Oregon State Bar Bulletin — APRIL 2007
Virtual Shoe Leather: Legal Technology Buying Guides
By Robert J. Ambrogi

Are you or your firm in the market for a technology upgrade but uncertain what to buy? For consumer-technology products, a shopper can find any number of buying guides. But what about legal-technology shoppers?

As it turns out, guidance is available, provided you know where to look. Here is a quick tour of sites to check if you are in the market for legal technology.

■ ABA Law Practice Management Section, www.abanet.org/lpm. This ABA section devotes portions of its website to each of what it calls "the four core areas of law practice." Yes, technology is one of them. Because this site serves as home to Law Practice magazine and the Law Practice Today e-zine and offers various CLE and audio programs, the shopping lawyer can find both reviews of specific products and broader guides to law office technology.

■ ABA Legal Technology Resource Center, www.abanet.org/tech/ltrc/home.html. LTRC describes itself as "where legal professionals turn for technology information." The site’s Info Centers zero in on technology in the law office, the courtroom, online and on the road. Among the resources you can find here are product comparison charts, product descriptions and how-to guides.

■ Association of Legal Administrators, www.alanet.org. From the navigation pane on the left of the ALA home page, click on "Legal Vendors" to search for products by keyword, company name or category.

■ Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central, www.denniskennedy.com. From the home page of lawyer and legal-technology consultant Dennis Kennedy’s website, click on Resources/Legal Technology for a comprehensive collection of links to legal technology resources and vendors.

■ FindLaw Legal Technology Center, http://technology.findlaw.com. Articles here discuss uses of technology in the law office and the courtroom. For the shopper, the site offers both product reviews and product announcements covering software, hardware, communications, e-discovery and networking.

■ International Legal Technology Association, www.peertopeer.org. The focus here tends to be more macro than micro, with resources that tackle broad legal technology issues more than specific product advice. Depending on shopping list, however, you may find articles of interest. Good place to start: ILTA’s library of white papers and surveys.

■ Law.com Legal Technology, www.law.com/jsp/legaltechnology/index.jsp. In case you have not visited Law.com’s legal technology pages recently, you should. The editors here have been busy adding reams of content. The section combines articles original to Law.com with others drawn from ALM newspapers and magazines and other sources. The result is a diverse library of articles on software, hardware, security, networking, e-discovery and IT management. Disclaimer: I am a member of Law.com’s Legal Technology Advisory Board.

■ Law Office Technology Review, www.lawtechreview.com. Barry D. Bayer has been writing reviews of legal technology products for two decades. He puts only summaries of his reviews on his website but request one by e-mail and he will reply with the full review.

■ Law Technology News, www.lawtechnews.com. This is the website of the magazine Law Technology News. All LTN issues back to February 2003 can be found here, once you have completed the site’s free registration. More to the point of this column, this site is home to the LTN Resource Guide, an index of companies that produce legal technology products, organized by type of product. LTN’s site also provides announcements of new technology products, with links to the vendors’ websites.

■ LLRX.com, www.llrx.com. This longstanding staple of legal technology and legal research professionals provides a monthly e-zine together with "resource centers" devoted to various topics. Articles cover a spectrum of subjects and free archives of previously published articles date back to 1996.

■ MicroLaw.com, http://microlaw.com. If you have ever attended a legal technology conference anywhere in the United States, chances are strong that you have heard a presentation from Ross L. Kodner, MicroLaw’s president. Jump to the Legal Tech CLE section of his website, and you will find the materials from many of those same presentations. Whether you are looking for the latest gadget or software for practice management, Kodner may cover it here.

■ TechnoLawyer, www.technolawyer.com. Since 1997, TechnoLawyer’s electronic newsletters have provided product reviews, technology tips and articles on a range of legal technology topics. The company collects all those articles in an archive it calls "the most extensive legal technology and practice management resource in the world." Search the archive free, but reading the full articles requires a subscription which ranges in price from $9 for 24 hours up to $65 for a year.

■ Various law-related blogs report on new software and hardware products for lawyers. Check their current postings and their archives for products that interest you. Among the technology blogs worth checking:

■ ABA TechShow, www.techshow.com.

■ The Common Scold, www.thecommonscold.com
(from LTN editor Monica Bay).

■ FutureLawyer, www.futurelawyer.com.

■ I Heart Tech, www.ihearttech.com.

■ Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog, http://jimcalloway.typepad.com.

■ LawTech Guru, www.lawtechguru.com.

■ Strategic Legal Technology, www.prismlegal.com/wordpress/index.php

With this list of sites and some virtual shoe leather, you should be able to find guidance on just about any legal technology product.

Robert J. Ambrogi is a lawyer and writer in Rockport, Mass. He writes the blog
Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites,

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