back to article Lawyers scared of computers

A Crown Court judge has blasted a lawyer's excuse for printing huge bundles of documents rather than delivering them on disc. The telling tale arrives via The Mirror's crime correspondent Jon Clements, who reports that at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday, Judge Francis Sheridan inquired as to why a pile of documents for a jury …


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  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Sudden outbreak of Common Sense

    Quick, enjoy it before the Rt Hon J Straw MP (Justice honcho) puts a stop to it.

    Seriously, this is well overdue.

    I couldn't stop laughing though about the bit where trial dates couldn't be release 'for data protection' reasons. If I were a journo, I'd be reporting them to the Data Protection thingy to get it sorted.

    Jut imagine it when Joe Crim says to the Judge, "I'm sorry MLord for not being here at the right time. The Clerk to the court wouldn't tell me the data of my trial due to data protection purposes"

    Mines the one with the Court Diary on CD in the pocket.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Verba Volant, Scripta... not so much

    "Judge Francis Sheridan inquired as to why a pile of documents for a jury couldn't be delivered digitally"

    And the answer is "because any bozo with a 200$ laptop can get such disk, get the documents, edit them and make another disk, and there will be no fscking way to tell which disk is the 'original'. On the other hand faking a printed, signed, stamped document is possible but it takes a lot more time and ability.

    I was under the impression that legal procedure _required_ printed/written document just for that reason. You know... "verba volant, scripta manent"...

    1. Crazy Operations Guy
      Thumb Up

      Document signing

      Most modern document writing software I know of has document signing built-in, which should be much more reliable than paper signing (given that they bothered to get the proper certs). Its not like that can't afford to spend a few hundred on a copy of Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Office, given how much they charge per hour...

      1. TimeMaster T


        You would be amazed at how fast management will say that paying for software is "too expensive", no mater how much they charge an hour.

        My last boss didn't want to pay a cent to replace the bootlegged copies of MS Office '03 that where on almost every machine in the office, I don't think there was even ONE paid version of Office in the place, and don't get me going on the CAD software. I was trying to do my job as IT manager and get the place compliant and legel but every time I tried it was "too expensive" and there was "no reason too".

        The funny thing is while he was saying this they where installing a US$400,000 CNC milling machine in the shop.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          In fairness

          to your boss CNC milling machines are a little bit awkward to pirate - you tend to have to pay for them. Just shows the attitude towards modern product types such as software - rip it off no one will know attitude has to stop.

  3. Adam Salisbury

    Festive Cynicism

    If you consider the cost of having a solicitor do something as basic a write a letter on oyur behalf it's no wonder they don't want to go digital. It beggars belief that solicitors are geniuely so technically incompetent

  4. Richard 120

    Just Government?

    In my experience it's an inordinately large percentage of Lawyers in any industry.

    Offices full of paper with about 50 people working in them and one PC hooked up to a modem (a modem! wtf is one of those?) doesn't seem to be out of place in the legal industry.

    I think they deal in books and dust, mainly so that the average person can't gather the information required to be their own legal counsel.

    1. Neil Brown

      "I think they deal in books and dust,"

      I'm not going to attempt to argue that we are the most dynamic of professions, but, the problem of lack of electronic access is self-perpetuating, unfortunately.

      I've been using a COOL-ER ereader for several months now, and I'm a huge fan - but, short of printing legislation from OPSI into PDF to carry around, along with articles etc. for reading offline / without a backlit screen, it is very difficult to get legal texts, or even statutes, in an accessible and portable electronic form.

      Which, in turns, leads to a reliance on books.

      Which, in turn, means that publishers see lawyers buying lots of books, and so produce contents as books.

      Some content is available electronically, but, not enough; perhaps this is gradually starting to change, but, I am not holding my hopes out yet.

      Legislation and case law should be accessible to all - in the same way that, when dealing with open source software, for example, someone might look to engage me to configure a system for them, or build a custom feature, but need not pay for the underlying code, no-one should have to pay me for access to "the law", but rather pays for my advice and experience in terms of interpreting or applying it to their situation.

      (However, before I'd be willing to put anything in the way of privileged, confidential or other non-public or personal information on my COOL-ER, I'd need encryption support.)

  5. Neil Stansbury
    Thumb Up

    Fear of own incompetence kills trees

    The moto for the entire civil service should be:

    Fear of own incompetence flushes country down toilet

    Not sure what that would be in Latin.

