Patty Hartmann Online

Why Would a Lawyer Learn to Code Websites?

Lawyer Patty Hartmann

I am an attorney who has practised law for more than forty years. If you asked me what is the single most important skillset to acquire to practise law today, I would say it is a working knowlege of our electronic communication systems.

So right now I am learning how to create pages that are viewable on the internet. This includes the web page you are reading.

Specifically, I am learning how to communicate in foreign languages known as hypertext markup (HTML) and cascading style sheets (CSS).

Yes, it can sound intimidating. But I have discovered that any experience I gain in creating electronic media, gives me innumerable insights that can help me a better lawyer.

Patty Hartmann

The Legacy Practice of Law

library book

I completed my professional education as an attorney before anyone I knew had ever heard of the internet. The technology that lawyers used for document generation was predominantly the electric typewriter.

Even the fax machine was not yet widely used. The copy machine was probably the office mainstay.

Legal research usually required consulting heavy, bound books. In order to find the pertinent statutes or appellate cases, lawyers often needed access to materials found on the shelves of law libraries.

As law firms became computerized, the internet began to shape their business practices. Being listed in a telephone directory or the yellow pages, for example, became obsolete as the way clients would find an attorney.

The Internet Impact on the Law

The internet revolutionized much of the craft that we rely on in the practice of law. Legal research and investigation today are most often done through a variety of websites.

The impact of the internet, however, goes far beyond the tools of research and investigation. The internet itself can become the scene of a crime, or the avenue for consumer fraud.

Or the outcome of a legal matter may hinge on a piece of electronic evidence that is not authentic. It may even hold clues to show the source that improperly altered its content.

Our shift to the use of websites and electronic sources of information has radically transformed many facets of our legal system.

For those who have lawyered through this seismic shift, there may be a gnawing sense that "we're not in Kansas anymore." Pulling back the internet curtain is a great way to start your journey back home.