Solo/Small Firm Tech – Lean, Efficient, Effective
By James D. Crosby
James D. Crosby is a highly experienced business litigator and trial attorney practicing in San Diego, CA. Mr. Crosby represents entities and individuals, both plaintiffs and defendants, in complex and general business, commercial, contract, intellectual property, unfair competition, securities, real property, and business tort litigation in state and federal courts throughout California. Mr. Crosby’s further legal writings, and additional information about his experience and practice, can be found at www.tricall.net.
Successful solos and small firms have a number of increasingly valuable attributes that can attract new clients – excellent client service and communications; greater availability to clients across various platforms; lean, efficient operations resulting in lean, fair billing; forward thinking use of technology to foster efficiencies and effectiveness; and, a more direct connection between lawyer and client. These attributes effectively position solos and small firms to compete against larger firms for work in a rapidly changing and highly competitive legal market. With the technology available to attorneys and the associated decreasing cost, the percentage of cases that only large firms can handle – because of size, complexity, high stakes, or institutional inertia – is becoming ever smaller. But, competing for and getting the work in the door is only half the battle -solos and small firms must be prepared to handle the work they attract, compete with larger well-heeled, well-staffed firms, and effectively advocate, and succeed, for their clients. To do so, solos and small firms must dispense with old, inefficient, ways of practice and use the tech available to be lean, efficient, and effective.
There are multitudes of devices, platforms, apps, and software available for attorneys to do their work in various settings. More options pop up every day. Like all of you, I want to be as efficient and effective as possible in my work, utilizing the newest devices and technologies to the extent they are cost-effective and match my skill set. This article focuses on several areas where I have worked to develop what I think are effective and cost-efficient uses of technology in my solo practice. Those areas are Data Storage, Offsite Access, and Content Creation. And, I will add a few small comments about eDiscovery software.