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The dreaded spinning circle on your browser tab. That sudden notification that you've been disconnected from your chat program. It can only mean one thing: The Internet is out. Few phrases spawn more fear into a member of the 21st century bourgeoisie than that (other candidates include "Your credit card's been declined" and "Target is closed").

As a solo or small firm, your law office runs on the Internet. Is there anything you can do during an Internet outage? As it turns out, there is. So if you're reading this on your phone (or if you've printed this out just in case), here are five things you can do when the Internet goes down:

5 Tips for More Effective Meetings

If you're having a productive day, being pulled out of your rhythm into a meeting can be a productivity killer. Many meetings consist of bored employees sitting around being bored by another employee talking at them. Many meetings are a waste of time because the person facilitating it doesn't know how to host an effective meeting.

So how do you do it? Here are five tips -- by no means the top five and certainly not the only five -- for having an effective meeting:

Moving stinks, no matter what your budget or occupation. But for us, the lawyers, it's an even bigger pain: everybody, from the courts to the bar to clients, all need to be notified, there is no room for downtime, and everything needs to go according to plan so that you can get back to work ASAP -- doubly so if you have important case deadlines pending.

The key to a successful move, then, is organization. Advance planning, a big checklist, a free weekend, and enough luck to avoid any lost boxes or damaged equipment are what you need to close up shop at one office on a Friday and open back up the following week, without missing a beat.

Here's one of those things -- the checklist:

Even though you're one of those people who works from home in the cloud and so on, there are times when you'll probably have to meet with clients or others, and for a variety of reasons, you probably don't want to meet them at your house.

Enter the "virtual office," which allows you to rent more or less an office and conference room for a few hours so that you can meet with people. It's a neat idea: You don't have to shell out for an office rental, but you have a professional meeting space when you need it.

If you're going this route, however, don't make the following mistakes:

Being chained to the word processor all day means that you're going to develop aches and pains in your various joints. Wrists are especially at risk for repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) because they're at the junction of muscles and bones we flex a lot. 

Is there any way you can mitigate this problem -- especially in your precious wrists, those things that help you type the URLs to your favorite cat videos? Yes, there is: follow this advice to help save your wrists.

It's only mid-August, and the days are getting shorter already. I'm noticing it's darker out at my usual wake up time, and I'm thankful that I invested in my Philips Wake-Up Light so I can awake not only to bright light, but also the sound of birds chirping (kind of like this gal).

But seriously, anyone who feels the slightest effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder knows the impact of light on sleep. Now, a new study takes it a bit further -- into the workplace.

As you may recall, this blog has already covered the decorations you should have in your law office. That includes items that command respect, like your degree, or imply that you're an approachable person, like your family photos.

There's a lot of leeway when it comes to decorating advice, but under no circumstances should a self-respecting lawyer ever have these five things in his or her office or cubicle:

Your law firm has paralegals, but are you utilizing your paralegals' skills in the right way?

You do know that paralegals are professionals and not just glorified secretaries, right? Ensuring that you're maximizing your use of paralegals is good for the bottom line, makes clients happy, and takes some of the work off of your shoulders.

Here are five strategies to get the most out of your paralegals that may pay off for you:

Among the many stereotypes that lawyers have to deal with, the one that rings true is the high rate of depression among attorneys. Let's face it -- we are not a happy lot. But maybe we can be.

A growing trend among corporations, especially those in Silicon Valley, is the appointment of Chief Happiness Officers. This new member of the C-suite is responsible for making sure employees are happy. Sound silly? It may seem so at first, but when you understand the context, it makes a bit more sense.

Read on to learn more about Chief Happiness Officers, and whether your firm needs one.

3 Reasons to Take Business Risks in Your Legal Practice

During times of relative stability, it's so tempting to grow complacent. Sure, there are those professional risks you've fantasized about taking to boost your practice. But the dreaded string of "what ifs" soon follows and puts those fledgling temptations to rest.

But here's the thing: Those "what ifs" are crippling and can actually hurt the longevity of your business. Risks are not only necessary to thrive, they're crucial to survive.

Here are three reasons why you should take calculated risks in your legal practice:

Want to spend more time practicing, and less time advertising? Leave the marketing to the experts.