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As a solo attorney, technology can be your friend.
Smart use of technology can mean cutting down on costs and making your business efficient.
But, it can also mean high initial costs. That new computer isn't going to buy itself, and neither is that new practice management software. And, if your computer starts emitting smoke, even technology-allergic attorneys know that it's time to bring it to a repair shop. Maybe this is why the results from the 2011 ABA Legal Technology Survey shows that solo practitioners seem to be a little frugal when it comes to technology.
The use and purchase of tech by solo practitioners appears to display an aura of prudence. For example, the survey reveals that about 39% of solo lawyers spend less than $500 a year on technology.
And, 11% of solo lawyers have never purchased a laptop computer. 65% don't use internal IT services, but use outside tech support - which makes sense, since it might be costly to hire internal IT services for a small office.
The new survey also dissects how solo lawyers find out about new developments in legal technology. About 80% use websites, and 32% use blogs and e-mails to learn about new developments.
What does all this data really mean? Well, if you're a solo practitioner who has a tight technology budget, it means that you're in good company. Many solo attorneys are in a similar boat. Though even with a $500 budget a year on technology, using technology wisely can still mean a more efficient business.
Let's also not forget that many new tech applications can be free. Some technology applications, like DropBox, a cloud-based storage system that also syncs updated files with various computers and smartphones, and Google Voice, which can make cheap VoIP calls, are sometime even free.
So, while your budget may be tight - for solo attorneys, technology can still be invaluable.