Sunday, 21 April 2013

Tech talk...

Technology impacts every aspect of our daily lives; and the practice of law is no exception. Technology has changed how we interact with clients, how we bill and the way we carry out our everyday tasks. It didn't hit me until last week while working on some motion records, how dependent we have become on technology and what opportunities it has afforded us.

...with the click of a button, I am able to access and work on files located at the Toronto office, 451 km away.

Take me for example, as an MB articling student; I am constantly doing work for lawyers from both MB offices (Toronto and Ottawa). However, because of technology, with the click of a button, I am able to access and work on files located at the Toronto office, 451 km away. Additionally, earlier this week, the Toronto office held an in-house lawyers' seminar on 'Discovery'. Despite the distance, with the help of teleconferencing, my colleagues and I in Ottawa were able to link up with the Toronto office and actively participate in the seminar in real time. Technology has clearly allowed our firm to remain one cohesive unit.  There is no MB Toronto or MB Ottawa – there is just one MB LLP!

On a daily basis, with ease and utmost convenience we can communicate with clients, counsels, peers; receive and send documents; and, gather information from across the globe. Not so long ago, a lawyer (or an articling student) conducting legal research would have to dig through large volumes of books, and spend many hours doing so. However, now, with the World Wide Web and search engines, we can effortlessly log in to legal databases and view/access thousands of decisions, articles and judgments within seconds.

Internet, Intranet, Outlook, Elite have all become our silent assistants at the office– and help us keep organized and as productive as possible. However, technology has not just changed the way law firms conduct business, it has also changed the way Courts function, and the Rules of Civil Procedure. Now a days, motions can be booked by emailing the motions coordinator, and effective service of documents can be done via fax and/or email. Twenty years ago, email did not exist. More recently, a motion was brought on one of my files that originated in North Bay. Instead of having to travel to the North Bay Court house, I was able to argue the motion via satellite from our office in Ottawa. I also have a further settlement conference that will be conducted via conference call in the near future.

There is no doubt that technology has greatly impacted the way we practice law, and has brought the world closer together. However, even with all the new technological advancements, the technology that I am still most thankful for is the office's programmable coffee machine that consistently helps me get through the day…. Isn't technology grand?! 

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