With all of the technology available to law firms, I am still amazed when I have a consultation with a prospective client whose primary complaint is that their current lawyer is not contacting them or sharing information with them. Often, while sitting down at our initial meeting, I am forced to bring out a computer and pull up information for them about their case, all of which is publicly available, but which comes as a surprise to them.
In the past few weeks, this has included the startling revelation that a motion, which the client thought was still awaiting a decision, had been decided (and decided against them), despite the attorney telling them that there was no decision yet. The prospective client was quite shocked when I was able to pull up the decision on my computer and print out a copy for them (from what I can tell, they left my office with the copy and went straight to their now-former attorney with that copy).
A second client came to me because their current attorney was just plain caught in the dark ages. She was a friend of one of my clients, who had told her about our electronic sharing of documents and ability to collaborate quickly and efficiently. The prospective client’s attorney had a paralegal, with what seemed to be a typewriter for document creation, and would often have the client print out Adobe .pdf documents (bank statements, etc.) from online and physically deliver them to the office so that the attorney could review them. We discussed how much in professional fees could be saved by simply sharing the .pdf electronically and using the built in “Search” functions of the document to speed up review.
With all due respect to the old ways of doing things, the technology available today allows for a streamlined process of sharing documents and collaboration between attorneys and their clients. It makes no sense to print out documents that are generated in an electronic format, unless you really hate the environment and have a passionate desire to pay lots of money to office supply stores for reams of paper.