I’ll be talking cloud at the last workshop of the year. Only a couple of spots left on one date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 from 1:30 — 3:30. At my quite comfy office in the Factory at Franklin. Tennessee attorneys get two hours of dual CLE (bonus!).
This is the two hour version of 27+ ways to take your practice to the clouds. Come ready to be blown away. 🙂
More info and to register — go here.
InspiredLawBlog is written by Caitlin [Cat] Moon, a sometimes attorney who is always helping others work smarter, happier, and techier.
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.
For years I’ve used Box.com as my client-facing storage/syncing/sharing platform. The Enterprise version, in fact. It’s not inexpensive, and the entry level of Enterprise includes way more storage capacity than I will ever need.
I was on the verge of switching to Google Drive (for many reasons), when Google dropped pricing on Drive storage considerably. At $1.99/month for 100GB, I waited no longer. Time to switch.
Concerned about security of files in Drive? See Security Note at end of post.
But how to do this, exactly? I really just needed to copy everything in Box directly to Drive. As efficiently as possible. And since not everything stored in my Box account is mirrored to one of my local hard drives, it really wasn’t as easy as setting up Google Drive on a local drive and starting the upload/sync process.
In the back of my mind, I knew I’d read about a service that could do this for me. I dug into my Evernote notebooks, and within seconds I had the solution: cloudHQ.
It’s drop-dead simple to use: set up an account, select which platforms you wish to sync (with the option of one-way transfer or syncing between any two platforms), and cloudHQ takes it from there.
The following video describes a real estate firm’s workflow and how cloudHQ brings all things cloud together — I think the example applies quite perfectly to a law firm, as well.
You can sync or transfer one-way between all of the following platforms: Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Evernote (personal and business), Basecamp, Gmail, Skydrive (now OneDrive), Sugarsync, and SharePoint.
I transferred 50+GB from Box to Google Drive in less than 24 hours. Boom. I’m also using cloudHQ to sync between Drive and Dropbox (where I store/share personal and family files), and may start using it with Gmail and Evernote, as well.
I’ve randomly checked various files and everything appears to have transferred seamlessly. However, I’ll do a full review of all critical files before I cancel my Box account.
I’m currently in the 15-day trial of the Premium Plan (no credit card required, but you have to “follow” cloudHQ on Facebook or LinkedIn to get the Premium Plan trial at no cost), which offers 10 sync pairs and unlimited files for $11.90/month or $119/year. Pricing for free, personal and business plans is available here.
Full disclosure: cloudHQ offers a free year of its Premium Plan to bloggers who write about the service. And while this is indeed a nice perk (if in fact I receive it), I wouldn’t write about the service unless I had used it and can recommend it without hesitation.
NOTE: I’ve never received any benefit for writing about anything on this blog, nor do I use affiliate links, etc. And if/when I do (or have the potential to do so), I’ll say so. Like now.
SECURITY NOTE: I initially chose the Enterprise version of Box for client file storage/syncing for the security features offered. With Drive, I can still use Boxcryptor or Viivo to encrypt sensitive files. My general rule is not to store anything really sensitive in the cloud, and I encrypt what is truly confidential.
I was all set to write about another app today, when I clicked on an email from the Haiku Deck folks. To tell me that they’re giving away two premium themes a day, all week. Part of their “a random act of kindness week.” Sadly, I missed yesterday’s themes because I didn’t open the email until today.
Want some free Haiku Deck themes? Open HD on your iPad, go into an editing window, click on themes and then scroll through, clicking on premium themes, until you stumble across the $0.00 ones. [Spoiler alert: today’s are Iditarod and Starship. Cool.]
Free themes? The main reason I’m featuring Haiku Deck in this week’s installment of #apptuesday. Also, I’m practicing agility. I’m going with the flow. Shifting my editorial calendar. Away from what I was going towrite about, and toHaiku Deck. Because? I’m agile.
So I’ll go ahead and share some other thoughts about the app. while I”m at it.
Haiku Deck started life as a presentation app for your iPad. Which is one way that I’ve used it. In fact, below is a slide from an entire e-discovery presentation I gave last year using the app. Fun stuff.
HD simplifies slide-building, which for most people and in most presenting situations, is a *fantastic* idea. Busy slides with bullet points and graphs and charts and too many words? Makes the audience want to poke their eyes out, people. Trust me on this one.
Now you can build and share decks via HD’s web app, too. Which is why I went to it today in the first place. I’m making a HD birthday presentation for my sister’s big 4-0. Much more fun than simply sending a card (though I do highly recommend this site for quite nice e-cards and e-invites).
Another, perhaps novel, purpose for the app: I’ve used it to create presentations to clients, both legal and consulting, to explain processes and make proposals. Feedback tells me these have been very well-received. And while HD doesn’t substitute for a presenter’s creativity, it does handle the heavy lifting from a design standpoint quite well.
HD’s site features an ever-changing array of excellent decks, which will inspire both design-wise and content-wise. And HD’s blog often offers great presentation, customer service, and other tips.
This post isn’t going to tell you how to use this app because you can find a handy Haiku Deck tutorial here and a getting started post here. And you can find theweb app user guide here. Why reinvent the wheel?
I’m presenting on the cloud at the Tennessee Bar Association’s Tech unConference next week. I’ve already opted out of using TBA’s equipment for my presentation (TBA requires the use of PowerPoint so I decline mainly on principle), which means I’m free to use Haiku Deck. I just may do it. Cloud-based presentations are one of the 25+ topics I’ll be covering, after all.
And if you’ll be in the Nashville area on Thursday, February 20, I invite you to join fellow technologically-enlightened lawyers for an array of interesting presentations, food, and conversation. It’s all free (unless you want the CLE credit). I’m closing the show with the final presentation at 3:30. Would love to see you there.