ARIZONA ATTORNEY: So how does
an otherwise-sensible attorney become a Microsoft Office evangelist?
BARRON HENLEY: In 1997, I had practiced
law for four years in estate planning, real estate and probate, and I just could not manufacture enthusiasm for that. I’d always been
sort of a computer geek, and back in the early
’90s, you could make money selling computers, so I was building and selling computers to pay for law school so I wouldn’t have
to get loans. I had a pretty good business
built up by the time I graduated law school,
and even though I got a good offer I
couldn’t refuse from a firm I was clerking for
while I was in law school, I just could never
let go of it. As technology started to take
hold of the practice of law in the early ’90s
and mid-’90s, everybody was calling me.
There was not a whole bunch of people you
could call back then about technology questions. I was installing networks and computers and doing consulting on the weekends
AZAT: And you found yourself enjoying the
tech more than the law?
HENLEY: The thing I noticed was that I real-
ly couldn’t wait to do [the tech work]. I felt
like I was just holding my nose and wading
through the legal work during the regular
business hours so I could get to the stuff I
AZAT: What did you like about it?
HENLEY: It was the opposite of what you get
when you practice law. For example, I could
do a really great job on a probate matter. I
could handle it as quickly as it could possibly
be handled, and my fees could be extremely
reasonable. But my fiduciary would still be
angry because they hated the process. You
could do a great job for a client, and they’re
still pissed off. And I always felt like that was
such a buzz-kill with practicing law. There’s
a lot of areas in law where you can do a good
job and your client is still miserable that they
had to go through it.
Technology, on the other hand, offers
nothing but amazingly positive feedback
from the people you help. Most people are
frustrated with technology to some degree,
some extremely so, and if you can solve those
problems for them, they are so thankful, and
they tell all of their friends about you, and
they say thank you 10 times over again.
Tech Inseparable From
AZAT: Your timing was good too.
HENLEY: I figured at that point technology was going to impact law in a bigger and
bigger way going forward, and I wanted
to help lawyers deal with that reality. That
was really the genesis of Affinity Consulting
( http://affinityconsulting.com/), why I left
private practice, and what I’ve been doing
We happened to just get involved at exactly the right time. Of course, today it’s
impossible to practice law in a technology
vacuum. Some may hate it with a fiery passion and wish that it would go away and
leave them alone, but they’ve realized that
they simply can’t do their jobs unless they
develop some kind of understanding about
AZAT: Technology does stir heated debate.
HENLEY: Unfortunately, the basic, core production tools have become incredibly complicated over the years. For instance, Microsoft Word is wondrously powerful and,
not surprisingly, wondrously complex at the
When you need to know why.
Industrial Accidents/Personal Injury
David Komm, President
877-674-9336 or 602-443-1060
3315 East Wier Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85040