Formatting your e-bundle pagination

Formatting your e-bundle pagination

Not paginating an e-bundle properly causes confusion but the confusion starts with “what is page one?”

Formatting e-bundle pagination properly is a top concern for our clients, and rightly too, when a case may be sanctioned.

It’s a natural conclusion to make that we want our electronic bundles to mimic the paper version of a ring binder. Nobody would put a page number on the title page of a ring binder, would they?

But since e-bundles have been mandated, the interpretation of the rules by different courts is now causing some confusion.

For the sake of this exercise, let’s forget paper bundles ever existed, and simply focus on a single PDF document.

The PDF document must have continuous page numbering throughout. There are a variety of instructions on the internet on  how to insert continuous page numbering②, and how that numbering must be linked to the document index.

To add more confusion about pagination, if the bundle is split into sections, the index can have a different page numbering scheme③.

Overall, the page numbers will never match the number of the page of the PDF itself①. So, what do we do about that?

We can format e-bundling pagination to appear as you (and the court) would like it.

Obviously, it helps to know which court requires which specific pagination format.  This article contains useful links t

This image is an example of a standard bundle to be submitted to the Family Court. Its layout mimics the old-fashioned ring binder and the PDF is navigable from the bookmarks, the index page and simple scrolling.

If you require a bundle with a different pagination format it can be made for you, just let us know how you (and the court) want it formatted.  You can learn more information about preparing your ebundle here

e-bundle pagination
Cut admin costs with Microsoft 365

Cut admin costs with Microsoft 365

Harnessing Microsoft 365 technology reduces admin costs

It’s a huge win to business to cut admin costs using Microsoft 365 technology.  Admin is the tasks that must happen for the business to operate, services to be delivered and products sold.  Every business has administration and every business owner looks to contain or reduce overhead caused by admin.  Regulated businesses, eg professional services, may have a greater admin overhead for maintaining compliance.  If the activity isn’t generating new business or delivering sales, then I’m afraid, that’s admin.

As a small business, the owners do much of the admin themselves until the tasks become too burdensome and time-consuming.  Hiring staff becomes the go-to solution to grow a business but this in itself causes more admin to simply manage the staff.

Where can we make cost savings with admin changes?

Business overheads include office space, utility bills, travel costs, consumables (read paper and ink).  Administration (from the verb to administrate) is the actionable task, not just overhead items.

To reduce admin costs we should look at how we work, not just what we buy.  Usually it involves passing information from one party to another.  This leads us very nicely to our use of technology.  Almost every business uses tech: book-keeping apps, email and text communication, and more recently formalised video conferencing.

In equal measures, most are missing opportunities to maximise the benefits of the tech available.

Microsoft’s 365 (formerly Office 365) is a great example of a large tech platform which has dozens of apps – all free to use and included in its subscription.  But not many know what it can do to improve efficiency.

What stops us?

The biggest elephant in the room, a topic that needs to be addressed head on, is fear.  There is a real fear about change.  And fear has a voice, and it says many things:

  • I don’t have a budget.
  • My staff don’t need to know.
  • They don’t like change.
  • I’m too old to learn.
  • It’s too big a change to tackle.

What happens if we don’t change?

Without change we do not remain stuck, we fall backwards.  Our competitors gain the edge, our staff move onto other opportunities, and the business may be considered ‘old fashioned’, or  ‘traditional’.  At worst, the business is perceived as inefficient and wasteful.

We can reply to the voice of fear with the simple question, “What if …?”.  It’s possible to remove all limiting beliefs around change, learning new skills, improving efficiency, reducing cost.

Breaking down administration tasks

Throughout the day there are a number of tasks that need to be done.  The traditional way of getting the tasks done is to pay someone an hourly rate.

As an outsource provider, we perform the specific tasks for our clients and they pay only for the task which is agreed, time bound and has a fixed cost.

The same method can be applied to training, implementing small changes, introducing new technologies and new ways of quickly getting tasks done.

Where to start?

In the never-ending chaos of business it’s easy to be in a constant state of fire-fighting.  But we can use this state to our advantage and listen to what’s happening with ourselves and our staff and we can ask some questions:

  • What is the cause of frustration?
  • How did x error happen?
  • What are the most frequent tasks in the business?
  • What causes service delivery to be slower?
  • What information am I missing on a daily basis?

