There is no doubt that technology has played a large and successful role in assisting lawyers during their representation of their clients. Websites such as iPhoneJD and The Mac Lawyer demonstrate such usefulness. Our law firm, Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. utilizes much of the modern day technology in a way that allows us to stay in constant contact with each other and our clients. However, I am often reminded that perhaps our greatest asset is not our ability to adapt to the changing demands of the legal world, but our unwavering importance of face-to-face contact.
I was recently reminded of this during a meeting with a Social Security Disability client a few months before his hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. The client had previously served in the armed forces and after being honorably discharged, entered the private sector and created a fairly successful career for himself. However, as my client began to grow older, he suffered with several degenerative conditions that, despite his efforts, prevented him from working.
As I met with my client to discuss the approaching hearing, we started to build a timeline of his treatment when we discovered that several of his medical records were missing. We quickly ordered the missing records and, at the same time, decided that his case would be best served if we motioned the Administrative Law Judge for a consultative examination to set my client’s functional limitations with regard to his back conditions. The medical records arrived at about the same time the examination took place and both clearly identified the functional limitations that plagued my client.
As a result, my client’s hearing before the judge was over within minutes. The judge thanked the client for his patience and stated that his conditions met a medical listing within the Social Security Regulations, thereby granting him a fully favorable decision. Outside of the courtroom, my client thanked me and specifically asked me to relay his graciousness to our office for taking the time to meet with him face-to-face on several occasions.
My client’s words were impactful and lead to this moment of reflection. Our law firm’s desire to personally meet with clients is something we will never give up. There is no doubt that we will continue to use the benefits of modern day technology but we will certainly do it in a manner that coincides with our face-to-face meetings.