We realize that many of you are reading the title of this column and saying to yourself, “What annual technology review?” You belong to a big club. But if you are not doing an annual technology review, you are not serving your law firm well. So, let’s start with the threshold question . . .
WHY DO LAW FIRMS NEED AN ANNUAL TECHNOLOGY REVIEW?
You may have noticed that keeping up with technology is next to impossible. The authors each read an average of two hours a day and we still can’t keep up. The best advice is to be pragmatic and recognize that if you assess your technology once a year, including your cybersecurity, you’re doing much better than the average firm.
One very good reason to do an annual technology review is to control your technology budget. If you fail to review your technology costs each year and plan for an annual budget, you are very likely on your way to a “big bang” expenditure caused by your failure to plan. No law firm enjoys an abrupt and large depletion of its funds.
Annual reviews also allow you to spot software you are using that may be going out of support. It is astonishing how many lawyers are still using Windows 7, which is now out of support and therefore not receiving security updates (except for rare situations which apply largely to big firms). That makes Windows 7 unethical to use.
As you go through your annual reviews, you will undoubtedly note that your technology costs (hardware, software and IT/cybersecurity support) have increased over time. As our friend Jim Calloway is fond of saying, “Every law firm is also a technology business.” That is very true in the digital era. As Jim has also noted, older technology impedes the efficient running of your law firm – it hurts productivity, which obviously impacts your bottom line.