Did you know that every lawyer and judge with whom you have dealings is listed in the State Bar Journal online Member Directory? Did you also know that the online Member Directory provides a vCard (the internet business card) for each entry? If you use Outlook or any other program that can read vCard files, then you can easily add these colleagues to your Contact Management System (CMS).
You simply click on the vCard link, and you will see a dialog box (at right – Internet Explorer) that asks whether you would like to Open or Save the file. It also includes a checkbox that allows you to “Always ask before opening this type of file.” Once you click on “Open” the file, if you are using Outlook, a New Contact window opens with all available fields populated. Here, you can make any adjustments to the way the information is displayed and categorize the contact, just as you would if you had clicked on File | New | Contact (Ctrl+Shift+C). If you use Firefox, your dialog box will look like the second picture at right.
Sure, you could simply Select the text and then perform a Copy/Paste, but then you would have to Cut/Paste the information piece by piece into the proper fields in the form. You could also type it from scratch from a pleading, correspondence or other hard copy source. However, you may not have all the pertinent information at hand. Depending on the source of the information, it also may not be up to date. We can assume that the information on record with the State Bar of Michigan is current, at least as of the dues renewal date; hopefully, we all keep the State Bar up to date with our information changes.
The State Bar online Member Directory listing also includes live links to available email and websites. So, you could easily send the person a quick email by clicking on the link, which opens your resident email client application and populates the “To” field with that address. You can also take a quick peek at any website that is listed to find out various details about the lawyer and firm. However, if you like or need to track any of the communications you exchange with others, you should add them to your CMS. This allows for future reference to past communications.
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