Lawyers have a language all their own, and sometimes its purpose seems to be to obscure meaning rather than to facilitate it. The same can be said of many professional disciplines: accounting, medicine and investment securities, to name three. Professionals in such fields often interact, either in serving the same clients or working together in the same organizations, and getting their jargon to translate well can be a challenge.
Information technology is another potential area for miscommunication. On the whole, lawyers and IT folks communicate well enough. But where they don’t, it’s because they’re using similar words and ideas that mean different things to each. Take the example of using computer technology in discovery. Here, the responsibility is on the lawyer to tell the IT person the rules of the game, what they’re looking for and what needs to be put aside. When it comes to hardware and software, again it’s the responsibility of the lawyer to educate the IT person on what capabilities are needed, and the IT person needs to be clear with the lawyer what can and cannot be done to address the requests. It’s a common process in life: active listening to make sure the other person understands what is being said.
It’s important in such a process to keep the complexity of technology itself from becoming a barrier. That’s why common and user-friendly equipment such as a desktop scanner is so helpful. The process of using a ScanSnap is simple yet it can accomplish very complex objectives, such as creating searchable digital files that are useful for everything from litigation discovery to ensuring the protection of client records. And it is user-directed, so extensive technical help isn’t necessary.
Ultimately, scanning facilitates delegation, the principle by which any successful organization thrives. The starting point for delegation is defining what is needed, and who can most efficiently achieve what is needed. Scanning delegates document management responsibilities in a very real way to lawyers, leaving them in control without taking large amounts of time. By making the scanning process something that lawyers themselves can handle, IT personnel are freed to do the more sophisticated tasks that only they are best suited to do – without frustration across the communication gap.
*Ed is regular contributor to the ScanSnap Community. Each month he’ll answer any document management legal questions you have in a new recurring post called, “Coach’s Column” by practice management consultant, Ed Poll. You can submit your legal questions to Ed by visiting the Submit Your Question page and indicating your question is for Ed.
Visit Ed’s community: www.lawbizforum.com