Thursday, June 5, 2014


We might like to think that the life of an attorney cannot be automated, that what we do isn't something a machine can do. And there is a lot of truth in that. However, we end up doing the same thing over and over multiple times a week sometimes. For example, you probably don't always retype the pleading caption for a motion from scratch. You have developed forms, shortcuts, etc.

I look at the world the same way. However, I tend to almost always ask whether I can do even seemingly little tasks quicker, which will thereby save time for everyone in my program. In fact, I keep this chart from XKCD handy to help me figure out how much time to invest in such things.

But how do I start to get these answers? If I'm looking to do something new or unique, where do I come up with it?

That's easy. I Google it. It's very rare that I come up with something that someone else hasn't already thought of and done. My job is then to just tweak the instructions from what someone else has done so it works on our systems. It is astounding the amount of information you can find by just doing a simple search on Google.

Some things to keep in mind when running such a search:

1. Always, always, always include the name of the program you are using in your search terms. If I want to know something about how Word 2010 works, I always include "Microsoft Word 2010" in the search terms.
2. The official documentation from the program's creator often has a tremendous amount of information. Again, referencing Word, I almost always start out at Microsoft's site to see if the answer is in the official documentation.
3. After the official documentation, bloggers tend to have good ideas.
4. Forums are another great source for ideas.

So, if you find yourself wanting to do some new task you don't know how to do with your technology, you can try looking at the help documents in the program. Or, you can probably save time and get a better result by going straight to Google.

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