Second Thoughts For Law Firms with One-Person IT Departments

I’ll occasionally tell the story of the day the one-person IT department at one of my old law firms quit, leaving us with a manila envelope with his pager, keys and a memo with a few key notes for us.
I’ve talked with quite a few lawyers over the years who work at a firm with either a one-person IT department or an IT department that they feel is woefully understaffed.
That’s why Mike McBride’s great post “Some thoughts about one-man shops” struck a chord with me today. Mike writes the Out of the Frying Pan, and into the Cube blog, and works at a mid-sized law firm. He formerly wrote the Life of a One-Man IT Department Blog, which I read for several years.
The money quote:

Despite my best efforts to work on preventing break downs, to proactively deal with training issues and database maintenance, and to try and suggest ways to improve the state of the technology (which were mostly ignored anyway), most of the people I worked with saw my role as little more than sitting around waiting for something to break. A view that was obviously shared by my supervisor and other senior management, given their refusal, six months later, to actually hire another IT person because “we really wouldn’t have enough for them to do”.
Which would be fine, had they not allowed me to simply walk out the door and take most of my knowledge with me. They’ve gotten away with that, because in the interest of parting on good terms and not wanting to leave the handful of very good friends I made while working there left hanging, I agreed to be “on-call” for them in case of emergencies or to do some things that they would have had trouble doing on their own, for 6 months or until they found a replacement. One week from today, the 6 months will be over.

A highly recommended read for anyone in a small or mid-sized law firm. Does your disaster recovery plan take into account the possibility of essential people not being available?
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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