[Open-Legislation] Communication for legal professionals

Francis Davey fjmd1a at gmail.com
Tue Nov 12 10:36:04 UTC 2013

Well, I am not exactly a standard legal professional, but most of my
communications are via e-mail. LinkedIn isn't very useful as a
*communication* device. I can place information about me there and make
initial connections, but the various "groups" are pretty useless. Much
noise, little signal.

Facebook could work well I suspect, but there's too much of a confusion
between work/family/friends for it to be all that safe a method. A
dedicated business personality might work, I doubt a page would. Google+'s
circles are supposed to solve this problem to an extent, but it doesn't
seem used enough (and other social networks even less so). That said I
think I have made some client contacts via facebook.

Some clients share documents with me via google docs and we communicate via
comments/chat on that.

Some clients use chat (various protocols) to discuss things with me -
sometimes even obtaining advice that way. Skype IM in the same way.

Email dominates, with telephone and in person following behind, other
methods are less significant.

A few clients - particularly those wanting web based documents drafted
(such as website terms and conditions) - use DCVS, mostly git, occasionally
mercurial. This is great since it allows us to track really carefully the
versions of a document and also to fork in various ways and I can work
directly with the client's own framework, eg a ruby on rails website.

However it suffers from the problem that there is no _good_ widely accepted
format for drafting contract-style documents with anything like a
reasonable surrounding framework other than word and clones. Word documents
do not play well with git (even perforce - which I have used once or twice
- is a bit clunky in its treatment of them). Drafting aesthetically
pleasing HTML requires extensive use of css and ways to avoid that being
messed up by client style sheets. All in all unsatisfactory.

SMS and tweets just don't seem convenient for giving legal advice and they
are used merely for prodding people to get in touch by other means.

Even more rarely I participate in more complex project management systems
used by clients, eg basecamp. I once had a client give me documents in an
XML form that resulted in me writing some XSLT transforms to get the
information I needed and put them in a proper format for submission to
court. That is unusual.

So, in summary, this is mostly led by clients. If they want to do it that
way, I will have a go.


2013/11/12 Clemens Wass <clemens at wass.at>

> Dear all,
> I was wondering how legal professionals are communicating and if you see
> any changes coming? What is your perception?
> - I assume a traditional website and e-mail communication are still the
> most important means of communication, right?
> - Do you use social networks like LinkedIn or even Facebook? And if so,
> for which purposes (communication with colleagues, discussions,
> marketing/having a profile for potential clients)? How important are such
> networks to show your competencies etc.?
> Looking forward to your thoughts!
> Best,
> Clemens
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Francis Davey
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