  6. Clay Landis
    Thumb Up

    Save a tree ...

    Kill a lawyer

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      No no no...

      All you do is suggest that they may be in breach of the data protection act in keeping sensitive legal information within their craniums, which could alter the outcome of ongoing legal proceedings.

      Also suggest that humans have been, in fact proven time and time again to be unreliable in recall, thereby further possibly jeopardising such proceedings even further.

      Moreover, humans have also been proven time and time again to be not 100% trustworthy nor discreet at all times.

      Then step back and watch..

      With any luck they will all just self-lobotomize.

      Lawyers... A shower of right bastards, every last one of them...

    2. Thomas 4

      Oustanding idea sir...

      ...perhaps we can recycle the lawyers remains to grow more trees as well!

  7. JohnG

    Data on paper doesn't count?

    So when you are in the business of losing other people's data, does the medium make a difference? One could argue that data on paper is more accessible than on a disc in that no device is needed to access the data. It sounds like this lawyer was taking the piss.

    1. Neil Brown

      "does the medium make a difference?"

      The Data Protection Act 1998, defines "data" in section 1, as "information which:

      (a) is being processed by means of equipment operating automatically in response to instructions given for that purpose,

      (b) is recorded with the intention that it should be processed by means of such equipment,

      (c) is recorded as part of a relevant filing system or with the intention that it should form part of a relevant filing system, or

      (d) does not fall within paragraph (a), (b) or (c) but forms part of an accessible record as defined by section 68." [which includes health records and the like.]

      On the basis of this, information stored on paper may not qualify as "data" for the purposes of the act if it not capable of automatic processing, or is not stored in (or is not, in itself) "a relevant filing system". A relevant filing system is basically something which has an index or a structure, which allows the capability of retrieving specific information about an identifiable individual.

      In the case of a bundle of paper, it's unlikely that this is the case - unless it has an index attached, which lists individuals by name, with each document on which they are mentioned - and, on this basis, probably is not data.

      But, I think what you are actually saying is that, irrespective of vaguaries of "data protection" law, the wider concept of privacy should be considered- the fact that a particular information storage system falls outside the requirements of the Data Protection Act does not mean that the document should be treated without care.

      (Sometimes, we do need a third party to give us, as a profession, a bad name...)

      1. John G Imrie


        An early end run around the DPA access requirements was to have an index on a computer, which could be quickly searched, and all the actual data stored on paper files.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I agree with JohnG...

      ...although that may be giving the lawyer a little too much intellectual credit. He may, just may, have been trying to make a point which quite rightly back-fired. The vast majority of data-loss that we mere mortals hear about are due to individual incompetence i.e. lost (read 'left') on a train, taxi, plane etc. If lawyers are too afraid that they're inept enough to leave a disc/USB stick somewhere they shouldn't they probably shouldn't be lawyers.

      Personally, I carry around three USB memory devices, one super-slim (credit card width), one standard and one just very, very small, after at least two years I've managed to lose none of them.

    3. Anonymous Coward


      My reason for this is simple, lawyers are not in the business of losing other people's data. They are in the business of making a boatload of dosh. Also last I checked (atleast here in the states) stuff NEEDS to be on paper. I couldnt go to a judge with a flash drive and a document on it and say heres the file with my employment contract in it. I would get laughed out of the room. (and probably thrown in jail as a terrorist or kiddie fiddler for bringing in a flash drive with god knows what on it)

      I will say though I want to know what brand of paper that lawyer likes AND the store he shops at so I can buy stock :)

      /Anon because I actually have a case against a former employer concerning breach of contract

    4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Data Protection Act (not sure which one)

      The last time I looked in detail in the act, it talked about computer readable information, which, if you take it literally, should mean paper records as scanners and OCR have existed for ages.

      1. Neil Brown

        "computer readable information"

        Not a definition which I've come across before, in the context of data protection, to be honest!

  8. Mike 42

    his reasoning makes sense to me

    it's easy to misplace a small USB disk, or CD. Give them a good few pounds of paper to carry around and anyone who leaves it on a train is bound to notice they've misplaced something.

    also copying and disseminating the paper copy would be much harder and take more time.

    Sysadmins shouldn't let users wander around with potentially sensitive data on CD / USB, without hadcuffing the physical media to them, or at least attaching it to a couple of breeze blocks for "security purposes" (and for the lulz).

