Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Technology Is the New Personal Touch

Technology has made the lawyer's life easier, right? E-filing, teleconferences for court hearings, scanning documents, and electronic signatures are all part of practicing and save hours of time for litigators.

However, despite all these conveniences, some attorneys pine for the old days where the personal touch, and a personal connection, meant "something" more. On the other hand, clients, then and now, really only care about two things: quality and cost. Increasingly, attorneys are being hired without ever having a face-to-face with a client. As such, when it comes to using technology these days, it's not an option, it's mandatory.

Being accessible via tech takes the place of establishing that trusted connection in person. Clients you've only ever interacted with digitally will expect you to respond to emails, text messages, and even calls, faster than ever before thanks to all the new methods of connecting.

Opening New Options

A twist on how technology has changed the lawyering game involves all those part-time lawyers who either have a day job, or are trying to be a full time parent while still maintaining cases or clients. Before e-filing, email, online legal reference sources like Westlaw, a lawyer needed to show up to a law library for research, send a live person to the courthouse for filings, and open, read, and file all the incoming mail. For a solo lawyer to run a practice without these modern conveniences, especially today where there's an app for everything, it seems to be a Herculean task.

All this new tech lets more lawyers than ever hang their shingles out there. This leads to clients having a better and wider selection of lawyers to choose from.

Setting Personal and Digital Boundaries

For professionals, it can sometimes be difficult to truly disconnect. While the World Wide Web allows anytime to be "vacation" time, is working remotely really a vacation? Laying out boundaries, especially ahead of a vacation, can sometimes be necessary when clients are overly demanding of your time.

However, being accessible to an overly demanding client might be the reason you were hired in the first place. Tire-kickers can even be turned into clients. To avoid losing needy clients, you may need to set looser boundaries. Asking a demanding client to text you on the weekends, rather than sending an email, is probably a good idea, especially if you don't check work email regularly over the weekend. 

However, don't worry, you might not need to remove your entire spine to please that client bent on destroying your social life. If you are busy, letting a client know when you can provide an answer or connect may be enough to quell a Saturday morning storm until Sunday, or even better, Monday. Unfortunately, sometimes enforcing boundaries can cost you a client. But often, just being reached, acknowledging the client, and scheduling a time to resolve the issue are all that need to be done.

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