Law, Technology, and COVID-19 | Scott L. Schroeder Law Firm

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Authors: Scott Schroeder, Colin Nicholson

I began training legislation in 1988, functioning for law firms that used reducing edge technological innovation such as:  typewriters, carbon paper, law libraries with pocket pieces and land line telephones. I can notify you that I have not expert the observe of legislation improve so abruptly as it has in just a mere couple months, with the transform wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are compelled to change the basic way that we satisfy with our clients. We utilized to satisfy customers in the workplace making to stimulate “hands on” conferences. My child boomer shoppers hope in man or woman, palms on meetings. They like handing me documents and assembly deal with to facial area.

We, as lawyers, experienced just dipped our toes into the deep conclusion of the engineering pool just before the pandemic. In Wisconsin, we reluctantly went kicking and screaming into e-submitting in the past couple of a long time. We endured learning pains related with implementing the e-filing program, but most agree it was a terrific enhancement. The COVID-19 pandemic is the bully that kicked our ass into the deep close of the pool and screamed “sink or swim.” The advent of the pandemic has forced my follow to shift from the older “hands on” tactic to the “hands off” millennial solution.

In reaction to COVID, my will signing system has been revamped. We even now have the client fill out the paperwork and both e mail it or fall it off in the new lockbox. We have changed the roundtable assembly with a cellular phone conference. This is not as successful as anything is inevitably shed over the cell phone. We then mail the tough draft to the customer for their approval. Up coming, we accomplish a drive-up will signing. Law agency personnel suit up in PPE. I go out to their vehicle with a clipboard made up of the will. When the shopper is prepared to indication the will, the personnel appear out to witness the signing from a social distance. Subsequent, we consider the papers into the constructing to indicator and verify.  Team wipe down the clipboard and deliver the authentic will to the shopper. The consumer keeps the pen for basic safety factors.

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My practice has tailored in numerous strategies. We now use a locked entrance doorway with a video doorbell.  A lockbox was established up for dropping off files.  We obtained PPE for workforce and guests of the creating to use. We sustain social distance in the office. All workers hunker down in their individual corner of the creating. Consumers are directed to use mobile phone conferences/Zoom meetings. Regardless of govt directives, our company will not knowingly be included in the distribute of this condition. We are hesitant to reopen the office environment constructing I will err on the side of caution.

I am optimistic about the potential adjustments COVID is forcing on my practice and the legal profession. Utilization of online meetings not only improves effectiveness of the shopper to attorney interaction but probably much more importantly, the attorney to court communication. I no for a longer period have to accumulate my client, push to the courthouse and hold out for my turn in entrance of the choose. I can now coordinate anything from my desk. I can contact the customer to get ready for the hearing. Courts are also in much better manage of their time. Judges can mute men and women and shift points alongside competently. The hosts of persons waiting outside the house the courtroom doors are no more time a regular stressor. This decreased waiting time at court docket final results in much less time billed to that client, although concurrently permitting me to get other work done at my desk.
Looking even further down the street, I imagine a future regulation practice employing a digital presence that minimizes in human being interactions.  The lawyer can current market as an “Avatar Lawyer” that would make digital on line courtroom appearances.  The avatar law firm meets with the client on line to get ready digital court docket filings.  The customer can also interact as an avatar to reduce any biases that the attorney or courtroom procedure could have based mostly upon the individual’s look.   The positive aspects of utilizing avatars for each the law firm and client would more the goal of equal justice for all.  As a functional issue, it would make it possible for the avatar lawyer to go to the grocery keep anonymously in individual.  The law firm could have distinct professional and private lives.  The lawyer’s marketing and advertising efforts would be to build a distinctive avatar in the lawful digital planet.

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Just as e-filing was a challenging but much improved changeover, I foresee the adjustments wrought by COVID on the authorized practice to be a catalyst for the advancement of our profession into avatar lawyers. Like it or not, we are all swimming in the deep stop.

Scott L. Schroeder is a graduate of Marquette University Regulation School and has been practicing regulation given that 1988. He is on the board of administrators of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, and sits on the Employees Payment and Work Law Committees. Scott has released viewpoints and oral argument ahead of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.   Scott has tried out jury trials in numerous circuit courts of the State of Wisconsin.
Colin Nicholson is a 2L at Marquette University Regulation College. Colin has just lately transitioned from his function as a Sergeant in the Maritime Corps wherever he deployed 2 times to the Middle East. He then attained his B.A. in Felony Justice Scientific studies from San Francisco State University.

Email: [email protected]

©2020. Revealed in GPSOLO, Vol. 37, No. 4, July/August 2020, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with authorization. All rights reserved. This data or any portion thereof could not be copied or disseminated in any type or by any means or stored in an electronic databases or retrieval system without having the express created consent of the American Bar Affiliation or the copyright holder.

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