Bar News - January 19, 2007
Top 10 Legal Technology Innovations
By: By Neil J. Squillante, TechnoLawyer/PeerViews
Here’s a top ten list of legal technology innovations for which law firms are thankful. I’ve listed these in no particular order as they’re all important.
- Mobile communication: The ability to communicate via e-mail or telephone from practically anywhere using a relatively small device.
- Scanners + PDF + hard drives: The ability to stop using expensive office space to store paper files. Law firms can now put that space to better use or lease less office space.
- Online legal research: The same as #9 regarding space formerly used for a library.
- Document management: The ability to find all the files you now store electronically—not to mention the files that you create on your computer.
- E-mail: It’s probably impossible to practice law nowadays without e-mail. As an aside, kudos to FedEx for reinventing itself. Lesser companies would have shriveled with the loss of so much business to the double whammy of fax and e-mail.
- Case management: Your entire practice accessible in one place, including e-mail. Nothing more need be said.
- Legal accounting software: Thanks to retainers, hourly billing, etc., even the smallest law firm has more complex accounting needs than larger businesses in other fields.
- Live spell-checking: Remember the days of having to run a spell checker every time you made a change to a document? Yes, it makes me shudder too.
- Litigation support tools: Another bad memory—all the dusty bankers boxes of discovery documents I used to have in my office. For large cases, these boxes took up entire conference rooms—talk about a waste of space! The ability to store all this information electronically, quickly pull and print documents for depositions, etc., and then discard those documents knowing that you can print them again anytime has made life as a young associate so much better. The same goes for transcripts, case analysis outlines, trial presentations, and much more. (Can you tell that I really dislike paper?)
- Voice-over-IP (VoIP): Probably the most controversial entry on this list, I include it not because it has become widely adopted, but because it should. There’s no good reason to pay traditional telephone rates anymore.
This article originated in TechnoLawyer, a popular online publication for lawyers and administrators who manage law firms and legal departments. Membership is free. To join, search, or learn more about TechnoLawyer, visit: www.technolawyer.com.