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Zoom Best Practices for Lawyers [On Demand Program]

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used in place of professional advice, treatment, or care in any way. Lawyers, law students, judges, and other legal professionals in Massachusetts can find more on scheduling a Free & Confidential appointment with a licensed clinician here.

Get familiar with the essentials lawyers need for smooth videoconferencing in a recording of a recent program with the Hampshire County Bar Association.


This program was part of a series we recently offered live as a collaboration with and exclusive to the Hampshire County Bar Association, a service organization composed of attorneys, and is dedicated to improving the quality of the practice of law in this county by providing support to the community, the bench and the bar on relevant local issues. The organization’s purpose is to maintain the honor of the profession, to promote the administration of justice, to advance the science of jurisprudence, and to foster and encourage cooperation and good fellowship among the members of the bar as a non-profit corporation. The Hampshire County Bar Association offers many services and programs to the local community and its members such as the Domestic Relations Program for ChildrenHampshire Conciliation ProgramHampshire Elder Law ProgramLawyer Referral Service, Lawyer for the Day (Probate and Housing Court), as well as the parent education programs Parents & Children in Transition (PACT)Only One Childhood (O1C), and For The Children (FTC).

Q&A from the original program was highly interactive and has been excluded for the privacy of individual participants. If you have any questions, Massachusetts lawyers can find more on scheduling a free & confidential consultation here.

This program is presented by Charity Anastasio, Esq., practice and ethics counsel at American Immigration Lawyers Association‘s Practice and Professionalism Center.






So for those of us, those of you who are joining us live today, as well as those who will be joining us later after the recording. Welcome, we are glad that you could attend. This is the kickoff of the Hampshire County Bar Law Practice Management Series. This will be a series of six sessions are all dedicated to help members in your bar help you practice more efficiently and better. We are blessed to have some absolutely wonderful speakers and topics. To give you a preview, we’re starting with the talking about best practices on Zoom today. We will follow up on February 3 with paperless practice. Then February 25 with integrating technology into your practice, we’ll have March 4 on practice management and well being then we’ll have billing best practices and later, March 18th, benefits of law practice management software. So this is going to be a great series. We thank you for involving us Hampshire County Bar Association. To give you a little background to My name is Laura Keeler. I’ll be your moderator today. And I want to thank everyone who organized it, particularly Heidi Alexander, who runs the SJC committee on lawyer well-being. She reached out are she and Lisa, your president of the bar were talking really got this jumpstarted. Lisa, I’ll give it to you to turn up for a few remarks. Before we segue to charities presentation today.



Sure, I just wanted to thank you again, thank you to the SJC Standing Committee, Heidi Alexander, yourself and everybody at LOMAP and all the speakers, specifically today, Charity. I’m just so grateful that you, you know that you make this available to the attorneys and the Commonwealth and and now specifically exclusively for our members of the Hampshire County Bar, very grateful. And you know, when I really look forward, I’m hoping that a lot of our members will take advantage of it, not just to learn from you, but also to connect with each other. Thank you.



Thank you, Lisa. And just to give you a little bit more information to about since she mentioned Mass LOMAP. That’s the organization where I work with, if you attorneys have any issues that you would like help with for managing your practices. We have a wealth of resources on our website at We also do individual consultations, one-on-one via zoom or phone. Everything is free and confidential for Massachusetts legal attorneys, and so encourage you to reach out for that.

Speaking of which, we are going to have Charity Anastasio speaking today. She is one of my counterparts in the practice management world. She is absolutely fantastic. One of my favorite people on the planet, she is brilliant at legal tech and practice management, so many areas. She has great curiosity. She always knows how to put information together and really engage with people. We are absolutely delighted to have someone who have her experience here. Charity has worked at multiple bar associations around the country. Currently she is at AILA, the American Immigration Lawyers Association. If any of you watching do immigration work, I strongly encourage you to join AILA, they have top notch resources. And to let you know to LCL | Mass LOMAP has an immigration lawyer support group as well that you can join. So Charity, I know that you have a lot to teach us about Zoom best practices. And I will turn it over to you to get started. And I just want to say again, thank you all for joining today. We’re so glad to have you. Oh, and if you have questions, please put them in the chat. And I will moderate them at the end. Thank you.



