Adobe Acrobat + This PDF Guidebook
Will Help Your Law Practice
Lawyers encounter PDFs all the time now: in email, e-filing, and e-discovery. Many lawyers are discovering that PDFs are similar to paper, but provide greater flexibility and convenience.
What if you knew what those lawyers have discovered about PDFs? Well, for starters you’d have fewer boxes and messy file folders stuffed with papers. And your law practice would take a quantum leap towards greater efficiency and convenience.
Adobe Acrobat is the tool you need if you want to take your practice to the next level. So, how can you use Acrobat to work with PDFs better, to go beyond the inconvenience and drudgery of paper?
Here’s a short list:
- Insert pages into a PDF: useful if you discover a missing page in a PDF document that you received or created. This happens a lot in the world of paper, so you should know how to fix the problem easily in a PDF.
- Combine several PDFs into one: attorneys who receive e-filed documents find this useful because the e-filing system typically requires the filer to upload several documents that are part of one motion or pleading. You want all of those separate PDFs to be grouped together.
- Extract pages from a PDF: crucial if you need to pull out a few pages from a PDF to send to an associate to review, or to send to a witness.
- Rotate pages: helpful when people send you a PDF with a few pages that are mis-rotated (this happens a lot).
- Form filling: you can take a paper form, scan it in, and have Acrobat locate the form fields which you then quickly type into. Save the form for future use. This is what you do with forms the court requires you to fill out. Using a typewriter to fill out forms is time-consuming and inconvenient.
- Bookmark pages: take the memo or brief your opponent sent you, and highlight the headings and subheadings and quickly create a table of content, with nested bookmarks that also act as hyperlinks so you can quickly navigate to any section in the brief or memo.
- Edit Text: yes, you can edit small chunks of text in a searchable PDF, which helps if you’re about to e-file a PDF and realize you need to update the date in the Certificate of Service. You’d be surprised how easily it is to edit small chunks of text in a PDF.
- Highlight key text passages: mark important text in a document, legal brief, or case report the same way you’d use a yellow highlighter on paper. Doing this in a PDF automatically creates a catalogue of all your highlighted passages.
- Make PDF Searchable: if the PDF you received was scanned in, as opposed to output to PDF from, say, Microsoft Word, then it’s not a Searchable PDF. You can quickly have Acrobat locate all the text components in the PDF and make the document searchable, which also makes it possible to highlight the text if you need to mark up key passages.
- Search for Text: you can easily search for text or key phrases in a PDF. And with Acrobat you can also create a saved search index of a group of PDFs you tend to frequently search to make the search process faster.
- Apply digital Exhibit Stamps: Acrobat comes with a set of commonly used business stamps (e.g. “Draft” or “Confidential”). But you can get additional stamps that help you as a lawyer—such as exhibit stamps that dynamically apply the current date, or auto-increment. Very useful in e-filing and document productions.
- Apply a signature stamp: stop printing out documents just to sign them. You can use a signature stamp and apply your signature to a PDF, and then send it to the recipient by email. This is the most convenient way to sign documents you receive by email, especially when you find yourself away from the office. If you were on a plane with WiFi you could even sign and send a document from 30,000 feet in the air. Now, that’s convenience.
- Split up a PDF into several PDFs: useful when your client or opposing counsel sends you one big PDF that embodies several separate documents. You can easily fix this problem. Simply tag the first page of each document (using the bookmark feature), and then split the PDF by bookmarks so you wind up with one PDF per document. This takes about 15 seconds tops.
- Bates-stamping: In the old days it would take several hours to apply bates-labels or numbers to a box of paper. Today the efficient lawyer scans that paper to PDF and runs Acrobat Professional’s bates-stamping function, which takes a few minutes to apply labels or sequential numbers to those PDFs —without making a single mistake. Who needs paralegals?
- Redaction: With Acrobat Professional version you can permanently remove passages in a PDF that are confidential, or otherwise not subject to being produced in discovery. The process is fast, easy, and reliable. And you can easily have other lawyers in your firm review your proposed redactions before you commit to them, if you need to.
These are just a few of the useful things you can do in your day to day law practice. Once you start using Acrobat you’ll find a slew of other things it can do to help your and your staff become more efficient and less stressed out.
Why should you believe my claims about Acrobat?
First off, because I’m a working lawyer, one who learned to use PDFs to help improve my own law practice.
My name is Ernie Svenson and I practiced commercial litigation at mid-sized New Orleans law firm for 20 years. Then I practiced for 7 years as a solo lawyer, handling the same kinds of cases I handled at the big firm—but with some important differences.
Instead of storing cumbersome boxes of paper, I relied on PDFs. As a result, I didn’t need to hire a paralegal or secretary to help me manage paper. And I saved money on office rent because I didn’t very much space. The overall result? I saved money, minimized stress, and had more time and energy to focus on practicing law. My clients appreciated this as much as I did.
I now spend most of my time helping fellow lawyers learn to improve their practices by shedding paper the way that I did —sensibly and strategically. I wrote a book, which the American Bar Association published, called Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers. The book is a godsend for lawyers who want to do more with PDFs, to become more organized and efficient the way that I did.
Why do attorneys need a book about using PDFs?
Adobe Acrobat is a powerful software, and it’s the key for lawyers who want to simplify and declutter their practices. Lawyers who know how to use PDFs, and are comfortable using them in their daily practice, are simply more efficient.
