Center For Practice Management, Technology

Documenting Your Tech Stack

You may have heard someone refer to your “tech stack” in your law office or legal department.  In software development a tech stack is the set of technologies used to develop an application. However, the phrase has taken on a wider meaning, describing, and defining what technology tools you use in your office. Why document your tech stack? It will help you determine your tech budget, unearth redundancies and inefficiencies, spot licensing issues, identify shadow IT threats, and help you choose new technologies going forward.  

Data Collection 

Your documentation worksheet can be as simple as a spreadsheet or a table in your Word processing application. Depending on whether it is hardware or software you will collect slightly different information, thus you may want to create worksheets. You will also need to collect information from other people in your office, lawyers and support staff. You could develop a “survey” using tools like Microsoft Forms, Google Forms, Survey Monkey or Jotform to make it easier to collect the information from others and then export the results to a spreadsheet.   


Documenting hardware can make sure that they are in line for a replacement cycle, patched and updates, assigned to a user or in a pool, that they are asset tagged as office property, backed up, and maintained.  

Laptops – how many laptops are used by your team? Make, model, serial number, date of purchase? What specific operating systems are running on each one (i.e. Windows 10 Pro 22H2)? Is anyone using their personal laptop to access the office servers? What are they using (i.e. GotoMyPC) to access the servers? What make/model/purchase date/operating system are they using on the personal laptops? Documenting this information will help you make sure that laptops are in a 3–5-year replacement cycle, that all laptops are up to date and patched, and that personal laptops are not potentially compromising the network. 

Desktops- determine how many desktops are used by your team. Make, model, date of purchase? Operating system(s) and updates? Does anyone remote into the desktop from outside the office?  

Peripherals – document the make/model of keyboards, monitors, docking stations, and other peripherals. Where are they? Who uses them?  

Servers – file servers, document servers, backup servers. What do you have, what operating system are they running? Do they have firewalls (hardware and software) – versions and manufacturers. What is the make/model/serial number/date of purchase and where were they purchased? What is the warranty period?  

Mobile devices – does your firm support BYOD (bring your own device) by allowing attorneys and support team to access email, calendars, documents, and other firm data on their personal devices? Do you have a way to revoke permission if the phone is lost or stolen? Do you have a policy that states that if a personal device that has access to firm assets is lost, stolen or compromised that it must be reported immediately? If the firm does purchase devices for attorneys and the support team, make sure to document all the information you would for any other hardware.  

External drives – are people in the firm allowed to remove or copy information to external drives? Do you have a policy? If the firm purchases external drives  

Printers/Copiers/Scanners – document make, model, serial number and the year/place purchased. If they are leased, the lease period and the service contract.  

No doubt there are other devices in the office. Shredders, postal meters, telephones, conference phones, webcams and more are firm assets. Document these pieces of equipment as well.  

Marketing Services 

Your law firm or legal organization’s website and domain name are also part of your tech stack. Document who built your website, who supports it/updates it, where it is backed up, when it was last patched, if the security certificates are updated, and any contracts or agreements with outside vendors who maintain it. Do you have access to third party statistics like Google Analytics or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tools? Do you have the logins?  

Your domain name may or may not be associated with your website host. For instance, if you don’t have a website, but have a domain for the purposes of email, your domain registrar may be Google or Microsoft. The easiest way to find out is to put your domain name into the Whois site. Make sure you have an up-to-date account and know how to log in, check when your domain expires, and set a reminder to renew your domain well in advance of expiration.  

Email Marketing – if your firm uses an email marketing tool like MailChimp, Drip, or Constant Contact make sure that you document who your users are. In some cases, email marketing will come directly from a CRM (Client Relationship Management) service or application, like Lexicata.   

Social media – what social media networks are used by the firm? Who are the administrators? Was it set up by a contract marketing company? If so, does someone in the firm have access to the logins?  


Your office likely has a lot of software and applications. Documenting these tools will help you identify needs, address security issues, ensure licensing and maintenance is maintained, expose redundancy, and give you a better understanding for a cost/benefit analysis.  

