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

June 2014, vol. 5, no. 3

Technology for seniors

This is the latest of what has become a regular column in the ISBA Senior Lawyer Section Council newsletter. Hopefully you will take a turn in contributing a section on your own “Best Practices” or problems you have in using technology. Please let us know what you need.

Applications (“Apps”)

For the past few years, we have talked a lot about hardware--i.e. laptop computers, smart phones and tablets. We have tried to get you interested in using these devices in your practice, or otherwise. Our emphasis has been on the simplicity, ease and actual “fun” involved in learning this technology. Hopefully you have been motivated to at least try some of the suggestions, but in case you still are of the mistaken opinion that you are too “old” to learn something new or don’t need to learn to use and incorporate technology into your practice and daily lives, let’s try a new approach.

Both Apple (iOS) and Android devices each have about 1,200,000 applications that run on their devices (smart phones and tablets). 90% of these “Apps” are free. All you have to do is log-in to the App Store on your device and search for what interests you. You then download that App and it remains on your device (and others using the same operating system--e.g. downloading an App on your iPhone will also download it to your iPad (if your settings allow)--if the App is not designed to operate on only one type of device). Most Apps will run on both types.

So, with about 1,000,000 choices, without cost to you, why are you still resisting use of these devices? Perhaps you don’t realize how much fun they can be, as well as how useful and even necessary to your practice they can be. Forget the latter for now, let’s talk about the fun!

At any given time, I have about 160 Apps on my iPhone and iPads (full size and mini), with all but about 5 of them free. The following is a list with some brief descriptions that may catch your interest:

Starbucks--Start every day at the local Starbucks, using the free App to pay in the drive-thru line (and get a free song or game to download each week).

The Weather Channel--with coffee in hand, check the weather (most “older” people do, to the amusement of the “less mature”).

Bloomberg on Stocks--a quick look at the markets (real time or updated every 15 minutes) to hopefully brighten the day, regardless of the weather.

USA Today--still drinking the coffee, and armed with the knowledge of what weather you are in for (important when you live in the mountains), it’s time to check on the latest news (updated every few minutes).

Words Pro (Words with Friends)--finally awake and armed with daily “necessary” knowledge, it is time to catch up on the 6 or so pending games. If you like Scrabble, you will love WWF. You get to try letter combinations for words you have never heard of, without penalty if not a word, and with a running count of the word point value. This is not only fun with colleagues, friends and/or family, but it also is a great brain exercise as we age. One caution however; it can be addictive and take more time than wanted. Keep the number of games small so you can still find time to practice!

Fitbit, iBike Coach, Strava, Golfshot GPS, Ski Tracks, etc.--depending on your level of physical activity, (walking, bicycling, running, golf, skiing, etc.), and now that you finished your coffee and know what you need to know, get that exercise in before you get busy with other activities that will take up that precious time (if you are not still playing WWF).

iBooks--While resting from that physical activity (so important as we “mature”), you may want to get a few chapters in on that book you started last night (on a break from WWF). Your device can hold more books than you can possibly read in your lifetime, without need for a new wing to your house for your library, and at much less cost.

Flixter--if you are planning on a movie tonight, check out what is playing at your local theater and watch the trailers to see if it is time for a “popcorn dinner.”

Currency, iTranslate, USA Today Autopilot--If you are planning a trip, these Apps are useful to check exchange rates, brush up on your foreign phrases like “where is the bathroom?,” or to check on the status of your flight (including a map showing where the plane is at any given time, including speed, altitude and ETA).

Obviously, this list is only the tip of the iceberg (there is probably an App for where those are currently located), but hopefully you get the idea of how technology can fit into the fun parts of your daily routines. Some others that I like to use are: Convert Units, QR Reader, Free Level, Find iPhone, Sol Free, Scrabble, Zippo Lighter (in case you attend concerts), CNN, Distance Free, Find Friends, Dragon, HBO Go, Fandango, Dictionary, Speller and Tune-In Radio (internet radio). I have not included useful practice aids such as Fastcase, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Office Mobile, Email and Messaging, but we are trying to talk fun here.

One final point, when you download your choices of the 1,200,000 available Apps, it is helpful to put them in “folders.” To do that, merely hold down one of the App icons until it “wiggles” and drag it onto a similar App. A “folder” will automatically be created. You then push the home button to save it.

You are running out of excuses to resist the use of technology. If you aren’t ready to incorporate these devices into your daily professional lives, do it for fun. We guarantee, you will get hooked!

Computers For Senior Lawyers Workshop

We just completed the second of our Computers for Senior Lawyers CLE program on Friday, May 9, 2014, at National Louis University at 122 South Michigan Avenue. We had an excellent group of senior lawyers participating. The computer lab we used only allowed for 21 students and we had to turn people away.

Our four presenters did a great job again. John Phipps, Meghan O’Brien, (immediate past chair of Young Lawyers Division), Don Mateer, and Ed Schoenbaum. We were very fortunate that Meghan was able to recruit 10 other young lawyers to help with the “hands on” part of the educational experience. Each two seniors could share one of the young lawyers in “reverse mentoring.”

We want to thank these other Young Lawyers for their great mentoring: Mike DiNatale, Jean Kenol, Marron Mahoney, Sarah Toney, Kyrsia Ressler, Brian Monico, Katie Hegarty, Frances Ekwerekwu, and Sarah Boeckman.

All of us also want to thank Eugenia C. Hunter for all of her work with the ISBA CLE staff in putting this program together for CLE credit.

Comments on the course evaluations on what the participants liked included: “The young lawyer giving assistance” or “Help from the young lawyers” “the assistance provided by the young lawyers was indispensable. They were helpful and patient.” “Hands on help.” “Hands on practicing.”

Quality of instructors were among those things they liked best and “Materials had good detail.”

Some of the things they would like us to add in future programs are: “More drafting of documents, more cutting and pasting, red lining documents” “More on Dragon Naturally Speaking,” “more legal research on computers, smaller classes and one on one, additional program to supplement first course, hardware and software and data backup, and amplification of speakers because of so much background noise.

This time the course cost more but everyone earned 3.5 hours of professional credit – PMCLE. It was so popular we plan on repeating the course again this fall, tweaking it again based on the suggestions of those who attended. People down-state have also asked that we provide a course for them. The Senior Lawyer Section Council is looking into conducting one in Springfield next year. ■