Apple wrapped up its October keynote where among the big news, a new, slimmer, thinner iPad was introduced. Perhaps an even larger announcement was that Apple was going to provide its latest operating system, Mavericks OS X for free. In addition to a number of updates that effectively catch the Mac OSX to its mobile device counterpart iOS, Mavericks also introduced a new feature that can become extremely relevant for lawyers.
In the current economic climate, clients continue to seek high quality and specialized legal work, but many of them cannot afford the rates of big downtown law firms. In the past, clients on limited budgets found a lawyer through their personal network or by looking in the phonebook. The practices of many “phonebook lawyers” tended to be general, though, rather than specialized — they simply could not afford to turn down general work in order to specialize, the high costs of office space, computer servers and private telephone networks eating away at their profit margins.
Nowadays, with advances in technology and outsourcing options, today’s lawyers have a wide variety of tools and options available to keep costs down, increase margins and, in turn, allow for specialized legal work at affordable prices.
While many consumers have flocked to Apple computers and devices, the legal community continues to lag behind due to the unavailability of equivalent legal and office software, and a general unwillingness to change.
In Part 1 of my Knowledge Management Series, I outlined the issues associated with organizing and storing documents by using file folders on a networked shared drive. There are several potential solutions that would help alleviate these concerns. Each solution’s effectiveness may depend on the size of the firm/organization and how well it is implemented.
This is the first in a series of posts, where I will discuss the benefits of maintaining efficient and resourceful knowledge management systems. Stay tuned to learn about the benefits of document management, task management, creating a precedent database, document assembly and other solutions to help the organization and efficiency of your practice.
For law firms and legal departments, maintaining organized files is of the utmost importance. In previous generations, this was primarily accomplished by having filing cabinets which contained organized files in accordion folders (perhaps sorted by area of law or file type), each of which contained many sub-folders to separate document types such as correspondence, drafts, research, agreements, etc.
While this organizational method seemed to be sufficient in the past, our continued reliance on electronic documents and e-mails has made an electronic system a must for any law firm or legal department.