The Age of Technology – at my age!

The Art of TechnologyIt was probably 1998, just 14 years ago, I was asked by our Office Manager whether I had any need for a computer.  Frankly, I declined; couldn’t see any benefit whatever in terms of my own use even though my then Secretary had a computer for Word Processing.  Shortly after, I was asked if I had an interest in emails.  My then clients were predominantly banks who were notorious in their apprehension that any email communication could somehow erode the inner sanctum of their vaults; again, I declined.  Finally I was asked if I had any appetite for access to the Internet.  “What would I use that for?” I asked.

My goodness, have things changed.  Today, our entire office is online operating multiple programs at the same moment.  We could not survive without instantaneous email.  Our research resources are more dependent upon Internet than our library connections. Our clients seek exchanges of information with us via email.  Even in preference to any fax system and certainly not hardcopy by “snail mail”.

There are some pluses and minuses.  Whereas there was a time that a lawyer had an opportunity to conduct a little research before providing an opinion on a matter, in the age of the Internet, the expectation is a return email with some gems of wisdom.  Correspondence is attached to an email or embedded in an email.  Unfortunately, errors in transmission can occur and sometimes, very embarrassing material can be sent or received by entirely wrong persons.

All of that said, however, our office could not function without its computer services, a server, multiple laptops, multiple software programs operating continuously and contemporaneously; the ability to communicate with our clients immediately and at all hours of the day and night and, most importantly, often times directly at the nub of an issue with very little “fudging” around the topic.  Email transcription has a tendency to focus one on making the communication as pointed and as brief as possible.

While I may regret that, in the age of “real time”, the previous opportunity to perform some degree of research before having to respond is now long passed, the ability to do instantaneous research to the extent possibly necessary to answer most questions is most gratefully received and explored.

There is no substitute for detailed analysis far beyond what any quick Internet inquiry might produce, but at least there is the possibility of direct communication in an abbreviated form to get to the core of issues.

I for one am grateful for the technological developments even though I am far from having mastered all the capabilities.

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