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Legal Tech: Texting clients

By Peter LaSorsa In a recent survey more young people are utilizing text messages than email as a form of communication.  In fact, both Google and Facebook are investing heavily in the text message application space.  The difference between SMS (a text message) and email is not just the weight and friction of the user interface and cognitive load of having a subject line.  The main difference is in social and mental framing of that medium of communication. Sending a text message to someone’s Gmail or Yahoo mail does not make it an email.  Most young people (read this as your clients for the next 30 years) believe email to be too slow and formal and prefer to text.  As an attorney, a decision has to be made as to whether to fully engage in the world of text messages and if so, how will you preserve the client communication? There are times when a text message makes sense, your client is running late, do to a late train, the train is crowded and a phone call probably will sound garbled—instead a quick text (stuck on train is 15 min late k for appt?).  Whether we like it or not that is the way the 20 something generation thinks and communicates.  I quick text response of (fine) and the issue is solved.  The advantage to this type of communication is that you may be out of the office and rushing back for the appointment and now you can relax knowing you will have extra time. I know many will argue an email will accomplish the same task but only if both parties have smart phones with email capability. Additionally, if you are just getting out of court you may have 10 or 20 emails in your inbox and by the time you get to them, it is too late to take advantage of your extra 15 minutes. There is software that will allow you to save the text messages, both sent and received and add them to your clients file. This is a short article and doesn’t address many of the issues but should be food for thought as to whether to text with clients and if so how to go about saving the messages.
Posted on December 8, 2010 by Chris Bonjean
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