Monthly Archives: November 2015
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When it comes to new technology, lawyers find themselves in a Catch-22. They’re told, on one hand, that adopting new technology will make them more efficient and free their schedules. On the other hand, the technology is often so complicated and the documentation so lacking that any potential productivity gains are offset by time spent training and wresting with the technology. As a result, many lawyers eschew new technology or waste money on technology that ends up underused or unused entirely.
Much of the difficulty with implementing new technology comes from a lack of effective training. According to the 2009 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report, approximately one in four respondents and nearly half of all solo practitioner respondents reported that they have no technology training available to them.
In truth, any lawyer with an Internet connection has access to a variety of free training tools, and those tools are often more useful than the support materials shipped with new technology.
YouTube and Online Videos
Most people think of YouTube as an entertainment venue. And indeed, it is overflowing with entertainment — everything from skateboarding bulldogs to the latest music videos. But in addition to the sillier fare, YouTube is loaded with useful videos including hands on product reviews, software demonstrations, and tutorials.
For example, a quick search on YouTube for Microsoft Outlook turns up nearly 2,400 results as of September 2009. The results include a guide to backing up Microsoft Outlook files, a tutorial on automatic signatures, and even a preview of the upcoming Outlook 2010. The vendors themselves often release videos, such as this video of Office 2007 Tips from Microsoft Small Business.
Online videos like those hosted by YouTube (similar sites include Vimeo and Viddler) tend to be short — under 10 minutes — but that isn’t necessarily a drawback. Rather than sacrificing entire days to training, these short topical videos can be squeezed between meetings and calls and usually provide specific guidance that you can put into practice immediately.
One word of caution: you may want to ignore the comments on videos, which can range from off-topic to offensive.
Go to the Source: Vendors
Documentation provided with new technology can be disappointing and frustrating. Manuals — if they’re included at all — are often lengthy tomes given over to technical details that are beyond your needs. The information you do need is dry and mechanical; important functions are explained rather than demonstrated. The good news, however, is that many vendors are supplementing these dry technical manuals with free, practical online training tools.
A prime example of this vendor outreach comes from Adobe, which hosts a blog focused on the legal market: Acrobat for Legal Professionals. On the blog, Acrobat pros post step-by-step guides to a variety of functions useful for lawyers, like adding dynamic exhibit stamps to a PDF or preventing editing of Bates Numbering. Simply by following the blog, lawyers can pick up new tips and tricks that will help them use Acrobat more effectively in their practices.
Acrobat isn’t alone in offering additional online support for their products. Microsoft, for example, offers an extensive support site for Microsoft Office — Microsoft Office Online — which includes detailed tutorials, free templates, and additional clip art. Several Software as a Service vendors offer regular training webinars for their customers and/or an archive of video tutorials.
Use Your Peers
Vendors and technology professionals aren’t the only source of technology guidance. Another place to turn for technology help is your peers — fellow attorneys and legal professionals who are using the technology in a similar setting every single day. If you gather twenty lawyers all using the same piece of software, the chances are good that each of those lawyers will have a tip or trick that the other nineteen has never tried. Building a network of legal professionals through blogs, Twitter, e-mail discussion lists and other social media can provide invaluable technology support and training, not to mention all of the traditional benefits of professional networking.
It’s easier than ever to research on a dime and access content that in the past resided only on paper or in costly electronic databases. The key is using the Web’s amazing resources to find and check your information and stretch your research dollar.
The current economic climate makes pinching pennies more important than ever—a fact that applies to the often costly area of legal research. Fortunately, today the Web puts amazing research resources at your fingertips— and many of them are low-to-no cost. Here are some ideas for keeping your research overhead as low as possible by doing it the online way.
- Enjoy the Open Bar
There’s a phenomenal amount of law from around the world freely accessible online. LexisONE has the past 10 years of case law from all 50 states and the federal courts, as well as U.S. Supreme Court cases from 1781 to the present—and you get to use some of LexisNexis’s advanced search options to search the cases for free. The Fastcase-backed Public Library of Law (www.plol.org) has more than 50 years of federal case law, as well as recent state cases from all 50 states.
