Take a digital detox

Digital Detox

Casedo is a tech company, and so more than most we can suffer from 'overtech' and find that we spend most of our time on screens, gadgets and other 'labour-saving' devices. Katie McKenna looks at how to manage this, and perhaps be a little more human again.

Nightmare! My Wi-Fi connection is down. I am happy to confirm that yes, I have turned it off and turned it back on again in true the IT guys style but alas, the problem is much bigger than my lack of IT knowhow. So, with mounting pressure to perform despite a global pandemic how can I use this time wisely? I am sure you have been in this situation before. Though the term 'digital detox' can stick in the craw, there are things that can be done offline of course but thinking outside of the box a little, here are a few ideas to keep you busy and productive.


Think about your why

Can you remember why you studied law in the first place? If you’re anything like me, you made that decision a rather long time ago. Have a think about what drives you? What about your job makes you happy? When you do you feel most in flow? To put it simply, why do you do what you do? Are you dedicated to making your clients lives easier? Are you fighting for justice? Are you righting wrongs? When you know your why and publicise it, it makes you more attractive to prospective clients, it provides a sense of authenticity to your practice and inspires your colleagues.


Thank you

Everyone has had a hard year but if you’ve been lucky enough to receive instructions, why not take the time to say a heartfelt thank you for the support you’ve been provided during a trying time? It might be hard to recall without access to your electronic files, but it does provide an opportunity to think about the year past, connect with what you achieved this year and which cases stand out. We should be spending more time on kindness in 2021.


Check in on someone

As much as we don’t acknowledge it, mental health was strained in the profession before the pandemic and sadly, things will only have proceeded to get worse given our new stressor and his friends. It might be worth taking the time to pick up the phone to call that colleague, referrer, contact, friend to check in, see how they’re doing and brighten up their day.


Write that article

If your firm has a website, chances are you’ve been hounded to write something at some point. It can seem daunting and cuts into your billable hours. Astound yourself at what an article can do for your reputation and personal brand awareness. I personally find the act of writing down my thoughts quite cathartic. Once you have an idea, you’ll be surprised how quickly an article can come together. What should I write about? I hear you cry. How about your thoughts on a recent case? How have you found working at home? Are you a fan of digital hearings? How do you make your Zoom meetings pop?


Clear desk(top), Clear mind

When time is sparse and pressure is high, good practice can sometimes disappear and every so often I’m sure that files have ended up in the wrong place or there is a rogue local copy on your computer desktop. This could be the time to clear a messy computer desktop that is overcrowded, ensure that the files are saved into correct folders or deleted before your IT team notice. Indeed, it might be that you are not using the right digital tools to begin with! It’s also a great time to use folders and subfolders to declutter your electronic workspace and your mind.

There is also the literal desktop; be it a proper desk in your home office or the kitchen table. It’s a great time to think about the space you work in, day in day out. Is it clear of distractions? What can you do to make it more pleasant? Is there anything you can add to inspire yourself when working? Taking the time to improve the environment we work in can have a great impact on your productivity going forward.


Revolutionise your mindset

Your brain is amazing, and it will never make you a liar. If you constantly live your life focusing on the negative (and let’s not lie there is a lot of negative out there right now!) it will constantly reinforce that view and all you will see are the problems that surround your life. The trick is, that you should make your beautiful mind work for you. Gratitude is my constant attitude. I start my day by listing all the things that I am grateful for in my life which makes me constantly look on the bright side and see the good.

I do have bad days, like everyone else, but I know that how I react and what I do next is constantly within my control. Don’t believe me? The Emmons and McCulloch study confirmed this very fact. I also know that I need to take a whole body approach to my mental health. I digital detox is not the whole story, and that a healthy diet is absolutely key to my well being.


UPDATED: 2022.11.09

Person holding a rainbow of coloured vegetables to illustrate that you are what you eat

You are what you eat.

Katie McKenna delves into what we're all made of. We are what we eat, after all!

In my case, I must be chocolate. In all honesty, our reality is driven by what we consume daily and I’m not just talking about carbs and protein. Naturally, lawyers train to be risk adverse and see potential issues, problems and horrors awaiting in every transaction.

