Technology can be your best friend if you’re an attorney – or your worst enemy if you fight it.
As Bob Young sees it, lawyers have a duty to keep up with advances in technology that can help them practice law more efficiently and keep their work more tightly connected with their clients. He has become one of the foremost advocates for attorneys embracing social media, utilizing iPads, blogging and cloud computing in the American Bar Association, serving as Chair of the Law Practice Division from 2014 to 2015. In 2016, he was appointed to the ABA Legal Career Central Board and ABA Law Practice Division Council. He is a frequent national-level speaker and author on topics relating to law office management and technology and regular attendee at the ABA TECHSHOW, an annual event that showcases the best in legal technology.
“Many people feel that they simply don’t have time to learn new technology,” Bob says. “For lawyers, it is imperative. If you represent people in court cases, you need to understand how people are using technology in their daily lives to even understand what might be subject to discovery in a case and how to advocate for your clients’ best interests. You also find new ways to communicate with clients about their cases that are very appealing to today’s savvy clientele. Time spent in professional development learning technology pays you back in efficiency and satisfied clients down the line.”
Bob’s passion for technology is an extension of his natural curiosity. He has spent most of his career in the area of medical malpractice, particularly in the area of medical devices and medications, and also pursuing litigation against negligent nursing homes. He has practiced law for nearly a quarter of a century, learning lots along the way and wanting to continue his education every day as he researches cases. “What I really enjoy about my work is the research it takes to discover how a medical procedure, drug or device is supposed to work, and then finding out why it did not work,” Bob says. “It requires analytic abilities and knowledge of how health care institutions work. The experience I have and the extensive contacts I’ve developed are essential to building a good case.”
Among the benefits is a growing database of top-notch national medical experts, often who are uniquely qualified to consult with the firm and sometimes provide expert testimony in a case. “The key to developing a good medical malpractice case is finding the person who has the best expertise in the area you’re dealing with,” Bob says. “Each person often has experience in a very specific area of medicine, and the more narrow and deep their knowledge in that field, the better their testimony and help in a case.”
Among Bob’s most notable cases was handling a class action suit against Merck for damages due to its Vioxx, which it removed from the market. In that case, Bob represented 19 clients for more than five years. “One of our strengths is that we have a very capable and stable staff, and we have the ability to follow things through consistently for years if necessary,” Bob says of ELPO. “In this case, there were many plaintiffs from our area and we were up against a large corporation in a distant area, which made the work all the more difficult.”
Outside of his medical malpractice work, Bob has also become known as a competent, fair and impartial mediator, working with both sides in a case to come to resolution. Mediation has become much more common in recent years as court dockets have gotten crowded and costs of litigation have climbed. A natural negotiator, Bob enjoys finding the points on which both sides can agree and end a dispute. “Mediation is one of my favorite things to do as an attorney,” Bob says. “I see this business increasing in the coming years and I anticipate that my experience with many different lawyers throughout the country will be a great benefit in helping two sides reach agreement. Mediation for others also helps me negotiate my own cases.”
Besides the demands of a rigorous law practice, Bob has four daughters. The two youngest are adopted from China, and have added a richness and depth to his family. Bowling Green is increasingly diverse, and Bob says he never feels out of place with his blended family anywhere in town. His oldest daughter is a special education teacher and one played soccer at Western Kentucky University. He loves spending time with his family. What makes that all possible, Bob says, is ELPO’s guiding belief that happy lawyers are better lawyers. The working conditions make it an ideal situation. “We don’t stress number of hours at our office,” Bob says. “We emphasize making sure the work gets done and gets done right. Our attorneys are able to focus on their family. It’s not about getting your hours in. Clients appreciate that. We don’t waste their time trying to boost our own bottom line.”