And please ask questions. Even if you think maybe I’m going to get to go ahead and put them in there. Thank you, Laura. That’s very warm. You’re like an expert complimenter; I was blushing, that was very nice of you. So I’m really excited to do this. You know, one of the wonderful things about video here is we can watch it later. So we can leave in posterity. And it’s as good as updates, you know, updates change things sometimes. But it lasts for a while. Oh, I see I didn’t put in the date. You guys know what date it is. So these are the main points that we’re going to cover today. We’re going to go into fair clip, because I have a lot of things that I want to share with you. But also, this isn’t rocket science. And anything that you do miss, you got the video, you can go back and look at it. I’ll drill down on a couple of really important things though. And then I want to make sure that I leave time for any questions because the questions are the important thing because that means it’s something that you didn’t get out of it, right?

So, to talk a little bit about looking your best on Zoom, I think it’s really important and really this is any video conferencing. My camera, not the best camera in the world. That’s why I got the nice pink hue, it has to do with lighting, we’ll talk a little bit about that. I’m talking about creating secure meetings and invitations. How to effectively share your screen is a really big issue, because I think it’s one of those places we can do some oopsies. A lot of the things that I’m going to talk about today, we’re going to focus in on how we can make ethical missteps because I want to make sure I’m a lawyer, right? I care about ethics a whole bunch. So I’m into protecting confidentiality, and things of that nature, and I want to make sure that you guys know where not to do that. And then just talk a little bit about how you can really help your clients, your staff and yourself feel comfortable with the product, because so much of it is about using it in a way that shows confidence. It’s very much like doing a consult or being in court; the more practice you get, the better you are at it, and the more comfortable the other person with you feels about it. Alright, this is the real reason why we do it. We don’t want to turn ourselves into a potato, and then not know how to turn ourselves back. She just resigned herself to being a potato. And then her colleagues sent it across the internet, it went viral, thank goodness, she’s a good sport, because she’s adorable as a potato too. But I don’t want to be potato professionally. Right? I want to laugh at it, and then move on and not be the not be the actual viral video, that’s one of the reasons we do this is, we just want to be sharp at how we use it and don’t end up doing something like this in front of a judge, right, or in front of a colleague, or in front of a client.

Some really, really basic tips, some of the things that I’m probably going to circle back around to, but I think it’s worth saying is that you really need to practice. You need to play with these features. You know what, log on when nobody else is on and just start poking around. It’s amazing what you find. And you’re going to see some features that you’re like, I actually think there’s more there. Now, well, there will be because Zoom just like any other technology these days, updates on a regular basis and adds features, right, they used to have two little emojis and now they have something like six or seven. And that just happened this week. So get in there, be curious, play around, see what these things are. Click on them and see what they do. Right, I’m going to tell you some things. But you do your best work when you actually test it out yourself.

And then understand what others’ connectivity feels like. I’ll talk about this to a degree and the way that it looks for you. But really is, especially if you have other devices or you have other family that uses other devices, ask them to log in on their Apple computer, ask them what it looks like, tell them to take a screenshot so that you know what it looks like. Because one of the hardest things when you’re working with clients, especially those Luddite clients that you’re pulling into the new millennium, is to just help them be comfortable with it. And part of that is being able to say, “Well, it looks like this to you.” Or typing it in the chat, right, because I can’t hear anything. “It looks like this, this is where you’re going to find that.” So part of it is we need to be calm, we need to be collected, we need to be able to help people figure it out. And I mentioned chat and chat is really helpful when people log in. You know, I do all my consults by Zoom now. I used to do some of them by zoom in some of them by phone before we went out on the pandemic. And as soon as I went out into working from home, I realized this is a better setup than my phone is, my little cell phone. And so I switched all my meetings over to this. And they can still call in if they want a phone consult because you can in Zoom, there’s a phone number link, and they have a lot of phone numbers. And they can even get one that’s local to their area. So they wouldn’t pay any cost. And there’s a link on every one of your invites, if you want them to do that. But then you can also see them by video. I get a better connection with people, I get a chance to have a headset that I have hands free, I’m hands free and we can have a real working meeting here. But I still every once in a while, I’d say it happens, you know immigration lawyers are pretty tech savvy, but maybe once every four months, I get somebody who logs in that’s like, can’t figure out how to use anything. And it usually it means we lose about 10 minutes to the meeting. That’s it, 10 minutes, not a big deal. Sometimes we do end up having to get them on the phone. But we still use this portal, this Zoom portal.

And the biggest important thing that I learned from it is knowing kind of what it looks like on their side and just staying calm while they flounder. You know a little bit calm goes a long way. And then like I said, give them options with the platform, tell them the different ways that they’re going to log in. I do think it makes sense to pick one platform. I know some attorneys that are like, yeah, I’ll meet him on WhatsApp, or I’ll meet him on zoom, or I’ll do Google or I’ll do. And I’m like, for me, one platform, I pick the one that’s easiest for me. And for them.

