By Nicole Black
These days, technology is a large part of the back end of a law office. Technology helps streamline your law practice and can often simplify your law firm’s processes, saving you both time and money. But that’s only the case if you choose the right technology for your law firm’s needs.
When you’re busy practicing law, making the right technology choices can often seem like an overwhelming task. This is especially true since there are so many options nowadays, with new technology tools and software being released all the time. That’s why “choosing technology for your law firm” made our list of the Top 10 Things You Didn’t Learn in Law School.
Fortunately, there are ways to simplify the process of sifting through all of the technology tools available and making the right choice for your law firm. In this post, we’ll provide you with some ideas to help you select the best technologies to run your law office more efficiently.
The first step in identifying the technology that will be most useful for your firm is to conduct a technology audit. Legal technology consultant Stacey Burke recently discussed on her blog the steps to take when assessing your firm’s technology needs.
According to Stacey, you should conduct a technology audit annually to assess whether: “1) technological needs are being met, 2) hardware is measuring up to the tasks at hand, and 3) your firm has technological bottlenecks reducing productivity. Below are steps to take and ideas to think about when looking at your law firm’s technology.” As part of that process you need to talk to your staff, create a workflow chart, and carefully research your options.
A comprehensive technology audit, whether conducted internally or by an outside IT consulting firm, should cover a wide range of technology functions. In a recent post at Law Technology Today, Pegeen Turner suggested that an audit should address the following areas:
1) Computer hardware, including desktops, laptops and servers.
2) Infrastructure equipment, including switches, routers, firewalls and wireless networks.
4) Telecom, phones, internet access and bandwidth.
5) Scanners/printers and other peripherals.
6) Software – including office applications (MS Office, Acrobat, etc).
7) Legal specific software – including time and billing, practice management, document management and any practice specific software.
8) Mobile strategies.
9) Technology processes and procedures including backups.
10) Any firm/practice specific items that need to be addressed.
And last but not least, when assessing your current law practice management systems, don’t forget to check out our slideshow, embedded below, “10 Signs Your Law Practice Management Software is Outdated.” It will help you assess the benefits and drawbacks of your current software and decide whether it’s time to upgrade to a new system.