I primarily practice in the area of commercial litigation. A large portion of my practice involves real estate in one way or another. This includes real estate transactions, leases, real estate litigation, and mechanics liens. I also handle civil appeals. I started my career working in the court system, both as a staff attorney for the Appellate Court, Second District, and as a law clerk for Justice S. Louis Rathje.
How has your practice evolved in the last few years?
Over the last several years, my practice has become more and more digital. This means that my official file is stored digitally. This not only makes it easy for me to find documents, but it also means that, because I use cloud services, I can access any document that I have in any file in my office anywhere that I have access to the internet.
Not only are my files stored digitally, but the courts are also moving in that direction as well. As the state courts move to adopt electronic filing in accordance with the directive of the Supreme Court, I believe more and more attorneys will be moving to a more digital practice.
We are a service industry that demands constant improvement of the efficiencies of the systems that serve our clients. While I served as the Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Technology, as a committee we reviewed how lawyers work with information, across all practice areas, in a manner to better serve their clients. These days, I believe it is difficult for attorneys to effectively serve their clients without good electronic resources for email, calendaring, billing, and document management. These systems need not be expensive or complicated, but they should be effective.
Our Committee has recognized more and more client demand for such technology related services as part of their attorney-client relationship. As such, our own demands for reliability and security increase. So, as a solo practitioner, I am constantly keeping abreast of not just new technologies, but new technologies that are at a reasonable price point for attorneys in solo or small firm practices.
Why did you become a lawyer?
I took a constitutional law class in undergrad that was taught by a practicing lawyer. I loved the class and enjoyed hearing about the professor’s career. Based on this experience, I decided to apply for law school.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Just because they have grown up with technology, that does not mean that young lawyers know how to use the software that we use in the legal practice. Everyone needs training on the software used in a law office.
I know that you said one piece of advice, but I thought that I would offer a second. Although I firmly believe that attorneys need to embrace technology that does not mean that they should become a slave to technology. The technology that we have is a tool. It should be treated as such.
Too often we let our technology rule our lives. Many of us respond immediately when we receive a notification that we have a new email. We seem to believe that if we don’t immediately respond to an email, the world will come to an end. We need to learn to schedule time to deal with email and schedule other time to do our work, uninterrupted by email or other distractions.
How has civility made a difference in your practice?
A majority of my practice is in the collar counties. The number of attorneys who practice in my practice areas in these counties is still relatively small. On a regular basis, I see attorneys regularly extend professional courtesies to each other, especially by covering court appearances when an attorney has a conflict. One of the aspects I like the most about practicing law where I do is that the attorneys regularly work together in a civil manner to resolve cases. Although we are adversaries with respect to the issues involved in the case, that does not mean that we have to have an adversarial relationship.
What do you do for fun?
It seems like I spend most of my free time hauling my children around. In addition to that, I enjoy playing games and I read a lot.
Bryan Sims is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association, the Will County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.