things done because he doesn’t need to rely heavily on anyone to do stuff for him, but instead utilizes the miracles of information technology:

  • email
  • Internet telephony
  • Internet faxing
  • electronic case filing
  • Internet research
  • blogging or blawging

There is virtually no person that cannot be reached, and no document that cannot be received or delivered, by phone, fax, email or snail mail. Chuck believes that staying connected allows him to tear down the barriers that keep him from his clients and their objectives.

Chuck is so on to IT that IT truly does radiate from his smile, just look at the picture of him below. This guy sees IT clear as day… He see’s the future – NOW. He knows that we are all in the middle of a paradigm shift and he sees the beautiful future that is presenting itself for those willing to see IT.

“Think about what technology is all about.  It is about effortless collaboration and effective communication with those around you without the need for filters.  The whole purpose of technology in aThird Wave society is to knock down thestructures that bind us, and to cut the levels of management and support help that hold us back.  In short, these technologies substantially improve what?  The productivity of all of those lawyers that become attuned to and use the new, cheap technologies.” -Chuck Newton

We are indeed heading toward David Brin’s transparent society of collaborative technologies. I’d like to believe that we are a culture of team work and a nation of unity, but lately there has been so much division. Who knows if it was policy or religion or just pure fear that caused us as a people to be broken asunder and segregated, but is it not apparent that we are all slowly but surely coming back together again? In a third wave world there are no walls and we are all the connector and the connection - Linking IN, teaching IT, and spreading IT all around the globe.

-Posted by Jamie Parks on Oct 25, 2006 at 01:07 PM

Hot Rods & Law Firm Hacks

Getting everyone in a law firm to upgrade their technology doesn’t just happen over night. Especially when you’re dealing with such a drastic overhaul like my latest project which has been loosely titled by Nick McLawhorn w/ FindLaw as: ‘The Zivley Law Firm Upgrades In Public’

As the project evolves, it is reminding me more and more of the days not so long ago spent in a garage building hot rods with my Dad.

My Dad always said: “Just because it ain’t broke doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.” And this is exactly what ‘hot roddin’ (or car-hacking) is really all about. We always began by deconstructing the entire car until the frame, the body & all of the other parts were scattered all over the garage.

Once we had the car completely stripped down we would then make a checklist of all the parts and determine which ones were worth keeping or re-using. Afterwords we would begin cleaning and repairing each salvageable part to try and get it back to its original state.

Yet, as one will find in most frame up restorations, some parts are just not worth repairing. It usually proves less expensive (and less time consuming) to replace the damaged parts (like hoods, fenders and doors) with new ones instead of trying to repair them all. So since we were building hot rods, we took great pride in coming up with new and innovative ideas on how to modify a car to be more useful or for the ego’s sake — “more original.”

Sometimes, just by simply adding air conditioning or power windows or a CD player was our way of making the car more up-to-date. And for the other times that we really wanted to get the car anti-modernized, we would install a late model blown out engine, chop the top, drop it to the ground, slap some Mickey Thompsons on it and spray some flames over the hood, then call it a hot rod and go light up the streets!

Thus, it goes without saying, as time goes on I’m finding that being in the business of re-manufacturing a law firm, for 21st century usability, is very similar to running a kustom rod shop. Some clients want it quiet and slick and others want it loud and eye-poppin, but they all want it to be one of a kind and to go really FAST!!

The joys of purchasing new computers have begun. Here we are smack dab in the middle of the hardware upgrade phase, and deciding the best products for the Zivley law firm to invest in is no easy task, especially in a world with too many options and too few sure bet standards. I can tell that Perry is hesitant about making a Mac purchase, and who can blame him? I’m still not sure whether its safe to start advocating that a primarily windows based law firm should hop on board of the Steve Jobs bandwagon.

I’d be more convinced of the interoperability if the Mac guys would start spending more time informing us windows users about how Apple is a better computer for running all of our windows applications on, and less time promoting their Leopard operating system + misc. softwares. Maybe then they would see an influx of new hardcore Win-Mac followers…

The existing Zivley Law website needs a major facelift (and heart transplant.) Soon I’ll be taking it down and making some tweaks so that Perry doesn’t have to suffer any longer. I have to ask myself what drives a design firm to commit such an atrocity?

I mentioned the beauty of RSS in my first post, but I just wanted to touch on this important web technology in hopes of demystifying it for both the end users and creators of content.

So heres some hope, if you still feel lost when the RSS acronym presents itself, you shouldn’t feel alone. According to a Yahoo study (Oct’05), only about 12% of internet user in the U.S. are even aware of the term “RSS” much less do they actually use it.

RSS feeds are fresh streams of content (txt, image, audio, & video) published directly to the browser of a users computer which is subscribed to receive them.

Just like channels on a radio dial or on a TV, think of RSS as a customizable remote control, or the pre-programmability of the radio stations in your car stereo. RSS enables a consumer of information to retrieve the content they want, when they want it and where ever they want to get it. RSS is also much like a newspaper because it is delivered to you after you have subscribed to it. Therefore saving you a trip to the store every Sunday morning.