Just pick one. It’s a low-hanging fruit to make a start on implementing some improvements.

Harness Microsoft 365 technology

Microsoft 365 has so many apps that it’s easy to become overwhelmed with what’s on offer.

Here are our top apps that can give you quick wins.

Microsoft Bookings

Let your customers book their own appointments directly to your calendar. It can also arrange an online Teams meetings, works for retail salons as well as professional office meetings, and manages multiple team members in one easy screen.  It’s free so you don’t need to pay for any other third party calendar apps.

Microsoft Teams

Create department teams, group chats, host online meetings, share document libraries from SharePoint, add your favourite apps like Planner (Microsoft Tasks), PowerApps, a knowledge area using Wiki.  Creating departments in Teams is necessary as you’ll agree the finance team don’t need the same information as the marketing team.  

OneDrive

OneDrive is a cloud storage for you to store all of your documents and it synchronises across multiple devices.  OneDrive is used for your personal documents but these documents can also be shared so you can collaborate in real time – yes two people can type in the same document at the same time.

SharePoint

If OneDrive is a filing cabinet for your documents, then SharePoint is an internet of them. There is so much you can do: create an intranet site, link document libraries to Teams, maintain lists of data, create PowerApps from those lists, create communication sites and client portals.

Forms

Do you need a survey or to collect information?  Designing a form is very quick and easy and all of your answers can be stored in a SharePoint list.  Think of a SharePoint list as an online shareable Excel sheet but without the complication of Excel. 

Do you want to learn more?

Bluebird is built on Microsoft 365 and is a wholly remote and digital business (except for our legal secretaries who are very much human).  We have extensive experience in creating, operating and building remote teams for very fast service delivery to our clients. If you would like a demonstration of how Microsoft 365 and Bluebird could help your business cut admin please get in touch.

Conveyancing Assistant Service Pricing Structure

Conveyancing Assistant Service Pricing Structure

In this article you will learn how outsourced Conveyancing Assistant service prices are structured. You will know how you can benefit from a shared service resource and pay-per-task for the exact productive time.

Costs of employing in-house staff compared to outsourcing pricing

As an employer you have responsibility for paying salary, Employer’s National Insurance Contributions and pension contribution.  Salaries are based on productive time which we calculate to be:

  • 52 weeks
  • less holiday
  • less break times
  • and less any absences such as sickness that may be agreed under the contract. 

We have created services for which you pay only for productive time, without any costs – or risks – of employment.    

A fair way of paying for your Conveyancing Assistant services 

Outsourcing is not the same as off-shoring and our UK-based workers will earn the same rate of pay as employed staff.  How and where they earn their income is what is different from being employed.  

We have created a shared service resource for you to tap into where you pay only for the productive time of staff for the tasks you need doing.   

We call it a pay-per-task way of charging.  It means that you are always in control of what you spend and you are guaranteed a service level for the work that is done.   

It also means that each task can be tracked, quality checked and leaves an audit trail.   

How we charge for Conveyancing Assistant service 

We have dissected a standard sale and purchase conveyancing transaction (registered title) and listed all the elements into a series of tasks.  We have listed the associated time needed to complete it.  From there we calculated the cost-per-task.  This is how we deliver you fixed-price admin support.  

You can see the full list and request a quote for our services

Confidence in qualifications and experience 

Conveyancing can be a high-risk area for law firms who rightly demand qualified and experienced staff to deliver a transaction on time and on budget.  Especially when lots of firms are competing with fixed prices for their services.   

It’s vital that the law firm has control of all aspects of the legal transaction for compliance purposes. Outsourcing any aspect of your work requires comprehensive service agreements to be in place, as ultimately the law firm takes full responsibility for every element of a transaction. Nobody wants to be negatively impacted on professional indemnity premiums.  

Our team are experienced in working with a multitude of legal technology systems and highly experienced in Conveyancing.   

Now is a great time to consider outsourcing  

A large majority of professional services now have experience of working remotely and flexibly.  Plugging in a Bluebird flexible resource helps you expand your practice without disruption or increasing payroll costs. 

You will have a greater ability to deal with peaks and troughs in workflow and manage urgent deadlines.   

You won’t need to spend on recruitment costs or invest in training new staff.  We already have lots of know-how in our knowledge base and can hit the ground running for you.  

