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5 Simply Awesome Ways to End the Year on a High Note

Here it is. We’ve reached the end of another year. But before we jump straight into 2018, here are just a few easy ways to put a bow on 2017.

Take stock of the year. Take some time to reflect on what went well and what can be improved for the coming year. Focus on lessons learned and how to use your newfound knowledge going forward. This exercise works great in both personal and professional applications. Celebrate accomplishments and make action plans to truly rock 2018.

Get organized. Finish your list of to-dos for 2017 and start planning for 2018. Buy that new planner and get it set up and ready to go for January. Another great tip- check your recurring meetings and make sure rooms are booked and any necessary changes are made early for a hassle free 2018. In your personal life, start preparing for the tax filing deadline. You’ll head into January strong.

Purge. Spending some time to toss and shred unneeded documents clears away clutter and potentially increases the security of sensitive documents. Still have that new hire training manual from 2010? Throw it out! Take a weekend and apply the same process at home. Show that packed linen closet who’s boss. A clutter free environment breeds creativity.

Start a new habit. So often New Year’s resolutions focus on negative traits we want to abolish. Why not instead focus on creating a new positive routine? Instead of a weight loss goal, start a walking group with coworkers. Want to watch less TV? Implement family game night. Need to combat negative current events? Donate your time to a charity. These things can be started right now. Why wait for January when you can do something good today?

Pay it forward. Don’t keep all these feel-good vibes to yourself. Share these tips with coworkers, friends, and family. Not only will you start off on a productive foot, you’ll be helping everyone in your circle kick off the new year right. What could be better than that?

Happy New Year from all of us at Ipro Tech!

Our Company Culture- Winning. Here’s Why.

Ask anyone working at Ipro and they’ll tell you it’s more than just a job. With our unique company culture, community activism, and leading-edge technology, Ipro Tech is a winning place to work. As we cruise toward 2018, here’s just some of the highlights from this year.

Community involvement matters. Early in the year, volunteers participated in the Phoenix Heart Walk. The team raised over $1100 to benefit the American Heart Association’s fight against heart disease and stroke. Ipro employees continued to engage with the community and give back through the AASK (Aid to Adoption of Special Kids) Drive collecting over 10,000 school supplies for children in need, and notably, a food drive for St. Mary’s Food Bank, donating more than 10,280 items. This year’s generosity exceeded even last year’s epic results.

It’s not all work and no play. Sprinkled throughout the year are numerous events that add to Ipro’s unique culture, including National Donut Day, a Bake Off, National Beer Day, and let’s not forget, geeking out on May the 4th (aka Star Wars Day) with teams showing plenty of spirit by dressing for the occasion. Speaking of dressing up, the team attending the International Legal Technology Conference (ILTACON) went all out, winning first place in the Best of ILTA competition for their Spaceballs collaboration. Later in the year, our teams celebrated Halloween in style. This year’s winners were “totally tubular” with their nod to 80’s fitness.

Taking it outside. Employees showed team spirit participating in softball and kickball teams representing Ipro. In May, folks braved the Phoenix heat attending the annual Family Picnic, where everyone enjoyed tons of food, laughs and downtime.

We’re growing. Ipro welcomed 73 employees, a 62% increase from last year. Our onboarding process is where new employees get inducted into the culture, products and people that make Ipro an exciting place to work. With a deep dive into the company manifesto, the {i-Proclamation} and a rousing scavenger hunt, it doesn’t take long for newbies to understand the uniqueness of the company they joined.

We have an office pet too. A major contributor to the Ipro culture is Sparky, a full of energy Sheepadoodle puppy who pretty much owns the place (and our hearts). She can be found visiting desks offering free belly rubs, throwing her ball down the hallway or napping quietly under someone’s desk. When things get busy, Sparky is always there to provide a moment of puppy love.

It’s been an exciting year of activity, growth, innovation and fun. Here’s to 2017 and an even bigger and brighter 2018.

Want to work here too? We’re hiring! Click here to check out our Careers page.

