Incompetent Luddites

pushpin Incompetent Luddites

Noted technology evangelist Kevin O’Keefe, from LexBlog, and noted technology curmudgeon, Scott Greenfield, both agree that competent lawyers need to understand technology, including social media.

This is not all that surprising, actually. When Kevin wrote about how ridiculous it was for Today Show hosts and ostensible journalists Willie Geist, Savannah Guthrie, and Natalie Morales to chuckle about their own social media ignorance, he was not suggesting that everyone should be using Twitter. He was arguing that social media literacy is essential for professionals, whether journalists or lawyers. Scott backed him up:

[T]here remains no human reason why writing “u r kewl, roflmao” should ever be part of the lawyers lexicon. But ignorance of the tools of the trade, or a deeply entrenched element of modern society, isn’t cute, or funny, or a badge of honor. It’s just ignorance.

I have said the same for a while, but it’s not just a few tech-savvy lawyers arguing for greater technical competence among lawyers. Even the ABA says lawyers must be competent with the technological tools of our trade. It’s time to stop wearing your incompetence like a badge of pride. You need to understand that box on (or under) your desk, and you need to know how social media works so you can counsel your clients in divorce cases or disability cases or when putting together terms of service. Or anything, really.

It’s not okay to be a Luddite.

  • harbingerofcats

    I now leave this blog less convinced than when I arrived. Any lawyer worth their salt knows that their time is far better spent elsewhere.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Elsewhere doing what? A lot of legal work happens on computers, which many lawyers don’t understand. Lawyers represent clients who do stupid things on social media, which many lawyers don’t understand. Clients’ businesses involve social media, which, again, many lawyers do not understand. Estates involve online assets, which many lawyers do not understand. Discovery nearly always involves digital data, which many lawyers do not even acknowledge, much less understand.

      A Luddite lawyer is incompetent.

  • Sierra

    You mean like a boss who asks ‘Why would you want to receive your work email on a phone (blackberry)?’ Ah, civil service. One of many reasons I quit.

  • anthony vrsecky

    Sorry, but social media competance defining luddite? You’re all wet. Most of those people tapping around on Twitter and FB are not computer literate, other than in the social media sites themselves. They are advanced smartphone users. So long as you are able to investigate the sites for digging up dirt for a civil action or have someone do it for you, that’s enough. Also, I am not convinced that these are productive marketing tools.

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      Nowhere in my post, Kevin’s post, or Scott’s post did anyone advocate for technological competence for the purpose of marketing.

  • Anthony Vrsecky

    You are correct. I just threw that in since we are currently dealing with web designers/marketers that ar fixated on social media as a marketing tool.

  • Joe

    Sam,

    Sorry, this comment isn’t related to the post, but I wasn’t sure how to ask the question otherwise. Is there a way to remove the floating social media buttons that now appear on the upper-right-hand side of this web site’s pages? It’s really annoying as it covers the content of the posts, and moves with you as you scroll. I’ve been dealing with it by re-sizing my browser window, but figured there has to be an easier way. Any ideas?

    • http://lawyerist.com/author/samglover/ Sam Glover

      If it covers the content for you, you probably need to clear your browser cache, or just refresh your browser.

      I’ve heard this from others, though, and I’m looking into it.