Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gah! Faxes

So I'm working on this matter where there are about 8 parties each with separate legal representation. The first time we had an "all-solicitors" meeting, it went on for 3 hours, which is okay if you're discussing world peace, or how to end the hunger in Africa, or whether Ozzie really deserved to win Survivor "Fans vs Favourites" but it's really really not okay if we're just there to discuss a 6-page agreement, of which 3 pages are the signing pages.

And then there's the faxes. When I started working, we had faxes on thermal paper. I can still recall the "zzt" sound as the fax cuts the paper at the end of transmission. Then there were plain paper faxes, which were cool for, like, 5 seconds. Then the entire world discovered email. Or rather, the entire world, except for 5 of the lawyers on this deal, who (brace yourself) have no personal email address.

That thought alone, is mind boggling. What could they possibly be doing, if they're not sitting in front of a computer all day????? How do they live?? And does their phone still have a little rotating dial? That's probably why one of them can't seem to dial-in on conference calls - the PABX call-systems can't recognise the ratta-ratta-ratta sound that the rotating dial phones make, and just disconnect them.

So for that first meeting I attended, I passed around a little list at the end of the meeting, and asked everyone to write down their email address, so that we could correspond by email instead. Then I proceeded to write to everyone by email. I'll show em how this is done!

I got 5 faxes back. And not a single email response.

The strange thing is, the other 3 lawyers on this deal, me included, are much much much more comfortable with emails, and we have our own email addresses. This also means that we hardly expect any faxes, and it appears neither do our offices. In fact, who uses fax now other than spammers? So 2 days ago, I sent out a fax myself (by typing an email to my secretary, who typed a fax) which no one apparantly received until the very next day. Which was unfortunate, since I was trying to give notice that a meeting that day had been cancelled. I have this image of the fax being fished out of 8 different trays marked "JUNKMAIL" in various law offices by red-faced secretaries.

In an effort to get through to everyone, I tried calling each lawyer yesterday and asked them for their individual office email addresses. The first, second, third lawyer I called said they much much preferred using faxes, thank you very much (hearty laughter) and we do appreciate what you are doing, but really let's just get everything done by fax.

I feel like I'm trapped in the 18th century, she said, adjusting her monocle and sharpening her quill.

12 Comments:

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hiaks.. i thought i read wrongly... faxes in this day and time... are these singapore laywers???

 
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