We take action to mitigate these risks and concerns obviously but it doesn’t fully escape our attention and we are always watching our own (and our clients backs) for the potential for financial, reputational, time consuming and miscellaneous damage causing monsters.

With this heavy burden hanging over us, it’s not a massive surprise that a lot of us can feel a bit down/low/negative.

We are what we consume, and we spend our professional lives gorging on a varied range of problems. Yes, we have skills for solving them, contracting for the possibility of same and offering practical solutions but how do we as a profession, see the positive again.


Feed your body

We work hard and when in court, at our desks, or knee deep in a massive client issue. We can forget to eat at all let alone take the time necessary to make a proper nutritious and fortifying meal. Water is such a vital part of our internal functions, but rarely do we hydrate using anything other than coffee. If you do anything after reading this, have a glass of water!

It’s not just about calorie intake, it’s about feeding our bodies with movement and proper rest. Make time to go for that walk, work it all out at the gym or go to bed early! It might feel counter intuitive with a deadline hanging over you, but it can make you feel so much better. If we neglect our basic needs, our performance will not be the best it could be.


Feed your mind

When we deal predominantly with worse case scenarios, our brains naturally operate from a rather negative place. For example, when you think about buying a new car, all you can see from then on is that make and model car everywhere you go. Your brain will never make you a liar. So, if you believe the world is full of horrible people, all you will see are the actions of horrible people whilst all the kind and good-hearted deeds go unnoticed. Gratitude is a really easy way to rewire your thoughts. Just think of five things that you appreciate on a regular basis. Amaze yourself at how this simple practice can change your mindset away from one of negativity.


Feed your soul

When was the last time you did something good for yourself? This has been a hard time of uncertainty and we all need to make time for ourselves, to rest and relax and enjoy life when we can. When did you last take a moment to truly listen to what you need and appreciate how far you have come. We also feed our souls when we help others. We help people professionally day to day, but we can help without using our legal skills too. Looking for inspiration here? Try getting more involved in your local area and the causes that are active therein. You could reignite your passion for tennis, volunteer to help your local Brownie or scout troop or get involved in projects to create positive change.


Feed your career

This is not just about progressing up the ladder, it’s about creating a career and reputation that brings you joy and fortifies your purpose in life. It’s about widening your own knowledge and experience. So many in our profession are consumed with the here and now that we rarely find time to fully consider what we want.

For example, when was the last time you properly thought five years ahead? What steps, training or action do you need to complete to achieve this? Research it and make a plan.

Have you taken time to think about how you can utilise your skills out with the law? There are so many valuable non-executive director, trustee and board positions than can widen your skillset and knowledge. In a similar vein, have you considered how your experience can help the next generation of solicitors or how you can benefit from same? There are some excellent mentoring schemes in place that are always calling out for willing participants.

This is just food for thought. Hopefully, by binging on all the delicious and good stuff in life we can stop worrying about impact the reality of our professional lives can have.


UPDATED: 2022.11.04

5 last minute tips for legal directories submissions

The Legal 500 deadlines for barristers in London fall on 16th April (regional deadlines have already passed) and the Chambers barristers guide deadlines for various categories fall on 6th April. If you are working through your submissions, here are some last minute tips, courtesy of Victoria Moffatt, managing director and founder of legal directories specialists; LexRex Communications.


1. Read the form in detail

The notes that accompany the headings tend to tell you exactly what the researchers are looking for. Follow that advice.


2. Put your case studies in order

Legal directories researchers are human, and just like us, by the time they get to the final case study, they are likely to be running out of intellectual steam. Don’t simply add your case studies in the order in which they appear in your inbox or alphabetically - work out which are your stand-out matters and put them at the top of the pile. Follow this process for each leading barrister.


3. Elaborate on your case studies

Ensure that when you provide the detail for the case studies, explain what you did, and why it was significant. And remember that researchers are probably not lawyers - we tend to advise that you write for a normally intelligent university educated person.


4. Provide context where possible

If you make a statement - try to back it up with evidence.


