Walking around D.C. lately I’ve noticed an increasing number of people plugged in. By plugged in I mean doing things such as reading e-mail, while walking, sitting on a park bench, eating, running, driving … Not unique to DC, being connected to the ether while disconnecting from bricks and mortar reality is part of popular culture, showing up in commercials and television programs.
Call me old school, I like to see where I am walking at all times. The same goes for interacting with family, friends, and clients where the art of the conversation is at times supplanted by one dimensional text messages, e-mail, and electronic social media. Blawger JD Hull posted an item on this subject at his Blawg, What About Paris? (a blawg is blog about law, sort of). The point of post: “Resist the new mail-it-in culture. Stop trying to make great but hard things easy. Stop making tech the main event. E-mail less.”
JD Hull’s point applies to just about every profession that requires the person to use words, but it is especially true for attorneys. Lawyering is not easy. Using the English language – written and orally – is our stock and trade. An when it comes to the writing part, e-mail should never be your primary means of communicating with clients. They deserve better than McLaw. There are a lot of folks with law degrees these days, too many. If you’re going to practice, at least make an effort to do it right.
Electronic devices can become a crutch if you fail to remember that they are no more powerful than a pencil. Use the gray matter. Talk to people. If you do not, like those folks who walk and read, you’re going to crash into something some day. And it could cost your client millions or some heavy duty heartache; and you, maybe your job. It is not going to be pretty. Besides, the bricks and mortar world is not a bad place.