1. High data availability & control
At the end of the day, a lawyer's work revolves around the access, creation and storage of documents. Once these documents were produced and stored by hand leading to enormous filing cabinets overflowing with paper. Now, most documents are stored electronically (though there still seems to be reams of paper everywhere!). Any computer system you install must allow you and your associates the ability to access files without interruptions or difficulty. You should also be able to secure documents so that only those who need something have access. As an attorney you understand that some information must be kept in the strictest confidence. If your computer systems do not permit easy control of your information, then you must find something better.
2. Professional document creation
You must always put your best foot forward. With the advent of desktop publishing, every computer with minimal software is capable of producing high quality professional documents. If you wanted it to look like it came out of a type writer, you wouldn't have spent the money on a computer. Your desktop software allows you to easily create incredible publications with impressive graphics and charts. With the right equipment you can even print posters and other large displays. Your staff most likely has the tools to create impressive documents; chances are they only need some additional training. If your staff only creates regular, uninspired documents, then you need something better.
3. Swift communication
You must all be able to communicate with one another quickly. When moments count, you need to be able to get through! More than just email, you need a quick and easy means of communicating with anyone in your office. Whether this happens via a telephone or via internet chat, you need multiple available streams of communications between your staff. But beware! These communications must also be secure! You must not ever allow your private chats to be intercepted. You cannot betray your client's trust. If your communications are not swift and secure, then you need something better.
4. Easy to use time keeping
You must track the amount of time you work for your clients. You should be able to account for every moment you have dedicated to a client. You need to know what was done and who did it. You want accurate, up to the minute reporting that tells you how much precious time your practice has dedicated to any one issue. This will allow you to better distribute your available staff members to support important clients. It gives you the information you need to best allocate resources. If you cannot track every minute, then you need something better.
5. Accurate accounting
You work hard. You should know how much that work has earned you. You need accounting systems that are friendly and easy to operate yet also intelligent enough to catch errors. You need reliable accounting data to help you plan the expansion of your firm. You need flexible reporting that shows you how your money is spent. And above all, it must be accurate to the penny. Your accounting system should be a seamless aspect to your company, not a painful and terrible ordeal. It needs to merge and grow with your firm. If your accounting cannot handle these requirements, then you need something better.
Your law practice technology systems are vital to your success. By relying on outdated and old systems you risk losing your vital business edge to the competition. By offering advanced technological services you can provide additional value to your clients, in addition to your brilliant counsel. And your client's will be happy knowing you have the tools to get the job done.