Technology is the New Black
But the exemplar offered comes from a London's Law Tech Boot Camp, described as
a BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media and technology enthusiasts and legal professionals including bloggers, twitters, legal-technology lawyers, social networkers, and those curious about new media and the law.
If this was nothing more than another singalong amongst the iPhones will change the world crowd, it wouldn't be worth even six minutes. But this "UnConference" included a group of law students from MIchigan State Law, captured the interest of Henderson from Indiana Law, and included Michael Bossone.
Special Advisor to the Dean, University of Miami School of Law
Michael Bossone is the co-creator and a founding member of LawWithoutWalls. His career has been dedicated to building and sustaining human connection and institutional culture. It is what first drew him to LawWithoutWalls and what motivates the time, energy, and commitment he joyfully gives to this innovative project. He is currently Special Advisor to Dean Patricia White at the University of Miami School of Law, and previously served as Assistant Dean during his nine years at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.
Bossone gave an Ignite presentation that Henderson (who was there) calls "awesome."
For those of you in need of an incentive, here's a drinking game: count the number of logical fallacies this former lawprof/current special advisor can get into six minutes. On the other hand, for those young lawyers inclined toward confirmation bias and in need of validation, this is a wet dream.
That the typical suspects blindly tout technology is old news, What makes this significantly more disturbing is that, coming from someone imbued with attributed credibility from the Academy, not to mention endorsed as "awesome" some another within the Academy, has the power to confirm the most ignorant, dangerous and deeply held bias of every unemployed wanker who desperately cries,
"but mommy, I know I have no job and no prospects, and can't afford to spit no less pay for a data plan, but I neeeeeed shiny gadgets if I want to be a lawyer. My lawprofs said so."
It's certainly true that lawyers are slow to adopt new technologies. "What are we do damn afraid of?" A facile question from someone whose strawman argument will not suffer from a response. We're afraid of destroying lives. We're afraid of finding out we chose Beta instead of VHS, We're afraid of the third party doctrine that allows the government to access confidences through its required backdoors or the simple good of some kid who forget to lock up at night. We're afraid of violating the trust of our clients that we won't lose focus whenever something shiny captures our attention.
We are indeed slow to jump onto whatever the latest and greatest new thing may be. "Afraid to try. Afraid to take a chance. Afraid to fail?"
We are free to fail, and fail miserably, when it's only our own butt on the line. Lawyers have the same right as anyone else to makes lousy choices, provided we alone suffer the consequences. But when our choices mean someone else suffers, then we do not have the right to take a chance.
"We're satisfied being dinosaurs in the digital age, technological neanderthals, Fred Flinstones in a world of Elroy Jetsons."
If we "push the button, click on the link," and get a virus, or delete the brief, or miss the critical decision, the court may not find our allusions to cartoon characters as captivating as Bossone does. Indeed, most judges will hold us to a somewhat higher standard than either Fred Flintstone or Elroy Jetson (oddly the young son, rather than George Jetson, Elroy's father).
The dichotomy, of course, is nonsense. It's not technology or quills. Even old guys like me (as is readily apparent as you're reading this on a computer screen) have embraced much of technology, after determining that it's beneficial, that it doesn't put clients at risk, that it's cost-effective and that we won't have to explain to a human being a year from now that we're terribly sorry that they will be spending the next decade in prison because we thought our emails were secure and our cellphone conversations couldn't be readily intercepted by anyone with a national security letter (or maybe just a scared employee of a cell service).
But us dinosaurs don't particularly care what special advisors to the dean think. We view empty rhetoric and laugh. We know that correlation doesn't prove causation. We aren't inclined to stand on line to be the first with the newest, coolest shiny gadget, and so we aren't seeking validation of our bias. Crap like this doesn't play well to lawyers who have been around long enough to see new ideas come and go, to see the latest and greatest today become the massive failures of yesterday.
Law students and young lawyers, on the other hand, are susceptible to such ploys. They don't believe things can fail because they've never experienced failures. They don't believe things can fail because they don't want to believe. Isn't that right, Siri?
To some lawprofs, this is the nexus of law and fashion design, where they pronounce that hemlines will be above the knees this year, and that technology is the new black. And the young lawyers believe them, running out to the glass caves with their heads in the clouds.
"A more profound impact." Maybe, but the adoration of change bears no inherent connection to improvement. What distinguishes lawyers is the ability to resist fashion trends and focus instead on those things that we know will benefit our clients without risking their lives.
"It was bullshit in '96 and it's bullshit now." If this is the argument in favor teaching law students and young lawyers to ignore reason, throw caution to the wind and just push any button in front of them, then we have a looming disaster on our hands. "With lawyers, why is it always too slowly." Because we have the capacity to think and the responsibility to put our clients first. This, apparently, is where lawyers differ from lawprofs.