Office suite – whether you are using Microsoft, WordPerfect, Google, Zoho, Apple, OpenOffice or some other office suite, document the following: what products do you own/which ones you subscribe to, when they were purchased, end of support (if applicable), and who is using which tools.  

Accounting – your office may be using Quickbooks, Xero, or an accounting product embedded in a practice management system or stand-alone legal specific accounting product. Is it web-based? Installed? Who has access to it? Who needs access to it? If it is installed software, what version are you running? Is it still supported?  

Law practice management – There are a lot of law practice management applications, both cloud based and installed. Does your firm have one? Do you have the right number of licenses? Is it up to date? Are you integrating it with other applications?  

Litigation support – some firms/organizations may have litigation specific applications or software, like eDiscovery tools, case mapping, analytics, depositions, and more. Document what applications you have or subscribe to, whether that includes consulting and services, which people in the firm need access and other data points to help support the need for these tools.  

Document management – some firms use products like NetDocuments and iManage, some use document management built into a law practice management application like Centerbase or Carat, some use SharePoint, ShareFile or Box. No matter what your firm uses to store and share documents, make sure that you identify what the firm uses, who uses it, what version, and how it is backed up.  

Practice specific applications – many law firms have subscriptions or installed software that helps draft documents – estate planning, bankruptcy, immigration, and real estate are just a few of the practice areas that have specialized software/services. Make sure to capture this information so you can identify opportunities to integrate with other products and to understand price increases that may have you considering a move to a different platform.  

Document Assembly – is anyone at the firm using a document assembly product that is a separate license or subscription than what is built into the law practice management application? Examples might include HotDocs, Pathagorus, The Form Tool and more.  

Productivity applications – there are many applications that you may find that attorneys and support staff are using at the firm but are not well documented. Scheduling tools, text expanders, form tools,  

PDF manipulation – while you can create a PDF easily enough from a scan or a Word document, if you have a product that allows you to create, convert, compile, redact, sign, share, track, and edit PDFs you are likely paying for the product. Adobe Acrobat has many competitors, but to determine what might substitute you will need to know who uses what and what for. Note that Adobe doesn’t support older versions of Acrobat, so make sure to note what version your team is using.  

Browsers – while it may not seem important to know if someone is using Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, or DuckDuckGo, making sure that browsers are up to date and that your cloud-based products run in different browsers (or your legacy products) affects security and usability.  

Security applications – what are you running to ensure security at the firm? Password managers, software firewalls, anti-virus, anti-malware, endpoint protection, spam blocking, multi-factor authentication, and the list goes on. Make sure to know what is being used, make sure it is updated, running on all devices and documented.  

Legal research – if your firm or office pays for legal research products like Westlaw, LexisNexis, Bloomberg or practice focused resources make sure that users are documented, so they can participate in training, and you can understand your usage when contract renewals come up. 

Telephony – If your firm or office uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or PBX or something in between, you need to know who services your contract and who to call in case you need a new line, to retire a line, and what to do if the phone system goes down. Is your telephony provider also your ISP (internet service provider)? Are your fax lines run through the same provider/service? If this information isn’t documented and you have a problem don’t rely on just one person in the firm having this information in their head.  

Video Conferencing – Your firm may use a product like Microsoft Team since you have a Microsoft 365 subscription. But are there people who are paying for Zoom or Webex as well? Do you have a conference room set up with video conferencing capabilities that are separate from the “desktop” conferencing tools? Depending on how long the firm/office has been using video conferencing you may find that you have redundancies and expenses that are no longer necessary.  


This is not a comprehensive list of all the hardware and software that a firm or law office might use. Your firm should endeavor to request a list of everything that each person uses and subscribes to too, from the first-year associate to the managing partner. Then ask your IT support, office manager, bookkeeper, and any outsourced support. If tools go undocumented it will be harder to identify opportunities for improvement and integrations, prepare for end of support cycles, forecast a tech budget, get IT support, adequately back up mission critical systems, and identify cybersecurity threats due to unknown usage of hardware/software/services  (“shadow IT”).