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Ed. note: This post has been updated from the original version. Please see below.
The only thing worse than being tied to your BlackBerry at all hours is missing something important because you were not tied to your BlackBerry the hour you were needed.
Wait, this just in. There is something worse than missing a crucial request because you weren’t checking your BlackBerry. That would be when the partner you are working for emails all of the firm’s associates reminding them to compulsively check their BlackBerries because of your mistake.
Welcome to the world of a Quinn Emanuel associate. The associate apparently didn’t send a fax because he hadn’t been checking emails after business hours. QE partner Bill Urquhart decided to use the incident as a teaching moment for the entire firm….
There are certain staples that tend to be recession-proof: alcohol, toilet paper, Spam. You can add smartphones to that list, reports the New York Times. Sales of BlackBerrys, iPhones and other smartphone models are projected to increase by 25% this year.
In case you’re thinking about contributing to that increase, Gizmodo has a guide to the latest and greatest models: the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G S, the Palm Pre, the HTC Magic, and the BlackBerry Storm. The tech savvy folks at Gizmodo compare the hardware, software, and cost of these little electronic extensions of ourselves.
Check out the Gizmodo piece for tech love poems and detailed charts. Here’s the short version:
To summarize: iPhone OS claims advantages in ease of use, its burgeoning App Store, and a respectable core feature set, but falters on multitasking and its lack of ability to install unsanctioned apps. The Pre’s WebOS is extremely slick and friendly to multitasking, but its App Catalog is light on content, and its development SDK is somewhat restrictive. Android and BlackBerry OS are both more laissez-faire, letting users install apps from whatever source they choose. Neither of their app stores is spectacular, but Android’s is markedly less anemic.
Last month, we did a post on the best iPhone apps for lawyers. If you chose to download Black’s Law Dictionary, we’d love to know if it’s worth its hefty price tag. We included some polls in that post about which smartphones you all prefer, and what’s on offer at your firms. Results after the jump.
Buzzing around the internet today is a ridiculous study from the Chicago Sun Times:
A new survey found that about 35 percent of professionals would pick their PDAs over their spouses if they had to choose.
A surprising 87 percent take their personal digital assistants into their bedrooms, and 84 percent check them just before going to bed and as soon as they wake up, according to a work-life survey from Sheraton Hotels & Resorts. Another 85 percent say they look at their PDAs in the middle of the night.
Sounds to me like 35 percent of professionals do not fully understand the ramifications of losing half their stuff.
But what’s worse is that many readers have emailed the story to ATL contending that the numbers for professionals “in the law” would be much, much higher.
Let’s settle this after the jump.
Bloggers tend to be so hyper-connected that being away from Internet service for more than two hours can feel like an eternity. Due to the numerous e-mails flying around law firms, and the expectation of rapid response, lawyers tend to have a similar connectivity addiction. The Blackberry is the sweet, sweet drug that feeds the need.
We know how dedicated you all are to your Blackberries. What if you were forced to give it up in order to really go on vacation and get away from the firm?
UK-based Linklaters is doing just that, reports Law People.
Linklaters is reported having decreed, in a fit of concern for work/life balance, that lawyers leave their Blackberrys at home while on holiday (vacation to us).The order is designed to insulate associates, in particular, from the relentless rat race for a few sweet weeks a year, according to management. “Sometimes it’s the small things that count,” one partner averred. While another lawyer confessed that “I feel naked without my Blackberry and there are times when you just have to be reachable.” Whether the firm is successful in enforcing this edict is not yet clear.
We think this will just result in compounding of guilt, as attorneys feel the shame of obsessively checking their Blackberries while “on holiday,” and the need to hide the illicit Blackberry checking from the firm. What do you think about the policy?
Blackberry Withdrawal [Law People]
We’ve blogged before about the danger of Blackberry addiction. However, the latest research linking cell phone use with brain cancer risk is much scarier than Blackberry orphans.
We first started worrying about cell phone radiation at the ending of the film Thank You For Smoking. It was easy to dismiss a Hollywood quip, but it’s harder to ignore a news report on an award-winning expert on cancer research:
Mobile phones could kill far more people than smoking or asbestos, a study by an award-winning cancer expert has concluded. He says people should avoid using them wherever possible and that governments and the mobile phone industry must take “immediate steps” to reduce exposure to their radiation.
The study, by Dr Vini Khurana, is the most devastating indictment yet published of the health risks.
It draws on growing evidence – exclusively reported in the IoS in October – that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer. Cancers take at least a decade to develop, invalidating official safety assurances based on earlier studies which included few, if any, people who had used the phones for that long.
The article goes on to cite a dismissal of the doctor’s work by the “Mobile Operators Association.” Given that the MOA’s members include T-Mobile and Vodafone, we’re not exactly reassured.
Is the fear of brain cancer enough to make us stop using our cellphones and Blackberries? Probably not. We know french fries likely cause cancer, but we can’t give those up either. We are warming to the idea of a phone headset, though.
Mobile phones ‘more dangerous than smoking’ [The Independent via Drudge]
Despite the recent turmoil in the economy and the stock market, all appears to be well at Milbank Tweed Hadley McCloy. A tipster provided us with the highlights of chairman Mel Immergut’s “State of the Firm” address from last week:
1. Primary caregiver leave is now 18 weeks paid.
2. Blackberries will get replaced every two years instead of three.
3. “We’re not getting fired.”
It appears that Milbank has effectively made a “no layoffs” promise. It learned that lesson the hard way:
Mel stressed that in the last downturn, they had slowed hiring, and then found themselves at a loss for mid-level associates when things picked up later. So the plan is to continue to hire new people (our summer program is the largest to date at 100+) and retain, but not really hire laterals.
Will other firms make a similar pledge? We’ll see.
Here’s some news that must have had many lawyers tearing out their hair (or what’s left of it). From the AP:
A major service outage afflicted users of the popular, addictive BlackBerry smart phones across the United States and Canada on Monday. Officials with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless said BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. told them customers of all wireless carriers were affected….
Garth Turner, a member of the Canadian Parliament, said during a caucus meeting that the incident — the second widespread disruption in 10 months — was having a big impact.
“Everyone’s in crisis because they’re all picking away at their BlackBerrys and nothing’s happening,” Turner said. “It’s almost like cutting the phone cables or a total collapse in telegraph lines a century ago. It just isolates people in a way that’s quite phenomenal.”
When the Canadian Parliament grinds to a halt, you know the situation is grave.
So how were you affected by the BlackBerry outage? Were you forced to stay in the office due to an inability to receive wireless email? Did a crucial email message fall through the cracks? Did you suffer from delirium tremens, a well-known symptom of CrackBerry withdrawal?
Feel free to vent, in the comments.
BlackBerry Service Out in N. America [Associated Press]
RIM reports “critical” BlackBerry outage [Reuters]
The firm of Dewey Ballantine was never known for being particularly PC. From a 2004 article by Anthony Lin, for the New York Law Journal:
Nearly one year after lawyers at Dewey Ballantine infuriated members of the Asian-American community by performing a stereotype-laden parody song at their annual dinner, the law firm is again dealing with allegations of racial insensitivity….
On Monday, an employee sent a firmwide e-mail advertising the availability of some puppies for adoption. Douglas Getter, a London-based American who heads Dewey Ballantine’s European mergers and acquisitions practice then sent a firmwide reply.
“Please don’t let these puppies go to a Chinese restaurant!” Getter wrote in his e-mail.
Now Dewey has merged with LeBoeuf Lamb. Happily, it appears their firm cultures are a good match. Check out this email exchange appearing below — and note that Partner X came from the LeBoeuf Lamb side of the marriage….