Also, your state bar association may offer members-only access to case law and other materials. Many states have either joined the Casemakerconsortium or licensed Fastcase as a benefit for their members. Depending on your bar’s participation, your access may include state or national case coverage, CLE materials, and even practice rules and jury instructions.
- Ordering à Law Carte
Many lawyers subscribe to LexisNexis or Thomson Westlaw content only for their states. If you need information on cases outside your state, don’t forget to try the state supreme court Web sites. A number of them provide public access to their cases, even though some are hosted by LexisNexis (e.g., California) or Westlaw (e.g., Alaska).
Many states also make appellate opinions and federal court cases available through their respective court sites. The National Center for State Courts has a list of judicial branch links for each state.
- Fast-Paced Research
N eed to follow a federal civil case? To find all case filings in a given U.S. district court, use Justia’s docket search. You can search by party name, state or even the type of case. Once you’ve found your case, access the federal courts’ PACER system to find additional information. Registration for PACER accounts is free, although there is a user fee and minimal charges apply to some transactions. You can print out written opinions for free.
- Pay-As-You-Go Access
You don’t need to subscribe to a major law publisher’s service to be able to check your cases, or to find cases not included in your subscription package. Instead, with a credit card, you can pay on an “as you need it” basis to get documents and check citations using Westlaw’s Keycite orLexisNexis Shepard’s. Remember, too, that sometimes a court opinion will appear in only one of the two major legal research databases, so pay-as-you-go access is nice for retrieving a case by its proprietary Lexis or Westlaw citation as needed.
- Think Globally
International law is available through the growing number of providers known as Legal Information Institutes (LIIs). To search global case law, use the World LII, or you can visit a specific LII for a more focused experience.
The United States is served by the LII of Cornell Law School, which offers quick access to popular names tables and other U.S. legal information. The Canadian LII has a powerful search and citator (or note-up) tool. You can also compare Canadian statutes side by side, or “point-intime,” to see what differences were made in specific pieces of legislation.
Looking for a more exotic locale or something a bit more unusual than case law or statutes? Use the Law Library of Congress’s Global Legal Information Network, or GLIN. The GLIN database has official laws as well as complementary government documents contributed by over 30 countries and available for free download.
- Advance Your Search
So you’re trying to do a quick Web search using a search engine like Google or Microsoft Live, but you’re not getting the results you want. Using the engine’s Advanced Search feature can get you to relevant results faster. Google Advanced Search can restrict a search to exact wordings; to a specific site, such as the Internal Revenue Service for IRS forms; or to a specific type of file, such as a PDF or Word document.
MS Live Advanced Search lets you search by phrases, site domains and countries.
- Get Competitive
A lawyer’s research involves more than just the law, of course. There are a lot of details you can unearth on the Web to help you work with current clients or in developing prospective ones. For example, it may be important to know what an equity was worth on a specific date. Find out by usingMarketwatch’s Historical Big Charts service and typing in the stock symbol and date to get high and low values.
To get company reports, head to sites like Hoover’s and Dun & Bradstreet, where you can search by company name or corporate officers. Hoover’s offers a free fact sheet from which you can purchase a variety of more complete reports.
- Form Your Ideas
Why reinvent the wheel when online collaboration has led to new initiatives in sharing lawyers’ work product? Sites like JD Supra offer pleadings and other documents written by lawyers that you can search by practice area, jurisdiction and type of document (pleading, motion and so on).
Findlaw for Legal Professionals has an extensive collection of business forms organized by document type as well as by client industries.
- Dig Deeper
Not everything is on the Web. Or, perhaps there is more on the Web than you can find with search engines. There are many databases that are accessible by a Web browser but are not indexed by public search engines. One site that can help you locate relevant hard-copy resources isWorldcat. It indexes library catalog databases from across the world and will bring up books, journal articles and other resources that you didn’t know existed—and it can tell you if the items are at a library near you.
