New Law Practice Tools: Google Apps

It’s early September and that signals the start of new careers for a lot of recent law school graduates. In North Carolina the bar exam results went out a couple weekends ago. With the results in hand, many recent grads are looking for the next step in their career paths. A few will choose to open their own practice. Many more will open their own practice by necessity. The price of getting a graduate education is higher than ever and repayment of student loans are just around the corner. A lot of folks won’t have the luxury of just sitting back and waiting for the right job to fall in their laps. Unfortunately, this means too many new practitioners will open a practice without the necessary planing and tools to ensure success.

A year after opening my own office in Greensboro, NC, I’m hoping this series of blog posts will provide some helpful tools for anyone opening their own practice. So here we go…

Google Apps:

Google Apps doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles…but that’s what makes it so nice. Google Apps gives a new practitioner the ability to have a portable calendar and stable email host. For the low price of $50 a year (not a month, a year!) per user you are able to have an incredibly flexible calendar that can be synched to your mobile device. Other companies offer similar services but they can costs hundreds of dollars a month. When you are starting off, it’s important to keep the overhead low. Also, a number of other services will come along with a lot of extras that you will never touch. You’ll be paying for something that , in a few months, you’ll forget is even there.

In addition to being incredibly simplistic, Google is reliable. After using their services for a year now – I can remember only one time, for about 15 minutes, that our calendar was down. Other than that one time, it has been flawless. I can’t understate the importance of having a reliable calendar. There is nothing worse then knowing that you have appointments that will be showing up but you don’t know their name or what time their going to show up because your calendar is down.

Google Apps email hosting also works remarkably well. Google has one of the best spam filters which protects your email from overflowing with offers from some guy in Nigeria with generous offers from Prince Mbutu.

The setup for Google Apps can be done in about 30 minutes, if not sooner. For those less technologically savvy, you an hire people to do it for about $20.00. Something particularly important is to set up your Google Apps with your own domain name. In other words, you don’t want you clients getting emails from you with a Instead, purchase a domain and have it setup with Google Apps so your email address is This is important for branding and is also important for your professional appearance to your clients.

I’ll admit it – I’m a Google “fanboy”. Their isn’t much they do that I’m not in love with. What I especially like is Google’s policy of allowing portability of information. In other words, if you don’t like Google – you can take your information with you somewhere else. Google allows you to export your information in a format that allows you to go to competitors. That means Google knows that if they don’t continually offer valuable service that you can easily take your business somewhere.

To learn more about Google Apps and the services it offers visit the Google Apps’ website.

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