How to encrypt hard drive with Mac Lion OSX 10.7

Filed under: Mac Tips | Tags: |

Over 800,000 laptops are lost or stolen each year. Now that OSX 10.7.x has whole disk encryption built into the operating system, you can encrypt your entire hard drive. If your laptop is lost or stolen, you will have piece of mind that all the data on the drive is encrypted.

1. Open “System Preferences”.

2. Click the “Security and Privacy” icon.

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WordCast Conversations: Tomasz Stasiuk, Blogging, Social Media and Online Strategies for Lawyers

Filed under: Blogging, Marketing, Presentations | Tags: , |

I had a great conversation with Kym Huynh on Wordcast Conversations on the importance of blogging to the legal profession including:

  • How blogging attract legal clients.
  • How blogging equalizes the playing field between big law and solos and small firm lawyers.
  • How blogging establishes you as a thought leader in your practice area on the national stage.
  • How to get take the first steps to get started blogging.

WordCast Conversations with Tomasz Stasiuk from Bitwire Media on Vimeo.

On Purpose

Filed under: Podcasts | Tags: , |

I was watching Janet Echelman’s TED presentation on taking imagination seriously. Beyond an amazing form of large scale art, I am amazed at Echelman’s perseverance:

  • 2 years searching for a fiber.
  • Connecting with an aeronautical engineer.
  • Connecting with industrial fishnet factories.
  • 3 year to develop a method to mass manufacture 50,000 square foot lace netting.

And that was just on one project! How you pay the mortgage in the mean time?

I suppose this ability to take on a large scale project and develop the tools necessary to tun dreams into reality is what makes for a good TED presenter. This makes me think that three factors required in achieving such goals are direction, determination, and connections.

  1. Direction: knowing what you want to do
  2. Determination: being and remaining resolute in pursuing your direction
  3. Connections: knowing or being able to find the people to help you over hurdles you face in pursing your purpose.

Law Practice Tip: Add “What to Bring” List to Emails

Filed under: Practice Tips | Tags: |

Want to make you clients happy? How about just a bit happier. Here is an easy way to make your client’s experience with your office just a bit easier and less stressful.

Add a “What to Bring” section to your appointment confirmations

You already know that you have to remind you clients of their appointments. Otherwise the chance of a no-show jumps sky-high. I have been transitioning to email reminders over the last 18 months. It has made my life so much easier. I use a pre-generated email template in Daylite which plugs in the next event. I simply review it, and hit send.

One thing I have recently added is section that says:

At the appointment, we will be checking for the following. Please do your best to have these available:

And I include a list of what I will be looking for at the next appointment.

It’s easy. It avoids the whole, “Oh yeah! We did talk about that last time.” Of course, it does not prevent forgetting on the day of the appointment. It does reduce it substantially, though.

Law Practice Tip: Do You Have A Client Notepad?

Filed under: Practice Tips | |

Here is an easy way to keep your clients happy and make their lives easier: have mini-notepads on either side of your desk. It is one of those ridiculously obvious things (except that a lot of lawyers don’t bother with it).

It took me years to figure it out. It finally occurred to me at a doctor’s office: at the end of the appointment, they rattle off a list of medications, dosages and schedules, and things to watch for and what to do. Finally, they ask, “got that?” before smiling, shaking your hand and running out the door.


Simply providing a pad and paper greatly helps our clients keep all of the information and instructions that we go through during appointments straight.

On both left and right sides of my desk, I keep mini sticky-back notepads with pens. This lets my clients take notes and take with them. It’s easy and it makes getting things done easier for my clients and myself.

Got a practice management tip? Tell me in the comments!

Starring: Insert Your Name Here

Filed under: Editorials | |

Hands in the air - in concert

I’m watching Amelia (the Amelia Earhart biopic with Hillary Swank and Richard Gere) and I can’t help thinking that life is much easier if you just image you are living in your own biopic.

Now, of course, teenagers are already doing this, and doing it wrong, I must say, since they are focusing on recreating the rewards of idols rather than the drive and determination that got them there. If this comes off as obtuse, I mean they focus on the trappings and partying rather than the long days training and rehearsing. To go even further on this tangent, I believe Making the Band was one of the best reality tv series since it actually showed the grueling training schedule wannabe stars went through on the slim chance of making the band.

