Nov/Dec 2001

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To Boldly Go

I don’t know about you, but I will never forget that moment, 25 years ago, when Han Solo flipped the switch, the Millennium Falcon zipped into hyperspace, the million stars instantaneously became mere streaks of light and my way of viewing the world was altered forever. Whew!

Since then, in my book, there’s been nothing to rival that moment for sheer wonder. But as a culture, the past 25 years have certainly presented us with some paradigm-twisting experiences in every aspect of our world. Not the least of which is how we communicate with each other.

Every lawyer who ever shared a desk with twin rolodexes knows that the thin sliver of aluminum palm computer in his or her pocket is a much more efficient way to track a vast collection of contacts and potential clients. Anyone who has ever sweated through a beauty-contest presentation to a corporate client should know how the use of simple projected slides can streamline and clarify complex information. Even fee setting has been transformed by the ability to track billing and collections information automatically.

Now, if your firm doesn’t have a Web site … well, you can just forget it. In fact, a mere Web site isn’t really enough. Make it a portal. Make it interactive. Make it sing and dance. Make it actually deliver the legal services at the click of a mouse.

You’ll find some great information in this issue. We’re taking a look at how the use of various technologies can launch your marketing activities into this new reality. From an analysis of contact management systems to some straight talk about online bidding, this month’s authors bring you information about marketing on the cutting-edge of the wired world.

True, nothing will ever replace the good old chemistry of interpersonal relationships. True, clients tell us over and over that it is their confidence, respect and admiration for their lawyer that ensures both referrals and long-term relationships. But getting there is the trick. And your world is filling with technologies that can really give your business development efforts a charge.

If you haven’t already, plug in. It’s time.

Merrilyn Astin Tarlton