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

February 2014, vol. 5, no. 2

Chair’s column: Technology really is for seniors!

1. Computer Basics for Senior Lawyers

We had an excellent response to our continuing legal education program “Computer Basics for Senior Lawyers” held in October. The response from participants was so positive that we are now developing a new Computer Basics for Senior Lawyers program through the ISBA CLE department. Attendees at the new ISBA program will be able to get CLE credit for attending. Additional announcements will be forthcoming. We are also considering a program on smart phones or simply setting up a workshop at the ISBA Annual and Midyear meetings to help seniors with their questions about smart phones, tablets and basic computer issues. Your comments and indication of interest would be appreciated.

2. Smart Phones

Smart phones continue to evolve. The new smart phones, iPhone and Samsung Galaxy and similar phones, are much simpler to use and very powerful. The new smart phones are almost a desktop computer in your pocket. With a little help from the phone provider, most seniors can get a new smart phone up and running with the basic operating system. I have a number of friends, mostly seniors, who have finally moved to smart phones. They are all amazed that smart phones are adding so much to their lives by making things easy and opening up their communication options. Each one has been sorry they did not upgrade earlier.

One senior couple, finally, after being pressured by their children, purchased the Samsung Galaxy phone. They have been astounded at how easy it is to operate even though it still has a learning curve that takes a little time. They particularly like the ability to check their e-mail when they are not at home or at work. They are delighted to find how easily they can keep up with things by sending and receiving emails. Now they are also using SMS text messaging to keep up with their children. They like the easy fill process for keywords and suggestions for proper words for email and SMS text messaging. They are working with basic apps but they both are excited to download more. The wife has already downloaded a number of apps for her use and pleasure. They have been looking at numerous apps and note a number of them that will be very helpful and fit their lifestyle. An example of a useful app is Poynt, which has addresses and phone listings for business and people, gas prices, movie listings, and events listings with the option to call directly from the listing and get directions from the listing. They also are taking pictures and sending them to family and friends. They also love to receive pictures.

They particularly appreciate having their calendars and contacts with them and the ability to update both. The email feature, contacts and calendars are more than enough to fit their needs. They didn’t realize that by spending only a little time learning about the basics of the smart phones, they could get so much out of them. The multiple other apps are just a bonus.

The access to the Internet and the ability to look up all kinds of things anywhere is a powerful tool. The navigation and location information and its ease of use make getting lost a thing of the past. Their adult children are thrilled to be able to communicate with them on a whole new level. They now have instant access to their teenage grandchildren who love to SMS and MMS text message but do not have time to talk. They are really sorry now that they didn’t take advantage of the benefits of a smart phone sooner.

It has been interesting to watch their reaction as they progress and realize how, with very little work, they benefit from using a smart phone. I don’t want to say this couple were technophobes because they did basic computing before, but using a smart phone has truly provided a new dimension to their lives and opened the scope of their world. The smart phone provides access to all kinds of things that they had never considered until now. All lawyers, especially senior lawyers, need to be aware of the potential and how smart phones can help them and make their lives both easier and more fun. For those seniors still practicing law, smartphones will open up a whole new world of productivity that will make their practices easier and help them serve their clients better. ■


About the Author: John T. Phipps is engaged in the general practice of law in Champaign, IL as John T. Phipps Law Offices, P.C. His primary emphasis is in the areas of family law, general civil litigation, real estate, criminal law, probate and business law. He is chair of the Senior Lawyers Section Council. He is a past chair of the ISBA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section Council and Co-Editor of the Section’s newsletter and has been a member of the ISBA Assembly.