Technology and the Rural Lawyer

The practice of law is highly individualized.  From the solo to the largest firm lawyer, there are nuances that each lawyer brings to the way they practice and that can distinguish the successful from the aspiring.  The Muskoka Law Association invited me to come and speak to them about technology and opportunities for lawyers who are in a largely rural, and solo or small law environment.  The resulting presentation was a hodge podge of concepts running across three themes:

  • incremental change may be the best way to address a practice need with technology.  Identify a problem and try to match it with a specific technology, rather than purchasing blanket technology and use only a narrow set of functionality.  This is getting easier to do with the advent of apps on mobile and desktop devices, as well as the focused nature of cloud services;
  • how business development and marketing online may be different for small rural law practices.  Marketing techniques or “best practices” of a metropolitan large firm practice don’t make a lot of sense for solos doing primarily transactional real estate or family law;
  • Tools for staying current on practice areas and technology.  Rather than retread common areas, I highlighted a few social media or unusual publishing platforms where we may to see more legal information for consumption.

Here is the slide presentation:

Here is the paper that I wrote and that will explain the thinking or comments I made around the relevant slides.

David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.