Also, you might try the Social Science Research Network’s Legal Scholarship Network to look at law review and journal articles from all over the United States, many of which are electronic copies of published articles.
- Know Your Sources
A corollary to “not everything is on the Web” is that anything could be on the Web—including specious, invalid or misleading resources. So when you are doing Web research, be aware of who published the information you are reading and when it was published. Court and government sites are among the easiest to identify, since they usually end with a “.gov” or state abbreviation. However, in the rush to have a Web brand, some government bodies are now on “.com” or “.org” domains so you may need to double-check those.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 will add domain highlighting to the browser address bar, making it easier to know what domain you are visiting. Mozilla Firefox and the new Google Chrome Web browser can also highlight domain addresses.
Also, some sites—including many blogs—may not immediately show authorship, although on blogs it’s usually pretty clear when information was posted. Look for an author bio or a link to a law firm or other identifiable organization. When information is hosted on a large site—like blogger.com, typepad.com or wikipedia.org—it may be harder to identify the person who created the content, so be wary of considering the information “definitive” unless you separately confirm its authority.
You can use other tools to find out who a site owner is, too. Try Domain-Tools’ domain search, which returns information that can include a domain name owner’s name, address and phone number, as well as where the site is geographically located.
There is so much information on the Web to help you in handling your cases, serving your clients, and doing just about anything you need to do in the practice of law. You just need to know the right direction in which to point your browser. Incorporate the sites here into your practice and you’ll be on solid ground—and you’ll be stretching your research dollars in the bargain.
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The popularity of the youth-oriented MySpace community, with more than 130 million active users reported as of December 2008, shows the tremendous reach of social networking Web sites. Webopedia defines a “social networking site” as any Web site that enables users to create public profiles and form relationships with other users of the same site who access their profiles. In other words, social networking sites are Web sites that build a community of users, and which include public profiles, online discussions forums, chat rooms and other social spaces online.
With all the demands on a lawyer’s time, what is the value of developing an online social network? A lawyer’s stock in trade is his or her relationships with others, especially clients. An investment of time in a social network can yield a substantial return if developed carefully. Many lawyers have been seeing returns on relationships developed through this growing medium.
The business social networking site LinkedIn with its simple philosophy, “Relationships Matter,” appears to have resonated with the legal profession. Legal marketer Steve Matthews reported 216,000 LinkedIn lawyer profiles in existence in June 2008. When users join LinkedIn, they create profiles that summarize their professional accomplishments. These profiles are public, allowing users to find and be found by former and prospective colleagues, clients and partners. Users build a personal online network by inviting trusted contacts to join them on LinkedIn, potentially linking users to thousands of other qualified professionals and leads.
The legal profession has made significant inroads in adopting social networking, with several sites tailored specifically to lawyers.LegalForce, a social network with more than 211,584 users in the legal profession, provides a platform for law students, lawyers, legal employers, contract attorneys and members of legal service organizations to network with alumni of their law schools and law firms. Legal professionals have the option of networking with peers, rating and reviewing law schools and firms, and discussing legal topics as well as searching for employment opportunities.
Legal OnRamp joins in-house counsel, outside lawyers, law students and educators for networking and collaboration. Although it is an invitation-only network, basic services are free with the understanding that members will contribute content and participate in community forums. Users create a personalized network with other members who can communicate via e-mail-like messages and bulletin-style comments. The site also features a repository of law firm updates and wikis on various legal subjects.
The ABA has taken a step toward social networking with its recently launched online community for the legal profession: LegallyMinded. Though the service is provided by the ABA, it isn’t limited to ABA members. LegallyMinded seeks to bring all lawyers, law students, academics, administrators, support staff, judges, law librarians and other legal professionals together to network and collaborate online. Users can build networks, share knowledge and resources, schedule meetings through an integrated calendar, and even rate and comment on content posted to the community. LegallyMinded is currently in a public beta—meaning all are welcome to sign up while the site continues to work on adding features and functionality.
