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Suddenly solo

16 July 2009

In Lemons, Lemonade and Lean Legal Technology - A Shoestring Approach to Legal Technology for the Suddenly Solo Lawyer Dennis Kennedy writes that being a solo lawyer does not diminish one's need for technology, but it my mean one has to be more resourceful in using the technology at hand. He suggests inter alia, that one makes an inventory of what you already have; that you identify your software (most people don't even know what they have on their PCs); then take a hard look at what you really need to do to do your work and to manage your practice, and match what you have with what you need.

Free is good - especially with software. He suggests turning technology into a utility cost i.e. monthly costs are better than big upfront technology costs as they free up capital. Shop for bargains over the internet, and develop your internet presence.

He asks us to think of technology selection as being a process which evolves as ones needs change. He concludes with a bare minimum list of specific technology items which no single practitioner should be without. In conclusion Dennis Kennedy notes that:
" It's easy to spend a lot of time worrying about technology, shopping for technology, and designing the perfect technology system for your new firm. Frankly, it's better to spend that time on other priorities, like figuring out where your first cheque from a client will come from. The approach in this article is designed to help you get a "good enough" technology platform to get you started. It's also designed to help reduce your stress about getting technology in place. Most importantly, it offers ways to think about lean legal technology and provides a framework for thinking in a focused way about technology that will serve you well at the start and into the future."

In the second article 50 Web Resources for the Suddenly Solo Lawyer, Jim Calloway and Allison Shields have compiled a list of over fifty free and essential online resources which they say are well worth spending some time over in order to get inspiration and ideas.

They include the following articles of interest:

Going Solo on a Budget by Dennis Kennedy, ABA Journal (April 2009)

Law Office Start-up: Law Office on a Shoestring, by Sheila Blackford
Oregon State Bar Bulletin - October 2008 - Managing Your Practice

Practicing Law in Tough Economic Times
By Jim Calloway
(Oklahoma Bar Journal, January, 2009)

Blogs, such as:
David Bilinsky's Thoughtful Legal Management in which he discusses law firm finance, profitability and the use of technology in law practice and
Gerry Riskin's Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices which covers legal practices from all angles.

Guides, checklists and other sets of resources include:
Carolyn Elefant's MyShingle blog which has long been recognized as a premier resource for solo and small firm lawyers. See her resources and information for solos (includes forms and checklists for solos or those starting a law practice) and her online guide to starting a law practice.
and
Unlock Your Potential: Hanging Out Your Shingle: A 79 page e-book in PDF format from the ABA Young Lawyer's Division on setting up a law practice.

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