Kendall Coffey’s experience as a practicing attorney began in 1978 and continues to this day. The Legal Profession has changed quite a bit in that time. As Mr. Coffey would attest, a key point to remaining competitive in an ever-changing profession, like legal practice, lies in the awareness of advances in technology and innovation. Staying informed and often being an early adopter of breakthroughs requires taking appropriate action with a keen eye on best practices. Balancing risks with the adoption of technology has its risks. However, the rewards of serving your clients needs in an groundbreaking way out-weigh the risks if properly mitigated.
Kevin Crew, a second year law student from Stetson University College of Law, was the winner of the 2014 Law Student Essay Contest operated by the Florida Bar, and deservedly so. It is well-reasoned and thought provoking.
Kevin Crews’ award winning essay examines the adoption of the innovation. The virtual lawyer opens doors of communication with clients providing convenience, and with an appreciation for security, greater communication. Crews’ essay opens:
The Door to a Virtual Law Practice Is Always Open: And the Proper Use of Technology Can Keep It That Way
by Kevin Crews
In the early 1800s, textile artisans protested against the proliferation of new technology — specifically, mechanized looms. Despite their protests, the new technology came and workers had to retool, adapt, and embrace the invention. Similarly, over the last several years, lawyers have had to continuously adapt to new technology. The virtual law office is one advance that lawyers can capitalize on by meeting modern marketplace demands for unbundled legal services.
Operating a virtual law office evokes images of practicing law from the beach, or from the top of a mountain, or from a yacht off the Italian coast. And these activities might be some of the perks of a virtual law firm. However, specific malpractice risks and increased ease of violating the rules of professional responsibility accompany those benefits. Each law firm that uses technology to connect with clients must embrace and thoroughly utilize the technology. Although technology can create problems, the proper use of that same technology can mitigate those problems.
Read Kevin Crews’ essay in full HERE. It is well worth the read.