Our Guest Blogger and Harper Grey Litigation Support and E-Discovery Supervisor, Monique Sever, discusses how going paperless and utilizing technologies can increase efficiency and also help keep women in law.
As we head into September, many of us are continuing to work remotely. Paperless solutions to traditional problem solving and new technologies allow us to continue working from home not only successfully, but arguably (for some) more efficiently. New technologies are not only allowing us to continue working through these uncertain times in the face of a worldwide pandemic, and they may actually help keep women in law.
How can we be productive, yet not be physically present in the traditional office? Something this pandemic has shown us is that we are remarkably resourceful. Many of us have a ‘can-do’ attitude, but I think it really stepped up in March when we all found ourselves thrust into a new reality. I am very fortunate to work in an environment that allows creativity and flexibility and in so doing I found that adapting to this new reality was easy for me. But what about others? What can we do to make working outside the traditional office more effective?
In litigation, one of the big issues is evidence management. How do you organize your evidence as it pertains to your case and the evidence of the other parties?
For many years I have worked with evidence management software to review documents, prepare and conduct discoveries, hearing and trials. (Heck, I teach a course on it with a super fabulous colleague!) Having my work product live with the documents, having easy accessibility to the documents, the portability to bring them wherever I go and organizing my evidence and argument gives me the utmost flexibility. Finding a document is much easier with a few keystrokes than flipping through countless binders of paper or long indexes. That gives me the ability to work almost anywhere – and believe me I have (Beach bar + iPad ü ). Couldn’t all our lives use a little more flexibility?
You can make yourself even more productive when you have tools to help. Many of us are using MS Teams to meet with colleagues and collaborate or Zoom to meet and/or present to clients and co-counsel. 2020 has already seen significant advances in technology and many people have been surprised by how well these new technologies are working to help them effectively get their work done.
There are many apps that can help you keep track of time spent on tasks or projects; apps for project management, apps for creating notes – either handwritten, typed or voice to text ,apps for organizing lawyer/client work product, presentation tools – the list goes on.
Just think of the satisfaction of getting things crossed off your ‘to-do list’ (app or not) by utilizing the technology available to get them done in less time. Leaving you more time to enjoy activities away from work or spending time with your family. Women working in the legal profession leave their careers for a variety of reasons, but significant factors include maternity and parenting responsibilities. Is it wrong to assume that women, if provided with flexible options that allow them to continue working efficiently and effectively from home, might achieve greater balance between their personal and professional lives? Let’s face that this new reality has changed the world and the way we interact in it. Why not make it a lasting change for the better? Legal services are evolving at a quicker pace than ever before – the future is speaking to those who pay attention. Listen and respond to what the future is telling us. Keep our women in law, give them a different perspective on work and career and embrace the change.
About the Author
Monique Sever is a paralegal and E-Discovery Supervisor at Harper Grey LLP. In addition to co-creating content for the first-ever electronic discovery and litigation technology course to be offered in BC, she is also an active member of the legal community. Monique is a member of the BC Paralegal Association, British Columbia Legal Management Association – Litigation Support Subsection, Association of Litigation Support Professionals (Vancouver), and International Legal Technology Association.