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How Lawyers and Technology Matter

Last month, my colleague in writing this blog, Carolyn Elefant, celebrated the sixth anniversary of her other blog with an essay contest. As she announced then at the blog, My Shingle, she would award an Asus subnotebook computer to a solo or small-firm lawyer who wrote a blog post on one of two topics: "Why I matter," explaining how the lawyer has made a difference in the legal profession or in the lives of clients, or "How technology helps me serve clients or make a difference," describing how technology has improved the quality of services the lawyer provides. The winner was to be chosen at random from among the top entries.

The wait is over. Elefant has posted all of the essays she received. Most, she writes, chose to write about the difference technology has made in their practices. The randomly chosen winner of the Asus computer is Adrianos M. Facchetti, a Los Angeles lawyer who writes the California Defamation Law Blog. His contribution covered three key ways technology helps him serve clients. He writes about better communication with clients, the ability to charge lower fees due to lower overhead, and his "transparency" to clients and other lawyers. None of it is novel, he acknowledges. "But you know what? These things make my clients happy and that's all I care about."

There are a number of interesting contributions here. Michael D.J. Eisenberg tells how he and his wife were able to escape from his "unforgiving mistress" -- his solo law practice -- to spend a week in the Caribbean, thanks to technology. That sounds good until you read Kimberly Alderman's account of how she escaped from the Caribbean to a cabin she built in remote Alaska.

My infrastructure is completely dependent on technology. Solar panels, generator, military-built battery bank, satellite internet, satellite phone. The internet alone was quite the project to set up, as we had to drive 400 miles to pick up a dish that would put most coffee tables to shame.

Here's the kicker: She got clients. Alone (with her boyfriend) in remote Alaska, hours from the nearest gas station or corner store, she hung out a virtual shingle on the Web. She put up a Web site, got Skype and started networking furiously. "For someone who wanted to 'get away from it all,'" she writes, "I sure am plugged in sometimes." She credits Elefant for giving her great advice when she was just getting started. "Treat the internet like your cocktail party," Elefant told her. Now, she writes, "I may not be drunk yet, but I'm sure having a grand old time."

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on January 26, 2009 at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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