1/23/13

An Open Letter to Lawyers Young and Old


I would like to take this opportunity to respond to your letters dated January 17, 2013 and January 23, 2013, respectively.  As is quite common amongst your kind (attorneys), I believe you may be talking past each other.  Ms. Elefant's point is well taken, as techie at a large law firm, I am sometimes a little surprised at the lack of technological intelligence of young lawyers. They enter the firm with bright and shiny JDs from Ivy League schools and yet for many of them the internet is simply magic, like indoor plumbing. They don't have any idea or any desire to know how it works or how they can use it better. To be fair, in my experience, this is also how most senior attorneys view the internet, except they believe that the internet is evil black magic to be kept at a distance. You know, like indoor plumbing.

Mr. Camson also makes a very good point.  He's focused on being the best attorney he can be.  He can't be bothered with things like sharing his considerable experience with personal and consumer technology to improve his firm's footprint on the intertubes. Or for that matter, with helping a senior attorney learn something new. This is about him and what you can teach him before he blows this popsicle firm and gets a cushy corporate gig.

Enter Uncle Ryan with a solution for everybody.  Ms. Elefant, you write a blog about solos and small firms, I recognize that these operations do not have the budget for tech support personnel like the big firms do.  But the kind of thing you're looking for doesn't require an expensive tech consultant or full time IT staff.  You need a sophomore in college, studying computer engineering or art history, who can tinker for a couple of hours a week after class to solve the problems you are looking to solve.  If you get the right kid with a couple of linux boxes and a handful of open source softwares, you can get virtually anything you want for $10/ hour and pizza for lunch on Fridays. While I agree that it would be efficient and convenient to hire young attorneys that can do both the tech and legal side of things, I think that will be hard to find. I'm not sure of any law schools that are actively churning out tech-savvy, responsible, team players looking primarily to contribute to the success of their firm.  Sadly, most of them are still developing young lawyers.

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