Florida Bar Tech Helpline ready to assist members with routine needs
A non-emergency Florida Bar Tech Helpline has been added to the Member Benefits lineup to offer routine remote services, including basic troubleshooting, operating system support, and technical setup for home and remote offices.
“We are very excited that the Tech Helpline is going to go live as a member benefit,” Board Technology Committee Chair Paige Greenlee said at the Bar’s recent Winter Meeting.
The Board Technology Committee began researching the concept of a Tech Helpline while it was working with the COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery Task Force on a variety of projects to help members cope with the health crisis and subsequent economic disruption. The Tech Helpline passed a three-month “beta test” with flying colors this past summer.
“Overwhelmingly, this project is something that our members really, really appreciated,” Greenlee said at the time. “Members begged for it in the comments to the survey.”
Greenlee said the service will primarily be promoted to solo and small-firm practitioners who are less likely to be able to afford their own IT service but is available to all Florida Bar members in good standing that need non-emergency, remote computer, software, and related technology support.
“With the large percentage of Bar members that we have who are solo and small firm practitioners, this free helpline is just really a completely invaluable resource, and I am super excited we are able to continue it,” Greenlee said, noting the feedback from the beta test was 100% positive.
The helpline is operated by LawTech Partners, owned by Adriana Linares, a skilled trainer and technology specialist who understands the needs of law firm users and their profession-specific confidentiality requirements.
“Florida lawyers should know this in an important service for solo and small-firm practitioners who do not have the luxury of an IT person,” Linares said. “It is for those who really don’t have anyone else to call to assist them with their basic technology questions.”
As an example, Linares recently assisted a Juno Beach lawyer who hung his own shingle and had no idea where to start when it came to technology.
“His basic questions were what technologies do I need? How do I save my files without having to do a physical backup?” Linares said. “He is a great success story because in an hour and a half worth of time — three appointments — he really felt much more comfortable about the administrative and technical part of his practice.”
The lawyer dropped her a note: “Even though there are still some things you recommended that I need to address/follow up on, I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through it without your guidance.”
He knows how to practice law, Linares said, “he just had no idea where to start with technology.”
The service may be accessed at LawTech Partners then follow the prompts.
Members seeking assistance from the Tech Helpline will be required to acknowledge that The Florida Bar is providing access to the service as a member benefit, but the service and support is being performed solely by LawTech Partners, and members using the service are responsible for their own due diligence and safeguarding of client information.
Members should understand that this is not an emergency service. Emergency issues related to court filings with immediate deadlines, or technical emergencies, will not be addressed. Members should not contact the Tech Helpline for emergency software issues, hardware or device failures, interruptions of service, or a loss of power or internet services (they should contact the related service provider).
Members will need to provide contact information, including their Florida Bar number, and will sign an online waiver and release before the consultation begins. They will provide a clear, specific description of the problem or request, including any error messages received as well as a description of the device (desktop or laptop, printer, scanner/copier, etc.).
Members will have to acknowledge that by contacting the Tech Helpline, as the attorney, they have the ultimate responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect client confidentiality and ensure that other issues (like those that might arise under Rule 4-5.3, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar) are not created. Before a remote session begins, members should ensure that any confidential information, data, or images are not visible to LawTech Partners. Members also have sole responsibility to ensure compliance with all HIPPA-related laws or statutes.
“They make an appointment, they get an invite, we do it by Zoom. I look at their screen with them, I can control it if I need to, and that’s it,” Linares said.
The service is typically available Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, but hours of operation are subject to change. Any modifications to the schedule or planned downtime will be posted to the Tech Helpline webpage.
Requests will be processed in the order they are received.
Linares said the Tech Helpline should be able to address and support most of the typical software, applications, services, and hardware used by law firms.
“I have a lot of Mac users, so the Macs are definitely making their way into the practice,” she said. “I get a lot of questions about Office 365 and optimizing its use, which I think is really smart because Office 365 is what I jokingly but seriously refer to as ‘a gift from Microsoft to all small business owners.’”
Other services include but are not limited to:
• Technical Support
• Basic troubleshooting
• Basic connectivity support
• Operating system support for Windows, MacOS
• Mobile devices and apps
• Support and troubleshooting for home offices, road warriors, and remote offices
• Basic support for common website builders (WordPress, Google Sites, Wix, SquareSpace etc.)
• Assistance with technical set up and issues with audio and visual configuration for remote meetings
• Application support, including core business applications, such as Microsoft Office, document storage, syncing and management services, such as Dropbox and ShareFile, PDF manipulation tools
• Common internet browsers
• Microsoft Word: Formatting, page numbering, working with documents from outside sources, creating a table of authorities or a table of contents, formatting questions, and other issues
• Microsoft Excel: Printing spreadsheets, creating formulas, using templates
• Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar: managing meetings, efficiency tips, creating email groups, sharing calendars
• Microsoft PowerPoint creating presentations, editing existing presentations, basic questions regarding use of PowerPoint in the courtroom or remote hearings
• Microsoft Teams: basic training and set up
• Adobe Acrobat or Nuance PDF Pro: converting PDFs to Word, Bates stamping, redacting, manipulating PDF files
The following types of issues will not be addressed (this is not an all-inclusive list), and LawTech Partners may refuse service at any time.
• Infrastructure hardware: servers, firewalls, telephone systems, fax machines, networked printers, and scanners
• High-level technology issues, such as ransomware attacks, malware or antivirus issues, hardware failures (servers, hard drives, etc.)
• LawTech Partners may attempt to solve basic questions for legal-specific services but will also point members to call upon those who provide their own support to customers (Rocket Matter, Clio, Thompson Reuters, Lexis, Fastcase)
• Practice management questions may be diverted to LegalFuel practice management advisors