I have spent the last day going through our closed files stored in the office. The process will take a few more days to complete. Lawyers are required to keep files for a period of time before they are destroyed. I usually keep files well beyond that time and only purge files when I run out of storage space. Although I dread the process, it always proves to be very enlightening. It’s a trip down memory lane which causes me to reflect over my career as a lawyer. Every file I touch in the process tells its own story. I see the names of clients from years ago who I had the privilege of representing. It brings back the struggles of those clients and the steps we took to help them. I see the letters, court filings, depositions and all the other paper that made up their files. Some had boxes and boxes of documents. Others had a small manilla file folder. As I looked at these documents, I remembered every case. The process of cleaning out the storage room always takes more time as it should because I reminisce about the struggles and successes of every case. As I reflect on those files, I think about whether I would have done anything different in the case. The purging process becomes an educational exercise. It allows me to see how much I have progressed as an attorney over the years.
Most of the files contain names of clients who have remained friends. Hopefully, all of them know that I fought as hard as I could on their behalf. Even in cases which did not turn out the way we wanted, I hope my clients always feel that they had someone willing to fight for them. As Fortman Law has become a nationwide firm, we have never lost sight of our core values. We understand that we are privileged to be in a profession to help people who may be at the lowest point of their life. In our franchise law cases, we speak with people on a daily basis who have lost everything and are financially devastated. In our personal injury cases, we meet with clients who have serious injuries caused in a split second. The issues our clients face in which they are seeking our help will forever change their lives. It’s an awesome responsibility. Going through the old files helps me remember and energizes me to continue to fight as hard as I can for my clients.
Fortman Law has, for the most part, become paperless. The files that use to take 50 boxes in the storage room have now become electronic which I can view at any time on my computer, phone or tablet. The technology explosion in the practice of law has made our practice more efficient and has saved on storage space. Those are the benefits of technology. I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. However, now that I’m here I have to admit technology has its advantages. We can keep electronic files forever. The days of having to purge closed files from our storage room will be a thing of the past. However, as much as I complain about my back getting sore from moving boxes of closed files, I will miss the process of cleaning out old files. I now realize that at the age of 55 I have become my parents. I catch myself telling the younger staff about the good ol’ days of the practice of law. What this recent purge of files has taught me is that I do not have to wait to go through dusty boxes of old paper every year or so to have to reflect on my practice. Now, I can do it whenever I want by just tapping into our archived electronic files. I can follow former clients on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The free exchange of information with my colleagues to improve my practice is instantaneous. I have learned, albeit reluctantly, that technology is not to be feared but embraced. T
Fortman Law is committed to be as technologically advanced as the much larger firms we face. You can follow us on all the social media platforms (see links below). We can meet with clients who are located throughout the United States by Zoom. We have a Youtube channel which allows us to interact with former, current and prospective clients. In the end, unlike my parents, I look forward to the expansion of technology in my life.
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Law Office of Jonathan E. Fortman, LLC