Depending on your needs and the size of the firm, the options can vary widely. One staple revered by attorneys for well over a decade is the Fujitsu ScanSnap.
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Their current model is the iX, which has a small footprint and can make light work of your big scanning jobs. For the printer, you will want to go laser, as you will spend a fortune on inkjets. Options here are extensive, so make sure the printer you invest in has Mac drivers. At a minimum, you will need word processing software, practice management software, file management software, and software to manage your email, contacts, and calendars.
This includes the full suite of apps for your laptop, iPhone, iPad, and more. NetDocs , while popular, has limited functionality for working on a Mac. Lastly, you must invest in a practice management solution like Clio. Trying to run your practice without dedicated practice management software is, in my opinion, absurd. You will waste a lot of time trying to manage all the details of your practice on your own. Even if you use a patchwork of spreadsheets, software, and other tools designed for project management but not for legal practices specifically, you may lose even more money in lost time trying to wrestle with a number of incomplete solutions.
Not so much. Without going too much detail, most security threats these days are platform-agnostic, meaning you are at the same level of risk of being affected whether you are on a Mac or PC. For a more in-depth security analysis and recommendations for Mac-using law firms, click here to access my in-depth report on 10 security tips to implement in your Mac-based law firm. One must-do in terms of security is to enable FileVault on your Mac.
This will encrypt the information on your startup disk to help prevent unauthorized access. When planning for the future, think three, five, or, even 10 years out, as you must think differently depending on where you intend to take your firm. Will you remain solo, or do you see yourself at the head of a rapidly growing team? Regardless of your decision, be aware that most Windows-centric I.
I say this based on over a decade of experience cleaning up jobs done by these Windows-supporting I. However, here are basic tips on getting good support depending on your growth plans:. We created a course with 6 core modules titled " How to Start a Mac Law Firm " built for solo and small law firms wanting to do it on their own, but still followed proven methods.
In addition, you'll need to find a competent hourly I. This is the reason consultants tell users to consider what they want to do with a computer before they choose the hardware. The same advice applies here: If you need to run Amicus Attorney, get a Windows box. Besides its masterful case management, LawStream Pro has timekeeping including multitimers, disbursement tracking, productivity reports ; billing detail and narrative bills, individual and bulk billing ; accounting trust, general ledger, payables, receivables, management reports ; and productivity control including reports on recorded time, billed time, billable time, fees billed and cash received.
A completely different option that firms should consider is Rocket Matter from the company of the same name.
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This new time-and-billing and case management product is a Web 2. It works on Macs and even PCs and is accessible anywhere with Internet access. So if you have an iPhone, you can access and work with your files. Other Mac options worth considering are Billings from Marketcircle Inc. I am still a local server guy. The software argument between PCs and Macs is largely irrelevant in a Web-based world since both operating systems run browsers—especially the best browser, Firefox , and the best e-mail client, Thunderbird.
They have been written specifically for the practice of law, and they have many years of user experience behind them. Remember: Know what software you want to run before you decide what hardware to buy. If you are familiar with the Windows version of Microsoft Office, then you are familiar with the Mac version.
However, while many Mac lawyers use MS Office applications, there are alternatives. NeoOffice is a free, open-source set of office applications, including Writer word processing , Calc spreadsheet and Impress presentation. This full-featured program allows you to import, edit and exchange files with other popular office programs.
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Pages is a word processing and page layout program that can create stunning letters, reports, proposals and other office documents. Files can be imported, exported or saved in many formats, including document, rich text and PDF. However, if you like WordPerfect —and many of us computing lawyers do—then Windows is what you want. I know the program intimately and using it is second nature. WordPerfect exists for the Mac. However, it requires separate software to run on the newer Intel-based systems and is not supported.
If you purchase Microsoft Office, then you will have PowerPoint. This software is just as useful on a Mac as on a PC. Keynote lets you make Hollywood-quality presentations quickly and easily. I dare say that anyone who has given Keynote a try will never use PowerPoint again.
