The U.S. Postal Service’s decision to stop Saturday mail delivery later this year made me think about the last time I bought a stamp and how much I don’t use the post office for personal mail. (I don’t even know the cost of a stamp, but if I’m not mistaken, I think the price recently increased.)
Like many people, I pay my bills online, send emails and text messages. My work-related mail is handled by the staff at the office, who also take care of the postage. When I do have to send personal mail, I simply bum a stamp from someone. Then, when I ask how much I owe them, the normal response is “I don’t know. I’ve had these forever stamps for forever.”
In terms of work, I prefer to communicate electronically but I still send a lot of unnecessary mail. I’ve been told time and time again that I need to keep a paper trail “just in case.” If I need to send something important, such as discovery responses, a follow-up letter or a motion that is time sensitive, I usually send an email followed by mailing the hard copy.
I ask myself almost every time when I drop the envelope in the outgoing basket, “why am I sending a duplicate copy when I know they will receive the email today”? But it doesn’t stop there. Depending on what was sent, I have to make at least two copies of what I already have stored in my email’s outbox — one for the office, one for my case file. That is a lot of duplicate copies, which are probably unnecessary.
I understand the theory behind having duplicates but I think it may be getting a little out of control given the current technology. Is it really necessary to have three or four copies of the same thing stored in three or four different places? I’m not sure if other attorneys are in the same boat as me, but I am all for moving toward the world of a paperless legal community.