7 Simple Tips for a Productive Holiday Season at Work

Tis the season…to be unproductive at work. Sure, holiday lunches, potlucks, Secret Santa, and other office festivities are fun, but they can really hinder getting work done. All the seasonal activities plus your personal obligations can easily lead to being overwhelmed. So, what to do? Blow off work until January or Scrooge your way out of the festivities? Instead, put your bah humbug away and enjoy the fun yet still get things done. Just follow these 7 tips to close out December in style.

Plan ahead. Your boss is taking a week off, as well as your coworker who’s on the project with you. Instead of finding your progress blocked by office vacations, plan ahead and set up time to get those signatures, PowerPoint slides or talking points before they are out of the office. It’ll save you all some stress.

Catch up. Not a creature was stirring… A near empty office can be a productivity blessing. Now is your chance to catch up on that backlog of emails or tasks that never get your attention. No meetings or distractions means you can read those business articles piling up on your desk, finally work through the ever-present to-do list, and maybe even tackle that project you’ve been avoiding. Seize the moment.

Purge, baby, purge. While you’re at it, why not take this time to clean out your desk, trash those files you no longer need and beat your inbox into submission. You’ll start the new year on a fresh foot and feel great knowing you’re all caught up.

Take a day. One obstacle to productivity is your personal to-do list. Shopping, cooking, hosting parties, mailing packages, oh and that darn bake sale you signed up for, can leave you distracted at work making it even harder to focus. Consider taking a day off to get a handle on things. You’ll clear your mind, reduce some holiday stress and be ready to work.

The Must Dos vs. the Nice to Dos. The holidays bring with it a lot of invites. Work, home, your spouse’s work, the kids’ school play, the church potluck. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even worse… obligated. It can make you stressed, tired, and more than a little bitter, which all leads to being less productive at work. This is when it’s important to take a step back and prioritize what has to be done versus what would be nice to get done. Attend your kid’s third grade Christmas play- check. Attend the open house of your neighbor’s cousin’s daughter across town- negative. Save your sanity and your holiday spirit with a simple “thank you, but we won’t be able to make it”. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Focus. Probably the hardest thing to do during the season, but a crucial one. Many industries have year-end deadlines looming, and hey, somebody’s got to do it. If you can, change location to a quiet area. If you have an office, shut the door for an hour or two a day. No office door? Pop in some earbuds and Fa La La your way to getting that report finished. Remember- it’s all fun and games until a deadline is missed.

Enjoy the season. The holidays can be stressful, but they can also be a lot of fun. Don’t forget to enjoy this time of the year. Admire the lights on houses and buildings on your drive home, take time with family and friends and focus on what’s important, and for goodness sake, eat the darn cookies. You can diet in January.

A Heart-Wrenching Lawsuit

eDiscovery Sanctions

The parents of 8-year-old Gabriel Taye have filed a federal law suit against officials of the Cincinnati Public Schools district; but it has nothing to do with failure to educate, oversized classrooms, or discrimination, which are common reasons for legal action involving schools. Gabriel’s parents blame the school officials for allowing and even covering up the bullying at school that led their son to commit suicide.

According to a report from the Associated Press, his mother was unaware that her son had been bullied until lawyers discovered an email from a police detective gave details of an encounter outside the boys’ bathroom where Gabriel was knocked unconscious, two days before he hanged himself.

The parents’ attorney stated, “If CPS had been honest with her about what happened in the bathroom…and the dangerous school environment Gabe had to navigate each day of third grade, she would never have let him return to [school]”.

However, school officials claim that Gabriel told staff responding to the bullying incident that he had simply fainted, without mentioning anything about suffering bullying or assault.

As this case approaches trial, attorneys on opposing counsels are collecting evidence and preparing their cases, each with the goal to communicate effectively to the jury. On one side, the attorney represents a grieving couple who will spend the rest of their lives wondering if they could have saved their boy of they knew about the bullying. On the other side are school officials who are struggling to provide quality education with decreasing government budgets. Losing this lawsuit would be devastating to both the plaintiffs and defendants.

