2006 Law Office Tech Resolutions

By at 18 January, 2006, 8:48 am

I apologize for having been remiss in posting: the end of the year and the first part of January were hectic with closing my law practice, taking a real vacation and starting at the Wisconsin State Bar as their new Practice Management Advisor.

The implementation and use of technology in the law practice is only going to continue to increase and probably at a faster pace than in prior years. You need to decide whether you are going to try and at least stay current or if you’re going to fall behind so that in another 12 months you are totally unaware of what is available and how it could have helped your practice. I’ve created a list of 10 resolutions for 2006 to help you stay ahead of the technology pace.

I think it appropriate to start the New Year with some resolutions for you to consider:

1) Resolve to evaluate your technology from top to bottom. Look at all of the steps it takes to open a file, find work product and get out your bills.

2) Resolve to start using Practice Management Software. If you have it, then resolve to use it.

3) Resolve to get training on all of your software for every member of your staff. Training is often the most costly portion of starting to use software, but it is also the one thing that will provide the greatest return for the dollars spent by providing a solid foundation of how to use it.

4) Resolve that if the evaluation from #1 above shows that you are entering the same information multiple times, take steps to minimize, if not eliminate this time thief. This may mean that you have to make changes to some of the products or workflow in your office, but in the long run, it will more than pay for itself.

5) Resolve to create a plan for continual hardware upgrades. While most small offices can’t afford to replace everything in the office, if you create a plan, you can start replacing 1 item every 6 months and spread the financial burden over a reasonable period of time.

6) Resolve to reduce the need to handle paper: get a sheet fed scanner that can scan at least 15 pages per minute (ppm) for single sided copies (simplex) or 30 images per minute (ipm) for double sided copies (duplex). And use the industry accepted Portable Document Format (PDF) to store your scanned images.

7) Resolve to either use a Document Management System (DMS) that is either included with a Practice management solution or a product like Worldox. Or, create a standard naming and storage format in a formal policy and enforce it.

8) Resolve to implement technology that will improve your quality of life. Get a digital transcriber so you can take that trip and not feel guilty because you can email the transcription files to your office or to a service.

9) Resolve to explore internet based fax services such as Maxemail or eFax. You lose a lot of paper and gain forms already in a useable electronic format such as PDF that can be saved with your other electronic files.

10) Resolve to enjoy time that you are traveling to court or to meetings: get an MP3 player or portable game system. Products such as the Apple ipod, Creative Zen Micro, and Sony Play Station Portable (PSP) allow you to take your music with you and in the case of the PSP, games, movies and more. Don’t forget that they can also act as a storage device for moving and storing work files as well (think business expense.)

Categories : Practice Management

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