The Happy Lawyer:
Take Advantage of Technology in 2015 (and an ebook!)

tech imageIt’s hard to believe that 2014 is drawing to a close. You know what that means: it’s time to start planning for 2015. You’ll need look back on 2014, to take stock of your law firm’s successes, and identify areas for improvement.

One important step in that process is to figure out if the direction your firm is headed is making you happy. Do you feel fulfilled? Do you look forward to heading into work each morning? Or does the thought of another day at the office fill you with dread?

Start planning for 2015

If it’s the latter, then think of 2015 as the year you turn over a new leaf and create the practice you’ve always wanted to have. What better time then now? Get off on the right foot in 2015 and figure out what type of law practice will make you happy–and then make it happen. Our 15-part blog series devoted to helping lawyers make choices that increase their levels of happiness is a great place to start.

Take a look at the six posts I’ve already written (linked to this post) and see what changes you can make to improve your mindset and overall career happiness. And then read on for more helpful information in today’s post to learn how to take advantage of technology in 2015 to help save both time and money, thus reducing stress and allowing you to focus on the aspects of practicing law that matter most to you.

Technology can make all the difference

Technology: it’s both a blessing and a curse. For some, 21st century technologies can seem overwhelming, but the good news is that with just a little research and learning, you can learn how to selectively incorporate modern technology into your law firm, allowing you to streamline your practice, increase efficiency, and reduce costs in the process. To get started, we’ll focus on tips from this ebook, Time and Cost-Saving Tips for Solo Lawyers, featuring key quotes and advice from solo guru, Carolyn Elefant.

This ebook is full of tips for solo and small firm lawyers, including ample advice on how to use mobile and cloud computing along with other types of technology to help your law firm thrive on a budget. Below we’ll focus on just a few of those tips to help you plan for 2015, but don’t forget to read the entire ebook for all of Carolyn’s knowledgeable insight.

The top 3 technologies for every law firm

  • Utilize free web-based legal research. For tips on using free online resources to conduct legal research, check out this recording of our recent webinar, Unlocking the Mysteries of Google Scholar.
  • Start using cloud-based software. The flexibility, security, and convenience of being able to access your law firm’s data from any Internet-enabled device is unrivaled and unprecedented.
  • Take advantage of eFiling. Learn the ins and outs of eFiling so that you can take advantage of the time and money-saving benefits it offers.

“Another invaluable 21st century tool is eFiling. It has slashed the costs of filing a case and you can dash something off your desk at 10 minutes to midnight rather than making 30 copies and sending it off via costly overnight mail.”


Top 3 time-saving technology tips

  • Use web-based collaboration tools. Easily share and collaborate with clients, co-counsel, and experts in a secure online environment and put an end to phone tag and endlessly threaded emails.
  • Invest in mobile computing and wearable technology. Mobile computing offers the convenience of accessing case files and practicing law from anywhere using any Internet-enabled device. And with the ever-increasing availability of smartwatches and the release of Apple Watch early next year, wearable technology will become an increasingly useful tool for lawyers.
  • Don’t forget about web-based computing. In 2015, take advantage of the flexibility, mobility and affordability of cloud computing platforms for practice management, including time tracking, billing, contact management, document management and assembly, and secure online client portals.

“Mobile devices are ideal for checking emails, social media, etc. and makes your time away from work more productive since you can squeeze more work into the cracks. The cloud also makes things easier. 20 years ago I worked with lawyers in other states and we communicated by phone, email, and snail mail. These days, the cloud makes it simple and seamless to pair up with a lawyer in a different jurisdiction and market, giving solos so much more power and resources to get things done.”

3 technology must-haves in 2015

  • An affordable, easy-to-use practice management system. Cloud-based systems offer the most cost-savings and flexibility.
  • A robust phone and answering system. To cut costs, consider a free service such as Google Voice or outsource phone answering services to a virtual receptionist.
  • A professional law firm website is a must in 2015. After all, your website is your law firm’s virtual front door and no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore. To learn more about the benefits a well-designed website offers law firms, check out this slide show.

“Desktop-based law practice management systems are obsolete. For lawyers who want to take advantage of outsourced labor, such as virtual assistants, desktop LPMs pose security as well as confidentiality risks, since remote access to the firm’s servers allows users access to all of the firm’s files. Select legal cloud-based systems, on the other hand, have built-in tools to address security issues for multiple users by granting permission-based access to only specific files and documents.”

So there you have it! Plenty of reasons to take advantage of technology in 2015. Are you using all of these tools in your law practice? Which ones will you incorporate into your law firm next year? Let us know in the comments!

–Nicole Black

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