Used properly, Acrobat can help you manipulate PDFs in amazing ways that save you time, money, and stress. Yes, Acrobat is expensive (between $300 and $400, depending on which version you get). But if you use it fully you’ll save an incredible amount of time and money.
Used properly, Acrobat is cheap and affordable. The problem is most lawyers: (1) don’t know how, specifically, Acrobat can help their law practice, and (2) don’t have a resource to help them learn to use it once they understand its power.
My book, Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers, is the resource you need if you want to leverage the power of Acrobat.
I put everything I know about using PDFs in the practice of law into the book: over 12 years of personal experience using PDFs as a lawyer in a large commercial litigation firm, and as a solo lawyer.
Or order it now from Amazon.
What exactly does the book cover?
Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers addresses both basic and intermediate PDF skills. It covers the Mac version of Acrobat, as well as the PC version. And it covers the last two editions of Acrobat (X and XI). Below is a complete list of the topics covered in the book. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the topics:
Table of Contents & Agenda
Explains how to download a free 30 day trial of Adobe Acrobat, and covers why PDFs can help busy lawyers practice law better.
Part I: Basic Skills
Section 1: Setting Preferences – create the ideal work environment.
Section 2: Viewing PDFs – quickly rotate, and zoom in and out.
Section 3: Navigating PDFs – move around quickly, and efficiently.
Section 4: Interface Menus & Toolbars – understand where key options are
Section 5: Creating PDFs – turn any file into a PDF, various ways.
Section 6: Examining PDFs – troubleshoot problems, check security
Section 7: Working with Pages – rearrange pages, insert or remove them
Part II: Intermediate Skills
Section 8: Bookmarks – tag pages & structure PDFs
Section 9: Comments – highlight and markup PDFs
Section 10: Text Editing – fix text errors and add text
Section 11: OCR or “Recognize Text” – make PDFs searchable
Section 12: Stamps – visual stickers such as ‘Draft’ or ‘Confidential’ and ‘Exhibit__’
Section 13: Digital Signatures – how to sign a PDF the right way
Section 14: Bates Numbering – apply bates numbers easily to PDFs
Section 15: Redaction – obscure confidential text or graphics in PDFs
Section 16: Metadata Removal – sanitize harmful hidden data in PDFs
Section 17: Searching – find words or phrases in PDFs
Section 18: Security – password protect PDFs, restrict options
Helpful Visual Explanations
The book not only covers how to use PDFs in everyday law practice, it also contains over 120 color screenshots that clearly explain how to do things in a simple straightforward way.
Who can benefit from this book?
The book can help anyone who works with PDFs, but it was written for legal professionals so the focus is on workflows and common PDF actions done by lawyers and legal assistants. Law students would probably also find the book especially useful.
What do people who’ve read the book say about it?
“This is a little gem of a book and should be on the desk of every practitioner, their legal assistants, and staff” –Peter Dowding, Australian attorney
“Adobe Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers is bound to increase the productivity of anyone who wrestles with PDF’s” – Bill Allison (read his full online review).
“Best feature for legal assistants and paralegals is the detailed instructions on how to do things like Bates labels and Redaction” —Craig Huggart, Lawyer & technology trainer
“The sections on general text editing and PDF stamps are excellent.” —Simon Saunders
“Excellent reference material!…pleased to see it highlight metadata.” —John Hennenberger, Esq.
“Just bookmarked and split a batch of exhibits. Nothing more satisfying for a paralegal than having 20+ exhibits appear, with a designated file name, instantaneously. Thanks “Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers.” –Litigation paralegal at Proskauer Rose
Does your book just run through features, or does it do more than that?
Acrobat in One Hour does way more than simply explain how to use the program’s features. And, despite the clever title, it will take longer than one hour to read. It is a comprehensive guide to how to manipulate PDFs in common law-related scenarios. In short, it’s both a guidebook and a reference manual.
The book contains almost everything I’ve learned from using PDFs in the last 10 years of practicing law. I organized the book so it contains an easy to follow progression from basic and common tasks, to more advanced and less often-used (but still very important) tasks.
The examples I use are all drawn from real-world experiences that I’ve had as a lawyer using PDFs. I compressed every useful tip and workflow into the book, and then added over 120 color screenshots to make the information as easy to digest and retain as possible.
In the process of writing the book, I asked other PDF experts in the legal field to offer helpful suggestions. In addition to practicing attorneys, I got feedback from a federal trial judge, a corporate counsel at Kia Motors, paralegals, and technology experts—including Rick Borstein who works at Adobe and is the author of the excellent blog Acrobat for Legal Professionals. I incorporated all of their fantastic suggestions into the book.
If you or your law firm have one of the latest two editions of Acrobat (X or XI) then this book is an indispensable bible. You can download a 40 page excerpt here if you want to get a sense of what’s included and how it can help your practice.
How much does Acrobat in One Hour for Lawyers cost?
The regular price of the softcover is $49.95 from the American Bar Association. But you can buy the softcover book from Amazon for about $34.00.
Is there an e-book version?
Yes. You can get it from the Apple: click here to get buy it form Apple’s iBookstore for $29.
Get Acrobat for Lawyers now!
Learn to practice law the efficient way, and start using PDFs instead of bulky papers. This book will jump start your practice, and make your life easier. You’ll save money, time and be less stressed out when you start using PDFs more effectively. The time to improve your practice is now. So what are you waiting for?