This is what it looks like, way I set it up every time. When I open up a meeting, I always hit participants down here at the bottom, and then put them up over here. And then I hit chat. And sometimes it gets a little buried because it’ll go dot dot dot, and I’ll have to go into the dots and pull it up. But I like to be able to see who’s on at all times. It’s just habit. And then I like to be able to see who’s chatting if anyone is. And I also like this, this somewhat funny, bless their hearts for let me use this thing. But it gives you the image of you kind of get an idea of who’s using what, right. Whenever you see people on headsets, they have better sound, they can hear me better. And usually they sound better on their side. Now Joy Hardy here, she’s on her phone, her cell phone always shows black sides. Janet’s on an iPad, it says down here, oh, she’s on an iPad. This is what it looks like if somebody has a camera turned off. And and by the way, usually, they can choose their own name, change their own name, they only have to hover above it in the top of the square the three dots, or they can go to the participants and it’s under more, they can choose their own name or change their name, unless you block that, you can block that. And then I love Trina and her son over here he was getting used to getting ready to tell us school. And so we wanted to see how it is. And she joked that they’re in the witness protection program. I think it’s because they have that backlighting, right, don’t do that. Make sure that the people can see your face because you’re going to feel more comfortable and you’re going to look more professional.

Think about setting your office up like this, right? Think about your lighting. Think about what’s behind you. I guarantee you people are going to notice what’s behind you. It’s just it’s like a Zoom phenomenon. I’m so impressed by some of the art that people put behind them. I have this dorky one from Ikea, it looked a lot cooler when I got it but I’m a little sick of it now. Think about your sound and and you know it depending on your setup, this headset is essential. For me, this is the way that I block out what else is going on around me in my house where everybody is working from home. And then — I’m recording dear, and then he starts talking to me. And then you want to also, so your sound is better if you have something like this, doesn’t have to be complicated. Mine is just a little, I can’t remember what it’s called. But I shared that with with the group last time and I’m happy to do that again. It’s one of the cheaper Logitech ones. But I got it from somebody that games and if you want to know how to get the right stuff for your computer, ask a gamer. You always know. Think about your video camera. My camera’s not great. It’s because my actually my laptop is not that great. But mine is one of the pretty standard Logitech ones too. And it really does depend on what device you have and what camera and how they match up. Think about your speakers. Think about having a stable internet connection, it’s essential. And your look. And make sure that you look actually matches you, doesn’t have to be perfect. You can do a set background, let’s just show you what that looks like. So we’re going to choose a virtual background. This is under video, or stop video, there’s a little Up button. Let’s pick, you can put in pictures of your own. Or you can put in pictures. There we go. It’s a piece of art. I take pictures of all the artwork that I see in museums. You could have something like that, which is a little strange or not, I don’t know. You could have something like this. If you do this, you have to switch off your image so that your writing is the right way. See that. Or you could do something like we often do these for our conferences. But again, it goes backwards if I switch to mirror image. Now that I see myself with mirror image, it looks weird to me on Zoom any other way. So I just keep it on this. And I usually don’t do background partly because my camera isn’t great and it gets choppy and funny. So the best way, if you really want to have one of those backgrounds, which is nice if you have things that you don’t want people to see is green screen, so that it doesn’t chop up and look funny on your picture.

So now we’re going to go a few deeper things into actually setting up meetings, how to use the features.

I’m going to start with the security conversation, because I know that especially with Zoom people were concerned. I think, actually, it was one of the best things in the world to have Zoom blow up, and then have people Zoom bomb. Because whenever it’s, it’s like when a product gets hacked, it shows what the vulnerabilities are. And it forces the company to do the right thing to get better about their security. And, you know, they needed to do that. That was what they needed to do. They did, I think it’s got some really good things going for it. The fact is, is no technology is going to be 100% safe. But this technology is probably going to be safer than a than a Word document, cuz it’s not gonna be saved unless you record. If you are going to record, you may want to consider recording with a third party product, because it’s going to be better security than some other products. This is worth considering. But I think most of the meetings that you do, and you probably aren’t going to record. So realize it, it’s transient. And as long as you know, all the parties that are on there, then you know who had access to it for the time that it existed. And you want to do that cost benefit analysis. Is it worth the usability of this product, and the price of this product to give up a little bit of security, or am I giving up too much? I weighed and I think it’s right for me, but you want to make sure that you do that weight for yourself, and you want to stay up on the current because sometimes products get better or worse on this their security. So decide by client by client, this is standard for any of our confidentiality and our tech that we use, right? Decide client by client, if you have a client that is suing Microsoft and their number one opponent is Microsoft, you might not want to use Microsoft Word for your working with them. This is, this is the way that we that we think about things. And then if you’re really worried about that security issue, look at these two products, and Both of them are encrypted. The first one is made for lawyers, it does have other features, I think you do give up some usability, some user friendliness, it’s a little bit harder to use, but it also has a lot of nuanced features that are kind of exciting for lawyers. It makes you feel like you’re going into a conference room with people as opposed to going into a video room. You know, they did some really neat things there. And they have features that are specifically designed for some of the lawyer type work that you would do with clients. So worth looking at.