Other interesting lawyer-to-lawyer online social networking sites include Martindale Hubbell’s Connected (BETA), LawLink, Texas Bar Circle, two Chicago-specific lawyers’ networks and many more on the way. Other general social sites lawyers are using to network include Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube.
In addition to helping lawyers broaden their professional networks, online social networking sites can help lawyers identify business opportunities and connect with potential clients. Lawyers must, however, be mindful of their professional responsibilities and some of the risks posed by social networking. For example, some states prohibit or otherwise restrict lawyers from using public communication that contains an endorsement of another lawyer or an opinion on the quality of his or her legal services.
Additionally, many states have rules regulating real-time communications with prospective clients—this can include online chat and instant messaging, primary features available in some social networking sites. Lawyers should ensure that their online profile and social networking activities do not violate the rules of professional conduct in their state, especially the rules that define and regulate lawyer communications, advertising, solicitation and referrals. For more information on these ethics issues, lawyers can contact their state bar and consult the ABA ETHICSearch service, which provides consultation and research on ethics questions.
Lawyers can clearly benefit by establishing a social networking identity but as with all online endeavors, there are security concerns. Lawyers should be cautious of unfamiliar people with invitations to join their social network. Contact the person to verify the authenticity of the invitation, or ignore the request if it seems suspicious. Furthermore, it pays to be careful about how much personal information is divulged online, as identity thieves and scammers can easily use such information for nefarious purposes.
Proceed with caution, but consider adding online social networks to your business development arsenal.
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Customizable Essay Formulating: Creating an Essay using a Private Everyday living Party that Will be a useful Tale
Customizable Essay Formulating: Creating an Essay using a Private Everyday living Party that Will be a useful Tale
An essay is an item of penning which is used to convey an actual standpoint of the source, which very often are logical. But, you have essays which can be descriptive and narrative in nature, and the are tailor-made printed with regards to the occurrence or topic area of your essay.
Are you following developments in your practice area or current events on the Web? Do you want to get this information without constantly visiting Web sites for updates or cluttering your e-mail in-box? If so, subscribing to RSS feeds can help. RSS feeds bring Web site updates to subscribers, eliminating the need to visit each site to monitor newly-posted content.
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a way for Web site publishers to make their content—news, blog posts, site updates—available as a subscription. RSS feeds deliver headlines and/or short summaries with a link to the original source. A collection of RSS feeds creates a customized “newspaper” that is updated daily and delivered directly to you. These feeds are available for most blogs and news sites, both legal and general, as well as for a variety of Web sites that publish materials regularly. Many courts are now offering RSS feeds to allow lawyers to receive news about updated dockets, new opinions and news.
A feed reader is required to view RSS feeds. Feed readers such asRssReader or FeedDemon are downloadable computer applications. Others like Bloglines or Google Reader are web-based applications that allow reading of RSS feeds online, wherever the Internet is available. Popular Web sites such as Yahoo!, AOL andGoogle offer RSS readers that are incorporated into their home page. When users visit their My Yahoo!, My AOL or iGoogle page to preview mail, check local movie times or the weather, they can also review their RSS feeds.
Microsoft Internet Explorer version 7 takes the convenience of RSS feeds a step further by making the feed reader a part of the browser itself. IE7’s RSS reader feature can manage a number of feeds at once. IE even identifies if RSS feeds are available on Web sites as you surf them, allowing users to subscribe as they go.
If you are new to the RSS phenomenon, IE’s integrated feed reader is a great way to start. Let’s take a closer look.
In the IE7 feed reader pictured below, the left panel, called the Favorites Center, lists the user’s subscribed feeds. In this example, the Law Practice Management Section’s Law Practice Today is selected, allowing a view of the feed on the right panel. As it appears here, feed contents usually consist of headlines and a brief description of content. Users simply click on the headline to read the full article or post.