TrialSmart from Clarity Legal Software is a trial presentation package that enables transcript-to-video syncing, exhibit presentation and video editing. Imagine being able to show video clips at trial to impeach a witness instead of simply reading from a transcribed deposition. PowerPoint is the leading presentation software package. Enough said. Versions exist for both Windows and Mac. Keynote, the Mac competitor, does the same thing—so pick your poison. However, for trial presentation, Windows is far superior.
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SmartDraw , the leading legal graphics and timeline software, is also a mature, functional product. Both of these packages have been honed with user input over many years. Attorneys who specialize in a particular practice area will undoubtedly have software programs aimed at that area: Family law attorneys use child support calculators; real estate attorneys use packages to assist with closings; bankruptcy attorneys have programs to assist with filings.
These programs tend to overwhelmingly be Windows-only programs, which can be frustrating.
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All new Macs can run Windows and Windows software. You can either use a built-in technology called Boot Camp to boot your Mac into running Windows XP or Vista which you must purchase separately , or you can purchase a third-party virtualization program such as Parallels or VMWare Fusion to run a Windows program in a separate window.
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For many, this is the key selling point. By purchasing a Mac plus a copy of Windows and perhaps a virtualization program , you get essentially two computers for barely more than the price of one. No PC can make that claim. It is true that law-practice-specific software packages are predominantly Windows programs.
The Great Debate: Mac or Windows for Your Law Practice? Get Some Answers
It is also true that most can be run on a virtual Windows computer on a Mac system. However, unless you are using Mac software, why run virtually? And you still have the issue of buying a new computer and learning a new operating system. As for the argument that you can run both operating systems on a Mac now, there are only two ways to do that: Run an emulator and my experience is that emulators are problematic and slower or a dual-boot machine you have to boot into the operating system that runs a particular software program.
Dual booting is crazy if you need to switch back and forth between software from both systems. The shift of accepting the cloud within the legal field did not occur until around , which I experienced firsthand, as I have worked in the legal field since Fear and lack of trust of the cloud began to dissipate, which led an increasing number of attorneys to start making a move.
First, Rocket Matter and Clio released the first cloud-based practice management solutions. For the first time, the Mac-using attorneys had access to solutions made for attorneys that ran the same on Macs as it did on Windows. Before this, Mac-using attorneys would often use a Customer Relationship Management aka CRM software and then customize it to fit their legal workflow or virtualize Windows on their Macs to access the full-fledged practice management solutions.
These options were technically doable, but took a lot of customization work, discovery and planning to set it up the way a law firm needed it to work. The cloud-based solutions immediately gave Mac users access to better legal software. When introduced in , both solutions met hesitation and apprehension, mostly over perceived deficiencies with the cloud. This is another reason that I credit not just the cloud, but the acceptance of it in the s. Fast forward to Clio and Rocket Matter are celebrating their year anniversaries.
To show how far adoption of the cloud has come, Clio is now used by , legal professionals in 90 countries. The next shift that impacted the evolution of choice for users happened as a direct result of the cloud: The death of the server.
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Historically, law firms had servers in-house. Primary roles were hosting email, contacts, calendars typically via Exchange , file server, and line-of-business applications PCLaw, PracticeMaster, Time Matters, etc. The first most-widely embraced cloud solution was email. Running an exchange server required costly ongoing support and maintenance.
As email adoption in the cloud increased, people shifted Exchange to the cloud, led by G-Suite and Next in line was file storage. Dropbox and Box were the two most prominent players, and bit by bit, users recognized the benefits of hosting your files in the cloud. The final big item that required in-house servers was the line-of-business applications.
Thanks to SaaS solutions like Clio and Rocket Matter, attorneys gained access to cloud-managed solutions. A significant number of small and medium-sized firms have been getting rid of their servers and moving all their data to the cloud.