In this article, Tools of the Trade: Web 2.0 Top Ten List (1/29/07), attorney Lee Rosen shares his top ten list of internet tools that can “make the practice of law easier, faster and more convenient for attorneys and our clients.” For those unfamiliar with the term Web 2.0, Rosen describes it this way:
Web 2.0 is a vaguely defined phrase, and there is not yet one universally accepted definition. I like to think of it as “software as a service” – sort of “borrowing” software and a server to run it rather than downloading the software to your own machine and being forced to maintain both the software and hardware yourself.
Rosen’s list of Web 2.0 applications for small firm lawyers include Google Docs (http://docs.google.com) that allows for collaboration on word processed documents via Internet and Google Spreadsheet, a related application for spreadsheets. Rosen notes that neither Google program is as robust as its Microsoft counterpart, but “they have all the features required by the average lawyer.” Other applications include online meetings or web conference tools such as gotomeeting.com, Jacuba Charts (http://charts.jacuba.com) for creating full color charts for courtroom use and Wufoo (http://www.wufoo.com) which is a form building application.
As Rosen concludes:
In the Web 2.0 world, you can run an entire law practice without any software residing on your computer. Nearly every kind of application is now available online. It’s an exciting time on the web, and the opportunities for improving collaboration, productivity and freedom in serving your clients and managing your practice are greater than ever.
I have to admit that I personally have not sampled most of these applications. I tend to get stodgy, set in my ways with whatever works and only learning about something new when I perceive a powerful incentive to do so. There’s simply no time for any more than that.