Just Google That!


When I first heard about Googling from my late mother-in-law, I was skeptical. Jackie was relentless about converting people to her newest way of doing things. I felt I had her number so was prepared to be underwhelmed by the usefulness of Google. As usual, Jackie was right! Google was a great tool and it still remains one of my favorite tools.

Google looks so unassuming….

 GoogleI used to just pop what I’m looking for into the search box and away I’d go.  Recently, I learned some helpful search tricks that make me more of a Google Geek or at least more proficient in my Google searches. In the spirit of Jackie, here are just five of the cool search tricks that may help you supercharge your next Google search.


Don’t let a misremembered word or phrase stop you. Use an asterisk ‘*’ to tell Google that there is a missing word or group of words that should be filled in with the most relevant search result. For example, “Data that is being transmitted over the Internet, into the cloud, should be * to protect it.”


This is what Google figured out I was searching for:

 Search 1



Stumped by a slang term you think you should know for surviving holiday dinners with your teenaged nephew? Use “define:slangword” to finally find out what they are talking about.


This is what Google revealed about the term, “tweaker:”

 Search 2



If you want to find something quickly within a website, use “site:” 

This is what Google revealed about the term, “practice management” on the Oregon State Bar website:

 Search 3



Find links to certain websites with “link:”  For example, do you want to know who has linked to your website or to your blog or even your firm’s Facebook page?

Here is what Google showed me about links to my blog:

 Search 4



Search for specific words in a title by using “intitle:”

Here is what Google for articles about waiving attorney-client privilege: 

 Search 1


I hope you can put these five Google search tips to use and keep your eyes and ears open for additional Google search tips! 

The Architecture of Trees, The Architecture of Your Law Practice

image  by Sheila Blackford   ©2016   Here in Portland, Oregon we’ve been having snow and freezing rain. When warm inside, this freezing weather allows you to appreciate the architecture of trees. The stark relief of branches covered in snow and ice is beautiful, especially some of the more fragile-branched trees. The rest of the year, you might not even notice the branches because when the tree is fully leafed-out or showing off hundreds of blossoms, it’s easy to miss seeing the hidden small branches. Winter lets us know they were always there.

Can you say the same looking at your law practice or career in the legal field during a time when there may been less work to  distract you from really seeing how things are, the architecture of your law practice or career?

Any review of a situation by a trained lawyer is going to reveal areas that could benefit from making changes.  By nature we lawyers have a good eye for details and critical evaluation. Usually. Or do we? This may be a prime time to assess skills and embark upon a program of personal and professional development. Don’t pass up an opportunity to change. A couple of sites I’d propose looking at are Lynda.com and MindTools. Be prepared to be amazed!

Lynda.com, a LinkedIn Company. This site is more than software training and tutorials. But the extensive offering of training on software programs is wonderful. Wondering about switching over to using FreshBooks instead of QuickBooks? Check out “FreshBooks Essential Training.”

Learning topics under each general topic are exhaustive, see the example just for 3D Animation. Yes, those numbers in parentheses are how many tutorials are available. Think how your courtroom presentations and websites might be improved! And if not, maybe there is a whole new career waiting, a talented new you to be unleashed!

3D + Animation.


Animation (74)
BIM (1)
Character Animation (60)
Compositing (16)
Creative Spark (2)
Documentaries (13)
Game Design (24)
Game Development (10)
Lighting (27)
Materials (58)
Modeling (82)
Particles + Dynamics (15)
Post Production (2)
Previsualization (6)
Projects (19)
Rendering (70)
Rigging (21)
Textures (61)
Visual Effects (73)

3-D Animation Software:

123D Catch (1)
3ds Max (51)
ActionScript (1)
Adobe (66)
After Effects (20)
Alias (1)
Allegorithmic (4)
Amorphium Pro (1)
Animate (2)
Apple (1)
AutoCAD (2)
Autodesk (137)
Avid (1)
Backburner (1)
Blender (12)
Bongo (1)
Carrara (1)
Chaos Group (7)
CINEMA 4D (43)
Dassault (1)
Digital Anarchy (1)
e-on Software (3)                                                                                                    Edge Animate (4)
eFrontier (1)
EI Technology Group (1)
Eovia (1)
epic (1)
Final Cut Pro (1)
Fireworks (1)
Flash (1)
Flash Professional (13)
Harmony (2)
Houdini (2)
Hype (1)
Illustrator (2)
Imagineer Systems (1)
Insydium (1)
Jawset (1)
jQuery (1)
LightWave (1)
Makerbot (1)
MARI (1)

How about something more useful?

