I guess I should finish my Summer Reading List series before summer is finished!

The 2008 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide is subtitled "Critical Decisions Made Simple." The co-authors are Sharon D. Nelson, John W. Simek and Michael C. Maschke. This book was just published in March, 2008, so don’t think you should wait for next year’s version just because it is now July.

This book is an incredible resource for a new lawyer just setting up a practice or a small firm where none of the lawyers are particularly tech-savvy. The most surprising thing about this book is how easy it is to read. One would assume that it is a reference guide primarily to be used when a question occurs or a project is planned, but it is actually meant to be read and, due to its brevity, (113 pages plus a Glossary and Index) it can be read fairly quickly. The fact that this book will actually be read and not just sit on a shelf is its greatest strength. If you are someone who is frequently confronted by technology terms you do not understand, this book can be the complete solution for you.

The book is chock full of the author’s opinions, which makes it entertaining and useful. However, the book’s greatest strength is perhaps its weakness as well. Brevity requires significant trade offs. I’d probably be more of a fan if the book was 20% larger because a few of the topics left me wanting more. (There are only two pages on scanners and three on billing software to cite the two most notable examples.) But the chapter on scanners is followed up by great overviews on servers and networking hardware. Have you ever tried to find beginner level explanations of servers?

To be fair, I’m not the target audience for this book, nor is a large law firm IT professional. If you need this book, you know who you are and you can get a great education here. The purchase price is quite reasonable at $79.95, less for ABA Law Practice Management Section members or those whose state bars provide the books at a discount.

You can download the first chapter and the table of contents here. One reviewer gives us his favorite quotes from the book here.