Over the past few years, I have been getting more and more questions from lawyers who want to run their practices on Macs. Often these questions are from new solo practitioners, but increasingly I hear similar things from managing partners in larger firms.
Small wonder, really. Between Windows Vista (RIP), software-as-a-service, and the Apple stock chart, it just makes sense for lawyers to at least consider whether they can run their practices on Macs.
There are lots of great resources for Mac-using lawyers on the web, so I thought I would take a few moments to collect some of them here. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just the resources that I am most familiar with. If you have some other great ideas for lawyers who use Macs, please leave them in the comments below.
Lawyers Using Macs
Some of the best ideas, insights and information a Mac-using lawyer can find will come from the burgeoning community of users. Ground zero for this information is this Google group:
There are a lot of great websites out there for lawyers who use Macs, but one of my favorites is:
Practice Management Software
The rise of software-as-a-service practice management software means that it is easier than ever to run your law practice on a Mac. There are several service providers in this space, but here are two that I am familiar with and have looked at fairly extensively:
Similarly, software-as-a-service accounting options have also multiplied. I haven’t spent as much time with these programs as I would like, but I’ve encountered several lawyers using these two:
I haven’t actually met any lawyers who are using this next solution, but I am very intrigued by their less-is-more approach, which squares up nicely with my thoughts on legal technology.
iPhones and iPads
I absolutely love my iPad and I can’t wait for the iPhone to come to Verizon. I’ve met a ton of lawyers over the years who love their iPhones and a growing number that loves their iPads. Here are a couple of places I go when I want answers or insights on these devices:
Running Windows on a Mac
A lot of the Mac-wielding lawyers I speak with want to be able to run Windows on their Macs. Mac OSX includes the ability to do this without the need for any other software, but it has some limitations. Another way to skin that cat is to use a 3rd party software program to run Windows virtually on your Mac. Here are two of the programs that do this:
If you are really interested in digging in and getting your geek on, here is a thorough review from MacTech comparing these two products.
Word Processing & Spreadsheets
There are a couple of ways to handle word processing and spreadsheets on a Mac. I begin from the assumption that no lawyer buys a Mac because she is in love with Microsoft Office. So, while you can purchase Office for Mac (new update coming in 2011) or run the beta of Office on-line in the cloud, I’ll offer a couple of non-Microsoft ways to get your basic office functions done.
Google Docs and Zoho both have nice options for cloud-based word processors. As with all things cloud-based, lawyers need to make sure to read the Terms of Service and are comfortable that the Terms comport with a lawyers ethical duties under the Rules of Professional Conduct.
The option that I use on my Mac most frequently is the free, open source office software called Open Office. I use it extensively to work on documents and regularly to work on spreadsheets and I’ve found it to be a great alternative to MS Word and Excel.
General Mac Information
Last, using a Mac puts a lawyer into a vibrant and enthusiastic community of users who really love their computers. Consequently, there are countless sites and blogs that produce top quality content about Macs. My current favorite is:
The site provides consistent, interesting information on Macs, without clobbering me with 100 new articles per week.
Enjoy your Mac!