Can Lawyers Market Using Fremium Models?

Filed under: Editorials, Marketing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I like Cory Doctorow. He’s the Che Guevara to the geek set. Cory has proven you can make money by giving away content. If you don’t know, Cory writes science fiction (he also a co-editor of BoingBoing and Director of European Affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation). Cory makes his books available for free electronically via a creative commons license and also sells dead tree editions.

I know that giving away content can be profitable. I blog about how Social Security disability works and try to demystify the interconnection between regulation. My now generates about 50% of intakes at my Colorado Social Security disability law firm.

I use blogging so people can obtain general information, establish myself as an authority in this area, and let people get to know me so they want to contact me and retain my services. It is generator. You could describe it this way:

General information is free. If you want all the pieces connected and applied to the specific circumstances of your case, hire me.

However, THATS. NOT. THE. SAME. THING. I am not giving away the exact same thing I’m selling. I am not giving away legal services.

However, could I do the same thing with this book? Read the rest of this entry »

I don’t have time to blog and I don’t know what to blog about

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , , , |

perfect stranger

I was at the Social Media for Lawyers CLE in Denver the other day when the question came up.

Between work family and everything else, how do you find time?

This question reminds me about the old joke which asks, “Are you ignorant or apathetic?”  “I don’t know and I don’t care.” I am not saying that lawyers who says they can’t find time to blog and don’t know what to write about are either ignorant or apathetic. However, not creating content is a choice you make.

While no one said it, the answer is simple: you have time to blog. Read the rest of this entry »

100 Tips Update – 77 and Argh!

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: , |

Mango HaX0ring

Not actually my cat

Yesterday, I started putting together a list of the 100 tips. This was just a rough list of headings. No bodies. Just what each tip should cover. It was just a brainstorming session; just to get out as much as I could. I got to around 64 items.

Today (Saturday), after a family trip to Indian Springs West of Denver, I copied the list into Circus Ponies Notebook, then started labeling sections, and began organizing which tips should go where. Notebook is great for this since you can very easily indent, outdent, and move entries around in a outline. Plus you have separate pages, and an absolutely amazing index. Which is why I use Notebook for my master case document for each and every one of my Social Security disability cases.

Back to the project at hand. Some entries were duplicates and others were really better as sub-topics. Then, still other sections just needed to be added. I also did a pass on the introduction and the disclaimer.

So, now I am up to 77 tips. I still need 23 more so when June 1 rolls around, I can start writing a “tip” a day. I also now see that while some tips may be fairly short, many will be a few pages in length. I always preferred to boil things down and keep them light. Hence, I was not a good candidate for law review. The idea is to keep the book readable, while still providing a solid primer on SSA disability – a “what you need to know” if you will. However, even at a brief “couple” of pages per tip, doing one a day, is going to be tricky…

So, now I have a few more days to get the remaining 23 topics nailed down. A couple more runs through the list should reveal some gaps that need to be filled. Hopefully, I can cross the 100 mark. However, now it is late, and I have a cat sitting on my chest as I type this on the laptop, tapping his tail on the trackpad. Time to sign off.

Creative Commons License photo credit: slava

I’ll See What I Can Do

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: , , , , |

I’ve had a thing for Japanese culture for a while now. However, one thing that has bothered me was the Japanese difficulty in unambiguously saying, “no.” A response of “that is a little difficult” or “I’ll think about it,” may result no action being taken. I was frustrated by this. At least frustrated enough that it is something that has stuck in my head for a few years.

It was so unlike living in America where people will no only tell you, “no,” but also tell you what you can do with your request; all without the slightest concern for your feelings. Or worse, with a not insubstantial amount of schadenfreude at hampering you on your path. Read the rest of this entry »

Self Publishing for Lawyers

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Starting June 1st, I am starting a writing project in my practice area, Social Security disability. I will be writing a book covering 100 Hearing Tips – published directly onto Kindle with a paper option through an on demand publisher. I am also shooting for 100 tips in 100 days. I know, it’s ambitious.

I have been researching and learning Mac apps to make this a doable goal. I have been using nvAlt for initial notes (synced via Simplenote to let me work on various devices). The actual organization will be done in Scrivener. I have recently become a Markdown convert — I have several articles coming up on Markdown for lawyers. I am looking at Lulu for the on demand physical copy and inclusion into Amazon.

This should be an interesting process. I will be posting here about works and what doesn’t; the ups and the downs. Frankly this endeavor has me equally excited and scared. If I fail, it will be a public failure; even if the only person I disappoint is myself.

