Washington Lawyer - August 2017 - 12

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

TECHNOLOGY
BOLSTERS ATTORNEY-CLIENT CONNECTION
By Anna Stolley Persky

L

ong before smartphones, emails,
websites, and WhatsApp, lawyers who
practiced international law had a few
certainties in their lives. They knew they
were destined for telephone conferences
at odd hours and heavy travel schedules for
face-to-face meetings.

These days, lawyers don't face quite the same
communications challenges of yesteryear. Their
lives have been made easier and their practices
more efficient due to technological developments.
"The heavy use of email has made it a lot easier to
coordinate with clients from other time zones," says
Adam J. Biegel, an Alston & Bird LLP partner who
leads the firm's D.C. antitrust team. "I can go days
and days working on a deal with a client from
Australia, for example, with efficient handoffs via
email and little need to talk on the phone."
The advent of the cellular phone - and then the
smartphone - were "game-changers" for lawyers
who wanted to get out of the office on occasion,
Biegel says.
"I remember in 1998, I thought I was really ahead
of the curve when I got my first cell phone and
checked my work voicemail while driving into the
office," Biegel says. "I thought that was super high
tech and that I was getting a jump on my day."
Biegel points out that now he can use his phone
to look up a government regulation or read a court
opinion without ever having to "power up" his
computer or call back into the office for help.
"It used to be that if you wanted to get a
document, you had to go into the office," says

Alston & Bird LLP

ADAM J. BIEGEL

WASHINGTON LAWYER

For Olesya Barsukova-Bakar, a partner at Hogan
Lovells, technology has helped limit the need for
extensive foreign travel.
"Using videoconferencing and instant chats makes
things much more efficient," says Barsukova-Bakar,
who represents emerging and mature private and
public companies from around the world. "I can
still talk to my clients 'face to face' but don't have
to waste time traveling to the other side of the
world."
Barsukova-Bakar adds that most transaction
closings are now accomplished electronically.
"No more of these enormous conference rooms
filled with hundreds of closing folders," says
Barsukova-Bakar. "The only thing we always do
in person is celebrate!"

Anna Stolley Persky is a regular contributor
to Washington Lawyer.

"I can go days and days working on
a deal with a client from Australia,
for example, with efficient handoffs
via email and little need to talk on
the phone."

Adam J. Biegel

12

Biegel, who regularly handles cross-border and
international antitrust issues. "Now, if I'm at my
son's soccer game and a client asks me what the
merger threshold is in Ukraine, I can find it right
there on the sideline."

* AUGUST 2017 *


http://www.dcbar.org

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