I had lunch with a fellow attorney the other day who practices in an area of law that has no court appearances, no real client contact, just a lot of legislation and other transactional work. When we discussed how we could both expand our practices, he made an interesting admission to me that he didn't even really know how to do a client consultation and wouldn't know what to do with himself if he had to do a court appearance.
As we discussed it further, I realized that he has the wonderful ability to go home at night and not have to be ready for that "late night call" - the one you always see in the television shows and late-night commercials. The one where the client is in dire straights and you're the person they call to get them out of the mess they are in at 3 in the morning.
Years ago, if the client did not have your home number or cell phone number, they would be forced to leave a number and hope that you would call them back. With all the advancements in technology, I am at least able to relax (a relative term while the family blasts Glee) during the evening with the knowledge that if anyone needs to find me, even a call to my office number can find me and, if I'm not available, can immediately alert me of a message or call from a client.
Last night was one of those evenings where I was relaxing and enjoying myself when the call got re-routed and I was on the phone with a friend, who is also an attorney, because child protective services was on the way to his client's home and they needed someone to talk to. As he doesn't have a significant background in family law, I was the one who got the call to help him walk his client through it and be there on the back end in case more legal work was done.
Luckily, all involved will be able to sleep tonight and with all of the wonderful technology these days, we no longer need to fear that late night call.