Technology has always been an integral part of the successful practice of law. Whether using a dictation device, a fax machine, or even simple pre-printed boiler-plate documents and carbonless forms, law firms have been increasing their productivity with legal technology since time immemorial.
Now is no different. Lawyers still look to technology to enhance their practices. We simply have more tools available. Whether it’s MS Word, Zapier Zaps, or intake automation software, there are countless programs and applications promising to increase our efficiency, productivity, security, and profitability. The difficulty, at this point, is not in access to technology. It’s in keeping up with seemingly daily advancements, and determining which is signal, and which is just noise.
To help you on your journey, we’ve broken this information into four integral categories. Infrastructure, will help you determine what equipment, software, and hardware you will need to run a small to medium-sized law firm. While, Necessary Software, will give you information related to the common software that no lawyer can do without. Additionally, Data Security, will deal with topics related to keeping your client data and office information secure and safe. Lastly, Ethics and Compliance, will dig into topics related to a lawyer’s ever-changing obligations related to legal technology.
On this Page
Legal Technology Infrastructure
Generally, the most important set of choices an attorney will make in regard to their legal tech, is what infrastructure to use. Infrastructure, when we think about it in the legal sphere, comes in two categories. First, the hardware you use to build your office systems: computers, printers, scanners, servers, and fax machines. Secondly, the software (and virtual hardware) that makes up the interlocking systems you use to perform your tasks: VoIP phones, Email Server, LPMS, CRM, Document Assembly software, etc . . . These, we refer to as your Legal Tech Stack.
In order to run a successful law firm, you must consistently buy and maintain proper hardware for your office. Although more money doesn’t always buy better infrastructure, this is not a place to be pound foolish. We have a significant amount of resource pages and blog posts related to thoughtfully and deliberately procuring computers, scanners, printers, and other peripherals for your office.
Take a look at the Resource Pages below to learn more about the legal technology infrastructure you’ll need to run your firm.
Necessary Software for Attorneys
There is a particular category of software that no law office can easily go without. These are old standards, like MS Word, Adobe Acrobat, and, for certain lawyers, Google Suite. For example, it would be near impossible to consistently file motions, or send client letters without some sort of word processing software. In this case, it’s not so much about whether you should use the software, as much as it’s about how you can use it better.
Take a look at the resources below for tips, tricks, and insights on how to use this particular legal technology.
Law Firm Data Security
At this point, it’s imperative that attorneys have at least a rudimentary knowledge of Client Data security. We must understand the risks associated with using certain technology in our law firms. And, according to the rules of professional conduct, we must use our best efforts to protect client information.
In the articles below, you’ll learn about how to protect information from prying eyes, and from inadvertent destruction.
Legal Technology Ethics & Compliance
Although “ethics in legal technology” normally conjures thoughts of ransomware and data breaches, that is not where it stops. Many jurisdictions have specifically created obligations to stay current with technology that may benefit your clients. Arguably, it is unethical to charge a client for the time to file in-person when e-filing exists. Not being able to print to PDF is not an excuse. This subject will only grow in the coming years. For some basics on maintaining competence, and how to approach training your office, take a look at the following Resource pages.