Are you apprehensive about incorporating mobile technology into your work or frustrated with colleagues reticent to try anything new despite the promise of greater efficiency? A little social therapy may help. A trusted blog for legal professionals helps readers safely explore new options and share ideas on what works with strategies for effective usage – iPhone J.D. (www.iPhoneJD.com). This informal blog written by attorney, Jeff Richardson, aims to help others like himself use new tools effectively in their own firms.
We sat down with Jeff to discover how new technology has helped him improve his craft and connect better with important clients. He also shares advice on how to successfully encourage adoption with colleagues who might be wary of new software.
DLS: Your blog is about using technology and what works best. Can you describe one way your use of technology has helped you in the practical application of lawyering?
Jeff: I love that my iPhone lets me get work done no matter where I am. My iPhone is always with me in my pocket, and the iPhone is powerful enough to let me handle most of the tasks relevant to my law practice. I can read and respond to emails, view attachments, add red line annotations to a Microsoft Word documents, pull up documents stored on Dropbox or other document management systems to share them with clients and counsel, etc.
DLS: You seemed to have naturally gravitated to using new technologies, but how do you help others overcome that apprehension?
Jeff: We’ve come a long way from DOS, but computers are still complicated. I like the iPhone and iPad because at their core they are simple enough that a child can use them. (And if you have ever seen a child quickly figure out how to use an iOS device, you know that I am not exaggerating!) But they are also now powerful enough to get work done. I know many folks who are normally apprehensive about technology and might never buy software for a computer, but they are happy to download an app from the App Store to try something new.
DLS: Has your adoption of mobile access helped increase your relationships with clients or helped your practice grow?
Jeff: It has. I’ll admit that it is a double-edged sword. With mobile technology we can do more, but clients also expect more, assuming that you will be able to respond to their needs 24 hours a day. But at the same time, that means that those who learn how to take full advantage of mobile technology are perceived by their clients as being better, which is an advantage for any tech-savvy legal professional.
DLS: If you had to give advice to someone reticent to using technology in the legal practice, what would it be?
Jeff: Read and/or listen to learn. There are lots of great websites devoted to legal technology, and if you read them regularly, the knowledge will rub off on you and prompt you to do more in your own practice.
There are also many great podcasts that you can listen to that will help you to learn about technology while you are doing chores around the house or commuting to work For example, for Mac (and iOS) users, check out Mac Power Users, a podcast that is not aimed at attorneys but is hosted by two attorneys (David Sparks and Katie Floyd) and focuses on doing more with your devices.
DLS: What advice would you give to our paralegal audience to help encourage them to keep pressing forward in their goal to maximize efficiency within their own offices?
Jeff: Whenever I come across something that I think it helpful, I post it to my website, iPhone J.D. So, if you want to get all of my advice, scroll through the past posts and browse the Index. Every little trick that you learn makes you more efficient and more productive, and thus a more valuable legal professional!
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