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5 Tips for Hiring a Legal Tech Consultant

Don't fight the technology: master it. Or get someone who is a master to the job for you.

Small firms are depending on technology more and more to help them keep their business running smoothly. We've previously written about considering a social media dashboard to help you manage the social media accounts associated with your firm, so we're squarely in the camp that technology is your friend.

But you're lawyers Many of you might not have the necessary skills to handle a major tech crisis. And even if you did, we hope you're so busy with clients that you can hire a technology consultant instead. Here are a few suggestions for hiring the right consultant for your legal tech needs.

Products Liability Firms Use 3D Printing to Manufacture Evidence

Law firms are now finding ways to make use of the 3D printer -- a technology that was once considered gimmicky. Then it became the centerpiece of the gun debate and organ growing.

A number of enterprising law firms have utilized 3D technology in their products liability practice. These machines bring a new twist to the term "manufacturing evidence."

The Best Scanner Under $300

The paperless office. Like the flying car and the sassy robot sidekick, it's something we've been promised for years, but something science has consistently failed to deliver.

Lawyers are up to their ears in paper as much as they ever were, and while our tablets and iDevices let us browse stuff without paper, we've got to cram all those documents in there somehow. That's where a scanner comes in -- but what kind should you get?

Sit back and let us regale you with our scanner story.

Blue? Brown? Red? Your Guide to Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Readers of a particular age -- by which we mean at least 30 -- will remember the days of the mechanical computer keyboard, when depressing the keys made a satisfying "clack" sound. Those sounds are gone because the old mechanical switches have largely been replaced by simple rubber domes that contact the circuit board under the keys.

We wrote about mechanical keyboards last year, but avoided the big question; namely, what kind of keys you want with your keyboard. A German company called Cherry makes, more or less, every switch in modern mechanical keyboards, and they come in several different styles (Blue? Red? Brown? Green?!), each of which has its own pros and cons.

What to Consider When Buying an External Computer Monitor

Most of the world is running on laptop computers now, and for good reason. They're the least expensive they've ever been, they're the most portable they've ever been, and for what they are, they're the most powerful they've ever been.

Did we mention portability?

But you'll need a host of accessories to make your laptop useful, and no peripheral is more important to a lawyer than an external monitor (or two). When you're trying to paste from a deposition into a brief, or have five different windows open, that 13-inch laptop screen just isn't going to cut it. Here are three things to take into account when looking at external monitors.

Best Ultrabook Under $1,300

Apple has set the bar high with its new Retina MacBook, a computer that combines the slimness of the MacBook Air with the audacious screen of the Retina MacBook Pro.

The Retina MacBook isn't the only game in town, though, when it comes to the "ultrabook" -- a category of thin, low-power notebooks designed for portability and very long battery life that don't make the sacrifices of netbooks. So what's the best ultrabook for the money?

Best Tablet for Under an Amount Yet to Be Determined

When the iPad first came out in 2010, I thought, "No one needs one of those," and truthfully, the fact remains that no one needs a tablet, but they're super convenient.

Let's all admit that the iPad is probably the best tablet out there (Apple haters are encouraged to come at me with whatever you've got), but it's awfully pricy, at $500 for the iPad Air 2, the current incarnation of Apple's tablet. Is there a good cheap tablet out there that's not a waste of your time (or money)?

Drones are really having a moment these days, as everyone from backyard hobbyists to CEOs of major corporations have started to integrate drones into everyday life. However, the law surrounding the unmanned, hovering aircraft is still developing.

Think twice, then, before you send a drone out to collect evidence. A federal court in Connecticut ruled that stopping the use of a drone to record the site of a major auto accident does not violate First Amendment rights to free speech and the press.

The Best Printer Under $100

Paperless office? What paperless office? That promise is just as real as flying cars. Lawyers, especially, labor under the burden of ever-more paper, and even though some courts are (finally!) accepting electronically submitted materials, others still refuse.

For your home office, or even for your personal life, a printer is sadly still a requirement. With all the models out there, how can you know what's best? Well, that's where we come in: Here's our guide to the best printer under $100.

Oculus Rift: Coming to a Courtroom Near You?

Oculus Rift is about as close as we've gotten so far to true virtual reality. It's a head-mounted device that creates an immersive VR experience. A user wearing the headset, for example, can turn his head and the application responds by moving the immersive environment.

Sounds pretty cool -- if it ever comes to fruition (we've been promised the device Real Soon Now for a few years). When immersive VR experiences like Oculus Rift do hit the consumer market, will they have an application in the court room?