For those of us who have worked in the legal profession since before the days of correcting Selectric typewriters, all the technological advances in the last few years have been somewhat mind-boggling. Technology is really only in its infancy and its impact on how we do our work and provide legal services to the community is just starting to emerge.

Fax machines, high-speed copy machines, warp-speed computers, database software, the Internet, e-mail, voice mail — all have had an unbelievable impact on the legal profession as a whole. What used to take days now takes a few hours or less to accomplish. The upside for clients is that they receive information more quickly than before. The downside, according to one paralegal, is that legal costs have skyrocketed. And firms sometimes pass on a portion of technology costs to clients, including higher charges for copies and faxes and for hiring outside vendors to create databases or image documents.

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