To find feeds, look for the glowing orange RSS icon on the IE tool bar (usually next to the home icon) or on the Web page itself.
Adding / subscribing to feeds
Once you’ve identified a feed, simply click on the RSS icon in the browser toolbar and IE will preview the feed and provide an option to subscribe. Click on “subscribe to this feed.”
Be sure to create a folder for feeds that should go into a new topic during the subscription process. Subfolders can be created by right clicking in the feed reader panel and feeds can be dragged and dropped into different folders at any time.
Feeds are displayed in a column on the left side of the screen. To access the feed reader, click on the yellow star icon on the IE toolbar, which will open the Favorites Center. Alternately, go to “View,” “Explorer Bar,” then click “Feeds” on the browser menu. The most recent information appears on top with bold text indicating unread material. IE 7’s tab feature allows opening multiple feeds at once by right clicking on the feed item and choosing “open in new tab.”
By default, IE7 automatically checks feeds for updates once a day, but you can easily change the settings to update as frequently as every 15 minutes or as seldom as once a week. Simply right click on a feed and choose “properties.” The following dialog box appears:
Choose your desired intervals and click “OK.” You can choose how many items to archive in the feed reader. The default is 200 and the maximum is 2,500. Any changes will affect the setting for all subscribed feeds. However, if an RSS feed is individually programmed to update more frequently, those settings will take precedence.
Finding RSS feeds
In the IE feed reader’s properties, you can set the browser to play a sound when a feed is found for a Web site. Additionally the orange icon in the toolbar will glow. So, as you surf the Web keep an eye, or ear, out for these indicators. Finding feeds is simple with sites likeTechnorati, a popular blog search engine. Some legal RSS feeds to get you started include ABA Site-tation , Law Practice Today and theABA Journal . Additionally, Justia offers RSS feeds for federal district court dockets . Simply run a search by party, district, and/or lawsuit type. When the results page loads, click on the RSS icon in the browser toolbar to add the feed to your reader. Once you begin using feed readers you will see that this is just the tip of the iceberg for this great technology.
Essay Composing: Techniques to Format an Essay which will be Appropriate for Your Requirements
Publishing essays is really a basic an important part of academic mastering at every stage, still many students lessen precious spots by neglecting to construction their essays unmistakably and concisely to get the best of their own guidelines. So how can you shape academic writing? What is the very best essay file format? Follow this straightforward help guide the best way to format an essay by certainly launching and concluding your discussion, and laying out your sentences coherently in the middle.
What is mobile broadband wireless?
Mobile broadband wireless is a technology that provides mobileaccess to the Internet using laptops and smartphones via wireless cellularphone networks. The range of mobile broadband wireless is much greater than thelimited range of WiFi hotspots that have traditionally been used for wirelessInternet access.
This increased range enables users to roam without having to worryabout finding Internet access in a hotel, library or café, even allowingcontinuous access in moving vehicles such as automobiles and trains.
Additionally, cellular mobile broadband wireless signals aregenerally encrypted between your laptop or smartphone and the cellular systemto somewhat protect the contents of your transmissions, unlike many unencryptedWiFi signals in public spaces. Moreover, snooping attempts on cellular signalsare less likely because they generally require more elaborate equipment.
Mobile broadband wireless access is especially useful to those whoregularly rack up bills paying for hotel and coffee shop Internet access on theroad. Additionally, users of online software may consider mobile broadband accessas a back-up Internet connection in case the connection for the office goesdown temporarily.
Types of mobile broadband wirelessconnections
Cellular telephone network providers offer mobile broadbandwireless service. The newest batch of mobile broadband wireless networks arecalled “3G” (third generation) networks. Currently,EVDO is the most common type of 3G network in the United States, provided byVerizon and Sprint.
Another type of 3G network, HSDPA, is provided by AT&T and isused for the iPhone. T-Mobile also offers 3G HSDPA in some markets, but plansto expand its service nationwide in late 2008. Until then, T-Mobile’s 2G EDGEservice is widely available.
