At a resent CLE, a newly fledged solo (she being in the process of outfitting her office) seeing that I was taking notes on a Mac, asked me about the software and hardware I used in my practice and what I thought were “must-haves”. So, here is my short list of “indispensables”
- My Snapscan 1500. Every original document that comes into the office relating to a client matter gets scanned and the original is sent to the client. This way, the client can track the progress of their matter and I don’t have to invest in file cabinets.
- Crashplan. You’ve got to have backup software and Crashplan allows me to back up to locally attached media as well as to a private cloud. I get the advantage of having local media for quick restores and the redundancy of off-site storage. The fact that I can use my own private cloud means that I keep my data under my control
- Daylite & Billings. Daylite is a business productivity manager – that happens to work well as law practice management software and Billings tracks time & expenses and generates invoices. The programs share data with each other and the real strength of these programs lies not in the vast array of things you can do with them, but in the fact that you can be productive with them right out of the box.
- My Mac’s (a desktop & a laptop). Sure, you have to buy into Apple’s walled garden approach to hardware and software, but that’s not an entirely bad thing – I’m looking for stability and consistency in my business hardware and I really don’t care if I can tweak a few more cycles out of the CPU or if I can install the latest beta version of a piece of software. I do care that I spend little to no time on IT issues – initial setup, from unpacking the boxes to having the system up and running with all software installed, took less than 90 minutes and I’ve not spent more than 30 minutes in any one month since on computer issues. These little buggers work.
- A typewriter. Now this one is a little practice area specific, but if you have any dealings with residential real estate in MN, then sooner or later you are going to run into a need to complete a certificate of real estate value (CRV). This is a 3 part form that has no electronic equivalent – it has to be physically filed and must be either hand- or type-written. Since my handwriting is so abysmal, were I to complete a CRV by hand it would look more like a prescription than a legal document – so a typewriter is de rigueur.