Ignite Law 2010
Ignite Law 2010 Presentation on What Law Firms Can Learn from Software Makers

When I ask “Is Technology Killing Lawyers,” I’m not talking about rogue cyborgsor some sort of singularity-born, time-traveling robot going around killing attorneys (though I’m not ruling out those possibilities either).

Rather, I’m concerned that the very tools we use to increase our productivity and improve quality of life end up hurting us, and in the case of distracted driving, killing us.

Oversaturation with technology is perhaps an odd thing for someone like myself to discuss publicly, considering I make my bread by selling web-based legal practice management and time and billing software. But moderation is key. I’m as prone as anyone to check email constantly and hit refresh on my Facebook profile, so like attorneys, if I don’t peel my eyeballs away from my glowing rectangles I’ll get stuck there in an endless cyber loop.

I also buy into the research presented in Nick Carr’s 2010 book The Shallows about the cognitive effects of Internet usage, which when not tamed can lead to problems with deep thinking.

In any case, the subject of being responsibly connected is explored in our “Work Life Balance” category here at Legal Productivity. I’ve also proposed an Ignite Law Talk for ABA Techshow.

Ignite talks are five minute presentations, usually with new or edgy ideas like the subject of this blog post. Because of the short length of the presentations, lots of people can present their cool new ideas at once.

Last year’s Ignite Law presentation was organzied by Matt Homann and was a big success. I had the honor of speaking last year on what law firms can learn from the software industry, and hope to have the privilege to do so again. If you’re in Chicago on April 10th, stop by the Hilton and check it out.

On March 15 you’ll be able to vote for Ignite Law, so hopefully you’ll set an alarm, tickler reminder, tie a string around your finger, or other some such device, and help me out when the time comes. In any case, here’s my proposed talk.

Technology is a tool that helps lawyers perform their jobs better. Or is it? Have the constant interruptions of emails, tweets, texts, and status updates impaired the ability of lawyers to serve clients? Are relationships strained because of Internet addiction? And are lives in danger because of texting while driving? In this Ignite talk, we’ll explore statistics and cutting edge research that shows that we need to relax technology usage to get the most productivity out of our lives, and we’ll show how to go about taming our amazing and utterly-un-put-downable devices.