At this time of year, everyone considers what they have accomplished this year and lays
plans for next year. In a last minute Christmas rush, we asked Cobb County attorneys for
their new years resolutions concerning technology in their practices. What were the
top areas of interest for 1998? About what youd expect, plus a few surprises.
Many attorneys are resolved that 1998 is the year that they will finally start using a
computer in the office. (Their kids are apparently wizards, so there should be plenty of
low-cost technical assistance!). Many smaller (and a few larger) firms are resolved to get
networked in 98 so as to better leverage their technology investment.
The World Wide Web and Internet e-mail was a common subject for new years
resolutions. Although several respondents were obviously on-line and loving it, others
intend to get e-mail addresses and learn to do on-line legal research this year. More than
partner plans to give each attorney in the firm an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. Also mentioned was
being able to dial into the office network from off-site locations like home, the
courthouse, or the beach house!
1998 seems to be the year to upgrade. Several attorneys mentioned upgrading their PCs
to Pentium-class machines and their software to 32bit Windows 95 applications.
Several firms are also considering the traumatic move from WordPerfect to Microsoft Word.
Protecting the firms computers from viruses and from Year 2000 crashes was also
mentioned by one (very technical) attorney.
One interesting resolution we heard more than once was to get the firm up to speed on
technology in order to hire and retain high-quality associates and support staff. Two
firms mentioned upgrading secretaries responsibilities from just typing through the
use of speech recognition software on the attorneys desks.
And so, here by popular demand are a few of the 1998 resolutions we heard. We have
omitted the names and used initials only to ensure deniability!
"In 1998, I resolve to...
learn how to use a computer from my 3rd grade daughter" (BB)
become more productive through the effective use of technology" (JB)
hone my Internet research skills" (JB)
figure out how to get rid of Spam email" (JK)
upgrade the Cobb County bar association Web Site to include newsletters, calendar
and more" (JK)
become better versed in technology-related legal issues affecting my
implement home access to our office network" (JK)
establish a secure WAN connection with clients to share information" (JK)
beg for the privilege and opportunity of using a computer at our firm" (CA)
connect my firm to the Internet with a full - time ISDN connection" (JK)
be recognized by my peers as the ultimate computer geek in Cobb County" (SY)
get new ribbons for our high-tech network of Smith-Corona typewriters" (CA)
have a better network installed than Jackal, Rainey & Busch" (TH)
use speech recognition software to free the attorneys from their keyboards,
and let our support staff concentrate on more important things" (TH)
get the senior partner to turn on a computer" (RB)
move offices and upgrade computer technology" (BB)
finally get the office networked" (RB)
train myself on speech recognition" (RB)
Update our law firm from ground zero on the technology scale" (EVDW)
Use speech recognition to stop sweating the discovery deadline because my
dictation tape is in my secretarys in-box" (EVDW)
get new time & billing and case management software implemented and in use
use technology to triple our business <grin> (JB)
plug my 486 computer in (for the first time!) and turn that baby on once before
giving it to Judge Stoddard for use as an artificial reef in Lake Hartwell" (TB)