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We're not talking mercury in the ground or asbestos in the ceiling here. The type of toxic workplace we have in mind isn't one that poisons you over decades -- it grinds you down every day. A toxic work environment is filled with rude or insensitive interactions, aggressive relationships, and dehumanizing treatment.

Stay up late all night finishing a project, only to be told the next morning not to disturb the partners with late night emails? Regularly get chewed out by the lawyer with thinning hair and an alcohol problem for things that aren't even your fault? Working on your 3,000 billable hour quota? You have a toxic work environment. If you're still not sure, The New York Times has a nice quiz -- and we've got tips to dealing with the result.

Whether they're law firms or a banana stands, family businesses have a long and respectable history. Family businesses have been around since the first Neanderthal left his cave painting business to his kids. But, a family business isn't exactly an normal business. It can be fraught with difficult family politics on the inside or viewed as nepotistic from the outside.

Whether you're considering bringing family into your practice or you are simply representing family businesses, these three tips can help you make sure you're doing it right:

There's no question that Microsoft Word is the standard when it comes to computer word processing. The program, which was first released over 32 years ago, is installed on over 1 billion machines and used for just about all non-specialized word processing needs. But it's starting to see its dominance challenged, as consumers move to online word processors and tablets, where Word's reign is much less established.

If you're looking to break free from Bill Gates or simply want to explore other options for your firm, there are alternatives out there. Here's five quality alternatives to MS Word that are functional, affordable and, most importantly, compatible with the Microsoft documents everyone else still uses.

How Can Boutiques Compete With BigLaw? Technology!

As BigLaw firms fall, "boutique" firms rise in their place. "Boutique" is just a fancy name for a small law firm that emphasizes a few practice areas. It's not just the increased cost of BigLaw firms that has enabled boutiques to become popular, though.

As Bloomberg reports, it's technology that has allowed the little guys to finally catch up to the big guys.

How to Set a Stress-Free Mood in Your Office for Clients

Clients who come into a law office generally aren't in the best of moods. Either they've just been sued -- in which case, they're stressed out -- or they're contemplating suing someone, which means something stressful has just happened to them.

This means that to best support your clients, your office should set a somber, relaxing tone that's free of the stress that you might normally find in an office. Here are some tips on how you can set the mood.

5 Law Office Management Tips From Jon Snow

This article contains spoilers aplenty. If you're not up to date on the TV version of "Game of Thrones" as of April 29, 2015, go watch that before you get any advice.

Jon Snow may know nothing when it comes to ... well, most things, apparently, but it turns out he's a pretty good manager. (Barely) voted the 98th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Jon has the unenviable task of keeping White Walkers, Wildlings, and Stannis Baratheon's ego at bay.

Believe it or not, there's a lesson for lawyers to be learned from all this -- and it's not that winter is coming. What can you learn from Jon Snow?

You want your office to be tailored to your work style and needs. But don't forget that your office is also a calling card -- it lets people who walk in know a bit about you and who you are.

You don't have to be a skilled designer in order to make sure the impression your office gives is a good one -- that your work space represents the skilled, put-together professional you are. Here's five easy ways to make your office, and you, look more professional:

3 Mistakes Lawyers Make: Hiring a Legal Secretary

The legal secretary is the backbone of any law office, handling a lot of the logistical functions like taking calls, mailing, and scheduling. Because the legal secretary's work is the foundation for the business side of the law firm, hiring a bad secretary affects everyone in the office.

When you're hiring a new legal secretary, avoid these three mistakes lawyers make so that your new legal secretary is, in a word, awesome.

How Casual Does Your Office Need to Be?

Gone are the "Mad Men"-esque days where everyone wore suits to the office. While many offices still have "dress down" or "casual" Fridays, reportedly invented by Dockers in 1992 (though possibly going back to Hewlett Packard in the 1950s, claims Business Insider), lots of offices have done away with suits and ties altogether.

The modern office is as casual, or as formal, as it has to be, and what it has to be is determined by its geography, its clientele, and its size. Where does your firm fit in?

For a solo attorney or small firm, a shared office space can provide the benefits of a larger practice, without the cost of setting up shop all on your own. A nice conference room and some shared staff can really beat working off a laptop in your kitchen.

But off course, with any benefit, there are also risks. Office sharing can also impose unique liability risks for attorneys, something any office sharer should be aware of before their shared office becomes a shared liability.