There have been LOTS of changes to the legal profession in the 21 years I’ve been an attorney. A quick look at the top five that come to mind:
- Electronic Evidence – I remember the first time a client brought me emails for review and possible use in court. Back then, no one used their name or any form of their name as their email address. Attorneys and judges weren’t quite sure how or if the emails could be used at trial. How times have changed!! Digital evidence now often exceeds all other evidence. I routinely seek out emails, texts, and all sorts of social media information that may be relevant to my cases. I counsel my clients on how the same could be used against them and to be conscious of their communications and posts.
- Cell Phones – Yes, there was a time when one was required to be attached to a wall in order to make and receive calls. Since some attorneys, like myself, spend a lot of time in court and on the road, this resulted in slower communication. Not only could we not make calls while away from the office or home, but when we were able to call, our client or the other attorney was away. We left a message and then were often unavailable when they called back. Now, cell phones do not make everyone available all the time and we still have to leave messages; but those messages are returned much faster and the chances of reaching the other party are much greater resulting in very fast communication. In the legal world, this means cases move along faster, attorneys can find each other in the courthouse, and judges can find you if you are not where you are supposed to be (There’s no where to hide) 🙂
- Lap Tops/Tablets/Smart Phones – The ability to make and receive calls with the cell phone was great. But productivity really skyrocketed once we were able to make and receive communications on the road via email and text. Trial attorneys have a lot of down time in court most days. I use some of that time to answer emails, communicate with the office, and review documents. This saves my clients money. I also often access and draft documents needed while at court which is a big benefit to my clients.
- Family Law – There have been many changes made to streamline the process of family law matters. The biggest involve uncontested divorces. The overall goal is to get families through the necessary legal steps as quickly as possible. Rules and Procedure regarding Restraining Orders have also gone through many revisions over the last several years. The most recent rules went into effect October 1, 2016.
- Limited Scope Representation – This is another topic I have written about frequently – see What is Limited Scope Representation. Also known as partial representation, this big change gives clients the ability to have more control over the costs and handling of their legal matter. As an alternative to full representation, clients can now chose to have an attorney handle only specific aspects of their case such as a deposition, a court hearing, or drafting of documents. If you want to know if Limited Scope Representation is right for you, give us a call for a free consultation.
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