Legal Technology

A bit about my job. I’ve got to say I am learning a lot on the job. I do believe that immigration is important. Having seen the process I am certainly aware that it is needlessly difficult and incredibly expensive. That being said, what I am learning about being a lawyer is that I need to constantly pay attention to technology. I work in an office which seems practically antique. There are large manila folders everywhere, and none of it seems particularly organized. To make matters even more complicated they use both sides of the paper. Whereas I think this is wonderfully economic, and a nod to recycling it makes things hard to read. If the backs of all your records have bits that were discarded from other files it is difficult for my eyes to keep them straight. Especially when it is all jumbled into one big folder.
I realize the importance of organization. I was present when all of my previous firms made the huge switch to a “paperless” system. The system was never fully paperless, but it was much easier once people got used to it. I’ve had bosses who prefer to read something in their hands, and I’m totally fine with that. I originally saw it as “old” as if the person could not actually do anything unless I printed it out for them and handed it to them. I now see that there are some benefits to having some materials printed. It is good to have things on hand for reference, as you don’t want to turn to your computer and google something in front of a client. Doing so would give the impression that you were not really needed. So I’m not totally against printing things.
I am, however, insistent upon having an electronic copy of EVERYTHING. It is just stupid not too. Each thing you send and receive should be scanned and placed in a separate folder for each case. That way any employee can view it when they need to. Today my job was to locate a file, look through it, eventually find the document I need, and type the case/tracking number into a website and get the status on it. This took me 4-5 hours. Had I not had to constantly battle with file cabinets, review large chunks of the file that were not pertinent to my task, and then battle to reshelf. I could have done it in under 2 hours.
So far my journey to becoming a lawyer has taught me these lessons:

  1. Treat your employees like they matter. Let them know you are proud of their work when they do something correct. Be understanding, but firm, when they do something incorrect. Let them know that it is normal to make mistakes, but they should learn from them. Repeating a mistake is not as okay, and they should be informed of that as well.
  2. Always be looking into ways that things can be done more efficiently. New software, New hardware, etc. Never be afraid of trying something new, and never reject an idea solely based on a preference for an established routine.
  3. Have an open-door policy as much as possible. Let anyone from the mail clerk to your boss know that you are always there to listen and help if you can. Always be open to new ideas.
  4. Respect space. Sometimes you don’t have a lot of space, but don’t let your space get cluttered because you are lazy. Files won’t move themselves, and it is wrong to hope someone else will file them for you. Even if they have done so before.
  5. Spell check and re-read all correspondence. I have caught glaring errors in my writing that I can’t believe I have sent. I used to be more on top of it when all I did was property, because it was very specific and I basically ate, slept, and drank it. Now that my range of discussion is very broad, it is important to make sure that you check what you are saying.
  6. Never talk to someone when you are angry.
  7. Try not to hold a grudge, but if you are, don’t let it cloud your judgment if you have to deal with them. Especially do not let a grudge impact how you treat others.
  8. Never be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes people might not have an answer, sometimes you’ll have to take an answer you do not like, but make sure you ask.
  9. Leave your work at the office.
  10. Take breaks. Eat lunch. If you are getting to the point you don’t like work, evaluate, and attempt to fix. Even if your “fix” is going to hard. You spend a great deal of life at work, it is not worth being miserable.

That’s about it.

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