I have been practicing law for ten years now, but I remain reluctant to offer tales of how the profession used to be. Ten years is not an eternity. Besides, there are lawyers out there who have been practicing thrice as long as I have, or more. But when I first began to practice, way back in those halcyon days of 2002, lawyers were just beginning to use both the Internet, mobile devices, and such regularly in their daily routines. So too were lawyers then integrating modern cellular telephones into their practice (although, of course, there were those early adopters with car phones and those terribly inefficient and wonderfully obsolete bag phones).
Recently, I spoke with a younger lawyer about mobile devices, and whether that young lawyer should purchase the new iPhone 5, an Android, or what have you, even an iPad or laptop. I couldn’t help but laugh, because it reminded me of a fateful trip that I took, circa 2005.
At that time in my career, I was practicing with a firm in Texas, and I was traveling a good bit. As fate would have it, my travels took me to Colorado – for the first time. I remember arriving at my hotel, after flying from Texas to Denver and having to unpack all of my technology.
Of course, I owned a Blackberry, which at that time, did not have the ability to access the Internet beyond email. Further, I had a second generation iPod, which, of course, was far more bulky than its modern day descendants. (Even then, air travel, and the accompanying bustling about required by it, was intolerable without one’s iPod.). Also, I had my own phone, one of those now archaic flip phones, which was required because the Blackberry telephone service was too expensive for my firm to reimburse, and thus, too expensive for me, and so I had my own phone with its own personal calling plan. Finally, I had a laptop, which was required for more substantive work, as I could not access PDF or Word documents on my Blackberry.
I remember pausing as I unpacked these materials and thinking how ridiculous it was that I was forced to carry about so many items, all of which required their own separate and distinct charging cords. So, I spent the next fifteen minutes finding electrical outlets in which to plug the charges for these devices. As you can imagine, during the flight, all of the chargers and cords became intertwined, making the untangling enterprise as frustrating as possible.
Now, seven years later, I simply carry my iPhone and my iPad with me. The iPhone alone is probably sufficient, and sometimes, I leave behind the iPad, but it’s amazing that all of those ancient devices are now merged into one with our new smart devices, whatever those may be.
Today’s young lawyers of today will never know that hassle. And the lawyers of my generation will never know how frustrating it must have been to carry around all those reams of paper required when traveling in those fateful days of yore before mobile devices and laptops. Yikes.
(This post was originally posted on the now defunct North Carolina Law Blog on Friday, November 9, 2012).