January 31, 2014

Start-Up Tech for Any Budget

Bryan M. Sims, Nerino J. Petro Jr.

Not that long ago, equipping a law office for $5,000 was considered to be a challenge. While many things in the practice of law have increased in price over the last ten years, the costs of basic computer technology and software have decreased in many instances. As more and more attorneys, whether recent graduates or those leaving firms, open new solo offices, can they obtain the necessary technology on a reasonable budget? Can it be done for $1,000? What happens if you have a slightly larger budget of $2,500 or even $5,000?

To help answer these questions, I have asked my friend Bryan Sims, an Illinois practitioner who left a firm and went solo (and became a blogger at theconnectedlawyer.com), to provide his thoughts on equipping a new solo office. Bryan volunteered to address equipping a new office for $1,000 and $2,500. I will explore the possibilities on a budget of $5,000.

So, Bryan, when did you go solo, and what were the technological challenges you faced?

Thanks, Nerino. About three and one-half years ago, I left the firm I had been with for a number of years and opened my own solo practice. I remember how challenging those first months were, getting everything up and running and making sure that I had the technology I needed to run my practice.

It seemed as though every technology decision required trade-offs that I had to—but didn’t want to—make. Further, monetary constraints often required compromises that were less than ideal. Using my experience over the last few years, I have put together the following guides for buying technology for a new law office.

Obviously the solutions that I pick will not be perfect for everyone. However, the principles that I talk about should get you well on the way to properly equipping your office. Also, the prices I give here were what were available when I wrote this article. As with all technology, the prices change regularly, sometimes daily.

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