How Technology Is Affecting The Practice Of Law in 2020
Kirsten Wilson, of Kirsten Wilson Law shared: “We need to discover the full capabilities of the technology that we have, and how we take advantage of those is yet to be discovered. The biggest change in litigation is we’re not in court. It’s almost unbelievable how much time you save by not being in court. I’ve realized how much time I have been able to get back by being virtual and that has been wonderful. One of the judges said yesterday that they don’t see things ever being the same. It’s interesting to hear the judge not talk about what we have lost, but what have we gained. It’s a refreshing perspective. And in terms of getting our clients on board with technology and virtual meetings, has been a challenge but overall things are running pretty smooth.” Sally Mulhern, of Mulhern & Scott, said: “Our entire office is now working remotely and with a trust and estate practice, I never imagined working remotely. Fortunately, we all had access to laptops and a wonderful tech group helping us and within twelve hours our entire office was able to work remotely from the point we deemed that necessary. Working remotely has been a functional and sometimes frustrating experience especially in the beginning. What used to take two hours meeting with a client for example, now takes an hour and twenty minutes with Zoom. We’re finding our clients are really liking the fact that they don’t need to get dressed up or have to find parking spaces. Meeting with clients has been very valuable because we are able to get a unique level of insight when meeting with clients in their homes that we wouldn’t otherwise get. For people in crisis, I have taken a strong active role as a counselor in these difficult times which has been personally very rewarding.” Theresa Clancy, of Theresa Clancy Law shared: “The Illinois Executive Order NO. 12 has allowed me to do estate plan signings via video conferencing. Thus, thankfully, my business largely continued without any interruptions. Video conferencing has also given me the opportunity to continue to network during these turbulent times. Plus, technology has allowed me to learn how to start a podcast and keep it alive which may indirectly market my business.
I expect I will only continue to expand my use of technology going forward. Everytime I have implemented a piece of technology I always think to myself, “I wished I had done this a while ago.” Now that technology and I have such a friendly relationship, I plan to become best friends!” Karen Ulmer, of Karen Ann Ulmer Attorneys At Law had this to say: “In 2017 I converted to having my files in the cloud and had my phones switched to VOIP which was a great move for us and helped us prepare for what was to come. Once mandated closures began happening, the team started working remotely and we did a daily Zoom call at 8:30 each day for our staff, which helped us stay in touch and ensure the team was ready for the day. In Bucks County, the courts are using Bluejeans to hold trials where they want us to send documents through their portal and it’s been challenging at best. It’s been a challenge navigating these platforms for me personally as I consider myself more old school so for example searching for files online in the cloud and things like that have not been the easiest for me since I have always preferred paper.” Brian Mahoney, of The Law Offices of Brian Mahoney said: “Before March 2020 I never heard of zoom. From March 13 through May 20, we were working entirely from home. Since then I’ve probably conducted 50 meetings remotely through zoom rings central and or WebEx, so using technology has helped us keep our practice moving forward.
I think remote meetings will be commonplace in the future and it’s good and it’s bad for me because I think it is a lot more personal and “warmer,” to have an in-person meeting versus a remote meeting. I work with a lot of older people, many of whom are not technology savvy, so that would be the only impediment I see to remote meetings continuing in the future.” Jen Mensinger, of Poole, Mensinger, Cutrona & Ellsworth-Aults, shared: “Before the current situation hit, I had never used Zoom before; this was the first year I participated in a webinar or did a continued education training program online. Zoom has changed the face of our practice.” Ron Cook, of Willoughby, Stuart, Bening & Cook said: “Law firm economics beside the tech changes, are altering the course of law practices today. Normally mediations take three hours of travel for me and now thanks to Zoom, my clients pay me less billable hours now for each deposition/mediation. The courts now are finding tech like video conferencing is becoming more acceptable. In the past that would never have flown.” Veer Patel, of Patel, Soltis, Cardenas & Bost shared: “We already approached practicing law prior to the current situation with an emphasis on technology. We used Cisco phones that we were able to take home. We also have been using cloud-based client file storage. The actual engagement with our clients has changed. Before we met face to face, however technology has allowed us to continue to communicate over Zoom or the phone and to send retainer agreements to be signed electronically. We also use Microsoft Teams, it allows the team to continue to chat with each other, allowing us to communicate with each other on a chat basis and it’s helped us keep a cohesive environment all while serving our clients and not missing a beat.”