For Format’s Sake!

For Format’s Sake!

For Format’s Sake!

For Format’s Sake! A Guide To Help Lawyers Produce Their Own Documents

Download your free e-book which should take no longer than an hour to read. To implement your new skills may take a couple of days and within a few weeks of practice you will be a competent Word user. You will be faster at creating and updating your documents and you will be presenting your business brand in documents to be proud of.

Whether you’re starting a business from scratch, or have worked in the same firm for years, the framework outlined in For Format’s Sake! will help you produce your documents with less stress.

 

For many, many years we have seen lawyers break their documents, waste time with formatting and cause more problems that could easily be avoided. And there’s good reason too. Not many people have received basic training (although some may consider the contents of this book advanced training).

Download your free e-book today! 

In this short book, we have provided you with some super-useful information to help you solve some of those problems you didn’t know how to fix, and perhaps given you some new ones to try out.

But we know time is limited – which is why the book is short – so all of them will save you time and money … and a lot of unnecessary frustration.

To get your free book For Format’s Sake!  A Guide For Lawyers Who Produce Their Own Documents fill in the form below and you will receive an email with a link to collect your download.

E-book For Format's Sake! 

 

What Our Customers Think

The work is completed accurately, with a choice of turnaround times and over extended office hours.

DGB Solicitors

They simply get the job done and they work around the clock too. We’ve saved salary and temp costs in our business by outsourcing the typing.

Child Law Partnership

They are the prime outfit for outsourced document
production.

Open Plan Law

Dorigen Sykes
25. April, 2022.
Excellent service from Bluebird We have recently engaged Bluebird for a document production task. We found them easy to work with, transparent, efficient and friendly. Based upon our experience we would definitely recommend their service.
James G
21. April, 2022.
We used Bluebird for the first time to transcribe an audio meeting We used Bluebird for the first time to transcribe a lengthy professionals meeting - they were detailed, cost-effective, and could meet the quick turnaround required for these complex care proceedings. We would certainly recommend using Bluebird. - James G, works for a Local Authority.
H Grady
21. April, 2022.
Excellent Court bundle and typing… Excellent Court bundle and typing service with 100% accuracy and super efficient with turnaround within a couple of hours! really impressed for my fast paced legal practice.
matthew pecoraro
20. April, 2022.
Exceptional experience on multiple… Exceptional experience on multiple occasions. I wouldn't look anywhere else for transcription services. Jayne and co are experts.
Sasha Nerozina
10. February, 2022.
Absolutely brilliant Absolutely brilliant! Professional, excellent in detail, precise, fast and cost effective. I am a litigant in person responsible for producing the bundle for the Tribunal. I have no idea how I could have dealt with this huge task without Bluebird. Jayne and Julie were supportive and helpful throughout. Thank you very very much!
Catherine Lockett
21. January, 2022.
Your investment in Bluebird Support Services' time and expertise will pay you dividends... I highly recommend! I have been working with Leanne from Jayne’s team whilst she has re-formatted at least a dozen complex template documents for me so far, and there are more to do as well. My document nightmare has turned into an administration dream – gone are the tedious and time-consuming checks that I had to do. I can now do in a few minutes what would have taken me hours to do previously, with far more confidence in the end result for my clients. If you use templates or any legal documentation in your business, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to pass them by a member of Jayne’s team. Your relatively small investment in their time and expertise will definitely pay you dividends. I would highly recommend!
Sara Barrie & Associates
27. August, 2021.
Bluebird - my go to support service From audio transcription of interviews, setting up templates for better self proficiency to expertise with social media support and scheduling, Jayne and the team at Bluebird are my go to support service. Experts, encouragers, supporters, accurate, on time and within budget. What's not to like? Definitely recommend Bluebird.
Ian
24. February, 2021.
Couldn't be happier... Have recently started using Bluebird after years of reluctance to outsource transcription. Really delighted with the quality, accuracy and speed of their work. We fully intend to increase our use of Bluebird's services. Ian McKenna, O'Donnell McKenna, Solicitors
Charlie1
5. February, 2021.
Bluebird - top at what they do Have worked with Bluebird for years. I have absolute confidence in their reliability, quality and speed. they are also excellent at making suggestions that improve the quality of our documents. I wouldn't work any other organisation.
Suze Smart
9. December, 2020.
Great communication and efficiency! The Social Desk has managed Bluebird’s social media marketing over the past year. Jayne and Leanne have always been very supportive and efficient in providing content and materials we required to carry out our work. Communication and efficiency is top notch with these ladies and we have formed a great business and personal relationship with them. We would highly recommend Bluebird to anyone looking for secretarial and administrative support!

