This week the National Law Journal took an in depth look at how the culture of the BlackBerry has complicated the practice of law. For those of us hooked on our PDAs, browsing the internet, catching up on emails, and communicating with friends and colleagues has ensured that we will never experience a moment of needless boredom again. However, the urge to surf the BlackBerry can sometimes distract from important proceedings, and some argue that this technological shortening of attention spans can impinge on a lawyer’s diligence.
For example, scrolling through emails during a lengthy deposition may seem harmless, but if a lawyer misses an important question, he can slow up the proceedings and may do a disservice to his client. In addition, managing one’s email can be a time consuming endeavor, which can mean racking up minutes for one client while billing for another. Factoring BlackBerry time into your billing structure can become a thorny and complicated process, but when splitting attention between the task at hand and a PDA, avoiding that headache may be unethical.
Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that these considerations will deter BlackBerry aficionados from wielding their cherished devices with any less zeal. Maybe with just a bit more discretion.