Expand Your Legal Knowledge for Free with On-Line Courses

Nice resource for lawyers:  MentorCLE offers free on-line courses on legal subjects for Illinois lawyers. Included is this course on Persuasive Writing For Lawyers by Helen Gunnarsson. You can pay $19.95 to convert your time into an hour of CLE credit.

There is a list of a number of great presentations on the site here. Got 15 minutes and a cup of coffee? Why not learn something new? Great job, MentorCLE!

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Save A Briefcase, Use A Kindle

I have long suspected that e-readers in general and the Amazon Kindle in particular could serve a higher purpose for lawyers. There is no doubt that we, as a profession, drown in paper. While we are in much better shape in this regard now than we were, say, 10 – 15 years ago, there is still a lot of paper wending its way through the practice. And, of course, lawyers by definition are avid readers, by both choice and necessity.

Many thanks to Justin Rebello at the Wisconsin Law Journal for his short list, of lawyer-specific reasons to grab a Kindle. Quoting from Justin:

  • Read depositions. The most common use for attorneys is exploring read-only versions of deposition transcripts.

    The Kindle allows the user to make notes on the screen or on the Web via an online content manager.

    There are also applications — such as Accureader — that can transfer a Kindle file (a .ptx file) into a PDF for text conversions, and have it e-mailed to a laptop.

    “It’s an easy way to keep track of the case no matter where you are,” said Finis Price, a personal injury lawyer in Louisville, Ky. “A laptop or other reader is too clunky for [converting files].”

  • Take private records home with you. The days of an attorney piling ultra-sensitive case documents into a brief case are over.

    The Kindle allows the user to upload documents onto the device using Amazon’s Digital Text Platform self-publishing tool.

  • Find new ways to release your own book. Speaking of self-publishing, the Kindle gives attorneys looking to release their own book more options.

    You can use the Digital Text Platform to upload, format and sell your book at the Kindle Store. Hundreds of law-related books are already available.

  • Keep up on blogs. If your Google Reader is constantly showing 1,000+ unread items, the Kindle can download a number of blogs so you can stay up to date while on the go, all without a web browser, says Price. [Yep, the Studio can even be loaded onto your device, via Amazon!]
  • Save on printing costs. The Kindle certainly isn’t cheap ($359 for the current iteration, $489 for the DX), but it can actually save law firms money in the long run.

    Firm policies and manuals can be uploaded in a read-only format. Web versions of magazines and newspapers can also be converted.

As more lawyers adopt this facile method for dealing with the mountains of paperwork (and email) that pervade their lives, briefcases and backs are certain to breathe a sigh of relief.

Hat tip to Legal Writing Prof Blog.

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