by Darin Colburn
Modern Law Attorney
My dad is an attorney with 40 years (plus) experience. I remember calling him from law school one day, and complaining about all the research I had to do for an upcoming brief. He laughed and said, “How many volumes of cases do you have to pore through?”
That’s when it hit me: the internet was not a thing when my dad was in law school. Here I was complaining about the amount of research I had to do, when unlike my dad, who had to pore through volumes of physical books when he was in school, I had technology at my fingertips: a high-powered, google-esque search engine. What was going to take me a few hours, would have taken my dad at least a day to accomplish.
Fast forward three months. It is 11 o’clock at night and my dad is picking me up from a wedding reception. A good friend of mine from law school had just gotten married. My dad, who is just supposed to be driving me and a few classmates home, says, “I’m going to show you future lawyers how to a use the court’s after-hours filing system.” Apparently, he had a motion that needed to be filed before midnight that evening. The next thing I know, we are in the court parking lot, and my dad shows us how to stamp the document and leave it in the court’s “after hours” bin. One of my classmates turned to me and whispered awkwardly, “Does your dad not know what e-filing is?”
Technology Vs. Experience
You see, while I was unaware that the court had this “after hours filing system,” everyone in my class knew about the e-filing service offered by the Court. A service that would have allowed my dad’s motion to be filed at the click of a button, without any of the drive time.
To be clear, my dad is ten times the attorney that I will ever be. He’s brilliant. However, I can’t help but think about all the costs that older attorneys like him, who are excellent attorneys, pass on to their client’s because they have not adapted to modern times.
Technology saves time, and for clients who are being charged by the hour, time is money. Although it is a little late to the party, the legal industry is finally starting to adapt. New tools are being developed every day to automate administrative and legal tasks within law firms. Firms that have embraced this shift are thriving because better technology translates to more value added per billable hour.
When and how to use technology in your case
Before you hire a family attorney, make sure to ask them about the use of technology within the firm. This question, which often goes unasked during consultations, can pay dividends to the tune of thousands of dollars over the life of the case. For example, Modern Law, has developed multiple tools allowing its attorneys to provide high level, property division and spousal maintenance analysis, with minimal user input.
Consider this: would you pay an hourly employee to spend 30 minutes crunching by hand, what they could easily and accurately calculate in five minutes using a calculator?