This is what it looks like on your desktop, usually. I think it’s pretty easy, right? It’s pretty clear, you got a big button to do a new meeting, you just start a meeting and invite people from there. Join a meeting here, this is when you’re going to put in information of a meeting, though the easiest way to join a meeting is to just go from your calendar, somebody sends you an invite, just click that invite, it’ll say open it in your in your Zoom, yes, click or open it on the web, you can do either. You can schedule a meeting here. And then you can share a screen from here as well.

Gonna dive into the scheduling of meeting. This is what the schedule looks like when you bring one up. Say I want to schedule this meeting. You can name it, it’s always gonna say whatever your zoom meeting account is called, your name – Zoom meeting. But you can fill this in and change that and usually you do. Date, the duration of the meeting now enough that you put in a duration, that’s what it’s going to send to your calendar, but it doesn’t shut off at that time. It’ll just keep on going as long as you want it to go. You can make it a reoccurring meeting right here. You can generate an ID automatically which means a different ID from your standard one and it will do randomized ones. Or you can have it do a personal ID for you. That’s like your phone number in zoom. I actually use the personal one the most because I’m not publicizing my zoom number. It’s just for members, right? They’re the only ones that get it. So you can pick what you think is most safe. This is also where you pick whether or not a password is required for it. It will automatically put a password into the automatically generated one but you can change what that password is here, you just click on require password, and then you bring up the password and choose what it’s going to be. And then choose whether it’s going to open on video. And in whether it’s gonna be on video for you or participants. Also, I always put on and on on this, I don’t know why has off mark in my screenshot, but then also whether telephone or computer, or both are available, and then hit schedule, and you got a meeting. And then you can change it. And you know what’s even better. And I got to admit to using this more than using the actual scheduler in Zoom, is there’s an add-on in your Outlook. If you use Microsoft Office Outlook, that just puts a button at the top. So every time I do a Zoom meeting, I just click that now and it fills everything in based on my default, and then I can change it from there.

To make the meeting more secure, I mentioned this, you can do that generate automatically and it sticks in a code, but you then you open it up, and you put in your own password. It’s gonna pick some password, but you can put that in and make that whatever you want it to be. And if you have a recurring meeting, it’s going to be the same password every time. This is a great way to get clients on board with the password. You can pick a password when you start and you onboard them. And it could be the same password that you pick for your portal as for this, and then they know every single time what password they’re going to put in. And they’re the only ones that can come into that meeting then. And then I mentioned turning on or off cameras, you can control these different features. I know I have a question. Oh, that’s no problem. I understand. All right, some other security features. You can lock that meeting so that people cannot do certain things. This is marked, it’s a little pop up arrow under partic- under security, sorry, I’ve marked that they can share screen, can chat, and can rename themselves. This is where you can change that. And this is how you deal with the Zoom bombers. If you have some kind of meeting that you’re sharing widely. And you want to make sure that you can limit or even remove participants, so you have your little remove participant button there, this is where you go. And you want to know where those are. Because practice again, right? These are the things you won’t know right away when something goes funny, oh my gosh, I got to get rid of this person, they’re doing rude things, where is the button? Under security, you can find it. Now, that’s only going to be on the hosts, right? It’s not going to be on all of ours, it’s only going to be on the people that are marked as host. So this is an important deal. Right?

