Earlier this year, when MyCase exhibited at ABA Techshow, I took some time to interview leading legal experts on technology, law practice management, and more. One of the many people I interviewed was attorney and frequent ABA Techshow speaker, Mark Metzger.
In this video, Mark shares his thoughts on legal technology and whether law practice management software is a necessity for solo and small-firm lawyers:
Niki Black: Hi. This is Niki Black. I am here at ABA with Mark Metzger. He’s an attorney here in Chicago and I’m gonna ask him a couple questions about solo and small firms. Welcome. Pleasure to have you. What I wanted to ask you first Mark was can you talk to me a little bit about what advice you have for lawyers thinking to incorporate technology into their practices?
Mark Metzger: You know, the new ABA model rules have essentially upped the game that all of us have to have now. I think a fair, even-handed reading of them is, you know, once upon a time lawyers were expected to be competent in how to do research and how to properly secure and store client information and protect things, and there’s an expectation now that we be aware of technology and that we make use of what’s appropriate to advance our clients’ interests.
I think that, at a high level, it’s inexcusable to not be using technology in the first place, but this is one of those things that it’s kind of doubly rewarding. In addition to doing the right thing by your clients, technology also represents an opportunity to really start to have fun with your practice by incorporating some really useful and sometimes fun to use tools to do it.
Niki Black: That’s a great point. And really good advice in terms of the ABA modifying the expectations about how lawyers need to embrace technology. The other question I have for you was can you tell me whether you think lawyers necessarily need law practice management for their practices and why or why not?
Mark Metzger: I think it’s clearly required. I mean, I don’t know how you can manage today’s modern practices without having some sort of practice management software. I mean, I think you can look at this at a couple of different levels.
First of all, I haven’t- I don’t remember the last time I saw a professional liability policy for attorneys that didn’t demand to know you have some sort of redundant calendaring system. So if you don’t have a practice management tool, you get the pleasure of keeping two books up to date. I’m not sure that that’s wise for anybody.
The advantages of a digital practice management system tool are ultimately endless but calendaring is a great example. It means that you can push your calendar out to the portal the device, whether that’s your phone or a tablet computer or a laptop or even your home computer and have it in all different places and gain access to it.
But it organizes the work that happens in the law firm and it gives you the opportunity to start to automate phases of your practice in such a way that you can more profitably run that practice, particularly in a world where I think it’s just a matter of time more and more of lawyers’ work becomes done on a client demand basis, on a flat-fee basis, and if you don’t have an efficient means of getting work done and having digital tools that help you complete that work, the opportunity to compete and survive in the business of law is going to gone if you don’t invest in these kinds of things.