WARNING! Lawyers Should Unplug Themselves
Often times, though, our field takes us online. Westlaw and LexisNexus are probably two of the greatest tools for lawyers ever invented, or at least they would be if they weren’t on the Internet. You’re looking up a case and it reminds you of something then next thing you know you’re on CNN.com seeing if anything big has happened, then you figure you’re already at CNN why not compare it with FoxNews or go check your e-mail. This is where self-discipline comes in and perhaps a bit of pen and paper. One modification to my web surfing habits that I’ve found works great is the presence of a mini-notebook, either in my pocket or next to my keyboard. This is my Internet notebook for everything that needs to get done on the Internet that isn’t part of the task at hand. If I remember that I need to e-mail someone, I write it down. If my curiosity gets to me and I want to look up a random bit of information, or if I think of something important regarding another case, I write it down. The great thing about putting all your Internet to-do in one place is that you can block off a specific time for the Internet. You have your time for it, you know you’ll get to look it up at that time, and that time has a set ending. You satisfy your curiosity, you move on, and you continue making your list in case anything else comes up. Also, I recommend turning off those tabs that pop up when an e-mail comes in, there’s no way to ignore them and they are suspect number one on the list of distractions. Instead, check your e-mail at set times each day. And that’s just the Internet. With cell phones as advanced as they are and your personal direct line a few feet away at all times it can be difficult to resist answering a call on it. If you’re knee deep in briefings, turn off your phone. In the event it’s an emergency they will have your office number and can explain to the hired help how important it is and get patched through.