Hard to believe, but this is the 10th edition of the annual Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide, written by legal technologists Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., John W. Simek, and Michael C. Maschke. The book has developed a loyal following with its emphasis on helping solo and small firm lawyers find the “sweet spot” of legal technology—the best value for the dollar.
The guide is published annually precisely because technology moves so fast. While most of the book remains current throughout the year, inevitably there are changes. One response the authors have made to the inevitable change in hardware specifications is to offer purchasers of the book updated specs via e-mail—a true value-added proposition.
This is not a book that attempts to give you the full range of choices in technology. The authors, who are technology consultants to many law firms, offer a few “best-of-breed for the price” choices and explain why you might choose one product or service over another.
The book provides information on and recommendations for computers, servers, scanners, printers, networking equipment, legal software, cloud computing, utilities, cool gadgets for lawyers, a peek into the future of legal tech, and much more. It also takes an in-depth look at the technologies that will be around in 2017 and provides information on how these technologies will shape the way solo and small firm decision makers think about their technology decisions.
Two new chapters this year are “E-mail Security and Solutions” and “Backup Solutions and Configurations,” both worthy additions. Back again are contributing authors Paul Unger and Tom Mighell on the iPad, Jennifer Ellis on social media, David Bilinsky on taking your firm paperless, and new this year is Catherine Sanders-Reach weighing in on backups. Renowned law practice management advisor (and author and lecturer), Jim Calloway, penned the introduction to the book. As he notes, The 2017 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide provides objective reviews of products that you need to successfully practice law. Sometimes the book will help you make a final decision when trying to select the best tool among competing products. On other occasions, he says, this book will help you with a baseline understanding of what a particular product is supposed to help you accomplish.
Calloway summarizes the book as follows:
“The 2017 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide will not replace a law firm IT director, but annually it provides the information required for the solo or small firm lawyer who is the firm IT director, like it or not. It also will serve as an indispensable guide for a local consultant who has the ability to manage a law firm’s technology infrastructure, but is not aware of all of the legal-specific technology products that are available today. Some of this book will be read and reread, while other portions will be skimmed or skipped depending on the immediate technology needs of the firm. No law firm can avoid dealing with technology issues today. Lawyers in all practice settings can greatly benefit from this guide.
This guidebook can serve as a law firm’s trusted source of basic information as well as in-depth information. It is a quick reference guide to understand where a new product or software release fits into a law firm’s overall strategy. The authors of this guide bring their vast knowledge and expertise working with the legal profession to the pages of this volume. It is certainly the most cost-effective technology resource that any budget conscious law firm could hope to obtain.
The 2017 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide can help you purchase new tools to replace those that have become outdated or broken. But the highest and best use of the Guide is to use it to create change and set your law firm on a path to success by using the tools profiled and information provided in this book to secure your law firm’s place in our uncertain future.”
This annual guide is the only one of its kind written to help solo and small firm lawyers find the best technology for their dollar. You’ll find the most current information and recommendations on computers, servers, networking equipment, legal software, printers, security products, smartphones, tablets, and anything else a law office might need. It’s written in clear, easily understandable language to make implementation easier if you choose to do it yourself, or use it in conjunction with your IT consultant. Either way, you’ll learn how to make technology work for you.