Bigger, Better, Faster, More

My blog has been void of new content lately. This is in large part to a just completed reworking of Guest Law Firm PC. We’re going paperless. My intern, David Ruff a brilliant law student at OCU, has been studiously scanning every file and organizing our database. I know it sucks to scan files all day, but I’ve been mixing in some exciting courtroom action to make it worthwhile. Office work may not be intellectually challenging, but he’s getting some lessons in law office management that will pay off much more that punching out Pro Doc boilerplate all day.

The end result of David’s hard work is that GLFPC made the switch from Elawsoftware to CLIO. Elaw was a cutting edge program 4 years ago, but we’ve grown frustrated by the complete lack of updates and the fact that Elaw ONLY works with internet explorer (Chrome all the way).

Elaw has a few features I really miss (automatic court appearance letters etc), but it had reliability problems that drove me batshit crazy at times. It was designed in Texas for criminal defense lawyers and I still recommend it to my PC bound friends.

CLIO is cleaner, faster, more reliable, easier to navigate and… built for civil firms that bill hourly. I’m shoe horning in my criminal practice to fit the CLIO system but I can’t complain.

It’s been two months since the switch and I’ve noticed a huge increase in my personal productivity. Guest Law Firm PC is a hyper efficient justice machine; lubricated by technology and managed by my brilliant super hot CEO/wife.

Going paperless removed another barrier to my creativity and work product- the paper file. With my Ipad I have my firm with me whereever I go. I get a suppression idea- I get on CLIO and review the discovery, add some notes to the client’s online file or go straight to Lexis to research it. Elizabeth and I spend less time managing my practice, and I can spend more time just practicing law.

Did I mention my Ipad?
I made the plunge into the Ipad a month ago. My files were scanned so I can access everything on the Ipad without the need for bulky tree killing paper files.

It works almost flawlessly (the Kaufman County Courthouse is a 3g dead zone) and I should quit bringing paper files to court any day now.

What’s interesting is the reaction the Ipad received. The legal profession is facing a revolution of technological change and some lawyers are scared. My Ipad has been mocked and ridiculed in open court. I’ve heard more than a few lawyers opine on the merits of the old fashioned pen and paper practice. Most lawyers have been receptive, but the Ipad is rorsach test for how an attorney views the technolegal revolution.

Lawyers who are either unwilling, or incapable of embracing the wireless/paperless future will be at a competitive disadvantage. The market is going to weed out the Luddites and reward the Jetsons. The business reality is that I can do more better work because I’m not digging through paper files or confied by my law office.

I don’t have to bring a file home to work on it. If an idea hits me at 11pm I have instant access to every case I have. This helps me realize my full potential as a lawyer, and find my best ideas to each case.

The old business model- Law office full of huge paper files with law library; Lawyer, Paralegal, Secretary- is dead. The law office has been reduced meeting clients and a focused place to work. It’s no longer necessary for quality legal work.

This is frightening and threatening to many of my friends who have had the same business model for years, if not decades.

Potential clients should be aware that technological savvy does not mean someone is a great lawyer. It does mean that you may be paying more for their inefficiency and overhead, and that this lawyer may not be able to handle a larger caseload as well.

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