February 5, 2010
Technology in practice
Over the decade I have been teaching, I have seen the way my students communicate with one another change profoundly, and I have (more slowly) adapted to these changes. Instead of email and phone calls, now we have texts and tweets. The essence of the change is that the new formats are more efficient and convey information more concisely, with a potential loss of content.
Many of us have been critical of this change and the way that it affects our students' writing and interpersonal skills which relate to the legal profession. But, need we be so critical? If these methods of communication are becoming part of the legal profession, as well, we need to acknowledge that a good text to a client may be a key to success, and embrace appropriate use of this technology.
The missing link of information (as too often is true in the legal academy) is knowledge of what is happening in practice. Do lawyers text their clients? If so, in what contexts? I would imagine that the efficiency of texting would be great for, say, rescheduling matters with a court. Does this happen in practice?
If texting is going to play a role in legal practice, we need to be discussing and exploring the limits and dangers of this form of communication, the same way we do with other forms.
-- Mark Osler