Business Courses and Training.


Accounting (34)
Analytics (3)
Business Intelligence (30)
Business Skills (236)
Career Development (72)
Charts + Graphs (20)
Cloud Computing (1)
Collaboration (45)
Communication (105)
Computer Skills (Mac) (38)
Computer Skills (Windows) (46)
Creative Spark (2)
Data Analysis (42)
Databases (47)
Elearning (10)
Email (30)
Email Marketing (3)
Finance (44)
Forms (13)
Freelancing (24)
Home + Small Office (104)
iPhone, iPod, iPad (35)
Leadership (71)
Management (96)
Note Taking (12)
Online Marketing (18)
Operating Systems (55)
PDF (26)
Presentations (75)
Productivity (151)
Project Management (57)
Projects (9)
SEO (5)
Servers (4)
Social Media Marketing (14)
Social Networks (26)
Spreadsheets (70)
Time Management (15)
Web Conferencing (6)
Word Processing (54)
Writing (14)

Business Software Tutorials:

1Password (2)
2Do (1)
37signals (1)
Access (22)
AccountRight (2)
AccountRight Live (1)
Acrobat (24)
ACT! (1)
Adobe (39)
Adobe Document Cloud (1)
AirBnB (1)
Amazon (4)
Android (10)
Android Wear (1)
Antivirus (1)
Any.do (1)
Apple (83)
Apple Music (1)
Apple Watch (3)
ArcGIS (1)
Articulate (1)
Asana (1)
Barnes & Noble (2)
Basecamp (1)
Bento (3)
Box (2)
Business Catalyst (1)
CareerBuilder (1)
CARROT To-Do (1)
Chrome OS (1)
Chromebook (1)
Chromebox (1)
Cisco (2)
Citrix (1)
Clear (2)
Commerce (1)
Connect (1)
Contribute (1)
Corel (5)
Crystal Reports (2)
CSS (2)
Digg (1)
Dragon Dictation (1)
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home (1)
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium (1)
Dreamweaver (2)
Dropbox (3)
Drupal (1)
Drupal Commerce (1)
Dynamics GP (1)
eBay (2)
Entourage (3)
Esri (1)
Etsy (1)
Eventbrite (1)
Evernote (4)
Excel (93)
Excel for Mac (9)
Expensify (1)
Facebook (6)
Facebook Messenger (1)
FBA (1)
Feedly (1)
FileMaker (26)
FileMaker Go (2)
FileMaker Pro (23)
Fire Phone (1)
Flash Professional (2)
Flickr (1)
FrameMaker (1)
FreshBooks (1)
FrontPage (1)
Fulfilled by Amazon (1)
G2 (2)
Galaxy (5)
Galaxy Note (4)
Galaxy S5 (2)
Gear (1)
GIS (1)
Glass (2)
Gmail (4)
Google (30)
Google Apps (2)
Google Calendar (3)
Google Docs (4)
Google Drive (5)
Google Forms (1)
Google Photos (1)
Google Sites (1)
Google Voice (1)
Google+ (2)
GoToMeeting (1)
Groups (1)
Handy (1)
Homejoy (1)
HootSuite (1)
HTC (2)
HTC One (2)
HTML (2)
HulloMail (1)
IBM (1)
iBooks Author (1)
iCloud (3)
Illustrator (1)
iMovie (2)
Indeed (1)
InDesign (9)
InfoPath (3)
Instagram (1)
Internet Explorer (2)
Intuit (12)
iOS (13)
iPad (10)
iPhone (9)
iTunes (2)
iWork (5)
JavaScript (1)
jQuery (2)
Keynote (16)
Kickstarter (1)
Kickstarter Inc. (1)
Kindle (2)
Kobo (1)
Kobobooks (1)
LastPass (3)
LG (2)
LinkedIn (10)
LinkedIn Job Seeker (1)
Lotus Notes (1)
Lyft (1)
Lync (1)
Mac OS X (24)
Mac OS X Server (3)
Marketplace (1)
McAfee (1)
Meetup (1)
Microsoft (318)
Monster (1)
