LM Blogpost 2 December 2020 – Reeves – Criminal Defense and COVID
Lawyers in criminal defense practices have had to embrace remote technology and virtual processes like never before because of COVID.
It hasn’t always been an easy or seamless transition. Like other lawyers in “people practices,” criminal attorneys are used to meeting in person with clients, witnesses and other lawyers.
But the pandemic has forced them to adapt. And many are finding that Zoom hearings, voice-recognition products, and practice management apps are making their firms healthier and more sustainable.
“If one is a criminal defense lawyer who used to meet up with clients and other lawyers, the transition may be a daunting process,” writes Abby Drexler for Techaeris. “However, nowadays, there are arrays of technology for criminal lawyers, making the transition smooth. The switch to cloud-based technology even comes with lots of benefits. It allows round-the-clock access to one’s criminal case data. Besides, it is a cost-effective method.”
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Following are six technology tools for criminal defense practitioners, courtesy of Abby Drexler and Techaeris:
- VOIP phone systems. Voice-over-internet-phone systems allow unlimited calls from any location and make conference calls a snap.
- Law practice management software. “Your law firm infrastructure will have to get effectively integrated to allow your staff to access the criminal case data remotely from their homes quickly,” writes Drexler. “Law firm data includes billing, contacts, documents, financial data – and all these needs to be centralized for your staff.”
- Zoom and video conferencing tools. Worried about security? Opt for encrypted face-to-face video conferencing platforms for enhanced security.
- Scanning technology. COVID has provided a major boost to this industry.
- Online fax services. “Most lawyers have been blind to the fact that online fax machines have tremendous benefits to their business. Online faxing offers a convenient way of sending and receiving digital data. One will continuously get updated on any changes to the criminal case he or she handles.”
- Voice recognition technology. The pandemic has convinced even the most analog of solo lawyers to embrace innovations like speech-to-text software. The document can be produced quicker and cheaper. No more typing the same document multiple times.
The bottom line: in this COVID era, even lawyers in “people practices” like criminal defense need to have a basic understanding of virtual law practice tools. Be a smart consumer. Ask other lawyers what they use. Test drive any product before purchasing. And be sure to train your staff on using the new tech.
What about your firm? Have you had to adopt new tech tools because of COVID?
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which helps lawyers add purpose, profits and peace of mind to their practices. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.