    Should reduce the amount of people wanting to take data out of the safe and secure environment of the office unless it's absolutely nessecary (which it rarely is).

    1. Gerhard Mack
      Thumb Down

      It's even easier to lose data on paper.

      Not only is paper just as easy to leave behind it's also harder to dispose of when your done with it. Standard business practice is to just dump it in the trash or shred into easy to tape back together strips.

      At least I can wipe a USB key when I'm done with it.

  9. Red Bren

    Pot and Kettle?

    "We would also venture that the reason many legal bureaucrats like paper - and are thus prone to wrongly cite the Data Protection Act - is that it keeps them and their friends in work."

    Where as us IT types have absolutely no vested interest in providing the services and infrastructure required to digitise all these documents!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the legal sector

    Having visited several of the top legal firms in central London as a contractor, all with millions invested annually in digital 'solutions' for documents, they just still love paper.

    I've sat bemused looking across an atrium in a multi million pound office, with all it's projectors, laptops, wireless access and electronic document sharing (they all do this as a digital record of when someone's looked at something and who's edited it etc which is highly important), they still have reams of paper. One assistant seemed to be physically stuck in her office, bar the option of jumping over a five foot high wall of documents that had been stacked up around her desk.

    They actually employ people to print a digital copy off, hand it to a lawyer to edit, then return it to an assistant to re-enter the changes into the digital system.

    Welcome to an industry that just doesn't get 1) what a carbon footprint is 2) how to actually use IT to make your business faster, better, stronger (etc) rather than just more litigious.

    Still I guess they are lawyers, so love the litigation....

    1. Fatman

      Lawyers and paper

      How else do you expect them to justify their outrageous per hour charges?

      They have got to have warm bodies pushing all of that impressive paper around.

      God forbid that they should have to cut their fees!

  11. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    It is a lot worse than you think.

    Try to digitally communicate or find any direct communications channel/email address that will reply, even with something as simple as an acknowledgement of initial receipt, with top Government departments and/or officials and the conclusion that you cannot help but draw, is that they are also terrified of the new medium, to such an extent that they fall easy prey to IT.

    Given that it is the Way of the Future, it renders them, in their "bunkered mentalities", unfit for Future Purpose. It is almost as if they are afraid to voice an honest opinion which can be traced back to them and over which they will have to stand and defend.

    Probably they think that Security through Obscurity and Obfuscation is Real Smart, rather than nowadays Realising that it is Virtually Stupid and only Adds Mountains of Grief to their Molehill Problems......... and it does have more than just a Few Realising that they have Huge Dirty Little Secrets to Try and Hide and that is always going to be Obvious and Digitally Discoverable with Deep Packet Inspection/Semantic MetaData Analysis of Any and All Communications and will Petrify them even further into Inaction and/or Dodgy Action, .... you know the sort of thing, like the accidental office junior's shredding of important and revealing personal expenses claims, which are just too unbelievable to be thought, accidentally, and would then move into the weird and wonderfully wacky world of the criminal and dodgy enterprises.

    1. James O'Brien


      Reads the post again......

      I need sleep because surely that didnt just make sense AMFM

      /Troll cause its the only one that looks shocked.

      1. kissingthecarpet

        Not THE man from Mars

        He's man from mars *1*. The real MFM goes in for a lot of capitalisation as well, but his comments are usually of a more philosophic bent. (& as you say, a lot more impenetrable).

        This guys just a cheap copy.......

    2. John G Imrie


      For some time I have thought that the real man from Mars has been fiendishly killed, this post proves it.

      That or the software used for generating the posts has learnt sufficiently to be able to take over the world now.

      I for one welcome our Martian Software Buddies.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Juicy Lucy Virgin Soldiers .......... Crack Coding Troupers

        "For some time I have thought that the real man from Mars has been fiendishly killed, this post proves it.

        That or the software used for generating the posts has learnt sufficiently to be able to take over the world now." .... John G Imrie Posted Wednesday 23rd December 2009 17:56 GMT

        The post would then presumably prove the latter promising option, John G Imrie, but for now ITs ProgramMING would content itself with taking over from the outdated and outclassed PROMIS Software although I do suppose that leaves the world take over just like a walk in the park, although most definitely an Absolutely Fabulous Walk on the Wild Side of Life too.

