Marivonne R. Essex, "The Red Headed Lawyer"
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Getting down to (online) business

Posted March 10th, 2020 | by The Red Headed Lawyer

Many of us spend the day jumping from one family or work assignment to the next. And just like mail at the post office, it never stops – the next morning we get up and are faced with another set of duties. I understand it can be very difficult to put aside a block of time for any meeting, particularly a potentially emotional consultation about family legal matters. I’ve practiced for over 30 years, and have learned that everything I can do to make this process easier leads to a better result for my clients. Business is conducted every day with the touch of a button (or mouse), including family legal services. I have been meeting online with clients all over theĀ  country since 2015, and today I want to highlight online appointments as a valuable option offered by the Essex Law Firm.

Family law is personal

Without a doubt, the vast majority of cases I resolve pertain to highly personal matters. Wills, adoption, child custody, divorce – there is very little in this world that is more personal than your heirs, kids or marriage. For many years law was a face-to-face interaction, because entrusting a stranger with such emotionally charged topics required you to first develop a relationship. As technology made it increasingly convenient to “meet” without leaving your home or office, the only impediment to virtual appointments became the two parties. Will you feel comfortable relaying your story to me (and will I be comfortable receiving it and offering advice) without sitting in some dark, wood-paneled office? Yes, because times have changed.

Building the relationship online

A successful 21st century client-attorney relationship is still a relationship, but it can now develop in different ways. All of us (especially my younger clients) are 100% capable of dialing a phone or initiating a video conference via FaceTime or Skype. And while it may be counter-intuitive, my experience suggests a virtual relationship is just as valuable as any developed in the traditional face-to-face manner. I have enthusiastically offered online appointments for years – here are a few reasons why these are a win for all:

  • Less disruption to routines
    Let’s face it, when any of us have a 10 a.m. appointment for anything, we have to count backwards and determine when we have to start getting ready. This means where are the kids going to be, who walks the dog, what kind of traffic can I expect, what is the weather, etc, etc. Then once the meeting is over you have to drive back to your home or office. This mayhem can be avoided.
  • Less wasted time
    I’m referring to the time wasted once you arrive. We try to hurry this process along, but there are still steps to follow. You will check in, sit briefly in a waiting room, be offered water and coffee and eventually be led to a conference room. But there is wasted time on my side also – I have to be sure the room is prepared and any confidential papers are put away. I’ll wait for the call from reception before I either greet you in the lobby or in the conference room.
  • Fewer distractions
    When I walk into a lobby or an office, I’m taking in my new surroundings. Is the room well-appointed? Does the carpet have furniture marks (and if so, why are you moving your furniture around?). If you are meeting with someone for any reason (besides critiquing their decorating talents), this is counterproductive. But I’m human and I do it anyway, and I’m sure you all do it too when you could be thinking of the issues at hand.
  • Reduced missed appointments and reschedulings
    This is the bottom line – it’s so much easier to arrange for a 30- or 60-minute Skype or Facetime call in your home than to make the arrangements to drive across town, park and have an office visit. For this reason, clients are much less likely to cancel, reschedule or just be a no-show. And this is the same for me. If I’m (for example) delayed in court, I can always find a conference room and be fully prepared for your call. These kind of meetings also enable me to be more precise with my scheduling so we can get down to business sooner.

A better, faster, more cost-effective result

The idea of meeting with me and discussing legal matters without sitting in my office may seem strange. I assure you, it’s not. We will get down to business sooner, get more done on each call and generally can expect a faster conclusion. And in my profession, a faster conclusion is always more cost-effective for you. You can book your online appointment easily on my website within minutes. If you haven’t tried it, you’ll be surprised how easy and secure (and productive!) online meetings can be.