Hiring an attorney can be an intimidating process. You’re putting your complete trust in an unknown stranger, who is often making important decisions on your behalf. Choosing an attorney is an important decision, and there is much advice on what to look for in hiring an attorney. Here, I’m going to focus on something you may not think of: does the attorney know how to use technology? It may not sound too important, but take my word that it is an important consideration in selecting a lawyer.
Permit me an example. Several months ago, I gave a closing argument in an adverse possession case in Massachusetts Land Court. Cases like these are highly fact specific, which required extensive citations to the exhibits before the file. This trial, like most trials in Land Court, had a full transcript from a court reporter, allowing both parties to cite to specific portions of the record. Following my opposition’s argument, I had the opportunity to offer a rebuttal. In my rebuttal, I argued that the other side had missed a key fact, and I gave the court the specific page of the transcript where this was found. I did so through the help of my Microsoft Surface, a hybrid laptop/tablet that allows me to bring my case files to court. I can access any document I need in seconds, which prevents me from bringing massive paper files to court. Not only did my Surface help me get the information I needed for my closing argument, it saved my clients money: I did not need to print out a full copy of the trial transcript or other relevant papers for the case.
I use technology on a regular basis in the practice. One of my other, favorite devices is my high speed scanner, which helps to make PDF copies of all of my documents. This saves me (and my clients) without having to spend unnecessary money of a large office space and storage, and also lets me transit important documents to my clients by email, right away. I’ve written about the importance of using technology in a law practice and I believe strongly that technology is as much to my clients’ benefit as it is to mine.
So, in considering what to look for in hiring an attorney, I suggest asking a potential lawyer how they use technology to run their practice. A lawyer who keeps on top of the newest tools for practicing law will be the lawyer who get give you the best outcome…at the lowest price to you.