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Zoom Meetings Transcription

Zoom Meetings Transcription

Zoom meeting transcription

Our cost-effective pay-per-minute transcription of Zoom meetings also has a certificate of accuracy.  Your Zoom meeting can be recorded either to cloud or directly to your PC (cloud is recommended).  Once recorded you have two versions available to download: video and audio.  But don’t worry if you only have the video available.  To have your Zoom meeting transcribed we have a facility to convert video to an audio format. 

We need the audio format so that our transcribers can use their footpedals to control the playback of the audio, leaving their hands free for fast typing.  That’s right, humans listen and transcribe your recording.  We don’t rely on voice recognition software.  You will receive a verbatim transcript with a layout similar to a script. 

Other video conference platforms most likely have the same facility.  Certainly, Microsoft Teams has caught up to Zoom and now offers the same recording feature.

Skim-reading a transcript is a lot quicker than re-watching a Zoom meeting video

As you’re reading this text you will no doubt be skim-reading.  Reading a script is a lot faster than watching a video.  That said, transcribing a video takes time to do.  At Bluebird we can type an average of 85 words per minute which is usually twice as fast as the average ‘touch typist’ and we have specialist transcription kits to help us.

As many of our clients can testify, we’ve saved them hours of their time as they tried transcribing a client testimonial video themselves.  We’ve also saved a business 10 hours of typing time for transcribing a disciplinary meeting – something that needed to be kept confidential and away from internal prying ears.

A certificate to say it’s true and accurate

Do you need your transcript to be verified as true and accurate?  We proof-read all Zoom meeting recordings and are confident to give you a certification of accuracy to accompany your transcript.

Our prices are based on the length of the recording so you can very quickly calculate the cost of your Zoom meeting transcription.

If you have any questions that aren’t answere here please get in touch.

 

 

Do you need captions?

A time stamped transcription can help you with that.

For you to refer to, we’ve created a helpful guide for you to refer to for best practice in recording meetings for transcription. You can download it here

DICTATION TRANSCRIPTION

People notice your poor document formatting

People notice your poor document formatting

Is poor formatting of documents a good thing or bad thing?

Have you ever heard a colleague make negative comments about the quality of another law firm’s legal document?  The number of typos or the misaligned paragraphs or inconsistent numbering or giant gaps on the page?  It’s frustrating because when you try and amend it, the paragraphs move around and the numbering seems to get more erratic.

That begs the question as to whether other lawyers are saying it about your documents.  And more importantly, whether clients are saying it … and how does that affect their confidence in your skills.  People notice your formatting, just like you notice other people’s.

Good lawyers train for years in how to be detailed, how to be precise.  They train how to advise clients on very specific areas of law in extremely high value transactions, where an error can cost millions.  So the detail is vital.

Is how you look meeting expectations?

Law is a competitive market, and expectations of the firm of its lawyers, and in turn the clients of the firm, are high.

Lawyers grow up using Word through school, university and law school and, when they join a law firm, they will generally be working in their own documents.  This is often because secretaries are working for a lot of people and there is a need for self-sufficiency.  I can be particularly stressful when a secretary has gone home or when there is a lot going on in the middle of a complex transaction.

Of course, this means that lawyers are expected to not only be great lawyers in providing quality service and valuable advice to clients but also be proficient in preparing and formatting complex documents in Microsoft Word.