IMHO, the core fundamental of RSS (or syndicated technology) is to allow for users who believe in your products, services, and solutions to easily keep an eye on the status of your digital presence. Put bluntly, information becomes really powerful the easier it is to receive.

Typically most RSS feeds are free to subscribe to and they can easily be found on web pages, as web feeds (RSS or Atom) and are usually linked with the word “Subscribe”, with an orange rectangle,  , or with the letters  or . If you already use firefox as your browser, I highly recommend getting the WizzRSS plug-in to catch all of your feeds.

The content delivery space is evolving. In the future you’ll probably see/hear/read about more businesses trying to find ways to monetize their feeds. Content providers may also try integrating RSS feeds into the ‘pay only’ sections of their websites specifically as an added convenience for their current paid subscribers to take advantage of.

I could certainly see my friends over at the multi-national law firm of Fulbright & Jaworski utilizing RSS feeds to both internally support the distribution and findability of their firm-wide knowledge management archive, as well as to provide timely alerts over the broad spectrum of their various external client extranets.

As feed readers become more a part of the browser’s native environment (verses 3rd party reader reliability) awareness levels for RSS will rise and the real value of using the technology will have been translated to the end user almost invisibly. Whether someone will be willing to pay for the added convenience of RSS is yet to be known. I suspect it all depends on demand of content and ease of usability.

Currently, the possibilities and capabilities of RSS are limitless both in regard to the end user, the content creator, as well as the content distributor. But if you want to learn more about RSS please visit the Wikipedia entry on RSS or if you’re more of a non-conformist and would like to get it straight from the horses mouth; the history and real time news concerning RSS is actively updated on Dave Winer’s blog at www.scriptingnews.com. READER BEWARE — Winer tells life like it is.

Next week: Hopefully I’ll have some showroom floor action of the Zivley’s making their final hardware selections. So lets keep our fingers crossed and hope by this time next week I’ll be blogging about how enlightening it is to teach a lawyer the best practices of using a computer to benefit oneself and ones business, as well as for spreading good tidings to all of mankind.

-Posted by Jamie Parks on Sep 16, 2006 at 09:24 PM

Upgrade Update

Perry has a server and a new desktop, Monique (Perry’s legal assistant) got her new machine, and Harriett now has a laptop. I’ll keep the specification details short. Lets just say Perry called DELL and explained his goals. He requested the best value for his dollar and packages started showing up at the law firm. I’m relieved that the hardware is finally out of the way, now maybe we can start getting down to the business of blogging =)

Perry’s first college room-mate, Dave Broeckleman of Strategic Network Consultants, has successfully got the Zivley Law Firm server up and running.Dave says he has been trying to get Perry away from using AOL and peer to peer networking for many years. Nevertheless, he was thrilled to be helping Perry with the hardware upgrade. He has now successfully migrated all of the Zivley Law Firm directories over to the server and has also set Perry up with a new e-mail address at his zivleylaw.com domain.

Perry is happy because he no longer has to wait 10 minutes each morning for his machine to boot up and he doesn’t have to rely on a peer to peer network to manage his data. The days of the computer constantly being thrown into lethargic mode every time his paralegal needs to access a shared directory on his hard drive are finally over!

Now it’s time to begin testing the realusability of this upgrade. As of now, Perry’s filing system will not change that much, he typically nests his relative client files within their respective directories on his hard drive. Now he will just be storing all of that data on his server drives.

To better manage the wealth of knowledge
 living within each case that Perry handles, he hopes to soon be able to easily tag (add meta data) into every file that he or his paralegal creates — word docs, spreadsheets, presentations, deposition transcripts, photos or videos. Each element of every case that the Zivley Law Firm handles will not only be redundantly backed up in to perpetuity but as it is being archived, the data base will be growing infinitely smarter. By each author having the capability to instantly wrap the content of a file with meaningful meta data a tremendous value will be packed in to any search query made on the firm database in the future. Tagging is a great way to share legacy information among colleagues at a law firm. I wonder how many law firms are guilty of inefficiently managing their knowledge bases?

Knowledge Management is a whole other topic worth exploring in a separate post so I’ll save it for later. I just wanted to send out a quick update to catch everyone up on the happenings at the Zivley Firm. I realize it has been a while since the last time I published, and believe me I know all about consistency being key. So find it in your heart to forgive me and I’ll do my best to have some engaging footage to publish again next week. On that note, I’ll leave you with a short movie that I made in hopes of bringing you a little closer into the upgrade process over at the Zivley Law Firm. Until next time, may all your days be real and meaningful. Thanks for dropping by!

=Posted by Jamie Parks on Oct 13, 2006 at 11:34 PM

Converting Lawyers Into Geeks

The personal computer is finally becoming a very useful tool for more people than just geeks. Once upon a time, only top secret scientists had access to this computer, the ENIAC and by its looks it must have taken a degree in physics to be able to operate it.

