General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionMagazine
What Applications Does Your Firm Need?
Although every firm is unique, most will require at a minimum many if not all of the following computer applications:
• High-level word processing, including advanced functions for composition, design, merge/sort, footnoting, and importing and comparing documents.
• Document assembly, integrating standard boilerplate forms and modifications in language as well as factual information about particular cases.
• Calendaring, including court dockets and appearances, appointments and meetings, statutes of limitations and deadlines, flags and reminders.
• Personal information management, including individual calendars, contact lists, daily to-do lists, personal notes, and records.
• Centralized time and billing, including capability to track hours and centralize billing and collections functions.
• Financial management, including budget and financial planning, expense reports, income and cash flow reporting, trust accounting, and payroll.
• Database creation, including client records, filing records, and specialized applications for particular cases.
• Spreadsheet capability.
• Presentation and graphic effects, producing slide shows and materials for training, client seminars, CLE lectures, and court appearances.
• Substantive practice systems, which systematize processes for handling cases in areas where the firm handles a substantial number of cases.
• Conflicts checking, including not only conflicts among current and former clients but also personal conflicts involving the firm’s lawyers.
• Case management.
• Client contact, including current information and future marketing ideas, record-keeping, e-mail, communications, data and file transfers, and court filings (where available).
• Electronic research—online and CD-ROM.
• Shopping, including office products, computers, and professional services.
• Document scanning/copying/faxing.
• Continuing legal education.