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Tag Archives: Technology

Understanding the industry’s ‘new normal’ (access required)

In the current law firm world, everyone, lawyers and staff, is affected by the ongoing transformation in client expectations and legal service delivery. As the legal profession continues to contend with everything from layoffs to fee pressures, upheaval is the “new normal.” The world many firms previously knew is gone. Adapting to that change in order to stay competitive, to thrive in the “new normal,” is essential in 2013 and beyond.

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Luddites beware (access required)

caveman

This summer, the American Bar Association changed its definition of competence to include technological acumen. Being competent now includes keeping abreast of “the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” “Our definition of what a Luddite is, is going to change,” said Amy Plent of the North Carolina Bar Association Foundation.

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Court: Real estate agent’s email doesn’t bind buyers to contract (access required)

contract

Email is essential to the modern real estate agent. But technology is still no substitute for an old-fashioned paper contract, the N.C. Court of Appeals has ruled. The court found Aug. 21 in Manecke v. Kurtz that an email from a buyers’ agent did not bind his clients to a contract to buy a house. The email at the heart of the case told the seller’s agent that the buyers had accepted an $845,000 counteroffer and were “really excited about their new home.” Apparently, their excitement was short-lived.

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No way to practice law (access required)

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, writers from the Brookings Institute espouse their philosophy for deregulating the legal profession and lowering costs for buyers of legal services: Let anyone practice law, whether they’ve gone through law school or not, and allow anyone to own a law firm. These are not new ideas, but the assertion that these ideas are the key to lowering costs of delivery of legal services is misplaced for three major reasons.

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Lights… cameras… cause of action! (access required)

video

Increasingly, attorneys are using their websites to deliver video content to educate visitors about common legal issues. Think of them as lawyer-as-teacher efforts, with the students frequently turning into appreciative clients. “Before we had the videos we lost a lot of clients in the intervening period between when they contacted us and when we were able to respond to them. I think the result of the videos is there’s a stickiness in people being willing to wait for you because they really want to hire you,” said Greensboro attorney Damon Duncan.

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The lawyer is booting up (access required)

Booting up

Will the lawyer of the future be a computer? Two recent court rulings suggest that, for some of the most basic legal work, it may be the very near future—and some experts think that it won’t be long before computers can perform even more complicated legal tasks.

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Technology has revolutionized the law, but apps marketed to lawyers mostly ignored (access required)

Maybe you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can teach him new ways to perform his old tricks. The practice of law has long been defined by large offices with documents spilling out from every available corner. But since the advent of cellular technology (and the laptop … and the BlackBerry … and the iPad), some law offices have reduced real estate, found the ability to work on airplanes and even gone completely paperless. As technology advances, lawyers find themselves on call 24/7 and can respond more quickly and efficiently to client requests. The tradeoff: a certain amount of personal freedom.

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Future Tech: Looking ahead at the technology changing law practice (access required)

Twenty-five years ago, law practice looked very different from today. Consider the accoutrements that a lawyer in 1986 did not have: • A laptop computer • A tablet computer such as an iPad • A cell phone • The Internet • Online research (although the firm might have a new Westlaw or Lexis terminal in the firm library) . • Email. What the 1986 lawyer did to work with clients and solve legal problems wasn't too different from what the 2011 lawyer does today. It just requires different tools.

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