I'm one of those who believes that almost every lawyer in private practice should have a smart phone. There are simply too many time-saving tools and techniques available via a smart phone that can be useful to the time-challenged lawyer. But I'm not unmindful of the dangers of overuse of smart phones and other technology. There are certainly some addictive aspects to technology–particularly mobile technology.
We've heard of many dangers, such as texting while driving or the time wasted in pointless online activities. But many have pointed out more subtle dangers such as an increase in shallow thinking with no time for deep thinking, reflection and analysis. We all find that we are often interrupted by technology whether it is the ringing mobile phone or the feeling that maybe we should check out e-mail because something important might have come in during the the last fifteen minutes. And we've all felt a little slighted when we were discussing something important with someone in person and they suddenly had to grab their phone because an e-mail or text came in.
Access to information is important. But mere information is not knowledge. Information and knowledge are still not synonymous with wisdom.
I'd like to recommend a television show to you if you have not seen it. "Crackberry'd: The Truth About Information Overload" was shown on CNBC this morning and will be repeated Friday, January 28, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. CST. There is a lot of important information there for high school and college students as well as people in business. Set your DVR to record this one and watch it with your family. Maybe you can discuss it afterwards.
I encourage all lawyers to think about how much time they allow themselves to deeply focus on the work. It seems like a good time management tool to check e-mail while waiting for a dentist appointment. But I have concluded that the same thing is not a good idea when waiting to take a deposition. Then you need to be focusing on the task ahead and not run the risk of being distracted by an e-mail on an entirely different matter.