5. Contact your referees in plenty of time

The referee feedback provides the most important aspect of the research. It’s really important. So make sure your referees know what to expect from the process, that they are happy to provide feedback and that they have an idea of who will contact them, how they will be contacted, and when it is likely to be.


LexRex Communications is a strategic marketing and PR consultancy for the legal sector with a particular interest in legal directories. LexRex has a full range of directories products ranging from its exclusive LexRex Legal Directories Toolkits, Introduction to Chambers and Introduction to The Legal 500 training courses; through to directories consultancy and drafting services.


Why not read our ‘Fostering new behaviour’ article on Legal Futures? Click HERE to read the full text.

Casedo joins Calico

Whether it’s the vaccination programme, the improving health statistics or just the fact that it’s now British Summer Time, there certainly seems to be a bit more of a spring in everyone's step.


Calico Legal Solutions Group is enjoying a further bounce with the addition of a new Associate member – Casedo. Led by barrister Ross Birkbeck, Casedo is an organisational tool created to streamline legal analysis and court bundle creation, reducing the case preparation burden and creating more time for higher-value activities.


Ross said: “We’re very excited to be joining the Calico family. It’s rare to find an organisation that so effectively cuts through the market and allows lawyers to access the right tools, services and advice with confidence”


Calico founder Pauline Freegard is delighted to welcome the new member:

“What’s really interesting to me is that for all the talk of digital and modernisation and efficiency that we’ve had over the past, say, decade, there is still plenty of opportunity to improve, whether that’s through dramatic breakthrough innovation or simply better engineered solutions that deliver incremental gains. We’re very much looking forward to supporting Casedo and taking their message to the Calico community.”


Why not read more about this on Legal Futures? Click HERE for more.

Casedo extends free trial period

Press Release 16.03.21

Casedo, the innovative document workplace for the legal profession, has increased the period of their free trial by 200%.

You can now benefit from all the amazing features for a period of 30 days. The free trial provides full access to Casedo software and all the innovative features contained within. You can import word documents and pdfs, organise and build your case, annotate your case with bookmarks, cross links and comments and when you’re ready, add an automatically generated table of contents and create a fully hyperlinked e-bundle at the touch of a button. With Casedo, there is no limit to how many cases or e-bundles you can create during the free trial period.

“It’s been a tough year for many chambers and law firms alike, so I wanted to extend the free trial period to allow my colleagues within the profession to benefit from Casedo to work more efficiently and easily comply with court e-bundling requirements” Ross Birkbeck, Barrister and Founder of Casedo.

Unlike some free trials, there is absolutely no risk and no need to provide debit or credit card details to get started. You can try the software safe in the knowledge that you will not be charged until you actively opt to purchase a license.

Interested in giving Casedo a try? Click here to enter your details and obtain your bespoke license key to get started. The next step is to download the software for either your Mac or Windows system and save the Casedo software locally. In practice, this means that you can create cases safe in the knowledge that only you have access to your case information or data and that your own GDPR compliance is not compromised.


All free trials will benefit from access to a bespoke demonstration, a suite of know how videos and articles and the support of the dedicated Casedo team.


Why not read more about this on Legal Futures? Click HERE for more.


Casedo v1.6 Release Announcement

Casedo is delighted to launch it’s first software update of 2021 to the Casedo community and the wider legal world.


Casedo version 1.6 introduces the following much requested features:

  • The ability to rotate individual pages and whole documents
  • You can now delete individual pages with ease
  • When exporting to PDF the Table of Contents will be hyperlinked to the relevant documents, in accordance with standard Court directions
  • The power to multi-select documents


We have also increased loading speeds again, and squished some bugs.

“The Casedo Community is at the heart of all our software development, as we work collaboratively to make their professional lives easier. As the founder and designer, I am delighted to share the new version which includes some simple but hugely time saving improvements.”

Ross Birkbeck, Founder of Casedo and Barrister.


You can see Ross demonstrating the features (in just 90 seconds) HERE.

All Casedo software updates, including Version 1.6, are included within annual and monthly subscriptions.

Why not read more about this on Legal Futures? Click HERE for more.