GENERAL PRACTICE, SOLO & SMALL FIRM DIVISION NEWS
Contact LTRC for Technology SOS

By Alexa Giacomini

Alexa Giacomini is Staff Director of the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division. She may be reached at 312/988-5636 or giacomia@staff.abanet.org.

In fall 2006, the GP|Solo Division and the ABA Membership and Marketing Division joined forces to conduct a year-long study of solo lawyers to learn more about their needs—and to learn if these needs are being met by the ABA. The first phase of the study, a qualitative report, has been completed, and the second phase, a quantitative report, is already underway.

From the first phase we learned that solo lawyers tend to be overwhelmed by the vast array of technological resources available, and finding the time to determine which best suit their needs is a real problem. They realize that help is probably out there, but they just aren’t sure where to find it.

It’s understandable that in such a complex organization as the ABA, some of the real “gems” become difficult to find. One of those gems, primarily geared for solo and small firm lawyers, is the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC). Led by a renowned expert in the field, Catherine Sanders Reach, the LTRC defines itself as the starting point for attorneys seeking information about implementing and understanding technology. The LTRC provides resources including articles, presentations, electronic discussion forums, surveys, comparative studies, and more. The Center offers services such as consulting, outreach, and research. LTRC staff develop resources and provide guidance on wide-ranging issues such as electronic filing, universal citation, and wireless technologies.

The LTRC has a dedicated website called the Solo and Small Firm Lawyer Technology Center. The site is broken into various topical areas including “Information Resources,” “Office Hardware—Purchasing Guidelines,” “Law Office Software Resources,” “Computer Security Resources,” “ABA Annual Technology Survey,” and “Other ABA Resources.”

Just starting your solo practice and need to find out more on what technology you’ll need? Click on the “Building a Technology Foundation for Successful Solo Practice” link for more information on networks, communication tools, and law office software. Confused by all the technology and computer jargon listed on hardware items? Download the handy “Things You Should Know Before You Buy” PDF document. Looking for a quick primer on the various types of law office software? Check out the article “Log on to Law Office Technology.” Want to know how to protect your computer from spyware, malware, phishing, and other e-threats? Read up on ways to protect your computer by clicking on the “Attack of the Pernicious Spyware” link.

Another valuable web resource provided by the LTRC is the Mobile Lawyers Info Center, where lawyers on the move can get information on the latest in handheld (PDA) computing, laptops, and wireless resources. Here you can get an introduction on wireless technology, implementation techniques for remote access technologies and practical implications of doing so, and an overview of criteria to consider when purchasing a PDA.

And not only is the LTRC website a treasure trove of information, but it is also easy to use. If you are having trouble finding a certain topic, just click on the convenient site map and search by category or resource.

Beyond the website resources listed above, the LTRC also runs a hotline (312/988-5465 or ) to provide research and assistance for ABA members seeking information on practice technology. The LTRC staff includes lawyers and law librarians who understand your information needs and can provide you with answers.

So the next time you are in need of legal technology assistance (or if you are just interested in what’s out there), don’t hesitate to visit the LTRC website or call the hotline. Tech help is just a call or click away!

Copyright 2007

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