        And kissingthecarpet just shows us all how easy it is to be duped and/or led with Simple Text and CompleXXXX Words [CodedD XSSXXXX TXT] into believing something which is totally false, ..."This guys just a cheap copy......." ..... allowing one to forge ahead, completely unhindered as if practically invisible, via the simple expedient of appearing quite normal. And whenever one knows what PROMIS is supposed to be able to do, you will certainly not expect anything which replaces it to be anything but extremely expensive not to have and something which one just has to have, at whatever the cost ..... for the Bargain of a Life Time.

        And yes ....... we are talking Holy Grail Type Key Stuff which renders Reality as you may know it, as AIMemory best Forgotten to make Best Beta Use of the Future as IT will be Revealed and Presented to you with SMARTer Media and NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT ProgramMINGs ...... Live Operational Virtual Environment Projects.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most lawyers are just mentally challenged

    it is pretty poor considering.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Justice and Counsel both wrong.

    Truth is, we, that is the general computerised populace, can "handle" documents about as well as micros~1 can "handle" writing software. As in, not so much, if you need it spelled out for you. Faking documents is just as easy as faking discs nowadays, that with producing them with computers and all that, altough signatures are still a problem of sorts. We could easily sign the disc so that any tampering is readily evident, provided we know how to use the tools, and those are neither standardised nor widely available, despite readily downloadable and free to boot.

    Thus, no, we bloody well have not figured out this problem properly yet. For one, there are two major systems (x509 certificates (ssl, s/mime, etc.) and openpgp (pgp/gpg)) with two wildly different protocols and operating models. We need both models, one protocol, no commercial snake oil companies like verisign "selling trust", and solid crypto support everywhere, both state-driven and grassroots. But as long as even habitual gpg users don't know what to do when a signature somehow doesn't check out, up to and including advocating ignoring the signature complaints, this is pretty much a moot effort.

    1. LaeMing

      Paper documents

      My boss received a request for 4 desktop computers to be taken off-site (which is highly irregular). They were filled out in blue ink and everything. When she queried the user, he admitted sheepishly that he was requesting 4 LAPTOPS but had colour-photocopied the filled-out form for his recently requested replacement office desktop (just rewrote the cover sheet). Without a magnifying glass it was impossible to tell the blue ink marks were not directly from a pen - even the shade of blue and thickness of ink as the pen gummed-up and un-gummed during writing were preserved perfectly.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Missed the point

    I dont think this is anything to do with data protection. Its much easier to hide a piece of eveidence in a pile of paper than it being submitted elctronically.

    A searchable PDF is to easy to find what you need. If its litigation then its all about wasting £££'s for the the opposite party hoping that a case will be dropped or the information missed.

    There are companies in the US which deal excatly in this type of work, electronic discovery, we are just masively behind in this arena.

    1. Brian 62
      Thumb Up


      Yes, this is clearly the case. Any excuses about data protection or forgery are just that -- excuses. They are just finding any plausible legal reason to stymie the ability for the opposing side to be able to easily search for evidence. At some point this has got to be considered impeding an investigation.

  15. Martin 66
    Paris Hilton

    legacy lawyers

    It does beg the question - why is anyone more likely to lose digital data rather than paper records ? We've heard lots of instances of people leaving printed out documents in taxis or finding lists of people's NI numbers on a roundabout in Milton Keynes. If the data is stored digitally, it can also be encrypted so any comments about it being easier to change or alter than paper documents are completely untrue. Unfortunately it seems most lawyers are unfamiliar with this kind of protective technology, when it would be ideal for them to adopt it in their industry.

    I too hate this misuse of the DPA as a tool to deny information to anyone. I've read it, and it really doesn't say that.

  16. Anonymous Coward


    "And the answer is "because any bozo with a 200$ laptop can get such disk, get the documents, edit them and make another disk, and there will be no fscking way to tell which disk is the 'original'."


    Step one. Buy one Cd burner with Lightscribe and create a watermark for each office.

    Step two. Burn documents onto WORM media. Burn watermark onto reverse side.

    Step Three. LOCK IN A F***KING SAFE.

    Step 3(b) If required to edit. Take said media, open, edit then repeat steps 2 & 3. Destroy original Disk.


    Now where is the risk there?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a lawyer...

