2 min read

The remote relationship between lawyer and client

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None of us are any stranger to the extreme changes and challenges of a pandemic world and many of us are living life very differently than we once did. Experiencing so many things virtually and remotely is commonplace for many of us now and virtual conferences, virtual onboarding and remote officing is an everyday fact of life.

It’s hard to imagine how this scenario might have been so very different in a pre-technology, internet enabled world. That’s not a very long time ago either. Twenty years ago, in Ireland, mobile phones were the almost exclusive preserve of Armani-clad stockbrokers shouting instructions into their telephone in first-class train carriages. Dial up internet was the only kind there was. Few homes had an email address. ‘Social Media’ consisted of sending photos and ‘round robin’ family newsletters to far-flung relatives at Christmas time.

Today, we are skyping and zooming like we have been doing it forever. These and other tools have allowed us to eat together, visit each other and rather more crucially, work together. However, it is not achieved without some suffering.

There are days when it feels like no matter how many apps you have on your desktop, you have to download and install yet another one with each new meeting or client. Got a task management app? The people you need to work with are using another one. Back to the App Store you go!

And then there is the cost of onboarding – the time and resources that it takes to learn a new system and all its capabilities – and more importantly, that it’s not capable of doing the one thing that you purchased it to do.

Sharing materials and documentation presents yet another issue. Each individual system is paywalled for the storage of documents. Want to add additional seats? There’s an additional cost. Then, if you have your documents stored in one system, your task management in another and all your communications in another, then you will be walking a well-worn path back and forth between them all repeatedly - digitally speaking!

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All of these and many more frustrations of collaborative working in a remote environment are relatively new to most of the world. It's time to recognise that the struggles in working collaboratively, yet remotely, that are now reality for so many of us, have been an issue for lawyers and their clients for many decades.

With the exception of in-house lawyers, lawyers and their clients have never occupied the same office space. Critically important documents and information needs to ebb and flow, back and forth between them, in relation to every matter that is active at the moment. As a generality, they don’t have shared calendars, shared chat functions or shared document storage.

Apps and systems designed for lawyers are rarely designed (or priced!) for clients to also use. Internal commercial tools within the company ecosystem are rarely suitable for lawyers to use as a general part of their practice, except with this specific client. There are a vast range of such tools and it would be practically speaking, impossible for any law firm to subscribe to and usefully use more than one or two of them. In the IP world, task management tools are a far cry from meeting docketing needs. Task management means something different inside a law firm where the threat of malpractice hangs heavier than a missed deadline in marketing.

The silos that have traditionally divided the information, resources, communications and tools between attorney and client have been continuously reflected in the development of the technology to support both parties. There are a proliferation of lawyer-only tools and client-only tools that emphasise the delineating line between the two functions. In truth, there is no line.

An IP Attorney and an IP Owner are on the same team - they need tools that let them play on the same field. Bringing people together to make a difference in the world is a huge part of the Rightly ethos. Central to this idea is the creation of a platform to bring the IP Attorney and the IP Owner together to work collaboratively while automating many of the manual tasks involved. Whether you are concerned with managing, protecting and enforcing your IP rights, or your clients IP rights, our goal is your peace of mind. To see a little more about how we achieve that, visit Rightly.io

 

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