In issues relating to development of a technology plan for your new firm, a self-assessment is helpful. Be realistic about your level of technical savvy and acumen, and your desire to acquire more of it. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and the Rules of many states, require an attorney to keep up-to-date on “the benefits and risk associated with relevant technology” to be considered competent to practice. If technology isn’t in your expertise, find a consultant or company that is willing to work and grow with you. Most importantly, remember that the hardware and software system you start with will likely need to be upgraded or replaced within a few years. Plan for that, and budget accordingly.
To help you get started researching software applications, try the Buyer’s Guide at the ABA’s Legal Technology Resources Center “Resources” page.
When starting a practice, your software needs may include:
- Time and billing/accounting
- Calendaring and docketing
- Conflicts checking
- Case management
- Document assembly
- Office suite software
- Virus protection for computers
- Online legal research provider
- Other specialized or practice specific software
Your possible hardware needs include:
- Operating system
- Back-up system
- Mobile devices (laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc.) and appropriate security measures for these devices when being used outside of the office.
Use The Bar Plan As a Resource
We are here to help. Lawyers will always have questions about their professional duties or malpractice risk throughout their careers. The Bar Plan’s Risk Management team is here to help lawyers answer those questions, along with any questions you may have about starting a practice. Our Risk Management Hotline is free and confidential. You do not need to be an insured of The Bar Plan to use this service. Call 1-800-843-2277 x103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.