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Has your lawyer adapted to COVID-19? Does your lawyer use technology?

It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things. Iowa's courthouses are largely closed off from public proceedings and will be this way for weeks or months to come. For potential clients here is what you need to know: most legal issues can be handled with remote appearances and filing documents that reflect your position to the court. Judges are holding hearings by telephone conference calls or video meetings.

Jury trials will have to wait. The court system will not be holding jury trials until mid-September at the earliest. Everyone will have to adapt to a new reality once we are back in court - separating people in the courtroom, wearing masks, etc.

COVID-19 has affected some lawyers more than others. Some lawyers are really struggling to maintain a 20th century business model in today's world.

I leverage technology to help my clients. I decided when I started practicing law that I would have a paperless and virtual practice. I am ready and able to help you navigate this "new normal." I would rather have a video meeting with clients than make them travel to see me in an office. This saves clients time and money - why should my client take a few hours to drive downtown and park in order to talk to me for 30 minutes? If I need a client to sign a document I send her a link so she can put a digital signature on the document and return it to me instantly.

We live in a digital world where we expect to be able to accomplish everything with a smartphone and a credit card. I have designed my practice to do this for clients. For example, I use an online intake form to get information from potential clients. This lets me efficiently start the process with a client. Once the intake information is reviewed, the client can select an appointment time for an initial consultation - no waiting for a call back from my assistant. You can pay your retainer or invoice with a credit card or electronic check - no need to find a stamp and go to the post office.

Being a lawyer is fun, managing a law office is not. I use technology to help me get past the management tasks that are necessary so I can use my time and talents to help my clients get the best possible result for their case.


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I'll be writing occasionally in this space about my law firm and legal issues. You can also find me on Twitter (@AlanOstergren). Catch me from time to time as the legal expert on the Simon Conway show


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