Now that lawyers in most jurisdictions have an ethical duty to stay abreast of legal technology changes, the looming challenge becomes how to accomplish this. After all, lawyers are already incredibly busy. Running a successful law firm entails balancing the demands of managing a busy practice, staying on top of cases and deadlines, communicating with clients, networking to bring in new business, legal document management, and much, much more. How are you supposed to get all of that done and still find time to learn about rapid technological advancements and how to use them in their law firms?
It’s undoubtedly a very real dilemma, but the good news is that there are free online resources and tools available to help you do just that! The trick is knowing where to look. Fortunately, you won’t have to look any further than this blog post, since I’ve compiled a list of many of them below. So read on for lots of great tips and links to free online tools that will help you practice law more efficiently, stay on top of technology changes, and learn how to use technology to your benefit.
If you’re not already reading a few legal technology blogs each day, now is the time to start. There are a ton of great legal blogs out there focused on a host of topics, including the latest legal technology news. The difficulty is knowing which blogs to read, since there are so many blogs out there.
Fortunately, there’s a new global legal news network site from Lexblog that curates legal blog posts from around the world. Over 19,000 legal blogs are part of the network, with a multitude of channels available covering every imaginable legal topic. So in order to stay on top of changes in technology and their impact on the practice of law, you might consider following the technology channel, the privacy and data security channel, and the law firm marketing and management channel.
Another place to look for the latest in legal technology is Above the Law. There are a number of legal technology columnists who regularly cover a host of topics related to legal technology so that you’ll always be in the know.
And, for even more legal technology blog recommendations, check out this post.
Although podcasts have been around for years now, lawyers have only just recently began to sit up and take notice. Whether it’s because of the hit legal-themed podcast “Serial,” or is simply due to a general resurgence in popularity, legal podcasts are popping up all over the place – and many of them are quite good. Here are a few of my favorites legal technology-themed podcasts to consider listening to on your commute or when you need to take a much-needed break from the daily grind:
- LawNext – Bob Ambrogi interviews legal entrepreneurs and innovators
- This Week in Law – Denise Howell and her colleagues and guests discuss the latest issues in technology law
- The Law Entrepreneur – Neil Tyra and his guests focus on the business of law, including using technology in law firms
- Law Firm Autopilot – Ernie Svenson covers the ins and outs of legal technology and law practice management
- The Geek in Review – Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert talk about emerging issues in legal information and knowledge management.
Webinars, ebooks, and more
The American Bar Association, your local or state bar association, and a host of legal technology software providers often offer free educational webinars. In some cases, these webinars even qualify for CLE credits. You’ll also find that many of these same organizations offer free ebooks and guides focused on legal technology and law practice management, and are designed to help you run your law firm more efficiently. Once you’ve identified a few sources that provide free educational tools that are useful for your purposes and make sure to check in regularly so that you don’t miss their latest offerings.
Legal research tools
And last but not least, there are some really useful, and free, legal research tools available online that are worth checking out. First and foremost, if you haven’t already looked into using Google Scholar for legal research, you’re missing out. It’s a free, robust legal research tool that’s easy to use. Learn all you need to know about using it here.
A recent trend in legal research is using artificial intelligence tools (AI) to streamline your research and provide faster, more on-point results. There are two companies that now offer similar, free legal AI tools that do just that and are worth checking out. First, there’s Casetext, which allows you to upload a brief or memorandum into CARA A.I., and it will then analyze the content of the document and provide you with relevant authorities.
A similar, but more recently released product is EVA from Ross. Again, you upload a legal document and the AI software analyzes its contents and provides additional legal resources on the topics addressed in the uploaded document.
So what are you waiting for? Start taking advantage of a few of these free legal resources to help meet your ethical duty to stay on top of legal technology while simultaneously learning how to make the most of technology in your law firm.