    I think the problem is more with the non lawyers (wait for the complaints). Admittedly, I work in the civil courts, where things are a bit different, but about 90% of the lawyers I deal with would happily undertake as much work as possible digitally.

    One of the problems is the ease with which eg an email can be altered by a recipient and then sent on apparently with the lawyer's details, and this is why sensitive documents sent elsewhere than to another lawyer tend not to be sent out on email. The real problem in my experience though is with the courts. The Court Service (part of the MoJ so civil servants rather than lawyers) are hopeless at dealing with the things they do know about e.g. paper letters, trial bundles, applications and so on. If you try something new e.g. emails, disks with lots of data on, they don't even try. I have lost count of the number of times I have sent emails to the courts on their published email addresses which have apparently never been received, and then the work has to be duplicated, or a hearing lasts twice as long, and so on. Because most of us have had such awful experiences (including explaining to clients why work has to be done and billed for twice) we simply don't bother trying. It's easier in the long run to deal with it the traditional way.

    As for Data Protection, the court service has this as a stock excuse for laziness. I have been given this excuse for not releasing documents to me when I have been asking for court orders for my own client who was party to the proceedings, and I was on the court record as acting for him. It will surprise no litigation lawyer to hear that reporters have the same problems.

  18. Thomas 18

    My Kindle says your guilty

    Ironkeys all round, problem solved. Doesn't even matter if you loose the stick then as long as you have a backup.

  19. Aaron Reynolds

    Data Protection

    I've lost count of the number of time various companies have hidden behind the DPA when they obviously don't understand it at all.

    I studied the 1984 version for my Computer Studies GCSE 15 years ago and understand the updated version too but highly-trained customer service staff ;p still seem to think they know better.

    But on a related note: isn't it time the Law Society enforced changes among its brethren so we can stop the over-use of paper - and while they're at it, outlaw the use of fax machines.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's the CPS, an arm of the government, is anyone surprised *they* are still back in the stone ages?

    When was the last time you saw a copper with a laptop? The entire Police and legal system need a massive overhaul with technology.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "AC as a lawyer" has made some good observations. So it's down to the civil servants, no surprise there. I worked for a division of government - what would be considered to be a highly skilled, intelligent, professional arm of goverment so Lord can only guess at how bad other not so killed departments are, and the fact is, most employees there wouldn't last five minutes in the real word, in industry with their mistakes, the skiving of work using sick days as holiday, the lazyness, the failure to adopt new processes.

    An environment where you can f**k up as much as you like and be sure you will never get fired, moved sideways if you're very unlucky.

    Discipline isn't enforced, mistakes are made repeatedly and the perpetrator endures no punishment. So what motivation is there for the employee to do their job properly?

    He raises an interesting point about the ease which emails can be modified.

    What's needed is leadership and instruction from government to direct lawyers, courts involved in Crown cases, cases involving MoJ to use digital signatures and email tools that support them. That has to be an initiative from government and the courts have to be instructed to adopt the applications, processes.

    But we are talking the MoJ here. So I wouldn't hold your breath, it'll take years.

  22. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    DP Act

    Amendments to the DP Act altered it from machine readable to *any* data in a retrievable form. The reason? Probably because of departments full if eejits who decided to switch from computer to paper storage because that they didn't want to have to bother with complying with the DP Act.

    So, whether you encode your data using knots on a bit of string, sung in a falsetto voice onto an analogue tape cassette, scribbled in shorthand on a notepad or written to a hard disk (using encryption or not), it's ALL covered by the DP Act.

    1. Qtoktok

      DP Amendments

      True, but it was a bit limited. The extension of the DPA to cover data held in unstructured manual records applies only to public sector bodies, which would include the Courts as in this case.

      However, thanks to a (IMHO) spectacularly ill considered judgement in the now infamous Durant case, private sector bodies can obfuscate as much as they like by holding manual records in an unstructured format.

      According to the Durant judgement, files are unstructured if they aren't readily searchable.The fact that a file may relate entirely to a bank's dealings with one individual isn't enough to justify making that bank look through it for data to release.

      So, if you're in the private sector and you don't want the masses to find out quite how badly you're screwing them over, just hold their personal data in unstructured files. Given that you've probably laid off all your experienced records management staff in a cost cutting exercise, that should't be too hard.

  23. davenewman

    The Bloody Sunday enquiry used IT for years

    Instead of boxes of paper folders, they could put up on a screen any document being discussed by a witness, photographs, and even 3D models of what that part of Derry was like 30 years ago.

