TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 24, 2014
With more Tennessee attorneys – especially new lawyers – deciding to “hang out” their own shingle and begin a solo or small firm practice, the TBA has developed the Solo in a Box Toolkit. Each issue of E-DICT this year will spotlight one of the toolkit’s 12 sections. This month we look at a range of technology choices lawyers face.

Long gone are the days where new lawyers could rely on note pads and typewriters to run an efficient law office. In a modern law practice, email is king, word processing is crucial, and online legal research is second to none. In the “Technology & Your Law Practice” section, the Solo in a Box Toolkit addresses four major issues: choosing the right hardware, choosing the right software, effective use of email and ethical issues in technology. A brief summary of each topic is provided below.

Choosing the Right Hardware – Lawyers need to consider their needs, preferences and budget when choosing computers, printers, copiers, scanners and mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. This section of the toolkit looks at issues that should be considered when evaluating each of these devises

Choosing the Right Software – Lawyers need to think about the software they are going to use to manage documents and emails, keep up with deadlines and appointments, keep track of billable hours, manage invoices and payments, and back up files. In addition to these administrative tools, lawyers also must consider what service they are going to use to conduct legal research. This section of the toolkit provides specific examples of products that can meet these needs for solo and small firm practioners.

Effective Use of Email – This section of the toolkit provides a number of practical tips for managing email, including linking email to calendar items, organizing emails and avoiding procrastination in dealing with emails. The section also addresses issues such as maintaining professionalism when communicating by email, best practices for protecting client confidentiality and setting expectations for how accessible you will be to clients. Finally, the section includes a number of practical tips to avoid those “oops” moments.

Ethical Issues in Technology – Smart phones and tablets are tremendous tools that can make a law practice run smoothly and efficiently, but with mobility comes additional ethical concerns about protecting confidential information. This section of the toolkit provides practical suggestions for protecting confidential information when using a range of communication tools, including voice mail systems and smart phone apps.

Learn more about technology choices at the toolkit website.

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