I said, I always point out when they’re sort of ethics bits: Sharing your screen is one place where you could go a little astray. It’s the big green button at the bottom and it says share screen. I have every once in a while seen people who are unfamiliar with the product log on, they start clicking around, they share their screen. And then they get confused because it looks weird when you share your screen and then that they’re sharing everything. Because they’ve shared their entire screen, right. And that’s this top one that’s marked blue. Whenever the blue is highlighting it, that means that it’s going to share that one. They give you some different options. And it usually depends on how many things you have open. But they always have this option to share your whole screen. And then you’re running through emails and people are online because you’re doing some program with somebody. So got to know how to use share screen. And my rule of thumb is I only share the thing I want to discuss with somebody and work with them on because they don’t want to accidentally share my calendar that has confidential information on it. And I don’t want to share emails that might say something funny, or might have, you know, member names that aren’t appropriate to share with other people. So when I hit that share screen, and I see the different things, say I’m doing a Word document with a client, or I’m working on a form, I have that open somewhere. And then I look for just that one, and I select that and I share. And then if I need to share something else, I go back out, and I go and I find the thing that I have to share and then I share that. It’s a little more time consuming, but I just think it’s more secure. The other thing to note is see Google down here is one of the options. Whenever you share Google you’re sharing all your web pages. So if you have 10 tabs up and you click through them it will show all those different tabs unlike the Word document. If you click a word documents just going to share the one document. But with Google, I think it’s just a chance you could end up skipping through things that you don’t want to, so prep before the meeting and just have the things up that you want to share. Another thing to note is down at the very, very bottom here it says, share computer sound, and optimize screen sharing for video clip. This is when you want to have music on in the background, or you want to share an audio from your computer, or if you want to actually show a video clip. Now if you don’t want to share your screen, but you just want to have audio, I don’t have a screenshot for this but that’s in advanced features. And that’s sometimes a great way to start a meeting, right? Get some nice music in the background is very cool looking. Make sure that you don’t turn up too high, though, a couple people I’ve seen do it and they turn it like way high and then they’re trying to talk to the audience and you can’t hear him. And I saw NPR do this, I did a program with NPR and they’ve totally flubbed that up, and I could tell she was a little embarrassed. So another thing to avoid.

So I think it’s kind of important, remember I said sometimes we don’t know what it looks like when we’re sharing to just think about what it looks like. So we usually we have the bottom part filled out there. But when we share, it pops it up at the top. And it usually it seems like it shrinks it down a little bit. And it makes the stop share a big red button. Right? When you click the Stop share, you go back out. It also has this ‘more options’, which does have things like — oops, sorry, that’s always tricky when I’m trying to show you things from mess around my cursor, and then I click it. So in the more is where you’re going to see if a chat comes in, it blinks orange to me there. And, you know, I think most of those features still the same, important to know. You can pause your share there. You can actually launch polls from here. You can manage who is on it. And then it usually has I know I only have one picture over to the side here but if you have other people, you can’t have all of them. But you can click these little, little doohickeys up at the very top there, to change your view of who is in the camera. The only downside is when you’re sharing, you can only see four of you. It will prioritize the people that talk the most, or that have the video on the most. And it kind of does an and/or thing. And sometimes people kind of move around. You can click the arrow down if you want to see other participants. But I think that, you know, in an ideal world, I’d have multiple screens, I’d be able to see all of you. That’s the way I like to do it. But this is what it looks like when you share. And you can click on this top portion and move it about, which you may see me kind of moving stuff, and that’s actually what I’m doing. I’m moving it about, so you can see what it looks like. So I can see my slides too.

Oh, this is another one of my very favorite favorite tips: The waiting room is super important. Now the waiting room can be a bit of a hassle if you don’t know how to use it. Because especially if you have a lot of people coming in a meeting, if you’re doing a presentation, you gotta admit them. You know, you can actually just take off the checkmark on enable waiting room, and it’ll let everybody in automatically, you might have one or two to click in. But it’s important, I think, these two little features here are super important to have on because one sometimes I’m waiting in my zoom for somebody, and I start working. And I’m clicking away. And if I don’t have that enter, play chime, play a little sound when they enter, then they will appear and all of a sudden talk to you and you have forgotten that you’re on Zoom. Don’t want to do that either, right? As soon as I hear the chime, I go “Hi.” Even if I’m not looking at the camera, I go, “how are you?” How are you, and then I click into my camera. And that way you’re not losing time, but you’re also not feeling caught off guard. And then the other thing is that wait room is great when you have appointments back to back. Because clients will then pop into the room if you don’t have the wait room on. And then they’ve seen each other’s names, right, and that’s a breach of confidentiality. So make sure you put the wait room on. And then it’s great when the little time goes, you can look at their person that you’re in the room with and say oh, that’s my next member. That’s my next client, gotta go. And so you let them exit out and then you let the next person in. And then admit is this is what it looks like on the participant screen. When you have people in the wait room has a big admit or remove button and you get to decide. I took off the name there so you can’t see.



Charity, if I may just before you go on to the next slide. We had a question right about waiting rooms and while we’re on this slide, we had someone wondering, how do you access these waiting room features? Where do you go to get to them? (Related: Zoom Support – Using Waiting Rooms.)



