It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. And what a year it was! Now that 2016 has drawn to a close it’s time to look forward and make plans to position your law firm for success in 2017.

Of course, sometimes it’s hard to make decisions about the coming year if you don’t know what to expect. That’s why we asked the experts to tell us about their predictions for solo and small firm attorneys in 2017. Here’s what they had to say.

Mary Juetten, founder and CEO of Traklight:

loud technology, as opposed to legal technology, will make the most headway as lawyers evolve from being tech-savvy to cyber-savvy. Due to concerns about preserving client confidentiality, lawyers will look for cloud-based solutions with high security, with the goal being to improve the client experience and generate additional revenue through efficiencies from technology. Thus, adopting a mainstream client relationship management system, online storage, or electronic signature program with proven efficiency and security will be a trend.

Emerging technology that can help solo and small law firms will not be advanced (ie. artificial intelligence), but instead will be simple integrated or interoperable workflow solutions that free up the attorneys to practice law. As firms shift to the cloud and adopt software as a service (SaaS) for administration, there will be an increase in the bundled or all-in-one platforms versus those that require multiple logins.

Mitch Kowalski, Gowling WLG Visiting Professor in Legal Innovation at the University of Calgary Law School:

The use of document assembly systems has been hit and miss in most law firms of any size. For 2017, solos and smalls should focus on (a) automating all documents in their practice areas, and (b) creating workflows that can “skill up” all team members with reduced risk. This investment will pay enormous dividends in a competitive and price-conscious market.

Expert systems tied to document assembly will have a huge impact on solo and small practices. The key to success for solos and smalls is to minimize the number of touches to every file. The more work that can be done directly by the client, the better. Imagine, clients routinely logging into your client portal to answer questions about their matter; then technology creates first drafts of all documents automatically for your review!

Rick Georges, lawyer and legal technology blogger:

The most advances in solo and small firm computer use will be in the mobile computer area. This includes smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, and ultralight notebook computers. All of these devices will be used to keep the solo in touch via the Internet, and will work together to create a truly mobile lawyer. The same technology that will make lawyers more mobile will create more efficiency in the practice. The increasing strength and range of Bluetooth devices, and the Internet of Things will make more and more devices lawyers carry connected to everything. From voice control of the devices, to communication among devices, the lawyer will be in touch with clients, courts, colleagues, and others all the time.

iOT (The Internet of Things) will also proliferate to include clothing, wearable devices, office machines, phones, tracking devices, and everything will be connected to everything else. Just as mobile phones and notebook computers enabled the lawyer to work anywhere, so also, the devices she carries all the time will increase the efficiency with which she does her work.

Read the rest of the experts thoughts on legal technology trends for 2017 at