    Lawyers and judges were manipulating the systems like skilled magicians. I saw that years ago, so why cannot ordinary courts do that now?

  24. Brent Beach
    Big Brother

    Get on with it

    Lawyers are professionals - if there is a standard they must follow it. If the standard is updated over time, they have to adjust to that. They made the move from hand written to type written!

    I wonder if there is a fee issue here. Are they paid at least partly by the page for paper documents? Are they not paid by the page if delivered on a disc?

    Are they afraid that a client will not think they should pay as much for content on a disc as for FIVE inches of documents? The disc looks a lot less impressive.

    Are they afraid that someone might dedup the machine readable copy and find that 4.99" is filler?

    At the bottom you can bet it comes down to money.

    1. Neil Brown

      "Are they paid at least partly by the page for paper documents? "

      I've never heard this to be the case - mostly, lawyers are paid on the basis of time spent (printing costs and the like tend to be charged on top of this), or else via a fixed fee arrangements.

      However, most of my clients want shorter documents rather than longer ones - I can't see anyone thanking me for producing an unnecessarily long document, or anything which unnecessarily holds up the main purpose of their business, which is generally making money.

  25. Kelvin Strachan



  26. Anonymous Coward


    You could always put it on disk and then tie a big bundle of papers to it. That'd make it just as hard to lose as a pile of papers.

  27. peter 45

    IT cas be worse

    I work in a high tech company where everything is done on the computer, however in order to get anything changed on you PC, you have to request it of the IT department. The procedure is to go to the IT webpage, find the relavent form, print it out, fill it in by hand and then post it to the IT department.

    I did mention that this was a old fashioned and low tech procedure for the IT department in a high tech company in the days of digital signature and on-line forms. They agreed and issued a new procedure. You can now scan the hand written request in and send it to them as an email attachment!

    Wooo Hooo. Go go paperless office

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There could be a good bad reason

    It could be a tactical move to make it harder for the other side to find the information they need.

    I've had this done to me by a former employer I took to tribunal -- they responded to my data request with a BIG box of printout (not all of which related to me, some of it looked like chromosome printouts!) instead of emailing or sending a disk.

    My lawyer reckoned this was deliberate; I think she said it was fairly common practice, but it was a while ago now and I'm not sure of that bit.

  29. JMB

    Data protection

    We need higher penalties for breaches of the Data Protection laws but also penalties for using "Data Protection" as an excuse to conceal things. The person should be required to explain how the Data Protection Act prevents it and if they are lying then they should be fined.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is not a bad idea to get rid of all lawyers

    people can defend themselves and a prosecutor can be the aggrieved party or family member if they are dead. For governmental laws, then whoever wrote the law has to come down each time. And in the instance where they break their own law, then anyone can prosecute them.

    Oh yes, this does work rather well, a sort of Gilbert and Sullivan take on the legal system itself.

    There are some cynics who say the legal system is just for the ruling elite, but of course if it was changed to the above style, that would be one in the eye of the cynics. A more just legal system, no reason not to implement it.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    This Story Is Bovine Excrement!

    This story is just plain wrong. The reason why lawyers "don't trust" computers is that copying data onto disk or USB stick or whatever takes literally seconds, whereas printing the detail onto paper could conceivably take hours (especially with misprints etc), and then dear old Rumpole would have to spend a few more hours manually going thru the paperwork to make sure it's accurate. End result = increased profits for solicitors.

    When they charge a kings ransom as an hourly rate, like solicitors do, they get mesmerised into finding inventive ways of increasing their income. I've had to deal with several solicitors in recent years and they NEVER go for the cheap option, they consistently find the most expensive methods for the client. Due to that situation several solicitors I've dealt with have lost out big time because I refuse to give them more business when they act so stupidly with respect to their clients.

    You hear horror stories on the TV about tradesmen from hell. From my personal experience solicitors are more guilty than the average tradesman in ripping clients off, they just go to work driving BMW's in pinstriped suits rather than Ford Transit and dungarees.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Many years ago

      when checking the items in a lawyers bill, there was a charge for $500 for sending us a letter... which on the face of it is not at all unusual. Except the letter in question was an advert for the law firms other services.

      In my experience, lawyers are some of the most dishonest professionals around.

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