David Whelan, the former director of the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center, has published a free e-book that provides an overview of the basic technology needed for a law practice. Called Law Practice Technology: An Introduction for Law Students, the book is, as the name says, intended for law students about to embark on a law practice. But I would say that any lawyer about to start his or her own practice would benefit from reading it.
It is a quick read — the entire book is roughly 20,000 words — and gives fairly cursory treatment to some topics and intentionally skips others altogether. For example, you will not find anything here about marketing technology, social media or social networking. Whelan is a skeptic about the effectiveness of these in bringing in clients. “I’m still waiting for data showing any consistent connection between clients using social media and lawyers income,” he writes.
What you will find are chapters covering basics such as phones, contact management, calendaring, document management, conflicts checking and time and billing, as well as technology for litigation, e-discovery and the courtroom. He does not go into any of the topics exhaustively, but what he does do is provide his thoughts on why these systems matter and the factors to consider in selecting them.
The book can be read online here or you can download the book in an EPUB version, suitable for most e-readers, or a MOBI version, suitable for Kindle. The book is licensed under a Creative Commons Share-alike license so that faculty members who teach legal technology can repurpose and add to it however they like.