Lewis Hulatt, Consultant solicitor with Major Family Law, the Divorce and Children Law specialists, based in Surrey comments:

You’ve come a long way, baby

Twice last week I had people tell me “You’ve come a long way!” which is positive however you interpret it.   Down in Surrey, I gave somebody my business card and they spotted that the physical offices were in Northumberland, but for our South East clients, we are as local as they need us to be.    Two days later and three hundred miles north, I had the same response on arriving at the Newcastle offices.  My taking a rare foray north was because the firm had arranged a seminar on law, technology and the Government’s plans for a dramatic increase in the use of electronic data and processes in the family courts.   It seemed a golden opportunity to meet those of my colleagues who I knew to speak with, but had not yet met.

The speakers included Counsel who had travelled up from London and had been based in Guildford: like solicitors, modern barristers base themselves where they find it convenient, use electronic communications and go physically if that is needed.   One of my other colleagues was unable to attend because she was presenting a webinar.   We are those kind of people.

Rewind 30 years.

Back in the 1980s, solicitors sent briefs written on ‘brief paper’ which was similar to A3 and demanded a long-carriage typewriter. As an articled clerk I was taught how to sew documents in the correct ribbon, tie red-tape to make a package of the bundles and affix seals.   When I finally got an office PC having previously used my own, I attached a dipping-ink pen to the top of the monitor to remind me what legal practice had been like when an elderly colleague started – different eras of BYOT.   He still thought using a biro instead of a fountain pen to sign documents was bad form – ‘infra dig’ as he put it.   As a consultant,  I am now remote working and there is very little hard-copy correspondence troubling the postman.   I am even tweeting and blogging – it has gone from a desk-filling manual typewriter to writing this on a tablet on a train in 30 years

As Fatboy Slim noted with an album I bought in Gateshead way back “You’ve come a long way, baby”