Yeah, I always do it when I’m in the meeting, I log on a little early and set it up. But you can set it as your default, when you set the meeting up. There’s a feature where you can go into the meeting and set it as a default. And I think that it is kind of, if you don’t set defaults, I think it’s the way that Zoom is set it up now that most meetings always have this. But you may have to talk with your IT person, like it might be something that they do on their end, because I have to admit, every once in a while they do things for me and I don’t know which ones they’ve done and which ones Zoom does. But when you go into the meeting, you can set it up as soon as you log on. Remember, I’m going to stop sharing and just go back just a couple slides here. Hold on. Oh, here. Oh, now I messed myself up. And if you have tech difficulties, like I’m doing right now, you just ride it, just go, “Oh, there I go.” Right, keep cool, calm. So remember, when I said I, the way that I set it up at the very beginning is I put my participants field over on the side over here by clicking participants down at the bottom. And then I put my chat by doing the same and I click those here. That’s why I sorry, that’s why I have that little place down here to chat. And that is what’s under ‘more’ — keeps on thinking that I’m clicking that I’m not even touching it, I swear — I have ‘more’ at the end here at the at the bottom of participants. Now what is at the bottom of participants has changed a little bit, but that feature is still in that spot. And it’s under ‘more’. Okay.



Thank you Charity. So sorry to interrupt your flow, we’ll have you keep going and then have more questions at the end. I just thought well, we’re on that slide. Please continue to type them in. And thank you again for showing us as well, how you do ride it out so beautifully with good humor and calm and patience and warmth. So, perfect to see.



Well, you know, you got to have a sense of humor. That’s my theory.

One other cool feature that will help you with clients, and sometimes if you’re doing presentations too, is in the chat there are three little dots beside where it says ‘everyone’, which is your chatbot box. Now it doesn’t always say ‘everyone’, if you chatted directly with somebody will say their name. And actually that’s the important thing. If, if you direct directly chat, like I directly chatted to Laura at a certain point, it’ll then default to Laura every time. And if you don’t change it back to everyone, you’ll be sending just things to Laura. So you want to make sure it says ‘everyone’ as your standard, and move it back to that if you move it around in the chat. And then at the end of meetings, if you add important notes that you put in the chat, save it by clicking those three dots at the bottom of the chat. And see it says save chat, and it’s not highlighted because I didn’t have any chats or it was on my own. But if you have any chats in the box, it’ll say ‘save chat’, you save it, you’ll save it in notes on your desktop, and then you can copy and paste it into your notes your file. So if you’re doing a meeting with a client, you now have documentation about what you sent them in the chat and what they sent you links, anything that you put in there, okay? Really, really crucial. Because we love to document, it’s a little defensive lawyering, right, you want to document what it is that we share with people so that if they ever come back and go, “You didn’t give that to me?” “Yes, I did. And in fact, I told you to save your chat. I saved the chat myself. And here it is. Date stamp and time, right. That’s my name. And when I sent it.”

Breakout rooms, we I think we touched on this a little bit at the very beginning talked about them maybe before we logged on. Breakout rooms, I think are really great, especially for any group you’re working with that needs to do a certain amount of community, like smaller group work, right. People that need to dig down deep on something, or I think this could actually work very, very well for somebody that’s doing arbitration and mediation, right. You come together, you talk a little bit, plan out what it is that your conversation is going to be, and then you go into certain rooms, and that’s exactly what a breakout room is. Now when you set this up, it’s one of the bottom things at the very bottom when you’re host, breakout rooms. You can set it up beforehand, or you can set it up on the fly when you’re on. You can set them up specifically for certain people, one tricky bit about breakout rooms is if they use a different email, it’s not going to automatically pop into the room that you thought they’d go into. But as a host, you can pop them into that room, it just means a lot of popping into rooms if there’s a lot of people on the call. And then you can also do random ones, right, where you just put them in different rooms, like that’s good for a committee meeting, where you want them to talk about certain issues, and then come back together. And then the host, anyone that’s a host can travel from room to room. And they can actually say, how you doing? What are you guys talking about, and then skip into the next room and say, what’s going on here. And then you can bring everybody back at a certain time and these features a teeny bit hanky sometimes, but you’re supposed to be able to leave them a little note, like it’s gonna pop up and say you guys are gonna come back in one minute, and then it brings everybody back automatically. And I think this has real possibility for mediation, because that mediator can be the host going back and forth between room and room, “let me talk to them about that.” “They have said no.” Okay. Hopefully they say yes.

