6 Ways Law Practice Has Changed In 11 Years

It’s Halloween. On Halloween in 2005, I was sworn in as a member of the Connecticut Bar. I have changed. And the practice of law has changed. Here’s 6 ways law practice has changed in 11 years.


Law Practice by Attorney Ryan McKeen
Law Practice by Attorney Ryan McKeen

1. Mobile

Mobile didn’t exist in 2005. Some firms had Palm Treos. Others Blackberrys. Most people had flip phones. I was like most people and had a flip phone. Then along came the iPhone. And the horse was out of the barn. Today, in the palm of my hand, I have my entire practice. I can send a fax, scan documents, review files, run payroll, and almost anything else I need to do from my phone. I can’t overstate the change mobile has brought to the practice of law.

2. Paperless

In 2005, all of my files were paper files. By 2012, none of my files were paper files. The advent of high speed scanners, tremendous processing power, and cheap cloud based digital storage has been a game changer. No more losing documents. No more having to go into the office to check a file. No heavy brief case. All my files wherever I need them.

3. Social Media

Facebook wasn’t a thing in 2005. I mean it existed. But unless you were an ivy league grad you didn’t have access to it. Now Facebook and other sites like Twitter have radically changed the way I receive information and connect with the outside world.

4. Avvo And Lawyer Rating Sites

Connecticut didn’t have Avvo in 2005. It existed in several states including MA. Now lawyers are reviewed everywhere. Avvo, google, yelp and others. It has changed the way clients find lawyers. It has shifted power in the attorney-client relationship to the client.

5. Global Teams

Mobile and paperless have opened my ability to expand my team. My reception service is in Portland, Oregon. If I need a task done, I can post a job on Upwork and someone in Asia can work while I sleep. ┬áLegal teams are quickly assembling not just as firms – but on task or case based needs. This trend will only continue to grow.

6. Law Practice Automation

A robot does my schedule. I can go from intake to a new file with the click of a button – client agreement, authorizations, instructions, a complaint, discovery – all generated without me. The speed of practice is fast and getting even faster.

Every one of these changes has impacted my practice. But the sum of all of them is greater than the parts. The opportunities have never been greater. The demands have never been greater. There’s no waiting a few days to respond to a letter. There’s no letter to respond to. I can do more than ever before. But I work more than ever before.

2016 began with a text message at 2:30 AM from someone who needed my help. In 5 years, that same person will be messaging a bot. Change abounds.

Ryan McKeen is an attorney at McKeen Law, LLC.