“If you want peace, work for justice” – Pope Paul VI

If you were asked to present in this trial, how would you prepare? Which tools would you use? What methods would you follow? How would you present your exhibits?

Advancements in legal technology can seem daunting and distracting, but it is engineered to have the opposite effect. New technologies help you to streamline your data review and presentation processes, allowing you to be more efficient and effective. Legal software is designed to offer lawyers the tools to provide the jury with understanding and their clients with justice.

Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Check out one of our training courses.

Cyber Requirements in the Workplace

Blog by Calvin Platten, General Counsel, Ipro

It is important for a company to protect its cybersecurity to minimize opportunities for breaches and other situations where critical data may be leaked to unsavory characters. While the technical aspects of creating a secure network may be a job for IT, cybersecurity is the responsibility of all employees. The weakest link in a network is frequently a company’s own employees.

For example, phishing e-mails often proceed cyber-attacks. They are not just e-mail SPAM. They are e-mails targeting employees who have access to financial accounts, PII, and/or PHI. The following is information from the ISACA on the epidemic of phishing e-mails proceeding cyber-attacks throughout the U.S.

1. Intelligence Gathering

  • It takes an average of 4 minutes from the time a phishing e-mail is sent until the victim opens it and clicks on the link or attachment.

2. Initial Exploitation

  • Phase one Malware is installed when someone clicks on an e-mail link – Phase one Malware remains on the victim’s PC an average of 270 days without being detected.

3. Command and Control

  • The Malware phones home to get instructions and goes silent – Antivirus Software can’t detect this activity.

4. Privilege Escalation

  • ISACA found that 63% of data breaches were a result of stolen user credentials.
  • By targeting an individual with just 10 phishing emails, 90% of the targeted users clicked the link and were compromised.

5. Data Exfiltration Occurs

  • Cybercrime has evolved into a long game. When it comes to moving data off your network the hackers will end up using our own FTP servers, Webex, Skype, and other business applications that you need to run your business just because they can.

To prevent its employees from succumbing to phishing e-mails and other cyber scams a company needs to establish clear policies for cyber security, create a system where employees are encouraged to report breaches of the policies, continually review and update their policies, and discuss the up to date policies with all employees, not just management.

Why We Should Never Be Satisfied with the Technology We Have

Many, if not all of us, were taught the importance of being thankful for what we have. In a society that endures the pressure of needing to “keep up with the Jones’”, there is great wisdom in being content with the opportunities you do have; we know that this is where lasting happiness resides.

So how is technology any different?

On an individual level, it isn’t. A person will experience hardly any change if he decides to not upgrade to the latest smartphone or if she is content with her used sedan. New technology is meant to make our lives more efficient and enjoyable, but each year can be perfectly fulfilling without the newest gadget. However, on a societal level is where we see a lasting impact.

Detroit of 1950

In the mid-1990’s, the city of Detroit was enjoying all the benefits and opportunities a booming auto industry could offer. More and more people were pouring into its suburbs, and this city boasted a population of 1.8 million in 1950, making it the 4th largest city in the nation. Unfortunately, Detroit never moved past the auto industry of 1900’s and the city has experienced rapid decline and deterioration ever since, leaving it at a low population of 677,116 in 2016.

Detroit of 2016

In contrast, we have the story of Dubai, a small fishing village in the Middle East with less than 40,000 inhabitants in 1950. This community had been ravaged by economic depressions and geological problems, and it didn’t look like the future would be much different.

Dubai of 1950

Even after the discovery of oil in the 1960’s, it would take thirty more years for this city to make the giant technological strides that led it to currently house almost 2.8 million people and be one of the most technologically-advanced communities in the world.

Dubai of 2016

New technology can be frustrating and daunting to learn. It’s unfamiliar, foreign, and new. But like most great opportunities and achievements, it is worth our investment. What if the people of Dubai chose to stick with fishing because that’s what made them most comfortable? Dubai wouldn’t be the success story it is today.

