Technology Choices for Newly Solo Lawyers

The ABA Journal has just posted my latest legal technology column. It’s called “Going Solo on a Budget,” and it’s part 1 of a two-part series on technology for new solos and small firms.
The legal profession is not exempt from the current economic turmoil. I wrote the introduction to this column before the last big wave of layoffs, so it feels even more true now than when I originally wrote it: “Given the current economy, odds are there will be many more lawyers in solo practice at the end of 2009 than at the beginning. Change might come about by choice or by circumstance—the “suddenly solo” phenomenon—as news stories are illustrating all too well.”
In the column, I focus on how a new solo, especially one who is transitioning from a large firm, needs to think about technology and set priorities. I wanted to focus on the questions to ask.
I highlight three key questions:

First, what is your practice area?
Second, what is your expected volume of clients, work and documents?
Third, what is your budget?

Over the years, I’ve become convinced that “volume,” meaning number, amount and the like, really does drive technology choices. Think about it.
Although I would refer people to resources like Carolyn Elefant’s great MyShingle.com, and The 2009 Solo and Small Firm Technology Guide (by Sharon Nelson, John Simek and Michael Maschke), and, of course, Ross Kodner’s writing on solo and small firm technology when making specific technology choices, I tried to give some general technology recommendations in the article.
I also suggest that adopting a client-focused strategy when making technology choices is a solid approach for new solos.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by getting quite a few positive emails already in response to the column. It seems like it touched a nerve, especially as more lawyers face layoffs, layoff rumors, firm closings and other uncertainties.
Take a look at the column and let me know what you think about it. If you plan to attend ABA TECHSHOW next week, maybe we’ll get the chance to talk about the article or other technology issues. I’ll also note that Tom Mighell and I are hosting one of the “Taste of TECHSHOW” dinner events on April 3, which will give you a chance to talk with Tom and me about collaboration tools and other technology topics in an informal setting.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the mention Dennis. Specifically, readers can view my TechnoLawyer SmallLaw column at http://blog.technolawyer.com/smalllaw and especially the recent columns about “The Minimum Daily Tech Requirements for Small Firms” and “The Rise of the Bigsolo.” Readers might also watch for the soon-to-be-released “How Good Lawyers Survive Bad Times” co-written with Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway taking pre-orders at ABA TECHSHOW next week. We all need to pitch in and help these folks moving into solo & small practice from BigLaw and SmallLaw to get a solid start and serve the public well.

  2. says

    Great info in Going Solo on a Budget.
    One more area that most lawyers hemorrhage money is in their advertising efforts.
    Lawyers need to ask 3 simple questions of their advertising efforts:
    1. Are the results measurable?
    2. Am I measuring the results?
    3. What is the return on investment?
    It is truly amazing how many lawyers are blindly throwing money at advertising that just isn’t working for their firm.