|Message From The PresidentI am one of the Brevard County Bar Association’s members that would be kindly referred to as technically challenged when it comes to computers, tablets and cell phones. Each of those devices and my personal vehicle have I.T. capacities that far exceed my ability to use them. Despite walking around with an iPhone and iPad, I probably use no more than twenty percent of the functions these devices provide. “Siri” and I do not get along. “Her” voice offers me assistance or asks questions at times when I cannot discern a single thing I have done to draw her attention.
To put this message in context, I would share with you that this President’s Message was hand written on a legal pad and then typed by a co-worker. This is tht same method I use for ninety percent of the paperwork I produce. I recognize the inefficiency, but, after 33 years, I cannot seem to change.
Many of our younger lawyers can offer us more senior lawyers access to methods of communications and presentations that were not even imagined ten years ago. Should I still bring posters and artwork to Court, if it’s not in my Mac on PowerPoint? Skyping with a client, video depositions from across the country and having a client in the Army testify from the United States Embassy in Kuwait are all now not unusual.
How we deal with technology seems to be altering how we practice our profession. Boundaries of when a workday stars and stops have become increasingly fuzzy. Attorneys and clients send emails at all hours of the day and night and seem perplexed when answers are not immediately forthcoming. The Client’s or Attorney’s view of what constitutes an emergency, requiring an immediate response, is usually very different than y own. A 7:00 a.m. call on my cell phone, concerning a Hearing set at 10:30 a.m. the same morning, is not urgent because 6:45 a.m is the first time the pending motion was considered by opposing counsel.
The intrusion of electronic communication at all hours of the day or night also can cause disharmony. How does one correctly answer a question from a spouse about whether you are answering work-related emails on a Sunday morning, while in Paris on vacation? This question is not rhetorical and I know I did not have a good answer.
Research that used to take hours, I can now do in minutes. The history function of my devices store files of research that I can no longer call up from memory. The process of storing records and transmitting information is faster and faster.
Nothing that all this technology offers can substitute for us taking the time to stop and listen to what our client or opposing counsel are saying. Sending a text or email is fast and efficient, but is a poor substitute for a conversation where both sides are not just hearing each other but are listening.
I look forward to conversing with you in the future.