Remember the “good old days” when in order to communicate with someone you had to be standing near them or be tethered to a phone on the wall? Today we are blessed with so many more communication options including email and text messaging. They’re great; I use them all the time, but I want to point out that they can sometimes drive up legal costs!
If someone has a legal question or needs me for some legal purpose, an electronic method (usually email) is often the first to come to mind. Usually this works great. It allows me to work uninterrupted and when I have a break I can go through my messages and respond.
A trend I have been noticing however, is that people are now relying so heavily on electronic communications they are trying to use it as a replacement for a good old-fashioned conversation. When I say conversation, I mean a discussion that requires back-and-forth dialog, questions, and an exchange of ideas.
What’s The Problem?
Attempting to have a conversation electronically often (1) takes much longer to get the ‘answer’ than an actual conversation does and (2) can consume more time than it would to simply speak to each other. Something that can be resolved in a 5-10 minute phone call turns into a dozen or more emails over many days sometimes taking 3, 4 or 5 times as much time to resolve. This in turn leads to bigger legal costs.
My advice is to use electronic methods to pass along facts, documents, or to ask a question that can be fully explained and answered in a few sentences. For a conversation, I recommend using the old-fashioned method of talking to each other!