Will lawyers take advantage of wearable tech?
Wearable technology: it’s been the topic of discussion in technology circles for some time now. Pundits have forecasted that in 2014 there will be a rapid uptick in the use of wearable technologies such as smart watches and Google Glass as prices drop and they become more readily available.
Last week, some of those predictions came true when Google Glass was finally released to the general public — albeit for just one day at the very high price of $1,500. Even so there continue to be well-founded reports that a consumer version of Glass will be released in the fall for the much lower price of $600 and that Apple will most likely release the iWatch in September.
The question remains, however: will these technologies catch on with the general population? And even more importantly to readers of my column, will lawyers have any practical use for these devices?
Some lawyers have been convinced from the get go that Google Glass has a place in law office. One such lawyer is Mitch Jackson, a California personal injury lawyer. In November 2013, Mitch suggested on his blog that lawyers would indeed find uses for Google Glass, such as during voir dire (online: http://jacksonandwilson.com/48-hours-of-google-glass/): “Last night I was playing around with Glass and trying to figure out how to have notes or an outline appear. For example, maybe notes to use during an interview or an outline to use during a deposition or jury selection. I may be picking a jury and starting trial in 2 weeks using Glass. The judge is OK with me using Glass in court … I’ll be using the outline functions I mentioned above and, recording my voir dire for later review and use.”
Of course, not everyone is convinced that Google Glass will benefit lawyers. Jeffrey Taylor of the Droid Lawyer blog, a staunch believer in the effective use of technology in the practice of law, remains unconvinced (online: http://thedroidlawyer.com/2014/04/google-glass-may-finally-have-a-place-in-law-firms/): “Long-time readers know that I’m not too enthusiastic about the potential of Google Glass in law firms. Namely, I’m just skeptical that Glass actually adds value to a lawyer’s tech arsenal. Of course, I’m not saying Glass isn’t valuable or useful, I just don’t know that lawyers can fully benefit from such an expensive piece of technology.”
But even Jeffrey was impressed by one Phoenix-based personal injury law firm’s recent use of Google Glass. As reported in a recent Business Insider article (online: www.businessinsider.com/lawyers-use-google-glass-to-win-cases-2014-4), attorneys James Goodnow and Marc Lamber from the law firm Fennemore Craig started using Google Glass in a very creative and innovative way as a means to record the effects of serious injuries on their clients’ lives.
For example, they loaned a Google Glass device to one of their clients, a double amputee, so that he could wear it to record and document his day-to-day activities and the severe limitations that he faces because of his injuries. Thus far it proven to be a novel and effective use of Google Glass.
So there’s a lesson to be learned here, my fellow lawyers: don’t automatically discount new technologies just because they’re different and untested. Instead, learn about them, keep an open mind, and think critically — but not skeptically — about their use in your practice.
Not all emerging technologies will have a place in your practice, but some have the potential to streamline your practice and allow you to better represent your clients — it’s oftentimes simply a matter of being able to imagine the possibilities.
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, an intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached email@example.com.