do you have a social media security policy?

Most of my readers actively use social media to market themselves and their practices. (And if you don’t, you may find yourself falling behind the curve. fast.)

So do you have a policy to manage the security of your social media efforts?

Go here, and do these things. And share with your clients, too.

InspiredLawBlog is written by Caitlin [Cat] Moon, who is a lawyer helping other lawyers to be happy and successful. (the two are not mutually exclusive, contrary to popular lawyer experience, btw.)

you’ve done your digital planning. right?

You’re a lawyer, so no doubt you’ve gotten your estate plan in order. Right? (Even if you don’t know squat about estate planning, you hired a colleague to put a plan together for you, I”m sure. Right?)

And you’ve created a succession plan for your practice. Right?

And both your personal and practice plans handle all of your digital assets. Right?

Sadly, when polling my lawyer friends and clients, it appears that very few have planned generally. And none have done any planning for digital assets. Yep, none.

I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised. Many lawyers remain in a state of tech-phobia or tech-avoidance. Even those who embrace technology seemed to have forgotten that their succession and estate plans should address all of the accounts they have living in the cloud, and not just bank accounts.

A handful of states have started addressing this issue, including Delaware, which recently enacted the Fiduciary Access to to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act. (A matrix of state laws (not including Delaware, appears at the bottom of this post.)

Whether or not your state of residence/practice has provided any guidance in this area, plan you must. If you use any kind of cloud-based platform (email, practice management, social media,  cloud backup???), do these things, now:

Read the terms of service agreements for your digital accounts. Not only are you ethically compelled to do this, it’s the only way to find out what a platform does with your account upon your death. So read and find out. If you don’t see a clear statement from the provider on this, then ask.

Take the appropriate steps for each platform, to enable access. Now knowing what Facebook does with your account, make sure that you’ve addressed how this account can be accessed when you’re gone, and provide instructions to your executor (or digital executor, if someone other than your primary executor will be in charge of your digital assets).

Figure out who will handle your digital assets. As I note above, you can have these accounts managed by your executor (appointed in your will document), or by a “digital executor.” Why have a digital executor? Given the number and nature of your digital accounts, you may want (or need) to have these handled by someone with the appropriate technical capacity. And if the accounts contain confidential client data, then this should be taken into account when appointing someone.

Commit your digital asset plan to writing. And make sure that the right person(s) have this information, or know where to find it when the time comes. And if you live/practice in a state with a law governing digital assets, make sure that your wishes are in line.

Review your plan annually. You should be reviewing your estate plan annually, anyway. So add digital assets to the list. Why? Accounts come and go. The backup provider you used last year may be different than the one you’re currently using. So you’ve got to update the plan accordingly. The plan is only helpful if it’s accurate.

Seriously, if you haven’t made a plan and you’re not reviewing it annually, then you’re failing at a very important part of being a responsible adult who also practices law. This stuff isn’t hard or time-consuming to accomplish. So add it to your to-do list, Kanban board, or calendar. And get it done.

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Image source: Pew Research Center

tech tip thursday: a nifty (free) PDF app for mac.

I spend a lot of time dealing with PDFs. And solving PDF-related problems.

For instance, I’ve written before about how to unlock a PDF when you don’t have the password.

Yesterday’s challenge: insert a signature (JPG file) into a locked PDF.

Preview doesn’t like to add JPG files to PDFs. (Preview, the Mac PDF app, is my default viewer/editor, by the way.)

I have Acrobat Pro and while it does a lot of neat things, it’s too much trouble to use for simple things … like quickly adding a JPG signature to a locked PDF file.

A few seconds (literally) on Google and I found the perfect solution.

FormulatePro. An open-source project hosted on Google Project Hosting (source on GitHub).

FormulatePro is a simple PDF editor that lets you easily add JPG files to any PDF. Even locked ones. Simply open the PDF in FormulatePro, go to File —> Place Image, and drop the image into the PDF. You can resize the dropped image and move it around the PDF, to achieve perfect placement.

(You also can easily add text to a PDF with FormulatePro, which makes it a super-quick way to fill out forms.)

