I recently watched an internet video of a Conan O'Brien guest. The jist of this clip was that things are amazing and nobody is happy. The guest talked about how technology has made our lives amazingly easier and we have just taken so many things for granted.
Practicing Criminal law in Travis County is amazingly efficient compared to just a decade ago. When I started practicing here, I would show up to misdemeanor jail call hoping that the appointments would get to my name. Sometimes I came up short by just a name or two. Then, to make it somewhat easier, there was the jail call phone line.
Technology then evolved eventually to what we have today, the online docket, email, etc. Along the way during this evolution were internet sights where we could check for inmate location with bonding information, back time calculation, warrants, appellate information, documents from the courts, and free legal research (many are listed on the right column of this blog). I can practice law completely on my laptop or phone anywhere, anytime, complete with my updated calendar. No more paper calendars or having to call court administration for dates. It's truly an amazing time to practice law, especially as a solo practitioner.
But there are a few things that technology can't make better. We still have to travel great distances up and down the building merely to talk to clients, lengthy waits in certain courts to get our business done, taking the stairs because the elevators are slow, and scheduling conflicts that even the most efficient technolgy can't fix. But taken as a whole, practicing law in Travis is a whole lot easier than it was which has led to better time management and more profitability for many of us.
But make no mistake, the practice of law will never truly be easy. Technology will never mitigate the pain victims and their families feel. Technology will never calm the anxiety of the accused. Nor will technology ever lessen the pain of children/spouses separated from parents/loved ones by the bars of prison. These human aspects of practicing law deserve our attention, skill, and judgment constantly. Technology will never be able to lessen what is a life-changing experience for many. And while technology may make parts of our day a little easier to take, it will ultimately be up to our individual approach, style, and patience that will earn our reputation and respect. I think that is a good thing.