A low risk proposition 

Our pay-per-task fixed price Conveyancing Assistant is designed to be a low-risk help to you.  Let us know which tasks you need help with by choosing from this form and together we can design a new way of working.       

Advanced Word Skills Training

Advanced Word Skills Training

Learn these top 3 Advanced Word Skills which are guaranteed to save lawyers time and produce Word documents easily, quickly, and without errors.

You may be spending a disproportionate amount of time on your Microsoft Word documents that you simply cannot charge for (or perhaps you can, and you are!). Fixing errors and formatting can be frustrating, especially if you’re working in other people’s documents. If that’s the case, you have little control over how the document is constructed and often they may not work as you would expect.

Many law firms are losing experienced support staff, more lawyers are working from home on their own, and many more seem to be setting up their own firm.

In this digital world now forced upon us by the pandemic, it is important that your continuing competence (CPD) includes a most frequently-used application – Microsoft Word. We feel it’s about time relevant Advanced Word Skills training is offered to help you. Why Advanced Word Skills are important to have

Advanced skills mean less time is spent on formatting and your drafting is faster. We’re often told that lawyers type and write as they think, and it’s important to get the first draft prepared quickly.

As you know, your documents will go through a number of iterations and versions, with changes made not only by you but by your opponents. Using best practice for your document construction (ie how a document is built up from the template) will also make your opponents’ life easier too.

And all of that will make you look great! After all, nobody likes poorly formatted documents.

Course Content: top 3 errors people make in documents and why they are bad!

In any training course you need to have some context so you can quickly learn and apply your new skills. In this module, we will demonstrate to you what happens when:

  • Show/Hide. Most people don’t use the Show/Hide button and some don’t even know it’s there. This button reveals formatting marks, such as tabs, spaces, paragraph marks, among others. It might sound unimportant, but these hidden marks are often why document formatting goes awry and large gaps are left on your page.
  • Pasting Incorrectly. It’s not just CTRL V. In fact most people are not aware that you cannot use CTRL V shortcut or even ALT CTRL V to paste text into a document correctly. Pasting Text Only is very important but sometimes even doing that will not give you the result you are looking for. It’s not how you paste, but where you paste.
  • Fixing Styles. When you get a wrong number, you don’t need to delete anything. You need to change the Style, and changing a Style is simply a matter of selecting the correct Style from the Style Gallery. In a good template, the gallery will be concise and clear what should be used to style your documents.

If this sounds too advanced, then fear not. The live demonstration and support will make everything clear.

Course Content: you will learn your top 3 fixes to make you look great

Now that you understand how frustrations and errors are caused, we’ll show you the right way to format your document. You won’t learn everything there is to know as Microsoft Word is a large and complex application. But you will have a great starting point on your journey of gaining Advanced Word Skills.

More importantly, the top 3 fixes we will give you are guaranteed to save you time in the future.

  • Turn on your Show/Hide Button – Lots of people will probably have worked on your document before you, and their skills may be lacking. Turning on the Show/Hide button reveals the formatting marks that have been put into the document and will reveal why there are unwanted gaps on your page. It also allows you to paste text so that you never get the wrong number on your paragraph.
  • Use a good template with Styles that work – The ground floor of a good Word document is a good template. If you are working on a document that is old, originated somewhere else or has not been created properly, the Style Gallery will be cluttered. This makes it impossible for you to know what Style to apply to get the number you want on your paragraph. If the template is a good template, you will be able to see what you should use and always produce accurate documents.
  • Follow best practice principles in Word – Word is like any other software package; you must follow its rules or you will not get the result you want. While there may be a lot of workarounds in Word which can seem helpful, they will usually end up breaking the document. Following best practice principles in Word – doing it properly from the outset and following Word’s rules – will mean your document is stable and error-free right to the end of your deal.

Your Q&A

We have set aside 15 minutes at the end of the session to answer your questions, but we are not going to restrict this time if there are lots of questions. You can feel free to leave but it may beneficial for you to hear other people’s questions and problems they have.

We are often asked about Track Changes, automatic cross-referencing and cover pages. It’s impossible to answer all questions in a short space but we can develop further courses once we have a good bank of questions from you.

Don’t miss out

Reserve your place now and will share the conference link with you in the joining instructions in good time.

Once registered you will have access to a recording of the training course.