So here goes: starting June 1, 2011, 100 Social Security Hearing Tips in 100 days begins! Wish me luck, send me your hearing tips, writing and publishing suggestions, and sandwich recipes!

Otter Pope

Filed under: Software | Tags: , |

Otterpop non pope

With a no-show in my schedule, I decided to learn a bit more about Acorn. I’m using version 2.3.1 purchased from a prior MacHeist. Acorn is currently up to version 3.

My kids want to sell OtterPops over the summer to make some extra money, and I was commenting about this on Facebook when I mistakenly wrote “Otter Pope.” And I thought to myself.

Man, someone has got to make an Otter Pope!

So, with an hour, google image search, Hat Booth, more google image search and Acorn, I got to … not-the-otter-pope.

But, it was fun and I learned more about Acorn, removing the alpha channel and working with layers with all the élan that going to law school prepares one to do image editing. Next time, I’ll probably head over to quickmeme.

Acorn is available directly from Flying Meat and also on the App Store.

Chasing the Like Button

Filed under: Blogging | Tags: , , , , |

facebook like button
I have spent a completely inordinate amount of  setting up Facebook comments, both on this site, and my disability site. It was quite a bit of work finding a plug-in that actually worked. Or, more to the point, figuring out which plugins did not work, and would not work, no matter the amount of tweaking I put into them.

I previously used Disqus and have been very happy with it. It is a feature rich, stable, and regularly improving comment engine. However, the siren song of comments ringing out and reverberating through Facebook (600 million active users strong) is too enticing to pass up. Read the rest of this entry »

Predicting Future Tablets

Filed under: Editorials | Tags: , , |


This is one of those, “crystal ball gazing posts.” The kind that, due to the effects of obviousness, are only useful if it is wrong. If I happen to be correct (at some unspecified time in the future) then it was meant to be, so who cares. If I am wrong (which I am up until the very point that I am right), the outcome is also obvious by virtue of the prediction having not come to pass. Also, it isn’t useful in any kind of making-a-difference-in-your-life way, but more in a “ha-ha, you’re wrong!” kind of way.

In either case, predicting anything is a fairly useless exercise. So here goes nothing. Also, if you suspect I am padding out this post with this preface, you can give yourself a pay on the back.

Prediction: tablet screens need to become the size of a sheet of paper (approx 8 1/2 by 11 inches)

The iPad is too big already! I can’t fit it into any pockets! Who needs a bigger one?

I agree that it is too large – to be easily pocketed; save in tactical pants tricked out for uber geeks. However, for handwritten notes or sketches, it is too small. The number of apps that permit you to zoom in and out because using a stylus is too imprecise, attests to that. True, that is primarily the fault of the digitizer which will no doubt improve in each generation. However, a page sized note page still beats out a 7.5 x 9.5 inch screen.

I already have a problem with taking an iPad anywhere. It doesn’t fit in a pocket. I don’t want to just carry it, for fear of dropping it. And, getting a murse for it, is going down the path of buying accessories for my accessories. So, here it is: the iPad is just too damn BIG.

So, make it bigger?

Yes. Make the screen the size of a sheet of paper and let it finally be a notepad replacement. Up the digitizer sensitivity and let me use it to sketch, take notes without all the current workarounds. Then, I can carry it in a folio, and feel that I have actually carrying something useful in exchange for the inconvenience of having to carry another item (that doesn’t fit into a pocket).

Creative Commons License photo credit: Rego –

Time to Secure Facebook (Yes AGAIN)!

Filed under: Cloud | Tags: , , |

With the recent concern over Facebook privacy (if that isn’t an evergreen topic I don’t know what is) specifically the Firesheep plugin for the Firefox browser. If you are not familiar with it, Firesheep is a dead simple plugin that lets people see and capture the password for other Facebook users on the same network.

If you ever use an open wifi — say at your local Starbucks — and checked your Facebook page, someone else in the cafe might also have not only gotten full access to your Facebook page on that day, but also now been able to log on to your Facebook page ANY TIME THEY WANT.

Feel free to re-read that and let it sink in.

Fortunately, Facebook has implemented some new security options to fix this problem. So, it’s time to review and tighten up your Facebook security. Yes, again! Read the rest of this entry »

Mac Tip: DropBox Tips – Selective Sync & Cache Cleaning

Filed under: Mac Tips | Tags: , |

Chocolate Tools
Dropbox is an amazing tool and now that it has selective synchronization, you no longer have to have every folder synced across all of your systems.  This is particularly useful if you find solid states hard drive sizes a bit cramped. Read the rest of this entry »