Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

1410 Posts and Counting

801 and Counting.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | January 27, 2012

No. 801

Don't write Santa. Email him!

As 2012 has just begun, and I have just passed the 800th post in this blog, a late New Year’s Resolution.

Less paper.  Lots less.

Actually, I’ve been working on this one for a while, but now is the time to press onward and upward.

I resolve not to send anything by mail that can be sent electronically.  Although the Rules call for service of pleadings by mail, most lawyers will accept service by email if you ask.  So I will ask. Forcefully, if necessary.

Replacing a paper communication with an electronic one has plenty of positives and no — yes, no — negatives.

You can write and send an email in a fraction of the time it takes to write a letter, print it, sign it,  address an envelope, print it, stuff paper in paper, apply postage and deliver the final product to the Post Office.  But the benefits do not stop there.

The message arrives at its destination in a nanosecond.

The reply often comes in minutes.

Virtually no space is required to store it.

Less effort is required to retrieve it from electronic storage.

I can also access it away from the office via the cloud.

So why are so many of us clinging to paper?  Primarily, it is because we are afraid to let go.  Of course there are times (few times) when there is no choice. Such a choice should be dictated by the needs and expectations of others.

Less paper means electronic books, too. Less storage here, a lot less.  I borrowed an ebook from the public library recently.  It returned itself, even though I forgot that it was due.

I just added “Chuck Newton Rides the Third Wave” to the blogroll. That blog has seen over 2,000 posts and is still going strong.  Chuck Newton is a minimalist. You wouldn’t catch him buying any unnecessary office supplies.  He says that all you really need to practice law is a laptop, a cell phone and a spare bedroom.  Everything else is candy for your ego.

Newton says that lawyers buy (or rent) things they don’t need because they worry about their image. That includes fancy offices. You pay big money to rent high class real estate and then spend more to pay the utilities and furnish it. They call it an investment, Newton says, but it is really a sink hole for money. At at the end of it all, your “investment” is worth zero.   Newton says that clients would rather get better service at lower fees.  And how do you lower fees?  Send fewer letters and more email.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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