Lawyers Should Use Technology The Way Teenagers Do: Early And Often

Perry Mason (AP)

Lawyers live in their own worlds — they work too hard for it to be any other way. And, quite frankly, most do not care what is going on in other worlds anyway.

But living in your own world can mean the actual world moves on without you, and you are all the sudden the equivalent of your mother, except these days she probably texts faster than you do.

Paul Lippe, CEO of Legal OnRamp, told of a talk he gave a few weeks to lawyers about “change and technology,” some of whom, he said, “were overwhelmed by fear, and clung to the the hope nothing would change.”  He also said that the “mere concept of a blog was enough to make a few folks dizzy” and that he was the only one on the panel not nail-biting over people twittering from the audience.

The big firm world is just so slow-moving and isolated — besides Westlaw and e-filing, briefing is done the same way it always has been — look at the precedent, find your best argument and write it as well as you can. The method has not changed since Perry Mason was a boy, so the new comings and goings on the Internet can just seem like a fad.

While many lawyers and law professors are blogging and twittering with abandon (and consulting firms that exist to help make that happen), some are very much behind the times.

Just how behind some lawyers are is evidence by a post last week on It suggests that litigators should learn how to use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to research opposing counsel, witnesses (yours and theirs) and even judges. 

No kidding.  If you are not doing these things by now, you are falling down on the job. If information is publicly available about someone you are going to call to the stand, you should know it. Sure, pictures from their child’s third birthday will not be relevant, but their status update about spending all day throwing out last year’s files at work could be.  

We are not at all poking fun of TrialLawyerTips for putting it up there; sadly, it probably needed to be said.

The days of thumbing through the library’s paper version of the judicial facebooks are over.  Whether you like it or not, people are living in real time on Facebook, and whether it’s your witness or theirs, you should know what they did last weekend. The other side probably does.

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