So today was interesting. I’ve got a better idea of what I’m in store for in regards to getting the Zivley law firm up and running as a real LawTechFirm. The following factors will come into play:

#1 A Firm Wide Hardware Upgrade. Perry, Harriett and Monique, (Perry’s legal assistant) all need new computers. We’re talking Win2000 OS, early model Dell desktops, and a copying machine from the Xerox darkage. You’re probably asking yourself: Is this overhaul going to be Mac or Windows? And that’s why I made a poll so be sure to let us know what you would choose. (Harriett votesMac!)

#2 A Crash Course in Computing. This stemmed from Harriett telling me today that she didn’t know how to bookmark a webpage. Also, when she downloads an attachment from an e-mail, she can never find out where the file ends up going. I think we can all remember those days. =)

Just think, I’m hoping that in less than 30 days Harriett will be publishing her own blog with podcasts and videos. Never the less, Harriett’s troubles are very common growing pains that most users experience when learning to use the web. Don’t lose any sleep Harriett, I’ll help get you up to speed!

#3 Installing Software & Web Applications. Listed below are a few applications that I am recommending for the Zivley firm to install on all of their machines.

Software: PhotoshopCS; PowerpointXp; WordXp; Acrobat7
Web-app: Gmail; Flickr; Firefox
Plug-ins: RSSWizz; Del.icio.us; flickr uploader

I’ll add more later (like video and audio editing software.) If you have any suggestions please leave a comment.

#4 Let The Blogging Begin! After getting our systems aligned we can then dive head first into the action. I know of no better way to start a fire than to strike a match with a little fuel. I hope that this blog contributes to the fuel!

After milestone #1 is complete, everything will seamlessly begin falling in to place. It’s been my experience in the digital life that after all the R&D is wrapped up and we have our direction and focus assembled, everything else comes together super fast and the next thing you know you’re Live! with the jury is in the back room deliberating.

Lastly, I want to publicly thank The Zivleys for retaining my services and skill-set to assist them in launching a weblog. I’m honored to work with professionals that set their fears aside and step over what is considered to be the norm to try something new. I’m not making any promises here, but if you continue to approach the web as a new medium of communication and truly put your heart into it, sweetness is sure to follow. Things are just getting heated up!

Next Week: I’ll be computer shopping with the Zivley’s. So be sure to tune back in for a zoomed in lens showcasing how attorneys go about buying their computers. You’ll also get to see how filming a sales person during a ‘buy moment’ directly effects the bottom line. Maybe one day I’ll be able to trade pixelspace for a new computer, to bad I don’t have any traffic here yet…

Featured Link: Noah photographs himself everyday for 6 years. Here’s his 6 years in about 5 mins.

 

-Posted by Jamie Parks on Sep 08, 2006 at 01:53 AM

Teaching Lawyers About IT

August 29, 2006 – I delivered my beta/ever evolving presentation “Be A Real Lawyer” to an existing client, the Zivley Law firm. This blog was inspired by that encounter.

Meet Real Lawyer #1: Harriett Zivley, wife of Zivley Law Firm founder
Perry Zivley and also an attorney herself, has expressed a sincere
passion to start a weblog, and it’s my job to show her how to get started and how to keep it going. Her enthusiasm about communicating the behind the scene realities of The Zivley Law Firm’s unwavering commitment to its clients is contagious. This should turn out to be an interesting experience for everyone.

The meeting was an enlightening learning experience for all of us. Little glimpses into some very useful technologies that neither Harriett or Perry were previously aware of certainly brought a good vibe into the room. Watching their eyes take in and process what was going on as I scrolled both of them around the workings of an RSS reader was priceless. Linking to a few succesful lawyer sites who have already embraced such revolutionary technologies like blogging, podcasting, flickr, and YouTube seemed to really get their minds clicking into gear!

 

Keep in mind this is my first attempt to try and teach a law firm about the various angles of IT and all of the possibilities that await. Being the practical hands on kind of teacher that I aspire to be, I thought It would simplify Harriett’s learning curve if I were to go ahead and set up a new blog here on TypePad as a teaching tool and living example of how the Internet has the amazing ability of spreading and attracting information and informers. If all goes as I hope, this site should become a small hive of humans swarming in and out sharing links and experiences. Time will tell…

Moreover, I hope this blog will truly demystify some of the froth of the web2.0 halo and show Harriett and other lawyers out there some real world examples of just how quick, simple and inexpensive it really is to start publishing their messages and experiences to the web.

Next week: More about the beauty of RSS and how consistently publishing informative/entertaining posts to a blog greatly increases organic search results in both Yahoo and Google search engines. I’ll also be showing the Zivley’s a little more around the blogosphere to semi-familiar-eyes them with what’s been happening over the past few years.

OK, so check out Harriett’s YouTube video debut!

 

Posted by Jamie Parks on Sep 04, 2006 at 01:21 PM