There seems to be a tendency to think new is always better, particularly for young lawyers. Especially when it comes to new technology. We want to do nearly everything electronically and integrate the newest technology into our practice.
But new is not always better. And new cannot always completely replace the old.
There are many benefits to old practices that we often overlook. Take handwritten thank you or congratulations notes or holiday cards, for example. While email is certainly faster (both in terms of transmission time and the sender’s time investment) and less expensive, it is also more easily overlooked and more quickly deleted. These days, a handwritten note stands out.
Or dictating. Now, I have never dictated. I have always typed faster and more coherently than I actually speak, which I think is the case for many young lawyers who grew up typing extensively.
But a few weeks ago, another attorney I was talking to about this made a good point. She said that dictating is not just a process by which you write a letter or brief — it is a skill-development tool.
Through the process of dictating, you necessarily practice speaking in complete thoughts, paragraphs and outlines. For a young lawyer, these are vital skills to develop and practice. And a dictaphone is a relatively non-threatening audience.
So, I will try to write more thank you notes by hand. And, while I may not start dictating tapes for my practice assistant, I will give Dragon Dictation a spin on my iPad.