As a society, we need to be continually searching for and embracing better technology. That doesn’t mean we can’t be pleased with the Bluetooth system in our car or the high definition of our flat screen TV. Rather we shouldn’t be afraid of the unknown in technology. If society never strives to progress and improve, we’ll never know what we are capable of.

Your choice: Detroit or Dubai?

Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Check out one of our training courses.

What if Atticus Finch Lived in the 21st Century?

First, Atticus would definitely fit in with his tasteful glasses and sophisticated three-piece suit. Second, his experience in the courtroom would be completely different from the events that happened during the infamous “Robinson v. Ewell” case. The single father and lawyer from the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been a timeless example of honor, determination, and brilliance. He whole-heartedly defended and verbally fought for a man who had been rejected by society because Atticus knew the defendant was innocent.

Photo Credit: The Federalist

Mr. Finch pointed out the many discrepancies between the various accounts of the crime, and in the mind of the reader, he proved the innocence of Tom Robinson. Unfortunately, the efforts of this brilliant attorney weren’t enough. Tom Robinson was declared to be guilty, and he was later shot to death by prison guards.

Although the case presented in the novel is fictional, it is interesting to speculate what would have happened if the trial happened this year with all the available technologies and methods.

Atticus arrives at the courthouse with his trial presentation in hand; he has spent countless hours organizing his exhibits and timecoding the depositions of key players in the case. He put in a lot of effort, but he is confident that his presentation will be enough to convince the jury of a not-guilty verdict.

Throughout the trial, Mr. Finch uses his presentation software to show key segments of the depositions of Mayella Ewell, Tom Robinson, and Bob Ewell, which causes the jury to focus on key evidence without being distracted by irrelevant information.

Atticus also pulls up a document that has already been annotated with highlights and underlines onto the presentation screen, which outlines the accident Tom Robinson had as young boy getting his left arm caught in a cotton gin, now making it impossible for him to use that arm. The remainder of the trial continues with Atticus presenting key exhibits that allow the jury to be engaged and well-informed about all aspects of the case.

Mr. Finch presents his closing argument, supported by the numerous exhibits and facts he previously shared. As he finishes, the jurors find themselves in an interesting position: the material of the case was presented so fluidly and concisely that they can’t deny the certainty of Tom’s innocence, yet they still must face the social pressures of their community.

Skilled and determined litigators are powerful, but combine these litigators with an effective trial presentation and you have a successful team.

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The Solution You Didn’t Know You Needed

Imagine if every member of your jury entered the courtroom with a basic understanding of how to navigate the legal system.  Instead of spending precious time trying to explain the basics of law practices, you could focus on the evidence and timeline of your case. They would understand your presentation and you wouldn’t lose their attention. It probably sounds too good to be true.

While this scenario may seem unrealistic and out of reach, Kimball Parker, the creator of the legal education website CO/COUNSEL, announced a solution that will make that dream a reality. It’s called LawX.

Partnering with Gordon Smith, dean of Brigham Young University’s Law School, Parker plans to create a legal design lab this upcoming fall semester. This lab will be dedicated to brainstorming solutions for the thousands of people who have limited knowledge of legal affairs. According to an article published in the Daily Herald, “This is a serious issue because navigating the law is very difficult and the consequences are high…If you make the wrong move, you can lose a lawsuit. Period.”

Individuals working with LawX hope to develop software and new legislation to implement the change that many Americans desperately need. Because a new legal topic will be tackled each semester, LawX participants have plenty of work on their plates.

But how does this new design lab affect your jury? With legal practices and methods being presented in a way that is more accessible and more easily understood, more of the general population will better comprehend the events that occur within a courtroom. They will understand the language of your case and presentation, and their decisions will be based on evidence and facts rather than their own personal biases and perceptions of litigators.

Not only will the jury benefit from the work of this design lab, but attorneys will have additional tools to better communicate with their clients about the proceedings of a case. Although the many benefits of LawX won’t be obvious immediately, we can have confidence that innovation in the legal field is headed in a promising direction.

