Technology & Small Law Firms: Getting Started
Technology has become a major part of running a business. Computers, tablets, and smartphones have become staples for successful attorneys, and staying up to date with the newest technology is just as important. However, incorporating technology into your law firm can become overwhelming because of the vast amount of options available these days. Most big law firms already have technology as part of their day to day lives. If you are a small law firm, finding out where to start can be overwhelming. Here is a list of ways to get the technology ball rolling if you are a solo practitioner or small law firm:
Email is the key:
When you start a law firm or solo practice, figure out what type of email will work best for you. There is typically a pop account or exchange account option. Are you going to need a domain name? Are you planning on having more employees? And most importantly, what is the difference between pop and exchange emails? Pop email accounts download copies of emails to each device you have set up, and sent items will only be saved to the device folder you sent it from. Exchange accounts sync all your inbox and sent emails together across all devices. Most people opt for the exchange account since it usually causes less problems in the long run when accessing emails from multiple devices.
The “Bring Your Own Device” Policy:
This policy is important for employees who may bring their own computer or tablet to the workplace, as well as using their cell phones for work. You may hire a law clerk who then moves on to another law firm, and takes all the files he or she had on their personal device with them. In the future, you may need to access those files, and there is no way for you to gain access to them again. Establishing what personal devices can be used, what files need to be saved to a shared drive, and what happens after termination in the beginning can save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.
Cloud Storage and Remote Access Rules:
Working from home is becoming more popular in today’s workforce. Creating rules and policies for remote access to the company’s files is also important. If you do want to grant remote access to your other employees, you should look into setting up a Google Drive or Dropbox account you can all access and share. This can also come in handy when you are traveling and need to access files.
Keep Your Technology Secure:
Finally, one of the most important things to establish in your growing firm is security. Technology is wonderful, but it is not fool-proof, and is still hackable. Make sure your internet, servers, and remote/cloud service providers all have establish security to keep your business and client information safe from hackers.
Staying up to date with technology can be overwhelming with all of the different devices and options flooding the market. However, learning how technology can help you be more efficient operating as a solo practitioner or small law firm can make your business life easier. Find out what works best for you and your employees, and continue to grow as a technologically advanced law office.