This week in legal tech, Above the Law debuts a new column. Not so coincidentally, it’s called This Week in Legal Tech. And, yes, this is it.

My coming aboard as a columnist is part of ATL’s expanded coverage of topics important to solo and small-firm lawyers. My plan is to recap, every Monday, notable news from the week in legal technology. Maybe I’ll round-up the top stories, take a deeper dive into one, review a new product, or just rant. I’ll try to keep the rants to a minimum.

I’ll kick it off today by telling you six things I believe about what makes a good legal technology product. That may give you some sense of where I come from and where this column is headed.

But first bear with me for the obligatory introduction. I promise, this is the last time I’ll talk about myself.

I was a journalist who went to law school to get ahead in journalism but then started practicing law. My career has straddled the two professions ever since.

After law school, I had my own law office for several years in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I left there to become editor-in-chief of a legal newspaper in Boston, then went back to practicing on my own again, and then moved to ALM in New York, where I was both editor-in-chief of The National Law Journal and editorial director of a division that encompassed and other print and web publications.

I’ve been back practicing law since 2004, primarily as a lobbyist and legal advocate for newspapers in Massachusetts. I also serve as a communications consultant for the Denver e-discovery company Catalyst.

It was during an earlier stint practicing law, in 1994, that I started writing about technology and the internet. My interest started selfishly – I was looking to gain efficiencies in my own practice. But I quickly realized that I wanted to share what I was learning with other lawyers, hoping they too would benefit.

That year, I started both a syndicated column and the first-ever newsletter for lawyers about the internet. (The newsletter was in print because barely any lawyers were online then.) I’ve been writing about technology ever since, primarily at my own blog, LawSites, which I started in November 2002.

Along the way, I’ve come to have some ideas about what makes a website or technology product succeed with lawyers. I’ll boil them down to six:

  1. Good technology fuels either profitability or power (or both)
  2. Technology should work for us, not us for it.
  3. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  4. Cheap is good, free is better.
  5. Everything old is new again.
  6. The best companies know their customers. Literally.

Read the full details of the post at Above the Law.