American Bar Association
General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Division

Solo
Winter 2003 vol. 9 Number 2

HELP! I Need Somebody (No, Not Just Anybody)

By Randy B. Birch

For me, practicing in a small, rural community has many benefits-primarily, a calmer pace. As I jokingly tell my city lawyer friends, I can leave my house, pick up doughnuts and the mail, get a haircut, and still be at the office in 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, as with all good things, there is an equal and opposite downside. For me, that's support-particularly, technical support. While I have been fortunate to locate competent hardware support, I have been frustrated in my attempts to locate software consultants. I've tried locals, but invariably I knew more than the "consultants" and, in the end, was dissatisfied. A great source of help and encouragement is the SOLOSEZ listserv, sponsored by the ABA. (It only has one drawback-it's addictive.) And it was through SOLOSEZ that I solved my tech dilemma.
One of our recent frustrations was trying to get Timeslips, Amicus, and Quickbooks to play together. Through SOLOSEZ, I was able to meet (in a virtual sense) Nancy Duhon of Duhon Technology Solutions, an expert on Timeslips and Amicus. The only thing is, I'm in Utah and Nancy's in Georgia.

I was initially skeptical that a long-distance expert could provide the support we needed, but Nancy walked us through the necessary program changes by phone-and they worked! She does it through superior know-how and an Internet site called GoToMyPC.com. The program enables her to log onto our computer as if she were here in the office, while we watch. And the corrections are done quickly and fairly economically (cheaper than my spending hours experimenting) with little down time. In fact, the program worked so well that we ended up subscribing to it.

We operate on a peer-to-peer network. One computer is now host for GoToMyPC. Any of us who must work away from the office can now log in, gain access to the network, complete projects, draft documents, keep time, and leave notes and messages, all without having to download a database and then upload it again with the changes. So when my associate is in New York City, he will be able to work from there with a laptop as if he were at his desk-all thanks to long-distance tech support.

Randy B. Birch is a solo in Heber City, Utah. He can be reached at randy@birch-law.com .

 

 

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