Yesterday was a big day in the Province of Ontario: there are no more Civil Courts that do not permit service by email. Our first reaction? Get rid of our fax line.
Ah, such a liberating feeling – walking into 2021 fax free. I am particularly glad to be free of the (usually older) lawyers who feel the need to email and fax the same document. That wasn’t annoying in the least. (sarcasm alert!)
The sudden modernization of our Civil Court system is a nice bonus for suffering through the pandemic. Of course, there are some lawyers who are not adapting well and for them, it is likely frustrating to feel forced out of a profession that has let them practice as if it is still 1950.
I had a matter a few weeks ago where the lawyer clearly was not adapting well: they could only use video conferencing with the aid of a junior, literally fell off their chair on screen during a hearing and then took a call, without turning off their video or mike during a break in the hearing. The rest of us were all waiting for the cat filter to appear, it was that level of disaster.
For the rest of us, it is liberating to litigate using tech we use in our personal lives.
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. It’s important we ensure non-tech savy counsel are not discriminated against: helping them with tech or alerting them to their need for help is important.
It’s also important to set boundaries for working from home – we’re seeing a lot of burnout one year into the pandemic and part of that is due to lawyers not turning off the work tech at all. I’ve been guilty of that – working way later than I normally would and missing my commute to and from the real office that lets me morph from lawyer to wife and mom mode. I’m trying to substitute that for a “musical interlude” by playing piano between work and dinner ….. or playing some XBox (it’s not work, it’s just fun).
So, farewell dear fax number. It’s been 28 wonderful years, but now I’m losing your number and yes, it’s you, it’s not me.
Inga B. Andriessen, JD