Immigration Practice News

Volume 3, Issue 3

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How to Set Up Your Mobile Law Office By Elena Hung M any immigration lawyers are looking for ways to be connected to their office without having to be there physically. Whether it is because your job demands ongoing availability, or you have a personal desire to not be confined to your physical office space, a mobile law office allows you to attend to your work wherever you are. This article will examine different mobile technology, but you need to consider what your goals are in having a mobile office. • Do you need to check email and receive phone calls when you are out of the office? • What do you want access to outside of the office: client files? The office system database? Research materials? • How oſten do you want to be available to clients and co-workers/staff? • Will you be conducting substantial research and writing? Smartphone: Simply put, a smartphone is a mobile phone with advanced computing capabilities, including web browsing, e-mail, and document viewing and editing, and it is the easiest way to have a mobile office. While the screens may be too small for viewing large documents, nothing compares to this mini-computer in your hand. Laptop: For more substantial work, many lawyers use a laptop for draſting and editing documents and conducting legal research. Tablet: In between a smartphone and a laptop is a tablet computer. The benefits include a screen larger than the smartphone, facilitating viewing documents and typing, but still smaller than a laptop and thus easier to transport. USB Flash Drive: USB flash drives are an inexpensive and easy way to have portable access to a variety of computer files. Simply copy the file to the flash drive and then plug it into any computer to work on it. It does not automatically transfer updated information to the office computer; that will have to be done manually. Portable hard drive: Portable external hard drives have a larger storage capacity than the USB flash drives and can serve to easily give you access to your computer in a device the size of a paperback novel. As with the flash drive, you will need to manually transfer the updated information back to your office computer. Remote Access: Rather than risk theſt or loss of your flash drives or portable hard drives, you can access your office computer (and all the documents and data on it) and work from any remote Internet-connected computer with web-based subscriptions, such as GoToMyPC.com. By logging into their website with your account information, it is as if you were at your own computer. You will need to download soſtware onto your office computer, and leave it running and connected to the Internet. WANT MORE TECH TIPS? Jump to get 8 great pointers. u If you only need access to certain documents, you can use cloud-based document repositories. This has the added benefit of being able to share documents and files with your clients or co-workers. Some examples include DropBox.com, MyDocsOnline.com, and Google Docs. Storage size and costs vary. Security: No matter what devices you choose for your mobile law office, always take the necessary precautions to protect your clients' confidential information. You should password-protect your smartphone and laptop, encrypt confidential data, and have a good firewall on your office computer. A mobile law office does not eliminate your need to take a break from work and refresh. Remember: it is there for your convenience and not for you to work 24 hours a day! Elena Hung is a solo practitioner in Washington, DC and has been practicing immigration law exclusively since 2006. Contact her at eh@elenahunglaw.com. www.aila.org 3

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