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.

• Videoconferencing.

• Continuing legal education.

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