A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

A Survival Guide for Legal Practice Managers

Your most important tool

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

By Nicholas Carr, Managing Director, BOAB IT

Second only to your brain, your computer wins the prize as the most important tool in your profession. Depending on your area, you can spend up to 90% of your time working on it, reading, typing, sending emails or managing your matters.

Being as vital to your practice as it is, you should get the best equipment you can find that is right for your office. This part is very important. We often receive requests for the best and most powerful computer that money can buy. This is a big mistake, as lawyers do not require such powerful machines. They may end up being a nuisance, very expensive to service and repair, fans that are very loud (they need to cool down the powerful discs that are running) and they will cost up to 10 times more than an appropriate machine should be. If you are not a gamer, it is definitely not worth it.

So, when looking for a computer, keep a few things in mind:

Mac vs PC

Make sure that the software you are intending to run in your practice is available in the platform you are choosing. Most tools for law firms run better on Windows than they do on Mac.  Virtualising Windows on your Apple computer doesn’t always provide the same performance or level of integration you may expect.

Laptop, Desktop or Tablet?

This is a very personal choice and has to do with the way you practice. Do you work often from home? Are you a “Cafe Lawyer” who is often on the go? If you never work from anywhere other than your office, a desktop is good. If you are on your feet a lot, tablets are a fantastic option, as they are light and can be as powerful as any desktop. A laptop is a good option if you work from home as they collapse and are easy to transport around the house. You can choose one, you can choose them all. With cloud synchronization becoming standard these days, you have more freedom and flexibility than any of your predecessors in history.

Invest in hardware

You wouldn’t buy a cheap chair that is uncomfortable and will give you pain every day, so don’t do that with your computer. A slow computer will end up costing you time and money and may give you endless frustration that will affect your work. Get equipment that is right for you, without overspending or cutting corners.

Custom made or out of a box

Different law firms have different needs. Ask your IT provider what is the best solution for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed. Just keep in mind that, unless you have signed up for fixed managed services, your provider will charge you per visit, so you should also consider this when calculating costs.


You can be one of those independent people who likes to do everything by themselves -  research, purchase and installation. That’s great, but isn’t your time worth more to your clients? You should still consider having a trustworthy company to call when your internet crashes or your email inbox collapses. Granted, you could probably look online for a solution and try to fix it yourself, but it is cheaper to have someone else doing it rather than spending your billable hours on blogs and forums. Do your research and choose a good IT provider before you need them so you don’t have to waste your precious time in the middle of a crisis and be taken advantage of due to the urgency of the situation.

Your computer can be your best friend, there to help you and support you, in good times and in bad times, or it can turn out to be your worst nightmare of stress and frustration. Do your research. Considering the amount of years it will be by your side, it is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Editor's Note: 

BOAB IT are proud partners of ALPMA's Leading Your Firm program, designed specifically to help smaller and regional law firms.  Register now for the upcoming webinar on Wednesday 3 June "Firm Profitability Improvement: Mastering the Law Firm Profit Cycle," presented by Roy West, Business Coach from Talking Marketing. Attendance is free for ALPMA members or $99 for eligible non-members.

About our Guest Blogger

Nicholas Carr is the founder and Managing Director of BOAB IT.  Having spent several years working for LEAP Legal Software as CIO, Nicholas Carr turned his attention to LEAP’s clients and how he could fix the angst a lot of them were experiencing with their IT.

With a background in managed services and data centre virtualisation, Nicholas has a vision to deliver all of the products and services a law firm requires to operate for a fixed monthly cost. Nobody likes surprises, least of all barristers and solicitors, so to minimise the exposure to costly IT services, BOAB IT was born. Leveraging industry contacts and taking advantage of the best and most secure technology available, you can trust BOAB IT with all of your IT support requirements now and in the future.

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