I came across an extremely handy utility the other day while helping a lawyer get his all-Mac office set up. Like many Mac-using lawyers, he planned to “manually” manage his documents and files which meant he needed to 1) always be consistent on naming files and 2) have a consistent structure of folders in which to save his files.
By the way, there’s nothing wrong with “manual” document management. Larger firms use legal-specific document management systems (DMS) such as iManage, OpenText, Worldox, or NetDocuments to manage files, but these are overkill for smaller firms, and they don’t fully support macOS. Honorable mention does go to DocMoto, however, since they offer the only Mac-native option for document management, and I know several Mac-based law firms that are happily using the platform.
… back to my story …
For file-naming consistency, I always recommend using TextExpander (sign up for the free webinar I’m doing with Smile Software on TextExpander next week). TextExpander worked wonderfully for this lawyer on filenames, but then he asked about an easy way to automatically create a set of folders for each matter so he (or his assistant) wouldn’t have to manually create them every time. I knew there were ways to do this using AppleScript, but I don’t typically recommend that angle for lawyers.
So I was elated to come across Client Folder Maker from GeekSuit, LLC (what a GREAT name!). This simple (AND FREE!!!) little app lets you automatically populate a structure of folders and sub-folders whenever you need to. Watch the “Demo Video” on www.clientfoldermaker.com which gives you all you need to know about building your set of folders. The interface is simple to understand, and you can assign a keyboard shortcut to populate your set of folders in your current Finder folder. I plan to do a more extensive video review of Client Folder Maker soon but I had to let everyone know about this amazing (and FREE!!!) little utility that should be on any Mac-using lawyer’s computer.
Client Folder Maker in the App Store
While attending the Mac Power Users session at TechShow in March, renowed Mac-using attorney Randy Juip discussed Spotlight.1 For those of you unfamiliar with Spotlight, it is one of the great reasons to own a Mac. Released with OS X 10.4 Tiger in 2005, it is a system-wide, real-time search function built directly into every modern Mac.
At its most basic, clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your menu bar, Spotlight lets you search your files by numerous criteria.2 When you begin typing, Spotlight instantly narrows matches as you continue typing. Spotlight searches by file name, metadata, and even file contents. It searches your documents, emails, addressbook, and calendar items. Spotlight can even launch applications and perform simple math. If you’re not using Spotlight yet, it’s an excellent way to speed up your file access.
Having said that, you may quickly run up against Spotlight’s usability limits. By making this feature so approachable, Apple hid much of Spotlight’s power.3 Fortunately for Spotlight fans, a third party program has stepped into the gap. Houdah Software created HoudahSpot, which approachably exposes the full capabilities Apple built into Spotlight. HoudahSpot’s easy access to Spotlight’s complete functionality makes Spotlight a topflight stand-in for legal document management on the Mac.4
Why is that important? As I joked to an older friend at a technophobic law firm, the future of storage is not in bankers’ boxes. If you’re not making a strong, successful effort to go paperless in your law practice, you’re wasting time (searching for documents), space (storing documents), and ultimately money. Either you’re wasting billable hours handling paper or you’re paying subordinates or offsite companies to do it for you. HoudahSpot lets you take scanned documents and access last year’s client matters as quickly as yesterday’s.5
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I’m thrilled to have Paul Unger from the Affinity Consulting Group review the Worldox iPad App. For those that don’t know, Worldox is one of the most respected professional document management platforms available today, with numerous installations in law firms around the world. And while Worldox does not natively run in the Mac OS, the company recognized the potential and usability of the iPad.
To learn about Worldox and why your firm needs a professional document management system, I highly recommend John Heckman’s whitepaper hosted by Worldox: “Why Document Management?” (PDF).
If you use Worldox for document management, and you are one of the millions of people who have an iPad, the Worldox iPad App may bring you several steps closer to achieving a paperless law office. I’ve been using the app on my iPad now for nearly six months, and here are my observations.
The beauty behind the iPad is its instant-on capability and instant connectivity to the internet. To use Worldox in this masterful iPad environment is refreshingly easy. I’ve been using Windows-based tablet computers for over six years, but the main obstacles to making those tablet features truly functional were boot-up time, instant internet connectivity, and weight/portability. Worldox quickly realized that Apple solved all those issues with the iPad and they developed a fantastic app that gives users access to all Worldox-managed documents from the iPad.
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