PDF files and Adobe Acrobat have become essential tools in every lawyer’s practice, especially for litigators. PDF has gradually become a standard in both electronic filing and electronic discovery.
One of the best uses of training time and dollars for lawyers would be classes on using Acrobat. (There are other PDF creation tools, of course, but, as I like to say, do you want to take a risk that you’ll be in front of a judge trying to explain why a court couldn’t open your PDF file created with a free or cheap tool?)
One good example of what to learn is how to optimize file sizes. I’ve long been surprised when people create gigantic PDF file. I like to slim down PDF files whenever I can – people with dial-up connections and not much room on their hard drives appreciate it.
My friend, Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson has a great side blog that every lawyer who deals with PDFs should be reading. The blog is called PDF for Lawyers, and I especially recommend his recent post “With E-filing the file-size matters,” which, among other things, delves into the problems that large PDF file sizes can cause.
It’s an eye-opener in many ways, not the least of which in that it discusses a standard practice that actually surprised me because it goes so much against the grain of the move from analog to digital. Let me quote Ernie’s description of this practice:
[W]hen they create a pleading to be filed electronically they follow this process:
Print out word processing document
Physically sign the last page where the signature line is
Scan the document back in to create a PDF
Upload the resulting PDF into the e-filing system
Well, I learn something new about the ways lawyers use technology every day.
The good news is that Ernie has some useful ideas for much better ways to use PDFs. He also explains the practical dangers of not knowing how to use this essential tool for lawyers.
I highly recommend Ernie’s post.
Then take a look at the other posts on the PDF for Lawyers blog, move on to Rick Borstein’s Acrobat for Legal Professionals blog. Jim Calloway lists some great Acrobat resources here. The serious student can move on to PDFZone.com and subscribe to the PDF World email newsletter. And don’t forget about David Masters’ classic, The Lawyer’s Guide to Adobe Acrobat, Second Edition (ABA Publishing link; Amazon link
And, please, please, please, don’t do that print out and scan back to PDF thing ever again.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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