Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Law Office Technology On the Cheap

In June, I gave a presentation at the Maryland State Bar Association's annual presentation on how to start a solo practice. The presentation, Technology for the Solo Practitioner or How Can You Be Two Places at Once When You're Not Anywhere at All, should be of interest to a much wider audience.

My thesis is that extremely inexpensive technology as the use of scanners, pdf, Internet fax services, etc., not only allows paper dependent businesses (e.g., law firms, accounting firms, etc.) to go paper-less easily and cheaply, but that quite spectacular overall efficiencies and cost reductions will result when they do so. What is baffling to me is why there has not been greater adoption of these methods.

Certainly, it is not because the core programs are so difficult to master. After all, the use of word processing was quickly and broadly adopted even though in the early days one had to be quite technologically savvy to use word processing programs successfully. And, of course, computers were constantly freezing up and crashing.

In contrast, the conversion to a paper-less office requires nothing more than a slight extension of existing skill-sets. Presumably, in most offices, the basic foundation, involving the use of email, the creation of standard document filing and nomenclature, is already in place. Moreover, the base technology, the personal computer, is far more stable than it was even five years ago, much less fifteen years ago.

I don't know the answer as to why there has not been a more rapid movement to paper-less small and medium-sized offices. I only know that the impediment is neither the cost nor the availability of appropriate technology.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It takes some wearwithall to impliment these tools. Unfortunately, a lot of professionals (a) have difficulties using a cellphone (limited scope intelligence) and (b) are so stressed for time & so focused on one thing, the slightest problem during implimentation will cause them to scrap it. I rest well at night knowing that those of us who take the time to adopt these technological tools will rule. Example, I can't imagine someone working without Google Desktop, it saves me & my firm hundreds of hours.

BTW, what's a good scanner? I looked at the Scansnap, but want something more affordable.