Simply export the edited file as a new PDF or print to PDF.

FormulatePro is a handy, lightweight PDF tool that you should have in your Mac Toolbox.

tech tip tuesday: unlocking a locked pdf file

Today’s dilemma inspired today’s post. I have a locked PDF file that I need to edit for a client, which I received via an email attachment.

I don’t have the password so I can’t unlock it. I can’t copy and paste it into a Word doc (my default method for creating a Word doc from a PDF), nor will PDF2Officeconvert to Word due to the password protection (my backup conversion method).

I tried converting to Google Docs for editing, which often works for PDFs that I can’t copy and paste into Word. But not this one. Docs reads much of the text as an image, which I can’t edit.

The solution: open the PDF in Chrome and print it to PDF (or open PDF in Preview if using a Mac). The new PDF created is unlocked.

I’m now able to copy and paste into Word, to my heart’s content.

It truly is the little things. 🙂

links i like.

What’s not here?

Want to surf the ‘net in stealth mode? Check out this fast and secure way to search privately.

It’s finally here. And here are five things you need to know about Microsoft Office for iPad.

Use Gmail? Worried about the NSA snooping through your emails? Here’s what Google is doing to thwart the snooping.

For anyone who stares at a computer screen much of the day (like many lawyers I know, myself included), consider using this app (for both Mac and Windows) designed to ease the eye strain.

No matter where you buy e-books, it’s possible to read them in one place. Here’s how. Very helpful for e-book addicts like me.

I’ve ditched Box for Google Drive, perhaps for good. I’m currently exploring the many things I can do with Drive, that I couldn’t with Box.

Try this one-minute hack to grow your Twitter following organically.

Your website copy probably needs reworking. (Mine does.) Schedule some time to rewrite. (I am.) Read this first. It will help you turn bland text into sparkling content.

extensions make life online better.

That little line of icons above? Some of my current Chrome extensions — integrated little extra features and functionalities that make online life better. (Other browsers offer extensions, too, but I’m focusing on Chrome as that’s my browser of choice.)

Following is a list of a few favorites (in no particular order) I shared recently at the Tennessee Bar Association’s Tech unConference. With one addition — OneTab, which I just discovered.

OneTab: click its icon and your current open tabs are converted to a list that you can click on individually to reopen, or reopen all at any time. Saves a lot of memory to collapse tabs if you’re a tab hoarder like me. 🙂

Evernote Web Clipper: instantly clip content from any webpage into a designated Evernote notebook, including notes and tags. I click this little elephant icon dozens of times daily, easy.

Feedly: feedly is an RSS aggregator — you can “save” the feeds of all your favorite online information sources (e.g. blogs) and the posts appear instantly in your feedly account, which can be accessed via the extension.

Pocket: Pocket’s extension is another web clipper that saves anything (articles, images, video clips) from the web into your Pocket account for reading later (accessible online and syncs with desktop and smart device apps).

Clearly: by Evernote, Clearly simplifies the look of any webpage to improve readability — a great tool when you land on a webpage full of banner ads and popups, as it eliminates all of these focusing only on the content you want to consume.

AdBlock Plus: blocks ads on most websites.

After the Deadline: adds a spell, style and grammar checker to any webpage — crucial if you draft emails, social media posts, or other content online.

Boomerang for Gmail: use this extension to schedule messages to be sent or returned to at a later date.

Disconnect: blocks otherwise invisible websites that track your search and browsing history – improves site load time, stops tracking of 1,000s of sites, and encrypts data you share with major sites.

Enlocked: encrypts outgoing email messages (with Gmail and Google Apps).

Google Voice: make calls, send SMS and more via your browser.

iDoc: an internet in-page editor, allowing you to edit any webpage and save it.

If you’re not using extensions already, hopefully something on this list will inspire you to investigate. You can find (lots) more in the Google Chrome Store. Or look for these in the Firefox or Safari extension stores if you’re not a Chrome user.

Have a favorite extension that I didn’t mention? I’m an extension hoarder, too. So I’d love to know about it. Comments always welcome.