As you know, in this column I examine how individual solo and small-firm lawyers are using new technologies in their day-to-day practices. Hopefully, my columns will encourage and help other lawyers to do the same.
In today’s column you will meet Mitch Jackson, a California personal injury attorney, and will learn how he uses the wearable technology Google Glass in his law firm. Mitch founded his law firm, Jackson & Wilson, Inc., with his wife in 1988. Since then they’ve dedicated their practice to representing victims of personal injury and wrongful death.
It’s entirely possible that you’ve already heard of Mitch. Whether on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube, he has an incredibly strong social media presence. Most recently, part of his online focus has been on his use of Google Glass in his law practice. So of course he immediately came to mind when I conceived of the idea for the column. I knew I had to reach out to Mitch and explore how he uses Google Glass in his practice — and whether the technology is actually useful or whether it’s too nascent to be particularly helpful for lawyers.
It turns out, Mitch is realistic about the limitations of Google Glass in its present state. Even so, he believes that investing time into learning how to use it now it will pay off. “I see it as a short- and long-term play. How practical is it in the practice of catastrophic injury and death cases? It’s not quite there yet,” he admits. “Of course I could do some — but not all — of the things I use Glass for using my smartphone. But wearable mobile technology is the future, in my opinion. So that’s why I’m using it now — to get comfortable with it. I want to be at the forefront of where the technology is going. That way I’ll understand how it needs to improve and how I can use it in my practice to improve the client experience and give me an edge over my competitors. That’s why I’m incorporating Google Glass into my workflow as much as I can.”
Despite the newness of Google Glass, Mitch is implementing it into his law practice as much as possible and hopes to use it during trial in the near future. “I’ve used it to record interviews of witnesses and during depositions to videotape the proceeding so that my client can watch it later,” he says. “And, I was planning to use Glass earlier this year in two jury trials, with the consent of the judge and opposing counsel, but both cases settled. I must admit that although I’m glad we were able to resolve the cases, I was a bit disappointed in not having the opportunity to use Glass during trial.”
When I asked how Mitch expects to use Google Glass during trial, he replied: “In the near future, and subject to court approval, I hope to use Glass to pick my juries and examine witnesses. For example, I anticipate picking a jury here in California and use Glass to confidentially interact in real time with my jury consultant back in New York. Based upon the responses and body language she observes from the real-time feed, she can share follow-up questions and concerns via my ear bud. Information and issues she finds in her database searches that I need to know about will be discreetly displayed to my Google Glass screen.”
Another way that he uses Google Glass is to communicate with clients. “I use Google Glass to stay connected with my clients and stay on top of my calendar and social media. Each new client is added to my Glass contact list and throughout the course of the day I can easily monitor and respond to inquiries regardless of where I am or what I’m doing,” he explains. “For example, I’ll use the camera function of Google Glass to share real-time images and videos with clients while working on pleadings or taking the deposition of a witnesses. They enjoy getting an update with me holding up a finished pleading or settlement check and tell me that they appreciate the extra effort and prompt service.”
According to Mitch, there are many other ways that he uses Google Glass in his practice, ranging from client interviews and presentations to staying abreast of information relevant to his practice. “Using Google Glass, I take advantage of the Evernote app to dictate short notes about case files while thumbing through documents, working out, or going for a run to the beach. During meetings and interviews, I’ll use the same feature to download a checklist or outline to Google Glass that I can review during the interaction without distractions. There’s no need to look down at a paper or my iPad since the outline is right in front of me when I need it,” he says. “Also, Google Glass apps like YourShow allow me to give unique presentations in and out of the office by simply tapping the side of Glass or swiping my hands in the air to change slides. Similarly, updating several of my social media platforms and getting directions, news updates, and client birthday reminders are just a tap or voice command away. I’m also using it for videos to see what a construction site or accident scene looks like with me out at the scene.”
Mitch is adamant that Google Glass is the wave of the future — and I’m inclined to agree with him. That’s why he encourages other lawyers to start to learn about and experiment with wearable technologies like Google Glass: “Don’t be afraid to make a ruckus and be a bit disruptive. If you’re doing things like every other lawyer in town then you’re probably doing it wrong. Without a doubt, Google Glass already improves my ability to represent my clients and has the potential to drastically improve the client service that I provide in the future. Smart lawyers in any practice area need to understand that any type of technology that improves the client experience and relationship is a must for long-term success.”
So that’s how one personal injury attorney uses Google Glass to support his practice and provide better service for his clients. What about you? Are you or an attorney you know using technology in a creative or unusual way in your law firm? If so, drop me an email at email@example.com. I’m always looking for new attorneys to feature in this column.
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business and Community Relations at MyCase, web-based law practice management software. She’s been blogging since 2005, has written a weekly column for the Daily Record since 2007, is the author of Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York. She’s easily distracted by the potential of bright and shiny tech gadgets, along with good food and wine. You can follow her on Twitter at @nikiblack and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.