Expert tips from Mac Lovin’ lawyers

by | Sep 10, 2020

What’s a Mac lawyer to do in a PC-dominated world? Despite their increased popularity among professionals, we see that MacOS desktops and laptops still don’t have the same reputation for productivity as Windows PCs.

But that’s changing quickly —especially in the legal world, where we depend on our computers every day.

In a recent webinar, MacOS took center stage as three experts explained why they much prefer MacOS over Windows-based computers.

The main takeaways should give anyone plenty of food for thought.

Mac security and maintenance

IT security and maintenance go hand in hand. Proper maintenance strengthens security, while good security makes maintenance easier.

 The biggest misnomer about using Mac technology for legal work is that they are safer than PCs right out of the box. 

Yes, Macs do suffer malware infections less often than Windows machines, but today, malware individually coded for MacOS is starting to become a problem.

We are continually reminding law firms about the importance of security and maintenance when using a Mac.

Pro bono tip: Log out of a Mac once a week because specific maintenance scripts only run when the computer is off.

The question of security is even more critical for smaller firms than it is for larger firms. While a large, established law firm may be able to recover from a data breach, smaller ones will be destroyed by the hit to their revenue and reputation.

Here’s what we recommend to lawyers who want to get the most out of their Macs.

Required measures

First, everyone using Apple technology has to be on the same page. The only truth is that more people collaborating online creates more risk, even if firms do everything else is right.

So many of the most effective scams only work when a user is ignorant of basic cybersecurity and doesn’t understand password hygiene or why you don’t click a suspicious link. (Hint: If you didn’t ask for it, and you don’t know who it’s from, leave it alone.)

Choose a password (or better yet a passphrase!) that is long and complex for someone who doesn’t know you well. Passphrase for any critical systems should be unique — no children’s birthdays for all your accounts!

Another recommendation we often make is using two-factor authentication. This pairs something you have (a button you can click on your mobile device or one-time texted code you can enter) with something you know (your password). It’s easy to enable but dramatically improves the security of your system.

You want the general idea is to stack multiple layers of security, which we go over in more detail in the webinar.

Yes, it may make using a Mac slightly more cumbersome, but the benefit to security is well worth the trouble.

Common pitfalls

Too often, security mishaps are the result of user errors.

Occasional inconvenience is much more tolerable than dealing with the aftermath of a data breach. Fines alone can exceed $100,000, depending on the amount and type of data compromised.

Using the right password manager can prevent hackers from getting into sensitive documents or only sabotaging a machine for the sake of doing so.

One of the most common pitfalls we see is a growing, successful firm that isn’t educating its staff on cybersecurity. Using Macs alone isn’t enough because they have to run at the tip-top shape to be secure.

There are plenty of tools out there, and we go over the best ones in the webinar.

Mac compatibility

The biggest gripe about using Macs for legal work is the lack of compatibility with PC-based courthouses and fellow law firms. But the compatibility issue is no longer a big deal for many reasons.

Office 365 is now ubiquitous in the legal world. Every firm uses Office to manage sensitive client information and create internal documentation. Macs can seamlessly work with Office, and a PC user won’t know the difference when he’s sent a DOCX file from a Mac. Mac users experience compatibility issues with their iPhones more often than with Windows PCs.

Over time, Apple has taken one of its most significant faults and turned it into a strength.

Some court systems may still rely on legacy software that only works with a specific type of browsers, but these are now the rare exception, not the rule.

Today we can be confident that the compatibility issues faced by Mac users are mostly a thing of the past.

Mac productivity and efficiency apps

There is no shortage of productivity and efficiency applications for Mac, but which are best for lawyers? In the webinar, we give a breakdown of the best tools to use, which includes:

  • VPN services
  • KeyNote
  • TrialPad
  • Add-ons for Zoom
  • TextExpander
  • Spark for managing email
  • Boomerang
  • Slack integrations
  • Front
  • Adobe Acrobat DC
  • AirServer

Given the challenges of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work will become the new normal for many firms. Using the right productivity hacks is now business-critical.

We recently discussed these tips and tricks in a webinar title: “Mac Experts” – here is just a snippet:

Click on the photo above to watch a snippet of the webinar.