Must your attorney be computer-literate?

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By my question, you know that my answer is “yes.” The old ways don’t cut it anymore.

When I worked for IBM in the late 1970s through the early 1990s, we had an insider’s axiom: speed, reliability or cost – choose any two. While the tradeoff still exists, the line has shifted. The shifted line means that I can efficiently help you achieve your goals without costing a small fortune. Attorneys who have been unable to adapt are stuck in the old ways; some attorneys I know are incredibly resistant to change. With my technology choices, however, you can expect the following:

  • Less paper: Everything is scanned or otherwise becomes a PDF. We don’t keep large paper files and we don’t have a “filing room.” I don’t need to go to court with a rolling cart. If we are talking on the phone, and you refer to a document from a month ago, I don’t need to get “my secretary,” a job title that doesn’t exist in my firm, to pull the paper file, feed me the document, while I tell you that I need to call you back.
  • Collaboration: I create a (secure) “shared space” for you on my cloud server, and you and I never need to email files to each other again. Our shared space could house a full version of your file or a subset – your choice.
  • Do you need a complete copy of your file? Easy. If we have a shared space which already contains a full version of your file (see the previous comment), you already have it. Otherwise, I could create a “zip” file for you while we are on the phone, or mail or give you a CD if that’s more convenient.
  • Email: I am a big email user, in the office, in my home office, and with smartphones and tablets when out of the office or in court. Email is often the best way for us to communicate, and you can always expect me to acknowledge your email within a business day. I use a secure Microsoft Exchange email system with my own domain (, very much like large law firms but unlike some attorneys who use Google, Yahoo or Optimum. I exclusively use Microsoft Outlook (and the other Microsoft Office applications too).
  • Phones: I use a hosted pbx system, enabling our communications to be flexible and efficient. If I’m not in the office, calls are forwarded to my cellular phone. If I’m on the phone or otherwise not available, voicemails are sent to me by email or I can access the voicemails on the provider’s web portal. My phone answering system is quick and direct. It’s all designed to provide maximum access, not to screen you out.

With well-implemented technology solutions, it’s much easier for small law firms like mine to be flexible and responsive to your needs. I don’t need to be at my desk from 9-to-5, with stacks of paper files, waiting for the US Postal Service, and waiting for your calls on an antiquated phone system. We are not restricted by time, space and location.

So yes, your attorney should be computer-literate.