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ABA Techshow

In a Google World, Lots of Options for Law Practice Efficiency

Posted Apr 12, 2011 10:19 AM CDT
By Mark Hansen

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Sometimes it seems to be a Google world, and the wealth of tools and applications there (beyond search and Gmail) can help lawyers practice more efficiently and effectively.

The offerings include word processing (Google Docs), an appointment calendar (Google Calendar), spreadsheets (Google Spreadsheets); slide presentations (Google Presentations), telecommunications services (Google Voice) and forms (Google Forms). Best of all, most of them are free with a free Google account.

Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch, president and vice president respectively of Internet for Lawyers (and co-authors of the blog of the same name), a Rio Rancho, N.M.-based continuing legal education seminar provider, offered a sampling of those tools and applications at Monday's ABA Techshow program.

Levitt and Rosch ought to know. The married couple co-wrote the ABA-published book Google for Lawyers: Essential Search Tips and Productivity Tools. About 300 of the book’s 500 pages are devoted not to Google’s formidable search capabilities, but to its various tools and applications.

“There’s a lot more to Google than a search box,” Levitt said as the couple led a fast-paced demonstration of some of the most popular and some of the least-known tools and apps useful to lawyers.

They also let the audience in on a little secret—a Google feature so unknown they just found it a couple of months ago. It’s a proximity connector, similar to the proximity searching capabilities offered by LexisNexis and Westlaw, which allows users to search for keywords within a certain number of words from one another. The Google proximity connector AROUND(n) will produce results that include various spellings of the keywords and in no particular order. However, enclosing a proximity search in quotation marks will narrow the results to where an exact keyword precedes another exact keyword. Such a search can also be limited to or exclude a particular website.

“This can save so much time,” Levitt said.

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