The next speaker is Mr. Robert B. Dubose (Alexander Dubose & Townsend LLP). His presentation is called “Tales of Technology and Terror: How to Prevent Technology from Harming Your Law Practice”). However, a better title would include “Tyranny” rather than “Terror”. Robert went over the pschological reasons why multi-tasking reduces substantially a human’s ability to do anything right.
He has some words of advice:
1. Get off of useless email lists (typically by companies) and be judicious about using “Reply to All”.
2. Schedule no more than four email review periods per day.”
3. Turn off automatic email alerts.
4. Try to limit the number of programs that you run at one time. Maybe that is why Windows is so popular. Since Windows (still) really sucks at multitasking, the machine tends to drag when you load up extra applications — creating an automatic penalty for using multiple applications. The Linux guys have had to contend with this problem much longer and so have had more time to graple with the problem and solved it by using multiple desktops. The Apple guys have this feature in OS X, but it is not as well implemented as it is in Linux because Apple only added it in the last few years. Windows, on the other hand, keeps you focused on a single desktop.
5. The most interesting (and useful) thing that Mr. Debose discussed was the differences between online-reading and paper-reading. People read online content differently than they do paper books. Part of it may be to eye fatigue, and another part may be the vast cornucopia of information that you *know* you can reach oh-so-easily when online is just too tempting. In short, screen-reading is addictive and it changes your ability (in a negative manner) to concentrate on complex content such as legal cases. The cure? Turn off the computers at a certain time at home, and read a book.
6. Beware of context. For those of us who are older, this is obvious, but it is something that needs reminder. Word searches miss the bigger picture (of the legal opinion, history, etc.). Having an understanding of the context yields a richer experience. Relying on quick-and-easy word searches strips a statement from its context — to the peril of the reader. This is a recurring problem in e-discovery. Indeed, the courts have picked up on this theme, and admonish attorneys who rely soley on keyword searches (as well as their choice of keywords and search structure).