What Our Customers Think

Like most lawyers, we are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to Microsoft Word, but we spotted an opportunity to develop our brand further and update our document assets. 

Bluebird have been dealing with our document processing for a while but I hadn’t realised that they could save us so much time when pulling together the simpler tasks in Word documents.  Leanne prepared a training session for the team and also created a video of the session and a handout for us to refer to.  While the team still send the more complex stuff to Bluebird to take care of, they can manage the more minor tasks in our documents, keeping them clean and free of formatting issues.  It has saved us hours of time that we would ordinarily write off, and the team is getting on with the chargeable work instead.

Winslows

Productivity tools you already have

Productivity tools you already have

Productivity tools you already have – ten fingers and a voice

In a world where productivity really matters, whether for business profitability or simply helping your mental health by removing frustrations, one of the quickest ways to convey information is to speak with one another.

We might not like receiving or making cold calls let alone a straightforward telephone call, and a lot of us tend to hide behind the keyboard and use text as a preferred method of communication. 

We have certainly evolved into a type of keyboard warrior (pun intended).  Even as I write this, I’m conscious that at a typing speed of 96 words per minute, my text will reach a wider audience than dozens of calls.  And to be honest, I hate the idea of video!

In a world where typing is usually by 2 thumbs than 10 fingers, typing is now becoming a chore, a bore and causing frustration. 

If you want to learn how to type with 10 fingers, then check out Mavis Beacon Free who has been teaching typing since the 1980s!  

Or have you thought about simply using your voice? 

The simple fact is, we generally speak at a comfortable 150 words per minute.  An average typist can type at 60 words per minute but a fast and experienced typist is around 100 words per minute; some of us are even faster!   

Dictating is a skill of itself.  It takes practice, just as it does to learn to type with 10 fingers.  The upside is that you already have a lot of experience in using your voice.

Here are my top tips for learning how to dictate.

  1. Imagine you are preparing to leave a voicemail. By placing ourselves into that state and imagining that we are speaking with someone means we are already thinking about the words we want to say.  We do this unconsciously, but it wasn’t always like that.  Do you remember a time when you hated leaving a voicemail (perhaps you still do)?
  2. Don’t be a perfectionist! If you’re new to dictation then at this stage it really isn’t important to have all of your spoken words arranged in an immaculate way.  A great secretary will understand what you mean, and will punctuate your transcript for you.  If anything, your tone of voice really helps the listener to know where to punctuate, so just imagine you’re telling someone a story.
  3. Background noise does matter but not in the way that you think. Some people are put off dictating because they may be in hearing distance of other people.  If you are uncomfortable making phone calls and leaving voice messages in front of others, then this will likely affect your willingness to learn dictation.  Once you are conscious about your environment, you can do something to change it.
  4. Get your first draft out using your voice. Use dictation as a quick way to get your first draft written.  You can always update it and amend it later but at least it’s out of your head and onto a page where you can see it.  As you practice your dictation, your first drafts will become more perfect over time.
  5. Doesn’t it take longer to have someone else type it? This is a common perception but it usually not the case, particularly once you get used to dictating your drafts.  The reality is that we can return a piece of dictation very quickly – often within the hour.  How does that time compare with your own typing?

Try another free tool to help you practice

There are lots of dictation apps for smart phones and a lot of them are free.  If you would like to give it a try, then get in touch and I can advise on what will work best for you. 

To have your dictation transcribed is cost-effective.  Our costs are £1.35 to have a minute of dictation typed up, so 10 minutes of your voice will cost you £13.50. 

.

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

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!
customer robert partridge
7. December, 2020.
Bluebird deliver....... Just wanted to lt you know that Bluebird has been very supportie of my business needs in the recent Covid 19 period. They have responded immediately to all of my enquiries and have delivered exactly the services I have needed on time and at a reasonable cost. Well done Bluebird!!
William Whawell
5. November, 2020.
A great team to work with We needed a new suite of documents for the office and felt outsourcing was the best option. The team at Bluebird created our entire suite swiftly and provided simple how to guides on using the documents. When we changed our work slightly again, we went back to Bluebird to have some amendments prepared. Customer service spot on, value and superb finished products. Couldn't ask for more.
Wendy
19. October, 2020.
Excellent and reliable service Would definitely recommend
Alex P.
19. October, 2020.
Transcription and document editing services I have tasked Bluebird with a number of pieces of work over the years. They have always been reliable, friendly, efficient and delivered the work to a high standard - and on time, every time. Highly recommended!
Frances
19. October, 2020.
Bluebird are my go to for creating documents. Their expertise is of the highest standard and the service is always great. It saves me so much time and is such good value.
Neil
12. October, 2020.
Always helpful, prompt good quality typing and document production.