MYOB (3)
MySQL (1)
Nexus 5 (2)
NOOK (2)
Norton 360 (2)
Norton AntiVirus (1)
Norton Internet Security (1)
Norton Mobile Security (1)
Norton Studio (1)
Norton Zone (1)
Nuance (1)
Numbers (5)
Office (106)
Office 365 (53)
Office for Mac (22)
Office Mix (1)
Office Online (1)
Office Sway (2)
Omni (3)
OmniFocus (1)
OmniGraffle (2)
OneDrive (3)
OneNote (12)
Open Source (15)
OpenOffice (5)
Outlook (31)
Outlook for Mac (9)
Outlook.com (1)
Pages (7)
PayPal (2)
Photoshop (1)
PHP (1)
Pinterest (3)
PostgreSQL (1)
Power BI for Office 365 (1)
PowerPoint (37)
PowerPoint for Mac (5)
Presenter (1)
Prezi (1)
Project (11)
Publisher (9)
Qlik (1)
QlikView (1)
QuestionPro (1)
QuickBooks (9)
QuickBooks Online (1)
QuickBooks Payroll (1)
QuickBooks Pro (1)
Quicken (2)
Reader (1)
RealMac (1)
Recruiter (1)
Recruiter Lite (1)
reddit (2)
RoboHelp (1)
Samsung (7)
SAP (2)
Seller Central (1)
SharePoint (16)
SharePoint Designer (1)
Sheets (1)
Simply Hired (1)
Skype (2)
Skype for Business (1)
SlideShare (1)
Smashwords (1)
Snapchat (1)
Sony (2)
SQL Server (3)
SQLite (1)
Square (1)
Square Register (1)
Storyline (1)
StumbleUpon (1)
Survey Monkey (1)
SurveyGizmo (1)
Swiftpage (1)
Symantec (2)
Tableau (2)
Tableau Software (2)
TaskRabbit (1)
Technorati (1)
Todoist (1)
TweetDeck (1)
Twitter (5)
Twitteriffic (1)
Uber (1)
Vine (1)
Visio (5)
Visual Basic for Applications (2)
VRBO (1)
WebEx (2)
Week Calendar (1)
Windows (25)
Word (50)
Word for Mac (7)
WordPerfect (5)
WordPress (1)
Xperia (2)
Yahoo! (1)
Yammer (1)
YouTube (2)
Zoomerang (1)

Others well covered areas are Audio & Music; CAD, Design, Developer, Education & eLearning, IT, Marketing, Photography, Video, and Web. And maybe just looking at all these courses and trainings brings on a double chocolate chip cookie slump. How could you afford this? Easy! Basic Membership is $24.99 charged monthly or Annual billing rate $239.88 drops the monthly rate down to $19.99. There are also plans for you to sign up a group so that you can share the professional development in your firm. Rates and plans here.


I really like MindTool. Be prepared to spend a lot of time here especially if you have expanded to the role of boss. You need to become the very best boss because staff turn-over is costly.

How costly? What is your billable rate? How long does it take to run an employment ad, review job applications, schedule interviews, conduct interviews, bring back a smaller pool of candidates for additional interviews, and thoroughly check references. And then all the time invested in training staff.  This adds up quickly!

You cannot afford to do hiring and staff development poorly or be a pitifully unskilled boss who can’t hang onto good people. Ouch! Not wanting to be harsh, but I want you to take the right attitude toward this neglected area of law firm success.

