Divorce in the Digital Age
By: Sabrina Layman, Attorney
Whether it’s turning on your oven, feeding your pet or locking your front door, you can do almost anything through your computer or mobile device; including getting a divorce.
We leverage apps and automated devices because they make our everyday lives easier. The field of law is no different! Firms, clients and the court system desire a greater level of convenience and efficiency.
Here are a few ways that technology is enhancing the field of law, and the lives of our clients:
A better use of time
Isn’t it bizarre to think about a time when attorneys had to make multiple copies of 4,000-page document? A) That’s a lot of trees; and, B) considering that attorneys bill by the hour, imagine what else they could be doing with that time! E-filing is a game changer. Here in King County, all documents are submitted to the courts electronically. Gone are the days of walking down to the courthouse to submit documents.
We can work with you, wherever you are
Using the Puget Sound area as an example, there are a number of residents employed by international companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Boeing and the US Navy. When such individuals are going through a divorce, they don’t always have the luxury of dealing with it from home. They are often traveling or operating in a different time zone and do not have the ability to fly home to sign documents or meet with us. For instance, there was a client who needed to finalize his divorce from Shanghai. It was no problem with use of Skype, scanners and DocuSign; we were able to have him review the documents in real time, approve them and sign them.
If a client is required to testify while abroad, we can make arrangements to place him or her with a court reporter or notary who can provide authentication for depositions and seek approval of the court to allow video or telephonic testimony in court.
With a computer and webcam available, we can work with you just as we would in the office (minus the ability to shake your hand). Our clients can rest assured that we have layered systems in place to ensure their security and privacy.
Ability to engage experts from anywhere in the world
The Internet enables us to reach experts whose testimonies are vital to a case, regardless of their location. For example, a recent case required the testimony of an expert valuator in a niche industry, residing in the United Kingdom. It would not have been feasible for him to fly all the way to Washington State to testify. Because of today’s technology, we were able to connect with him via Skype, with a court reporter on his end to verify his identity. We’ll take every opportunity to leverage technology in order to involve the right people and build the strongest possible case for our clients.
Virtual offices: a word of warning
In my view, firms should still have a brick and mortar location even if they depend on technology. Prospective clients should be aware that virtual offices are not the same as having technological advances for communication. If a law office does not have an actual location, there could be an opportunity for fraud wherein a potential client sends information to a “fake office” and then finds out that he or she has had their identity stolen or money is lost. Whether it’s in person or over Skype or FaceTime, you should always have the opportunity to meet with the person representing you. If that option is not available, it’s possible that the other party’s intentions may be malicious.
At Brewe Layman, clients can feel safe knowing that we offer both alternatives: meeting us in person (at our offices in Everett, Seattle and Mt. Vernon) or online, via their preferred technology.
Social connections and online resources
There’s no doubt that social media is one of the most powerful forms of communication for firms, attorneys and clients. We use it frequently to share our original blogs, helpful articles and other resources (like our Divorce Guides and videos) with current and prospective clients. Some of these social posts have resulted in new connections via Twitter and LinkedIn and even inquiries via Facebook Messenger. We love social media and are always excited to converse with clients on their favorite platforms!
In addition to serving as an information hub, our website also offers clients the ability to view monthly statements and make payments. If you have suggestions for other tools that would be useful to you, we would be happy to hear your ideas!
Considering the strides made in such a short period of time, imagine what else will be possible in the coming years! Whether you embrace technology or prefer to carry out your case in a more traditional way, Brewe Layman will accommodate your choice. Knowing your communication preferences is important and we look forward to leveraging every instrument in our “tech-toolbox” to make your life a little easier.