A review: What technology do you consider essential to your job?

Posted on 03-04-2015 by
Tags: new rules , social business , technology , Latest Headlines & Stories

What are the most valuable pieces of technology you use in your profession on a day-to-day basis including software, app's and any mobile devices? After posing this question to members of the legal practitioners – What technology do you consider essential to doing your job? – We received an outpouring of responses from our LexTalk participants.

From “email, email, email, my life is literally a constant string of emails” to simple, inexpensive office management software, our community of participants share their opinions about what helps them better manage their days in this fast-paced environment. Below is a summary of some of their responses, as well as their opinions about relevant software and technology available in the market.


Microsoft Outlook: My life is “email, email, email”

“Outlook is where I live. But have/need lots of legal research databases as well- Lexis, Westlaw, BNA, CCH, RIA- the list goes on and on...”


“Outlook is actually my main resource. Our firm's files are all interfaced through Outlook and I use my inbox as a "to-do" list. Although Outlook is not new and exciting, it certainly is the most valuable technology I use.”


“Outlook first and foremost.”


“No apps here, but Outlook and the Office Suite help us maintain our sanity.”


Second & Third: Remote Access & Mobile Devices

“The remote desktop function has been invaluable, especially in the day and age of electronic filing until midnight. I also rely very heavily on my smartphone for email access while I am out of the office. I don't use any specific apps, though, and am looking forward to ideas in that regard.”


“Technology that has become essential for me: remote access to my firm's computer system …”


“The ability to remotely check email is critical on my phone, plus the ability to connect to the collective (our file network) while working remotely with a laptop is pretty key.”

“Definitely the iPhone with a synced MacBook Air. MacBook Air's portability and battery life are both unbelievable, and I can access Microsoft applications (including my Microsoft desktop at work through Remote Desktop) on my Mac. No more lugging around a heavy PC laptop with the charger is really nice.”

Document Management Tools that “Save the Day”

“We use TimeMatters/BillingMatters as our case management and billing software. I also rely heavily on remote access to my server…”


“Our office management software (ProLaw) is a life saver. My office would become a fort made of accordion files, and our filing staff would have to be doubled if we didn't use it to manage documents, emails, to-dos and letters.”


“My laptop is my most valuable piece of technology, because our office has been scanning just about every document that comes in and out of our firm for years. As a result, I can carry virtually the entire database, going back nine years, for my cases wherever I go. Of course, that scanning capability has helped support this electronic hoarding - we wouldn't be as happy or efficient without it.”


“PracticeMaster client management software and my BlackBerry. PracticeMaster allows me to keep track of clients and documents/calendaring wherever I am. I can track the flow of work from beginning to end and PracticeMaster intergrates with Outlook. My BlackBerry, a Q10 running OS 10) allows me to access my computer remotely if needed, handle all calendar issues and emails, and keep all data secure.”


“A very simple/inexpensive but very effective print management software app called Tray Selector www.trayselector.com saves me hours each week.”


“Our document storage system, NetDocuments, is far and away the most significant piece of technology we utilize. It allows for accurate, searchable, up-to-date files. Multiple people can review a file at one time. Audits are made far more simple.”


“Big Hand digital dictation system. You can dictate a document, or even instructions and the software transforms it into text and the dictation is put into a central system to be finalized by support staff. You can pick up capacity from staff in other offices or those with attorneys out of the office.”


Making Today’s Technology Relevant to You in Your Job

“Google. A lot of my research starts with a google search for background on the topic or to find the statute for free. After google, a dual monitor of some sorts (be it a computer and an iPad or a cell phone). It allows me to multi-task and reference documents while typing. It is invaluable.”


“As many others have mentioned, Outlook and Google are at the top of the list as well as subscription legal databases. I also use Twitter to keep up with pertinent issues in the law firm world.”


The Bare Minimum

“I am pretty simple: just a computer and a smartphone (primarily to receive emails). I don't use a laptop or an iPad. No specific app is a requirement. In this day and age, this might be politically incorrect, but with key documents, I still prefer to read them as paper documents.”


Like the others, my firm really only uses Outlook and Lexis. Some of the individual attorneys use other products, but we do not, as of yet, do so as a firm.”


Those Who Still May Be in the “Dark Ages” of Technology

“Unfortunately, not everyone's technology improves at the same rate. As much as I would like to jump into the 21st century with both feet, fax functionality is sadly still essential to doing my job. It's the fastest, cheapest way to get documents to and from people who haven't yet invested in scanners (I *know*).”

“All I need is a computer, a printer/copier/scanner, and the internet.”


A look at then vs. now

“Having started this job when attorneys did not have computers and secretaries had typewriters that only saved 100 words. E-mail is light years beyond what we all thought possible.”


“I remember when I first started practicing law, and there was a Xerox machine with an older secretary who asked me if I knew how she made copies when she first started out. Unless she had used carbon paper originally, she just started typing. The advances between then and today are greater than the advances between that secretary's start and mine. The biggest change is the word processor, and still I think the most important technology we have.  Emails are the second.  Lexis searches were just coming in when I started in law school, but the ability to search the entire history of mankind is a third great technology we have today.”


To other members who are interested in joining this discussion, feel free to share your thoughts by including your comment in the ‘Join the Conversation’ text box at the bottom of this string. Do you believe the legal profession more tech-savvy than others think in comparison to other professions?

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