How The practice of Law Has Changed Over The Years

A lot has changed since I started practicing law in 1991, and we started Mitchell Hoffman & Wolf in 1998.

Not only has technology drastically altered the way we conduct business and manage caseloads, but also how we interact with clients and opposing counsel.

  • Back when I started practiced no lawyer would draft their own letter or pleadings. You would dictate the letter onto a tape recorder or have your secretary “take down” the letter on her steno pad.
  • Very few if any lawyers had a desktop computer, let alone a laptop or tablet. Now, we draft and create our own documents off our desktop computers following templates we have established on our in firm network.
  • Every lawyer carried a daily planner with his/her schedule. Today, all this information is kept on smart phones and backed up on firm docketing systems.
  • The notion of sending a letter is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.  Most communication is done via email and in some cases via text message.
  • Much time was spent in the library doing research looking at books!!!, We would make copies of the relevant cases and bring them back to our office to read. Now it is all on line and the books on the shelves are decorative.
  • All court filings had to be made in person at the Clerk’s office before closing at 4:30p. Now filings can be made electronically at any time of the day or night and in some jurisdictions in person filing is prohibited.
  • The deposition of an out of area witness frequently required the lawyers to travel to the witness. These days, it is common for the deposition to take place via video conferencing saving on travel, time and cost.
  • Laptop computers Tablets and cloud storage allow attorneys to carry an entire file with them rather than carry large files filled with paper

While the advancement of technology has certainly improved the efficiency of the practice, the data saved on “clouds” is susceptible to hacking raising the need for vigilant cybersecurity to protect privileged information.