Coping with Change

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11Aug2008

Coping with Change

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Improving Service

America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement.”

Nearly two centuries have passed since Alexis de Tocqueville made the above comment in his treatise Democracy in America, and we still haven’t begun to slow down.

While people may disagree on whether “every change seems an improvement,” every aspect of the legal field is in a state of constant flux. It can be tough dealing with constant change on the job, or in any other aspect of life. Just when you have everything figured out, a new “latest and greatest” comes along to throw out what you’ve been doing.

The practice skills of a decade ago are not what is now being taught in schools. Legal research is done on line, briefs are filed electronically and one dares not miss the latest court opinions, laws or administrative rulings. New fields of practice keep springing up such as elder law, biotechnology, cyberspace law and disability discrimination. Then there are the business aspects of the industry – a scramble to recruit new associates one year and layoffs the next.

As much as things do change, the fundamentals remain the same. All our actions, and all yours, are geared toward that often-elusive pursuit of justice. The technology is only there to further that goal, to make it more readily accessible, and easier to deliver.

In our end of the profession, the challenges deal with providing clients more information faster. This means such things as realtime, Internet depositions, transcripts on line and calendar on line. But, above all, it means providing a reporter whenever and wherever needed, on short notice; and doing this despite a shortage of reporters that is causing courts to have as much as a one-year backlog in generating trial transcripts.

We are constantly striving, not to simply predict or cope with change, but to create it. Rather than just responding to demands from our clients, we develop new services and then instruct people in their use.

Change is a lot more fun when it is on your own terms.

Sheila Atkinson-Baker

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