There is always room for improvement  and MindTools is a website where you can begin.  And let me say there are excellent self-assessment tests throughout the site so that you can hone in on what skills you need to develop further the fastest. Take a look at the skill areas. Yes, 330 ways to become a better team  builder and manager.

Skill Areas:

Leadership Skills (129)
Team Management (330)
Strategy Tools (207)
Problem Solving (54)
Decision Making (71)
Project Management (82)
Time Management (99)
Stress Management (72)
Communication Skills (194)
Creativity Tools (46)
Learning Skills (53)
Career Skills (262)

Membership is for you alone – Standard Membership$19/month or Premium Membership $27/month. Check out Join on the MindTools Home Page.  If you are in a bigger firm likely you’ll want to contact MindTools to learn about Corporate or Group Membership. You will definitely want to explore all the resources available to you, for example the MindTools store and there usually are membership specials so that you only have to pay $1 for the first month. A really good deal. What are you waiting for? 2016 just may become your very best year!

Happy New Year!








The Gift of Time


image    by Sheila Blackford   ©2015   The 2015 holiday season is in full swing. This time of year, many lawyers question if they should leave their law firm and go solo or start up their own multi-attorney firm or just hang it up and retire or switch careers. These are all things that are best to think about. I just question whether this might not be the best time to be making such life changing decisions. It’s a bit like deciding whether to get a divorce. Good to consider but with the stress of the holidays and busy pace of visiting family and friends, this may not be the time when you can do your best thinking. Can you give yourself the gift of time?  Why, you ask? To give yourself time to consult with a good lawyer: yourself.

Take the time to think things through.

  • Can you see where this decision leads?
  • Do you need to sit down with a financial advisor to crunch numbers?
  • What about covering health insurance for you and any family members?
  • What practical considerations are needed in place to help you in the first six-month transition period?
  • Do you have the stomach for flying solo or weathering difficult relationship issues involving sharing control and maintaining trust?
  • If employees will be involved, do you have all the human resources areas taken care of before you create a BOLI complaint or lawsuit?
  • Do you need to sit down with a CPA and your tax returns and financial projections to determine your right choice of entity?
  • Should you and your prospective law partners do Myers Briggs, Strengthfinders, or some other psychological testing to determine if you really will bring compatibility and balance to the planning table?

Know your resources.

Oregon State Bar Economic Survey.

Oregon Attorney Assistance Program Attorney Counselors. For assistance with career planning and counseling.  503-226-1057  or 1-800-321-6227

  1. Shari Gregory, LCSW, JD on Ext. 14.
  2. Kyra Hazilla, JD, MSW on Ext. 13.
  3. Mike Long, JD, MSW, CEAP on Ext. 11.
  4. Douglas Querin, JD,LPC, CADCI on Ext.  12.
  5. Bryan Welch, JD counseling intern on Ext. 19.

Oregon State Bar General Counsel’s Office for assistance with ethics questions arising in the practice of  law. 503-620-0222 or 1-800-452-8260

  1. Helen Hierschbiel, General Counsel on Ext. 361. Will become Executive Director of OSB January 2016.
  2. Amber Hollister, Deputy General Counsel on Ext. 312. Will become General Counsel of OSB January 2016.

Oregon State Bar Client Assistance Office for assistance with initial screening of ethics complaints about lawyer conduct. 503-620-0222 or 1-800-452-8260

PLF Attorney Practice Management Advisors for assistance with the business of practicing law, including closing a law practice, departing from a  law firm, retiring or selling a law practice, or opening a new law practice.  503-639-6911 or 1-800-452-1639

  1. Sheila Blackford, JD on Ext. 421.
  2. Hong Dao,  JD on Ext. 412.
  3. Jennifer Meisberger, JD on Ext. 411.
  4. Beverly Michaelis, JD on Ext. 415.

PLF Claims Attorneys for assistance with handling situations where there is a concern of a potential malpractice claim. The receptionist will connect you to an available claims attorney.  503-639-6911 or 1-800-452-1639

PLF Practice Aids and Forms