There are two primary ways to access 3G mobile broadband wirelessnetworks on your laptop: using PC Cards/AirCards or using acellphone/smartphone as a broadband modem.
PC cards/AirCards connect to a laptop via a PCMIA/PC card slot ora USB port, but several laptops already have them built in. Upon signing up fora mobile broadband wireless plan, wireless carriers often supply a card at areduced price, sometimes for free. Mobile broadband wireless PC Cards/AirCardscan typically cost from $50-$200 depending on the model and the wireless planyou choose. Laptops with built-in PC cards include the HP Compaq 6910p, theLenovo T500, the Dell Inspiron 1525, the Dell Latitude line, the Toshiba Portege R400 and the Sony Vaio TZ.
Connecting a cellphone or smartphone to a laptop is another way togain mobile broadband wireless access. This process is called “tethering.” Tethering may be available as afee-based option, added to your mobile plan; but some providers do not supportit. Even if you have a data plan that allows Internet access on yoursmartphone, many providers consider tethering a completely different type ofconnection. If tethering is not supported by your data plan, connecting to theInternet in this way can result in an extremely high mobile service bill. Be sureto check your data plan carefully.
3G-enabled smartphones should not need any additionalhardware—just activate your phone with an appropriate data plan.
Mobile broadband wireless data plans andprovider information
Mobile broadband wireless data plans come in a few varieties, such asdata-only plans for laptops, data-only plans for smartphones and combined voiceand data plans for accessing both data and voice services using a smartphone.Tethering may be another option that is usually available for an additionalfee. Currently, pricing can start at around $30 a month for various data-onlyplans and around $80 for combined voice and data plans.
Some plans specify “data caps” that restrict the amount of users’ datatraffic on the network per month. Certain providers automatically restrictaccess without the imposition of extra fees for going over the data plan cap,but others don’t, which could result in unexpectedly high mobile plan bills.
Roaming charges, which incur when using amobile voice or data device outside of standard coverage areas, such as useoverseas, can also result in unexpectedly high wireless plan bills. TheNew York Times reportedabout a man hit with $852 of roaming charges because hisiPhone automatically downloaded his e-mail messages while he was traveling inEurope—he didn’t know that he should have disabled the automatic downloadfeature before going abroad. In another story reported by the LATimes, a man was surprised by a $400 mobile bill. His plan offered freeroaming for calls received in Canada, but he did not realize that this did notcover the calls he made from Canada. The bottom line: be very careful whenchecking your mobile plan for details regarding roaming charges if you thinkyou will be traveling out of your standard network coverage area.
3G mobile wireless data plans are currently offered in the U.S. byVerizon/Alltel (EVDO), Sprint/Nextel (EVDO) and AT&T/Cingular (HSDPA)for both individuals and businesses. T-Mobile currently providesa 2G EDGE network nationwide, but plans to upgrade its system in fall 2008.
Benefits and drawbacks
Mobile broadband wireless affords users a much farther range ofmobility than landlines and WiFi Internet access—users are not constrained by alocal ethernet cable or by the typical WiFi hotspot range of 100-300 feet.Mobile broadband wireless service is more akin to cellphone service, coveringwide areas and affording non-interrupted service where coverage is adequate,including in moving vehicles. However, keep roaming charges in mind whentraveling across borders.
A potential drawback to 3G mobile broadband wireless is thatmaximum access speeds are several times slower than themaximum speeds offered by WiFi and landlines.
With plans starting at around $30 a month for data-only serviceand with PC Cards available for free or at a discount when you sign up, amobile broadband wireless data plan may start to pay for itself. In some cases,the monthly cost may be less than the cost of purchasing Internet connectionsat hotels and cafes a few times a month. Possible productivity gains from theconvenience of 24/7 Internet access without scrambling to find an Ethernethookup or a WiFi hotspot can also enter into the value equation. A mobilebroadband wireless connection may also function as a backup Internet connection in case your main connection fails,providing further value to your practice.