It's true that for years we've been promoting the fearless application of technology to your law practice. And there's almost general consensus in the profession that nearly every aspect of your personal and firm practice can benefit from the efficiencies and near-magic offered by the new business technologies. But what's not nearly as obvious-what might truly take a wise, savvy and experienced lawyer like yourself to spy and skewer-is that technology presents some very specific and unique risks to lawyers.
Esquires, Unsheathe Your Swords!
What sorts of risks? Let's start with ethics-or to get specific, the potential for breaching client confidentiality. In our lead story, "Dragons in the Digital Age," David Hricik maps the tricky terrain of electronic client communication and data storage security. Not only does he pinpoint these dragons, but he provides excellent strategies for making short work of them.
Also, any lawyer who has lost a day's work just moments before deadline can tell you that failure to back up can be one of a lawyer's biggest bogeymen. Take a look at what Mark Martin has to say in "Take Cover: Backup Tips and Options for Smaller Firms" and avoid that teetering-at-the-edge feeling for good.
What about the risk of getting sucked into the vortex of daily e-mails? If you are an average lawyer (and, of course, you are far more!), you receive dozens-plus of e-mail messages a day. Whew. Bone up on Kathleen Call's "E-mail Strategies" and sidestep the nasty (and mind-numbing) danger of message overload.
Plus, if one of your personal dragons is the white-knuckle fear of choosing the wrong software, you'll want to spend some good reading time with Andy Adkins' shopping tips for "Choosing Case Management Software."
Fear Not! The Real Stuff
But that's not all. To return to the discussion of ethics, soak up a wonderful compendium of top Web sites for legal ethics information on page 33. Then turn to the last page of this issue to tear out and keep Storm Evans' "How to Commit Malpractice with a Computer" checklist.
Last but not least, on pages 30-31, a handful of knowledgeable Section members share their firsthand experiences with technology dragons-and how the beasts were slain.
In short, fear not. As the early explorers' maps so strongly advised, "Thar be dragons!" at the edge of the world. But Law Practice Management won't let you go there alone. We've produced an experts' guide to spotting the dragons, avoiding the risks and enjoying the adventure. Happy hunting.
MERRILYN ASTIN TARLTON, LPM-EDITOR@ABANET.ORG