In this week’s edition of How Lawyers Work, we talked to Damien Riehl. Damien is a technology lawyer who has advised clients on technology, litigated technology issues, and developed software. He has also implemented cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing to improve the practice of law.
What apps or tools are essential to your daily workflow?
Word. What lawyer worth their salt doesn’t love/hate this program? When one’s trade is ideas expressed through words, quickly pushing one’s brain into pixels (paper optional) is sacrosanct. Word is the best tool I’ve found for that. Whenever I get a new machine, the first thing I do is install Word and connect my highly personalized Normal.dotx, complete with customized styles (Microsoft installations should include a style set for legal writers, incorporating the excellent advice in Typography for Lawyers), keyboard-shortcut-enabled macros (e.g., homemade wordiness macro [similar to WordRake], replace two spaces with one, sentence case, title case), and keyboard shortcut mapping (e.g., section symbol; paragraph symbol; highlighting in yellow, green, and red). I’m drafting this using Google Drive—to see if it’s a worthy substitute — and it’s killing me. Em dash with five keystrokes: [Alt]+0151? No ability to create a new Style, like Body Text? C’mon!
Google Calendar. Being able to quickly coordinate work and life schedules — from any device — makes life easier. Real-time sync of my family’s calendar is a godsend.
LastPass. Password managers are huge performance boosts, masquerading as security improvements. A single, secure password (I use a pass sentence) unlocks hundreds of website credentials. LastPass generates randomized and long passwords that I don’t have to remember; I just unlock LastPass on my mobile device or browser plugin, and it auto-fills passwords. Bonus: LastPass includes a dead-man switch, so when I die (or if I’m incapacitated), my spouse can get access to all of my online accounts, helping avoid digital death problems (especially where state statutes follow UFADAA).
Read the rest of the apps Damien uses to improve his work productivity at Lawyerist.com.