So I, you know, a lot of time we talk about tech, and we talk like the tech is the big answer, but really sometimes it’s about our behavior, right? There are certain things that people hate in meetings, and there are a lot of the same things that people hate in meetings, whether they’re virtual or they’re in person. But you know, there’s been one survey, it’s interesting, this survey was pre-pandemic, and I was thinking today, I wonder if it’s different now. I bet it’s probably not, I bet it’s probably pretty similar. But one of them is 76% said they don’t like background noise and distractions. Well, what makes background noise, not having a headset, not muting your sound when you’re not the person that’s supposed to be talking and having other things going on. Some of this you can avoid. Daniel was already great about it. He said he was making copies. And he was like, I’m on mute because I’m making copies, you know. This is not terribly hard to do. One of the things that we don’t always think about though, is if you’re on your phone, and you’re going to a meeting by phone, and you’re actually commuting or you’re running around doing errands, and you have the camera on it’s super distracting the people that are there when you’re doing this. So turn your camera off, if you’re doing a meeting on your phone on the fly, right? You’re zooming around town, think about things like that. Another thing is late joining participants people don’t like. Sometimes we can’t help it. It’s not that big of a deal when you’re doing a meeting like a presentation. But if it’s a lawyer, with the client, you want to be there early. Participants don’t love it when you talk over each other. It’s especially confusing sound-wise when you’re on video. So try not to talk over people. And I’m the worst at this because I came into I came from a family where if you don’t talk over somebody, you don’t get to talk. So I’ve had to slow down a little bit and try to adjust to this when I’m actually in a group. And I think that that it’s helped me to make myself think of the mute button as turning over the table to somebody else. And it helps me to make sure that I don’t interrupt people by just putting myself on mute. And then ‘ums’ and ‘ers’, we know that those are irritating, and repeating information that’s like classic presentation issues, right.

And I added this, it wasn’t in their survey, but I think people hate feeling incompetent or uncertain on technology. It’s just one of those things that makes us like, oh, you know, we just want to be competent and solid on it. So again, get in there, play around, use it, use it, use it, and also stay cool when they are having trouble. You’ll be like, it’s no big deal. We’re gonna get there. Here’s a little thing that might help. Don’t overwhelm them. Let them figure it out. And, you know, put in the chat, “Have you tried this? Why don’t you come in by phone, you know, you can come in by phone and video. And you’ll just and you’ll just hear one way and see the other way.” And, and just remember that people, they feel insecure when they don’t feel good about how they use it.

These are some basic meeting things, but they work really good when you’re in any video conferencing, and Zoom especially I think: Follow an agenda, even if it’s simple. Just give him a lay of what you’re gonna do, and then travel right through it. We’re gonna do this, this and this. And you know what I do? I pull up the agenda and I share it on the screen. I say this what we’re going to do, and then I type the agenda as we’re going, I type the notes into the agenda and make the agenda the notes. If it is that type of meeting.

Think about where the microphone is on your on your computer. I already mentioned that muting is kind of a good way to turn over the table. And not not being on mute is, you know, it’s a nice way to say, “hey, I want to talk.” You can also raise your hand in the various controls. But it’s a nice way to say, “hey, I want to talk” by unmuting yourself if most of the meeting is listening to one person, but also just think about not having it on unless you really gonna be the one to talk. And then it’s amazing how much, so my sound is actually right here down and you can’t see my hands, but it’s at the bottom at the top of my keyboard on my laptop. So when I type I know you guys hear me, I try not to have my sound on every time I type. Like, even if I’m not typing loud, and I happen to be one of the loudest typers in the world, I somebody moved at the bar exam to not be by me, the second day, I’m so loud. So think about where that mic is. And, you know, it’s one of the reasons I actually write my notes so that I’m not too loud. And I try and keep that very stationary. If you have lots of papers too. This is really important if you’re presented to the judge in court, because you’re gonna have sometimes lots of things that you want to pull here and there. And you got to make sure that you’re not doing that sound wise.

Slow down. I’m the last one to say this right because I talk a mile a minute, but the Gilmore Girls talk faster than anybody else on TV ever, in all time, I don’t even think there is fast on her new show. But you do need to slow down a little bit, especially when you’re in big meeting with people. And and I even just try to sometimes give moments of quiet. I think Zoom, maybe one of the flaws is that you can exclude people kind of bizarrely, especially if they are on video and you were in a room with a bunch of people, especially if it’s a single individual room by themselves, trying to talk to a group of many people. And this is when the talking over people gets really bad too. Because you’re sharing, you know, your day with the people that just came into the room. There’s people waiting on the screen there. And they’re like, “I had things happen too.”

