Why Should My Lawyer Know Technology
Published to: 000113, 000116, 000117, A Small Town Lawyer's Perspective, barbour, Bridgeport, Perspectives of a Small Town Lawyer, West Virginia Lawyer - Tips and Techniques
on August 30, 2013 9:01 pm
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I have written on the need for lawyers (and clients) to use technology, I hesitated to write this, but perhaps a summary will help you choose a competent lawyer:
1. A lawyer who brags of his or her ignorance of technology is rationalizing and justifying not putting forth the effort;
2. Can one imagine a lawyer, or his staff, not using a word processor or fax machine? Of course not.
3. Faxes are almost gone. Think scanned images, digital faxes, and e-mail.
4. 80% of my serious correspondence is now numbered, concise paragraphs in an e-mail.
5. Think about it:
a. The client calls or write with a question;
b. The paralegal forwards to the lawyer;
c. The lawyer writes his response/suggestion;
d. He copies the client, the opposing lawyer, his paralegal, the scheduling clerk, and his billing clerk.
e. Or he may ask the paralegal to scan and send a document, or call the client, or draft a letter, or even make coffee.
f. A few minutes later, the client or opposing lawyer responds. That message is forwarded to interested persons.
g. Within the hour the challenge is solved. We do that several dozen times a week! Perhaps the client’s week-end with his daughter is saved, a change has been negotiated, a subrogation claim taken care of, or a real estate transaction concluded.
6.. The lawyer with DropBox, iCloud , Google’s Cloud Service, Evernote, etc., can carry your file to trial in his iPad or laptop.
7. The lawyer with World Docs or Carbonite can have his entire office on his laptop or iPad.
8. The lawyer with a new iPad or iPhone, has Seri to create reminders and calendar entries, or to find restaurants or hotels.
9. Fourteen WV Counties are testing a pilot program of “e-filing” of lawsuits and their pleadings; some county courthouse records are online.
10. Lawyers with the CaseSoft software suite can scan or upload transcripts, index the transcripts, send testimony to “CaseMap, link testimony to key issues, and use the stored material to draft pre-trial memos and orders.
11. Lawyers who use Excel can create equitable distribution spreadsheets of his client’s debts and assets, prepared a proposed distribution, and show the client how close his proposal, or the other side’s, it to a 50%/50% split.
12. Lawyers who use Dragon can dictate less formal documents on the fly with “voice to print”.
13. Lawyers with Pathagoras document assembly can fill in questionnaires and e-mail clients’ pleadings or documents to his paralegal for final editing.
14. Lawyers with online legal research have an edge in timing and accuracy;
15, Lawyers who use outliners can create efficient litigation outlines and task lists.
16. Lawyers who blog can create innumerable “handouts”, forms, and instruction sheets for their clients.
17. Lawyers with a compact digital camera/camcorder, can back up the accident reconstructionist, photograph injuries, “scan” documents and photos into their smart phones, get Google images of collision scenes, and take screen shots of texts, e-mail, photographs, and graphics. But, don’t forget to “take a class” if you are not already an amateur photographer.
18. Lawyers with sophisticated “practice management systems” and “billing and bookkeeping applications” can print reports, analyze cash flow and profitability, streamline billing, increase revenues, and improve efficiency.
19. But, even a simple spreadsheet can show what percentage of income and expenses go for staff, insurance, equipment, insurance, utilities.
20. Another spreadsheet can show how many dollars per hour the lawyer makes in various practice areas.
21. A smartphone with “hosted Outlook” or something similar carries the office calendar, alarms, tasklist, contact list, and e-mails and text messaging.
22. My iPhone is a dictating machine, a camera, a camcorder, a scanner, a GPS, and much, much more. (Almost forgot – it is also a phone!)
23. A lawyer who shares, shares, shares, communicates, connects, and facilitates with clients, potential clients, friends, and family:
a. Has a fascinating and stimulating life;
b. Keeps friends and relationships that others tend to lose;
c. Use his blogs to create good will, build his practice, improve the profession, feed his ego, show off a bit, and keep everything from his kindergarten, high school, and college class groups, his military buddies, family, and community or church choir, together.
24. A lawyer with a couple of e-readers, say a Kindle and and an iPad, has the knowledge of the world at his fingertips, and he can stream music, radio, and movies.
25. A lawyer who loves to read and reads broadly, has sources of wisdom for every occasion. And he can bore and offend his friends with his reading list.
26. In Summary, a lawyer who embraces technology and the future will have one less subject to gripe about as he becomes a lovable curmudgeon.
This post was written by Burton Hunter