Check out this video for more details about the potential solution to legal inexperience.

Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or learn more about TrialDirector and how it can help you by visiting our website. Already have TrialDirector? Check out one of our training courses.

5 Must-Follow Best Practices for Implementing New eDiscovery Technology

new ediscovery technology

There’s no question any organization can benefit from new eDiscovery technology. However, it’s still important to keep in mind this requires more than just making a purchase. To fully reap all the benefits (and avoid disrupted productivity), there are best practices that an organization should keep in mind when bringing in the latest technology.

Because organizations today vary so much in size and scope, we will discuss a few of these best practices from a high level. There might be one or more practices specific to your own organization, but the following concepts are universal.

1. Outline Your Objectives

For starters, simply replacing your old products is not an adequate objective. Similarly, it’s not sufficient to implement new eDiscovery technology, then send out a company-wide email to announce it, and then hope your team adopts the new software. Instead, apply a project-management approach. Set tangible goals to define your success, e.g.:

  • Check Workflow Compatibility
  • Deploy Role-Specific Training
  • Perform Comprehensive Testing
  • Ensure Proper Migration

When you’re measuring concrete objectives against tangible metrics, determining success is less of a mystery. It also makes setting future objectives, which might depend on technology integration, much easier.

2. Check Workflow Compatibility

Most organizations are unique in the way individuals go about doing their jobs. New eDiscovery technology is usually deigned to mirror, from somewhat of a high level, these workflows. But don’t assume the technology on your short list will line up perfectly with your own workflow.

Many customer-focused providers — Ipro Tech, for example — will deploy professional teams to your location to ensure a successful integration. This can save you countless hours and resources, as it’s obviously a disruptive process to re-define current roles in order to accommodate new technology.

3. Deploy Role-Specific Training

Your team is made up of individuals with different responsibilities, and their day-to-day experiences with your new technology will vary greatly. It’s important to tailor training specifically to the objectives and challenges these individuals will face.

For example, it’s very unlikely someone in your administrative group will need to troubleshoot database connectivity. Conversely, nobody on your IT staff is going to be responsible for syncing up Bates numbers. Don’t dedicate too much time to training individuals beyond their day-to-day responsibilities, and don’t leave anyone with a knowledge gap that will hamper their productivity.

4. Perform Comprehensive Testing

Just like sending that companywide email to announce your technology launch, it’s not adequate to simply open up access to users and ask them to hunt for bugs. Instead you should employ a comprehensive search for specific shortcomings by applying established testing methods:

  • Organizational Testing — Audit your organization to ensure necessary resources are available, such as online training and technical manuals, people well versed in the new technology, and a forum or wiki for sharing information.
  • Feature Testing — Before you add to or modify your new technology, run features through likely scenarios to ensure users are prepared to have them in workflows.
  • Performance Testing — It’s important to be aware of your technology’s limitations, so deliberately attempt to max out its performance to discover those limits.

Testing, obviously, prepares your organization for any missteps that might occur once your technology is fully implemented. I can’t overstate how important it is to clear these obstacles in testing environment, rather than having them stumble through them during your real-world operations.

5. Ensure Proper Migration

Once your previous technology is completely phased out, it’s going to be very difficult (if not impossible) to recover any data phased out with it. Gain peace of mind you’re retaining any data you’ll eventually need by performing a full-scope migration for new eDiscovery technology. Think of this as a checklist reminding you to gather up important items like:

  • Historical Data — This often-archived data, when re-examined, can guide future efforts through insights into activity, contextual factors and trends.
  • User Information — Avoid duplicating setup tasks by checking information related to how individuals work within an environment.
  • Work Product — Perhaps most importantly, protect that critical data prepared specifically ahead of litigation.

With these data sources checked off, you can more confidently sunset the technology you’ve been using without worrying that critical resources are vanishing alongside it.

Get Answers Today

If you have any questions about the material in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact Ipro Tech. An experienced eDiscovery professional is standing by ready to deliver the answers you need.