You know, make sure that you’re including everybody. And especially when you have different size groups on different ends, make sure that everybody sort of gets a voice. And remember that you can’t turn to somebody — I’ve even tried to, you know, turn to somebody, but they’re in a different place than you are on your screen. They have people in different locations. So you have to say their name. Laura, what do you think of that? Right, Daniel? Is this going to work for you? Did we do this, right? Because you need to use names, because there’s not a way to do that sort of body language. And then make sure that they understood, because I do think that? Well, there’s different types of learners and absorbers of information. And not everybody is great on Zoom. And I do think that it’s easier for them to sort of fly under the radar. I put somebody saying, you know, something in a foreign language here, because I know my immigration clients, my lawyers with immigration clients that have speak different languages, some of them have a tendency to nod and say yes, when they haven’t gotten at all. And that doesn’t change over Zoom. And I think it gets worse because you just can’t tell. So you need to reiterate assignments again and again, gently but forcefully continuing to make sure in whatever platform you’re working with them on, or whomever is sort of following up with them. It’s in written format to it’s not just said them. It’s one of the reasons I save the chat. And actually, if I was working with a client, I would probably save the chat and then send it to them and say this is what we discussed. These are the notes I wanted to add. And you can do this a lot with your client portal too. They can work well together. Sorry, my voice goes out sometimes. Last bits, overcome your own self consciousness, it will help them to overcome theirs. Be a swift advocator of it. Don’t be afraid of it. Plan that call beforehand; plan, the way that you’re going to do the conversation. That’s part of my agenda is that I map it out in my head, I visualize how we’re going to talk.

And then really be prepared to have a working meeting. You know, when I was in practice, I did estate planning. And I realized at one point, when I had somebody share their screen with me. I’ll just do it now. Let’s see, I’m gonna bring up a document here, I realized that I could have cut out hours and hours of work with a client if I had been using a product like this, because I would do documents with them. They give me all this input of what they wanted in the documents, and then I’d write the documents, and then I’d send them a version. And then I’d have a phone call with them. And I’d say, “do you have any edits? Is there anything that I need to change? Is there? You know, do we need to discuss anything?” “Well, yes, I had a question about this. And that I think I want to change this heir to this person, let’s extend this date on this trust.” And so I go back, I’d write it all down in the call, and then I go back and I make the edits. What would I do now if I had to do it again, is I’d sit there with them with the document up here. And I’d say, “here’s the terms. You’re gonna give, you know, this trust is going to be distributed at 25, half, and at 30, the rest. This is for your two kids. See, it’s right here laid out. Does that work for you?” “Oh, no, no, you spelled Anthony wrong. Oh, no.” “Oh, well, let’s put it right right now.” And I just worked through the document as we were sitting there. So you still, you know, you have some prep, where you have to have the thing used to a degree have to have it filled out. But you know, what my immigration lawyers have started doing, and now that they’re doing COVID, and they’re working with clients remotely is they bring up the form here. And they say, “this is information that you inputted, is this all correct? Oh, it’s not correct. To get the wrong address. Let’s put it in right now.” And you just make it a working meeting. And I would have saved two-thirds of the time I spent with clients going back and forth if I had this instead. I’m a big fan.

All right. I think that’s all my slides. Here, we should go in just to make sure. Again, just sharing the one thing. Not everything. I think I just, yeah, it is my last. This is my last slide.



Charity that was wonderful. Thank you so much. I love too, how you inject humor into everything. Sometimes people can look at embracing new technology as they think, “Oh, is it going to be fun,” and you really just show how you can have fun with it. And also how it can improve your efficiency. Such as your example at the end about using Zoom as a tool to collaborate with clients on documents weren’t easily. We have some great questions in the chat. We’ll go through some of those. We have about 10 minutes or so for questions. If you have more questions, please continue to write them in.



Related Resources:

Time to Manage Videoconferencing (ABA Law Practice Magazine, May 2021) 

Legal Issues in Zoom Meetings (ABA Law Technology Today, August 2021)

Become a Pro Zoomer: Top 10 Tips for Lawyers (Mass LOMAP Webinars for Busy Lawyers, November 2020)

10 Tips for Better Zoom Meetings (Legal Ease Blog, June 2020)

Best Advanced Zoom Tips: Custom Backgrounds, Emoji, and More (Forbes, September 2021)

4 Tips for Lawyers Meeting Virtually with Clients & Colleagues (Mass LOMAP Blog, July 2020)

Zoom Updates You Should Know About (NCBA Center for Practice Management, January 2021)

How to Blur Your Background on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet Video Calls (Newsweek, March 2021)


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CATEGORIES: Client Relations | Technology
TAGS: communication | hybrid / remote work & virtual practice

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