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What are mailing lists


Email services are great tools that let you reach out to your audience, be it clients, internal, or other professionals in the field. At their core they are a list of email addresses with some amount of additional information attached to them.


Why email in an age of social media


Even in this age of social media email has some unique strengths. Maybe the biggest one is email’s reliability, if you send an email out to a properly curated list you can be fairly certain they will all be seen if not read. With social media you pretty much have to pay for advertising to reach everyone subscribed. It’s good to have the means to communicate with your audience directly without being at the mercy of another company to actually display your message. In addition people tend to get a more social media than email coming at them in a given day, there is just less competition for attention.


Why not just send lots of emails with BCC and skip the paid service


First of all most mail accounts have a daily sending limit to limit spam, if your list is pretty large you could easily hit that and get locked out of sending any email at all. Secondly these services do a lot more than just send out messages. First of all it provides automation, common examples include sending out emails when someone joins your mailing list or on their birthdays. Secondly it provides analytics. It can be incredibly useful to know how many people opened your emails or clicked through the links it contains. It’s also nice to be able to watch subscription numbers and figure out what works to get people to subscribe. And third is perhaps my favorite feature, A/B testing. It allows you to make a change to an email and send it and the unmodified message out to a sample of your group and then send the more successful email to your remaining subscribers.


    What are some tips for using


Be proactive about getting people to sign up, it’s not enough to just have a signup form on your website. If you are at an event have a clipboard or mobile device and actively solicit addresses and be sure to include a link to sign up in your social media accounts. At the same time don’t sacrifice the quality of your list and pad your numbers with people that don’t care. It’s important to remember that your subscriber count doesn’t actually matter, what matters is your impact. Be sure to send things out regularly, once a month at an absolute minimum. You don’t want people to forget you exist, if nothing else a monthly newsletter is great. Set up a system that automatically sends an email to anyone that joins up that welcomes them and outlines how your mailing list works. It’s important to make sure they feel welcomed, and don’t feel spammed when they get more email than they expected.


The takeaway

A mailing list is a powerful tool for marketing and communication. Given that it requires minimal time and no money to set up there is no reason not to start one now. I suggest MailChimp as a a good place to get started.


This session will look a new Drupal-based triage and intake system developed by three New England programs. We built these new modules as an add-on feature to our existing statewide Drupal websites.  We are excited about how these turned out and want to share with others who are looking for similar solutions. The work has been challenging but exciting and we welcome this opportunity to bring you the next generation of online triage. The advantages of online intake include: 24/7 access, pre-screening and no busy signals.

The people working on this project are Kathleen Caldwell, Kathy Daniels, Sandra Gluck, and Brian Dyer Stewart.

And as usual please fill out this survey, it helps us bring you more and better content.



Recently I attended We Robot hosted by the UW School of Law. It was a blast with every talk covering interesting issues and raising discussion between experts in multiple fields. I’m going to highlight two talks that I think especially interesting from a legal perspective. Those talks were Legal and Ethical Issues in the Use of Telepresence Robots and Unfair and Deceptive Robots.


First off is the discussion Friday afternoon on the paper Legal and Ethical Issues in the Use of Telepresence Robots: Best Practices and Toolkit. I recommend reading the paper, the content is a smooth read and only a dozen pages. It should take 10 minutes tops, unless you follow up on the citations.


To set the groundwork, telepresence robots are robots that users can access remotely they can sense and interact with their environment to give their users agency. They are often the rough size and shape of a human to help people present interact with them as though they were there in person. Despite this the presence of another person present to serve as a mediator was required to get people to treat the robot as a person, though with wide spread use and more anthropomorphic bodies this may change. The talk explored some of the implications of someone potentially working through a Telepresence robot across borders. Another issue is how to deal with the fact that a telepresence robot can easily have superhuman senses and how that would impact a reasonable expectation of privacy. We probably won’t see any immediate changes in the nonprofit legal sector but in the near future it’s reasonable to expect to see firms with a dispersed clientell to use telepresence to save their lawyers the time and expense of travel. Most likely it would be telepresence robots located in libraries, they are ideal in location and mission.


Following that Saturday morning we discussed Woodrow Hartzog’s paper Unfair and Deceptive Robots. Hartzog’s thesis is as more robots come into use by consumers in the form of self driving car, drone, household helpers, and the like the risks the consumer will be exposed to. And the best agency to deal with those risks is the FTC. We explored some of the ways that we are already dealing with similar issues with spambots and the risk of a hacker accessing out personal information and how these issues are going to be amplified in the future. Talk then turned to how the FTC is good at fostering new technologies with a light hand, the internet being a prime example. A secondary theme was that the presentation and reception of a technology can be more important than the technology itself. While there are differences fundamentally Google Glass and the iPhone do the same thing, however received radically different receptions.


One of the final talks I also want to mention was the panel Robot Economics which featured Colin Lewis, Andra Keay, Garry Mathiason, Esq. There was a lot of talk on how how robots are going to impact the workplace and how that would ripple out to the rest of the economy. Of particular note the legal profession is going to change quite a bit in the not so distant future. Automation is already eating away at some of the drudge work with e-discovery, in the future we can expect lawyers to be able to spend a lot more time working on the complex and legally interesting problems while leaving the bulk of the rest of the work to machines.


More information about the participants as well as the papers and panels can be found at


Iron Tech Lawyer



What: Iron Tech Lawyer: Access to Justice Edition


When: Tomorrow (4/22) at 1:15 EST/10:15 PST


Who: Students at Georgetown Law


Where: Streaming at no registration required.


Why: In this event students at Georgetown Law form teams to develop tools over the course of a semester that in some way increases access to justice or improves the quality of service. One example of a tool that is showing this year is the Lone Star Legal Aid Disaster Assistance & Recovery Tool, a tool that quickly and easily helps you evaluate what resources are available to you after a natural disaster. After each team presents on their project a panel of judges made up of both Georgetown faculty outside experts will choose winners. In addition those viewing online can vote on their favorite project for an audience choice

An excellent video that introduces Iron Tech lawyer can be found here.


Aimed primarily at those with a handle on the basics of Excel this webinar covers some more advanced topics like parsing data, sorting data, and booleans. We go in depth to some of the little tricks that can let you make Excel do things you didn't know were possible for it.
The handbook that has everything we covered in training and much, much more can be found here.
You can help us make more and better videos by filling out a survey.