Expectation is high among clients too.  And rightly so.  Clients pay substantial fees for their lawyers’ advice, and their expectation is that the work product itself should also be of high quality as well.

So if the document format isn’t up to par or if numbering and cross-references are incorrect, it shows a lack of attention to detail which affects a law firm’s reputation.  Indeed, incorrect clause numbers and “error” cross-references could materially affect the meaning of the agreement.

Creating your house style will ensure your teams are keeping to the rules of documents and keeping you on brand.

Poor document formatting and construction is costing time

When stress levels are high, the hour is late and a deadline is looming, the smallest things in a Word document can distract from the main task in a lawyer’s hands.  That is delivering accurate and detailed legal advice and a quality service to the client.

It could be gap on the page or that the words in a paragraph seem to have a life of their own.  Perhaps the sub-clause numbering insists on starting at (d) instead of (a), or there are a bunch of cross-references which now say “Error”.  Or the font keeps “flipping back” when you keep changing it from Arial to Calibri.  Some of these will no doubt resonate.

It stands to reason that lawyers could gain a great deal from knowing more about Microsoft Word – the software they are using all day every day.

  • Lawyers benefit from the confidence and ease with which they are managing their workload, particularly if they are managing their own documents.
  • Clients will not only get great legal advice, but a well-formatted and consistent work product that reflects the care that the lawyer has taken in giving that advice.
  • Law firm owners and managers will have less non-chargeable time to write off on transactions with capped fees.
  • Family and friends get more time because instead of being in the office at 7pm, the Word-savvy lawyer is having dinner with the family or is in the pub!

Training and learning for self-sufficiency

If all that sounds like a no-brainer, the even better news is that it is very easily achieved.

Training that focuses on the areas that cause the greatest number of issues is where the training should target.  Those made-up Word “hacks” that get passed around may well end up causing much bigger problems further down the line.  We have our very own training “hacks” and online learning courses to put you on the right path.

If you didn’t know it, there are literally hundreds of shortcuts and tricks that Microsoft has save lawyer time, while still using the software correctly.

Self-sufficiency is going to be key in the post-COVID era.  The self-sufficient lawyer is one who is confident, not stressed, earning fees and meeting targets, and always meets their deadlines … which brings very happy clients and law firm managers.

And that’s a scenario that will make everyone happy.

Learn to do it the right way

Novum Learning, professional services solutions provider, and Microsoft Word services specialist Bluebird are running a series of complimentary courses designed for lawyers about legal document best practice.

The series allows practitioners to learn in a focused, industry-specific manner and to put the learnings into practice straight away.

The 30-minute sessions focus on showing lawyers how to make amendments to transactional documents correctly and efficiently, even when the document belongs to another party. The first session of the course covered crucial formatting techniques and shortcuts, which are a great foundation for this coming session. It shows lawyers that managing ongoing transactional documents under a tight deadline can be done efficiently.

The skills from this course will take lawyers another step closer to self-sufficiency, which is becoming an expectation at law firms, especially those looking at continuing to offer flexible working arrangements even when working in the office becomes a usual practice again. Nevertheless, efficient document management is key to shortening the turnaround of matters and reduces the time lawyers spend on non-billable work.

5 essential Word tools to format your documents

5 essential Word tools to format your documents

Use these five essential Word tools to format your documents

There are various tools available to assist with document amendments, some of which are more well-known than others.  If you can master the correct way to use these tools you will save a ton of time and headache for your document users.  Check out our Online Learning for Document Formatting for video demonstrations.

  • Format Painter allows you to fix the incorrect formatting of a paragraph by applying the format of a correct paragraph elsewhere in your document.
  • Paste using Keep Text Only is correct but you should always paste into a blank paragraph that has the correct style applied.
  • Clipboard can store pieces of text to insert later.  You can take a piece of text from one document, put it on the Clipboard and insert it later into another document.
  • Ctrl Shift E is a shortcut to toggle Track Changes on and off if you are making live amendments, while the Status Bar will give you a visual cue that Track Changes are turned on.
  • Use Compare Documents in the Review tab for making changes into a clean document, and showing what changes have been made.

