Tuesday, August 21, 2001

COMMENT
The Lawyers Thank the PC

This month the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of the personal computer (PC). Many stories have been spun about how the PC has changed the world, but the impact of the PC to the legal profession cannot be ignored. Even lawyers owe a lot to the PC and have a lot to thank for.

When the PC arrived, contracts that once took hours to type and hours to re-type could suddenly be revised in a moment. They could even be recycled for other clients. Our lawyer Uncle Edgardo Aceron who has been practising law in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro Philippines since the late 1960's told us that he used to have six secretaries who typed his pleadings that he wrote on yellow pad page by page. Each one of them had her own Olympia typewriter to tinker with.Twenty-five years hence, he bought an IBM compatible PC/XT that run Wordstar 4.0 and cut down his secretarial work pool to just one.

Nowadays, the PC is even more useful not just as a word processor but also as a box full of legal information. We can now access the entire 100 years of Philippine jurisprudence in CD ROM through the popular Lex Libris Series. Leather bound law books that used to adorn and eat half the space of law offices have become absolete. We can also read the latest Philippine Supreme Court decision and circulars through the internet at www.supremecourt.gov.ph. There is no need to wait for the release of the third party Supreme Court reporters that are often bulky and expensive. Likewise, laws are published by law firm libraries online like www.chanrobles.com. This made research as quick and simple as clicking a mouse.

The PC has also introduced us to the lawyer softwares. We have programs that can help draft simple deeds of sale, wills and quitclaims. We just type in the details at the prompt of the cursor, and we have exactly the contract that we need. No more bothering a lawyer for the ordinary contracts that non-lawyers throught were esoteric.

The PC has also evolved its own set of laws and rules ranging the expanse of intellectual property, privacy, and crime -- thus, creating a field of law in itself. Some lawyers have fashioned themselves as e-lawyers and have made the field of comptuer technology law as an expertise. With present technology, we can see that in the near future, litigation will be conducted through the internet with the aid of the PC and lawyers need not come to court. People will also negotiate big contracts, not just the consumer goods purchases, on the net through the aid of the PC. Lawyers will occupy a window on people's PC, accessed and paid only when clicked.

Indeed, the PC has brought efficiency in many aspects of the legal profession. The PC is now the lawyers best friend. It is the lawyer's means to process, source and send legal information. As the world celebrates the PC's birth, the lawyers heave a sigh. Thank God for the PC lawyering in the new millenium is easy.


3 comments:

Vincent Isles said...

Hi,

This might be too late, but I came upon your post while on the process of researching online databases of Philippine laws and jurisprudence. Correct me if I am wrong, but those laws and current decisions are not protected by copyright, right? So therefore anyone can create a database out of them, and if one chooses to release the database using one of the copyleft licenses (say GFDL or CC-BY-SA-NC) then we can bring this collection into the ordinary law student, government official, etc. only at the cost of the CD's. Please email me for any followups. Thanks! --Vincent Isles (islesv@gmail.com)

renee alberts said...

When you think about it, the world would be a much different place without the PC. The fast-paced ways of the industries today are due to this invention. Research, communication and information at your fingertips. For instance, clients in NYC can immediately share information and paperwork with Sacramento lawyers

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