In addition to my regular clients who retain me as their attorney of record in particular matters, I also have law firms and lawyers who hire me to appear for them in court. Most of the time, they are out-of-town and thus are unable to attend, but sometimes they are local attorneys who simply have a conflict in their schedule.
On a recent morning, while I was sitting in Starbucks, drinking my coffee and preparing for the morning hearings in three difference courts in the Harris County Civil Courthouse, I realized that one of my appearance clients had not filed the motion they emailed to me and thus I might need to file a hard-copy of the motion with the court. This is not necessarily a big deal, but for the fact that I try to be as paperless as possible. Whenever I or an appearance client have filed pleadings and evidence in advance of a hearing or bench trial, I tend to bring only my iPad to court. I see no sense in needlessly wasting paper.
After e-mailing my client to confirm that they had not yet filed the motion, I used my iPhone to find the nearest FedEx Office with a computer/printer bank and then headed on over. Once I arrived at the FedEx Office, I jumped onto a computer, opened my e-mail, and printed off the motion that the client had sent to me. Unfortunately, through computer usage fees and printing fees, I ended up paying about $25 for less than 5 minutes of computer time and 41 printed pages.
I made it to the courthouse with more than enough time to file the motion with the court clerk. Only one problem: when I handed the clerk the motion, she handed it back and noted that it was for a different case in a different court. I immediately realized that I had printed the wrong motion (it was for one of my other hearings that morning). Frustrated, I had to think fast. I then realized that the newly-renovated Harris County Law Library was just two blocks from the courthouse. So I walked on over to try this again.
Although I have visited the Law Library several times over the years, it wasn’t really updated for technology until the recent renovation that was completed earlier this year. Now, the Law Library has more than enough computers to go along with the books. The Law Library also has an independently-contracted printing shop inside to allow for printing, copying, and other services. There are more than enough tables and electrical outlets that one could bring his or her own laptop and camp out without disturbance.
I thus get on one of the public computers, again go to my e-mail, and print out the correct motion this time. I head over to the service cashier to pick up the printed pages and pay. Total bill: $3.10! No charge for use of the computer and only 10 cents a page for the print. The obvious light bulb went off in my head! No more FedEx Office during normal hours (FedEx Office will still come in handy in the evening when the Law Library is closed). Lesson learned, and now you know as well!