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.
Backup - Don't wait
until you need it to put a backup plan in place.
- Hackers are out there. Again, your corporate IT people should take care of
this, but what about your home computers?
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.
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
Internet access - It's hard to do much without
high-speed access these days.
Email - I hope there isn't anyone out there
whose company doesn't provide them with email.
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.
Calendaring, scheduling - Again, your company
will probably provide this. Microsoft Outlook is almost a standard for
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