5 times you could outsource your typing

5 times you could outsource your typing

When is it a good time to outsource your typing?. 

Typing is necessary – there’s just no getting away from it.  Whether it’s responding to an email, editing a document or writing a file note, you either do it yourself or you pay someone to do it for you. 

Outsourcing can be a word that causes anxiety to some because it hints at structural change, redundancy and cost cutting for survival.  But we can flip that around to positive action and instead rename that word to ‘delegating’. 

From our clients’ experiences, here’s the top reasons why they chose to send their typing outside of their business.

1 Recruiting a new fee-earner

Recruiting new staff in your business is, hopefully, a sign of growth.  You will want your new hire to be as productive as possible, to feel supported, and start making money for your business as soon as possible. 

If you don’t have capacity for your support staff to cope with the extra work to be generated, then it can be a great opportunity to offer external resources to help your new team member work to their strengths. 

New staff means introducing them to new ways of working – your way of working – so introducing a remote support service won’t cause too much change-related-stress.

2 Staff sickness and holiday absence 

Organising a holiday rota and being fair to staff so they can have time off during school holidays can be a managerial nightmare.  Throw in sudden sickness absence, and stress levels in the team increase. 

Having a flexible resource ready to go means you always have a back-up plan and can be assured that work gets done and costs are kept to a minimum.

3 Keeping your business continuity plan updated

Just as above, those unexpected turn of events can throw normal operations into disarray.  Being prepared doesn’t cost much in money and can save you tons of time and energy in the long run. 

Believe it or not, hooking up dictation technology and sharing some templates is really easy.  You’ll get a lot of boxes ticked for your compliance because you have your back-up plan.

4 An unexpected large project

 For those occasional times when a piece of work needs more time than your support team have capacity for.  Here are a few examples of how we have helped our clients.

  • An old head lease document, poor quality PDF that can’t be converted to text, needs to be re-typed. It takes 16 hours of typing time. 
  • A 1-hour Zoom video meeting can take 8 hours to transcribe.
  • Police interview tapes are needed in a hurry.  Four hours of interviews could take 30 hours to transcribe.

5 Sick of doing it yourself

New business start-ups rightly do almost everything themselves.  Then comes the time when workload increases and a dawning realisation that time is better spent elsewhere.  Savvy business owners will have figured out where systems can be automated, templates can be created and repetitive work is treated like a process. 

But there are times when a spanner is thrown into the works.  Broken documents, long boring typing jobs or data input and struggles with PDF conversions, are just a few examples. 

None of the above circumstances require redundancy or a sharp reduction in staff numbers.  In most cases, restructuring workflow presents the opportunity to utilise employed staff to produce more and work to their strengths.

You might have your own specific requirements that you need help with.  If so, please get in touch  as I’m sure we can help you. 

 

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

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!
customer robert partridge
7. December, 2020.
Bluebird deliver....... Just wanted to lt you know that Bluebird has been very supportie of my business needs in the recent Covid 19 period. They have responded immediately to all of my enquiries and have delivered exactly the services I have needed on time and at a reasonable cost. Well done Bluebird!!
William Whawell
5. November, 2020.
A great team to work with We needed a new suite of documents for the office and felt outsourcing was the best option. The team at Bluebird created our entire suite swiftly and provided simple how to guides on using the documents. When we changed our work slightly again, we went back to Bluebird to have some amendments prepared. Customer service spot on, value and superb finished products. Couldn't ask for more.
Wendy
19. October, 2020.
Excellent and reliable service Would definitely recommend
Alex P.
19. October, 2020.
Transcription and document editing services I have tasked Bluebird with a number of pieces of work over the years. They have always been reliable, friendly, efficient and delivered the work to a high standard - and on time, every time. Highly recommended!
Frances
19. October, 2020.
Bluebird are my go to for creating documents. Their expertise is of the highest standard and the service is always great. It saves me so much time and is such good value.
Neil
12. October, 2020.
Always helpful, prompt good quality typing and document production.