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Senior Lawyers
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Section on Senior Lawyers

June 2012, vol. 3, no. 3

Starting somewhere

As members of the Technology sub-committee of the Senior Lawyers Section Council, it is part of our charge to help senior lawyers realize the benefits of technology and to assist them in implementing new concepts into their practices. In an earlier SLSC newsletter, I attempted to tell you about the ease and usefulness of the ISBA’s electronic CLE offerings, in the hope that you would give it a try. Well, I haven’t seen a large increase in recent sign-ups for electronic CLE by our senior Bar members, so maybe we need to try a different approach.

As a technology enthusiast, I often mistakenly assume that everyone loves, uses and dreams about the latest technology. That assumption can lead to advice that leaves many lawyers, especially senior lawyers who have not been raised with technology, feeling even further behind. Reading about the latest hardware and software products to assist in today’s practice may be overwhelming to someone who watches office staff use computers and other “smart” devices from afar, with little or no personal hands-on experience. It may be that we need to start at the beginning, at least for some who have been afraid to try out a new concept in the “twilight” of their practice. After all, it took this long to get it right the old fashioned way.

Our sub-committee would like to help those who may not yet have seen the benefits of technology in their practice, beyond word processing. You know who you are--the ones who only make calls from the office, do research in the law library, dictate to your secretary (who is taking short hand) and who still carry paper calendars, stuffed with phone slips and notes!

I would like to introduce the most un-technical of you to a new product, of which you have certainly heard--the new iPad. I am not attempting to endorse this tablet over others just because my wife owns Apple stock, but because this technology is the “latest” and may get you to finally try an electronic device that you don’t dial. Let’s not even think about the practice or running out to purchase one. Let’s just see if we can get you to do something you said you would never do. Don’t worry, no one will find out if you just follow these very simple steps.

The next time you are in a shopping mall with your spouse/significant other, rather than just sitting in chairs next to the escalators at Nordstrom, trying to keep from nodding off in public, get up and walk to the Apple store. Don’t worry, you will be back in plenty of time to carry the shopping bags. As you enter the store, go to the table with about 30 iPads set up for trial. If you are worried about being recognized, wear a disguise and just ignore the sales person to whom you don’t want to show your ignorance. Press the round button (Home Button) on the bottom of the tablet screen and then slide the bar with your finger. You are now ready to “use” an iPad. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Next, look at the icons on the screen and touch one of them to see what happens. That application will open and you can then either play the Game, read the News, see the Weather, or look up anything on the internet (using the Safari icon). Turn the tablet sideways if you prefer the “landscape” view and just touch the screen and follow the prompts. You won’t hurt anything and no alarms will go off.

Now, let’s get more advanced. Go to the Notes icon and open that application. A keyboard will pop up on the screen, on which you can type. Don’t worry, no one will care if you use one finger. If you can’t even manage that, touch the Microphone icon on the bottom left of the screen and say what you want to type--not too loud unless you want that sales person back again. What you say will be typed with amazing accuracy, including punctuation.

How about some music while you are having fun? Touch the Music icon and listen to the songs of your choice (I’m not sure they will have those recorded, but you get the idea). The toggle volume switch is on the right side near the top so you can be courteous to the rest of the store. You could also plug in your Bose noise reduction headsets on the top left of the tablet, but you probably left those on your last flight.

Now, let’s get really advanced. Raise the tablet (it is attached with a cable to keep you from forgetfully taking it back to Nordstrom), touch the Camera icon on the screen, press the camera button located at the right middle of the screen and take a picture of that disguised senior lawyer on the other side of the table, who is following your every move. Next, press the Camera icon on the screen with the circular arrow (located at the bottom right) and see what you look like in that disguise. You can take a picture of yourself by touching that same Camera icon on the right middle of the screen. As you now see, the iPad has two cameras (including HD movie capability)--front and rear, the latter of which is useful for FaceTime (to be discussed at a later time). When you touch the Photos icon, you can see both of the pictures you took and observe the amazing clarity. The new iPad has a retina display which is HD, but you don’t need to worry about the technical specs-just enjoy the picture quality. You will finally be able to really see how cute those grandkids are.

Next, touch the Books icon on the home page (to get back there, just touch that round Home Button near the bottom of the tablet). Touch a book on the shelves and begin reading your favorite novel--well, that one is probably not “in” that library--come on, there are kids in the store! Now go back to the Home Screen and press the News icon. Depending on what application has been downloaded to that tablet (there are over 500,000--many of which are free or only cost $.99), you can read the latest bad news in USA Today, the WSJ, etc. If you touch the App Store icon, you will see what I mean about the number of Apps available. Now press the Weather icon and see if you will need an umbrella when you leave the mall (or in, say, ten days) and then press the Finance icon to see how much money you lost on the stock market that day. If you’re not too depressed, touch the Calendar icon and see what day of the week it is (I often don’t remember, either). At a later time, we will talk about putting that calendar to better use.

All right, now, if there is a Mail icon, touch it and see what e-mails this tablet has received. If you touch the square box with a pencil in it at the right top of the screen, that keyboard pops up again and you can type or dictate (by touching that microphone icon) an e-mail. More on that later; for now, just see how it works.

As you have seen, using this device is certainly easy, fun and nothing to fear! You could keep trying all the applications installed on that tablet, but by now your spouse/significant other may be calling your flip phone, which you probably forgot to charge or turn on. Hurry back to Nordstrom and don’t forget to remove the disguise. When asked where you have been, you just say the restroom.

Now that you have used an iPad, re-read Bryan Sims’ article in the Spring 2012 Illinois Lawyer Now Quarterly and you will hopefully have a better understanding of how you can apply your knowledge of some of the features of a tablet to what he says about the use of that device in your practice. You will no longer be ignorant of the latest technology and my guess is that you may even want to consider a smart phone or use of your iPad to make calls (including FaceTime). Don’t worry, we will talk about that in a later newsletter. Consider the purchase of a tablet (it is also a great gift) for fun at first. You will later see what it can do for your practice, if you can keep it from those grandkids.