Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Computers are bad for you (unless you are a lawyer billing by the hour)

As I sit here reading the fifth draft of an 80 page lease, I can’t help but to think that if it had not been for the advent of the computer I could probably be doing something far more productive with my time.

Back in the big hair day of the early 80s when I was a practicing attorney and before the widespread use of computers and word processing software, it was rare that a lease would exceed 20 pages or go through multiple drafts before being finalized. Ironically, the advent of computers did not necessarily make the practice of law any more productive but instead encouraged the creation of excruciatingly long and complex documents that can be negotiated ad infinitum until either the lawyers tire of the game or the client finally screams "uncle."

Back in the good old days of low technology typewriters, onion skin paper, "white out," and correction tape making wholesale changes to a document was very difficult and time-consuming. Consequently documents were kept simple and were not over-negotiated. Have we really accomplished anything today by preparing complicating leases and having long protracted negotiations? Other than the exorbitant legal fees that often accompany these documents, probably not!

No comments: