This issue of Law Practice has always been my favorite, given my—some would say obsessive—interest in technology. In fact, it was that interest that brought me to the LPM Section in the first place. I have tremendously enjoyed interacting with people who really “get it.” The fact is that technology really can improve the ways in which lawyers provide services to their clients. The resources these people provide to LPM are really exceptional, and I truly believe that one of the most underutilized benefits of a membership in LPM is the access all of you have to some of legal technology’s greatest thinkers, through our webcasts, publications and in-person conferences.
But why is technology education important for lawyers? Some argue that we need to focus more on lawyering, and that technology cannot make you a better lawyer. Further, there are no ethical obligations that require lawyers to understand the technology they use in their practice—at least not yet. Actually, a small number of states and Canadian provinces do require lawyers to understand the technology they use on behalf of their clients, and arguably the failure to use it properly could result in a malpractice claim down the road. As technologies like tablets and cloud computing increasingly make it easier to work with clients and provide them with more-efficient service, the more likely it becomes that how we use these technologies is going to be regulated and, at the very least, highly scrutinized.
That’s why a conference like ABA TECHSHOW 2012 is so important to a lawyer’s professional development: It provides accessible legal technology education in a format that we believe lawyers won’t find anywhere else. Perhaps even more important are the networking opportunities, where attendees are able to meet with other lawyers and talk about technology challenges they face in their practices. This issue of Law Practice is but a microcosm of what you can experience at ABA TECHSHOW, with amazing tips and advice on using Word, electronic discovery in small cases, the ethical use of wireless networks and the technology you need if you’re starting up your own firm.
My challenge to you this month depends on when you read this. If it’s before March 29 and you’re not registered for ABA TECHSHOW, you might still have time. Visit techshow.com and join us in Chicago! If you’re going to be at ABA TECHSHOW, come and find me at the Welcome Reception on March 29. I’d love to meet you and talk about technology. And if ABA TECHSHOW has already passed you by, then choose a technology discussed in this issue that you haven’t tried before, and give it a spin—a new Word shortcut, using Acrobat to Bates Stamp your documents, or even purchasing a brand new iDevice. I guarantee you’ll find something here that can make you a more productive, efficient and effective lawyer.