Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lawyers, throw away your computers!

I just read an article that annoyed me more than listening to a podcast where the guest starts every sentence with the word “so.”  Apparently there is a group of “young lawyers” who are trying to “shake up [the] legal profession with mobile apps.”  (I hated the expression “apps” when restaurants were using it, and it’s even more annoying when techies use it.  Aren’t the words “appetizers” and “applications” short enough?)  According to the article, this entrepreneurial group may have developed some new software programs that sound potentially useful for certain legal practice areas — kudos if that is, in fact, the case.  But the gist of the article is that the legal profession’s goal should be “to remove computers from the equation and build complex legal documents through mobile devices.”

Of course, any lawyer who resists the idea of running their office from the three-inch screen of a cell phone is branded as being afraid of “change,” and is too “risk averse.”  But to me, getting rid of my big-screen laptop with a full keyboard — especially when it is incredibly light and easy to transport from place to place — just so I can create pleadings or other documents on my cell phone is the equivalent of playing basketball while wearing mittens.  No thanks.  (In fact, to comprehend, visualize, and see the big picture of some legal projects, actual paper — gasp! — is indispensable.)

And of course a law prof had to weigh in on all of this.  With enrollments plummeting, most law schools (and especially lower-ranked schools) are grasping for something to differentiate themselves in the cookie-cutter world of legal education.  A prof from on-the-ropes Suffolk Law School chimes in, and takes the opportunity to promote his school's tech-based program in the process: “If lawyers want to be competitive, they have to learn a new skill set and that is what the Suffolk program provides its students.”

Well, I hope the “skill set” the prof has in mind is more than simply using a cell phone to create, send, and receive information, otherwise every teenager in the country is ready to practice law.  Now, like, OMG, back to work. 

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