A permanent technology center is critical to the legal community in order to provide a central resource for information about technology resources as well as training in technology implementation. The GLTC is a resource clearinghouse and training center for attorneys seeking information about implementing and understanding technology. To that end, it provides a comprehensive collection of technology information and resources including monthly CLE presentations, an annual legal technology conference and a web site with articles, presentations and electronic discussion forums. The Center also provides services such as consulting, outreach, and research as well as an office in New Orleans where attorneys will have access to printing, imaging and copying services, conference rooms and high speed Internet access at reduced rates
Many state bar associations currently provide this type of service through Practice Management Advisors (PMA’s) who are dedicated to helping lawyers help themselves by providing resource materials, telephone consultations, educational programs and even in-office management audits. Since neither Mississippi nor Louisiana can currently afford a full time PMA, the primary mission of the Center will be to assist with some of those functions at no cost to the state or local bars. A special focus of the Center is assistance to solo practitioners, small firm lawyers, low-income legal aid programs and courts. The GLTC is also available for assisting the bar associations of all the Gulf Coast states in technology planning, particularly in emergency preparedness and disaster recovery programs.
Ernie Svenson, Past Chair of the LA Bar Association Technology Committee, has stated that most small firms and solo practitioners, when either building or rebuilding their practice, need not just information on what technology to purchase and implement but someone to “show people technology”. And Jim Calloway, Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program, reiterates that point when he says, “We need to show people technology not just talk about it.”
This is exactly what the Gulf Coast Legal Technology Center will do.