It all starts with pasting

When adopting safe pasting practices like using “Keep Text Only”, the text doesn’t always appear in the format you expect.

The reason for this t is that it’s not just about how you paste – and Keep Text Only is definitely the right way to go – but where you paste. If your cursor point is on an empty paragraph mark that does not have the right style applied to it, your insert may still go wrong.

The good news is that this is not difficult to fix if you use the correct technique and follow Word’s rules or – better still – if you learn how to insert the text correctly in the first place.

Learn to do it the right way

Novum Learning, professional services solutions provider, and Microsoft Word services specialist Bluebird are running a series of complimentary courses designed for lawyers about legal document best practice.

The series allows practitioners to learn in a focused, industry-specific manner and to put the learnings into practice straight away.

The 30-minute sessions focus on showing lawyers how to make amendments to transactional documents correctly and efficiently, even when the document belongs to another party. The first session of the course covered crucial formatting techniques and shortcuts, which are a great foundation for this coming session. It shows lawyers that managing ongoing transactional documents under a tight deadline can be done efficiently.

The skills from this course will take lawyers another step closer to self-sufficiency, which is becoming an expectation at law firms, especially those looking at continuing to offer flexible working arrangements even when working in the office becomes a usual practice again. Nevertheless, efficient document management is key to shortening the turnaround of matters and reduces the time lawyers spend on non-billable work.

You can learn more about Advanced Word Mastery here

How to prepare your e-Bundle

How to prepare your e-Bundle

How to prepare your e-bundle

Follow these steps and you can your single PDF of your bundle will meet the requirements of HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

      1. You may already have an index for your bundle but if not, we will split your bundle into sections: pleadings, correspondence, evidence.
      2. We will re-name your index in the PDF bundle to follow your index and will always complete a date column where possible.  You can be assured that your bundle index is hyperlinked and properly paginated for the Courts and opponents to easily navigate the file.
      3. We work with what is best for you for transferring your files.  You may prefer to simply email us your documents or,  if there is a particularly large amount, a large file transfer facility can be used.
      4. If you have documents already in a digital format other than PDF, say Word, Outlook emails, images, please send them to us.  We can convert any format to PDF in the bundling process.
      5. If you have multiple documents contained in a single PDF please let us know if any pages are to be removed or the PDF split.
      6. Adding and removing documents to your bundle is made with minimum fuss.  Simply contact us or email your latest instructions.

We can prepare your e-bundle for you and the cost is from as little as £77.

You can dictate or email your requirements and send your documents to us and we can prepare your bundle for you.  Check out our pricing for more information.

Cost-effective electronic bundling services

Our e-Bundling-As-A-Service is for lawyers and solicitors who urgently need to submit an HMCTS compliant PDF bundle of documents.  Submitting a bundle of documents is usually last minute in case a trial is adjourned or the matter settled.  So it stands to reason that some people would rather not invest time and money in case those costs are wasted.

That said, some spending is necessary to get the job done, but learning new technology may hinder and slow down the process.

Here’s the thing: electronic bundling is easy, it’s fast and it can also save you tons of time and money when compared to the traditional paper version.

Our bundling partner, Zylpha, have given us some key requirements that courts and tribunals need.

  • The documents in the bundle must be the subject of OCR (optical character recognition). That means the bundle can be searched by typing in a key word or phrase.
  • All documents should appear in portrait mode. If the original is in landscape then it should be inserted so that it can be read with a 90 degree rotation clockwise and no document should be inserted upside down.
  • The default view for all pages should be 100%.
  • All items should be bookmarked to be easily navigable in the index.
  • All pages should be numbered, including the index.

This list is not exhaustive but we’ve pointed out these top requirements for a simple reason.  To create a bundle without any software assistance is difficult and time consuming, especially if your bundle needs to be updated and edited at a later date.

The demonstration video below shows how easy the application is to use.  However, sometimes time is scarce and urgency is great, so installing and learning technology may be difficult in those circumstances.  That’s where we can help you.