Going back to the main topic, it is a conceit in many biopics that the protagonist seems to have an unswerving drive that leads them inexorably to their goal. While there may be moment of self-doubt, it seems to be only for dramatic tension and the character quickly regains their composure and focus.

Unrealistic, though this may be, it seems like a worthwhile ideal to cultivate especially when you are unsure of yourself.

Whether it is dealing with barking dogs of people yelling things out of cars when they pass me while out walking, or continuing to go back to write in this space, it is useful to imagine that like the protagonist in Julie and Julia, it is all part of a grand journey culminating in bigger success. And I just have to muddle through it.

One of the “truths” I recently came upon is that if you want to succeed, you cannot let yourself be deterred. You have to keep on doing what you need to do to reach your goal. Personally, I think that a necessary corollary is that you always have the ability to decide that the band is never going to make it and maybe you should put away the guitar. You have the power to evaluate your goals and decide which ones are worth pursuing and which should be left by the wayside. [I seem to be writing a lot in clichés today.] However, for the goals that you keep, you have to keep moving forward on them. That is the only way your will ever succeed. It would just be easier if you knew there was a victory scene coming up in the third reel.

Creative Commons License photo credit: marfis75

Permission to do Cool Things

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

I was listening to Episode 5 of Back to Work. A brief summary: Dan and Merlin discussed how to let people give you a shot, a break, an opportunity to work on something cool and meaningful.


Stop whinging on about not getting opportunities. You haven’t gotten a shot because either:

  • You’re not good enough yet (but you don’t even know enough to realize it). Or,
  • You haven’t proven yourself capable to your immediate supervisor who doesn’t want to stick his or her neck out by giving you something cool (e.g. something valuable, which could get them fired if all goes pear-shaped on your watch).
  • You are a real pain in the ass because you constantly go on and on about not getting cool projects and/or have to be kept on to get your current work done.

Don’t worry. We’ve all been there. It is all a matter of how long it takes to get it together and start doing stuff well enough to get noticed.

Merlin offered a “ask not what your country can do for you” suggestion on getting to do better projects.

  • Keep in mind that your boss isn’t there to please you. Your boss has to please his boss.
  • Instead of asking to do something that helps you, ask if there is something you can do help your boss.

Making your boss’ life easier is a good way of showing your value and it is fairly certain to be on something that your boss will pay attention to (so your work will not go unnoticed).

Some people are not going to like this since it is a brown-nosing approach. Well, in a way it is. You are paying attention to you boss. However, it is not about getting ahead by being a sycophant and not producing anything (you are being a sycophant and producing something). Seriously though, it is about showing that you can listen to a supervisor’s needs and then meet them – which is what getting ahead is about.

Another option is to just wow your boss with something they are not expecting. Which is great, if you can figure about something that actually will wow them and not result in the following response:

You were doing WHAT on company time?

This gets to the topic of permission which was to be the main thrust of this post. The earlier section certainly still applies to many lawyers; especially those in big law. After 19 years of education and dog-eat-dog competition for a starting position, you find yourself in a position akin to an Egyptian slave moving blocks for Pharaoh’s pyramid. Figuring out what to get noticed is what it’s all about.

For solo attorney, this is the reason we left the rat race. Being a solo also means not having to prove things to a supervisor. It also means we are free of the main thing holding back attorney who are not their own boss: you don’t have to ask for permission.

  • Want to write article? Go for it!
  • Want to dive into class action cases? Why not!

There is no one stopping you. You may not be qualified to handle that yet. However, there is nothing stopping you from starting down that path.

I can’t just choose to be Gary Spence!

Lame example? Fine. You pick someone. Got it? Ok, let’s move on. Of course, you cannot choose the result. The result is what happens in response to your action and in response to the actions of lots of other people. For example: you can choose to get into politics, but you don’t get to “chose” that you will be elected. That outcome is out of your hands.

Another thing that holds people back is mistaking the first step for the outcome.

Lifting these tiny dumbbells isn’t going to get me bench-pressing 300 pounds.

Really? Because sitting on the couch has been getting you there? Obviously you are not going to go from 20 pound dumbbells to lifting massive plates. However, you will never get to lifting 300 pounds without starting much smaller. And you will never reach the goal by stopping after the first step. Or worse, never taking a step at all.

So, if you have the freedom to do thing, get out there and do it! Just keep in mind that you cannot control outcome and don’t blame the first step for not taking you all the way to your goal.

Creative Commons License photo credit: noaha