By Alan J. Couture
As Bob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a-changin’.”
Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to technology. It is said that every 18 months or so, the processing speed of computers doubles. Needless to say, the business professionals who are not keeping up with the rapid development in technology in their field will quickly find themselves behind the proverbial 8-ball.
When I was in law school in the early 1980s, computers were still a rarity, and the fax machine was the latest new rage in law offices. Lawyers dictated their letters and briefs into bulky dictating machines which used cassette tapes, and they carted oversized “bankers’ boxes” stuffed with documents when they went to trial. Their legal secretaries were still using typewriters and carbon paper, and rarely did a document leave the office without a smear or two of White Out hiding typos.
Fast forward about 35 years, and email and dictation software are now ancient technology, and now I go to trial armed just with an iPad that lets me present everything I need to a jury on a courtroom’s TV screen. With software made specifically for lawyers, I can highlight any part of a document, photo or video I want and instantly expand it for easy viewing by the jury, or for use while I cross-examine a hostile witness. In today’s YouTube and TikTok age, jurors expect electronically-presented evidence. And they expect lawyers to at least be competent in the use of technology..
To be able to present my client’s case effectively using tech in the courtroom, I have attended numerous training seminars and spent many hours learning how to best use cutting-edge legal software. As a young lawyer, I embraced the tremendous benefits that technological advances were having on the legal profession, and I have continuously committed myself to keeping up with all these advancements over the years. However, it has been my experience that many attorneys, especially those who have not graduated from law school recently, do not know how to effectively use technology and are simply unwilling or unable to put the time in to master the latest tech. Those attorneys are missing out on the tremendous benefits of such technology, and so are their clients.
As we continue to move through this new age of video teleconferences, depositions taken by Zoom, and “virtual” court hearings, you can rest assured that the attorneys and staff at Atkinson Petruska Kozma Hart & Couture are constantly learning about the latest advances in legal technology, and applying those for the benefit of our clients.