- Practical technology information and advice for in-house law departments.

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Bare Minimum Technology Requirements

  1. Antivirus program - Your corporate IT people should take care of this for you, but make sure they are updating the software on a regular basis. Too often they wait until the next virus scare (or disaster) and then do the update. Don't forget home computers. 

  2. Backup - Don't wait until you need it to put a backup plan in place. 

  3. Firewall - Hackers are out there. Again, your corporate IT people should take care of this, but what about your home computers? 

  4. Filing System - Regardless of whether we are talking about paper files or electronic files, it's essential that they be organized in a way that makes them easy to find - for you and for anyone else who needs them. For electronic files, document management programs are great, but, at the very least, implement some kind of filing system and enforce the rules before your offices and your hard drive(s) get out of control. 

  5. Word processing - Ok, this one is too obvious, but I have to include it. Most companies use Microsoft Office, so we use Word, even if we might think WordPerfect is a better product. Long-term, Word is going to get better. Reportedly, Word 2002, a part of the Office XP suite to be released in late spring 2001, was designed with the needs of the legal profession in mind. 

  6. Internet access - It's hard to do much without high-speed access these days. 

  7. Email - I hope there isn't anyone out there whose company doesn't provide them with email. 

  8. Fax - Another one that's almost too obvious. The bare minimum requirement is a fax machine dedicated to the legal department and in a secure location where unauthorized personnel do not have access to it. 

  9. Calendaring, scheduling - Again, your company will probably provide this. Microsoft Outlook is almost a standard for companies. 

  10. Special needs - Personnel in your department may have needs that require accommodation. Technology such as speech recognition, though far from perfect and not something I would normally consider essential, may become essential in certain circumstances. There are also programs that can convert text to speech for sight-impaired employees. 

Next: The Next Steps

Last updated: 04/18/01



Copyright 2001-2005 David A. Munn