I am definitely a gadget guy and a huge proponent of using smartphones to make your workday more efficient. From accessing files, to creating documents, you can work from almost anywhere with your pocket’s best friend.

At the same time, do not forget that your smartphone can make phone calls too.

Phone calls can save time

I met with a group of other civil litigators this morning and the biggest complaint was that issues that could be easily resolved with a phone call take weeks to resolve through e-mail.

In my practice, I have recently noticed that when I leave opposing counsel a voicemail I get an e-mail response two minutes later. Ninety percent of the time, the e-mail only addresses part of the issue, not all of it. As a result, e-mails fly back and forth for days (or weeks) to resolve the issue.

There are ways to use e-mail to increase efficiency, but e-mail is not always the most efficient way to get things done.

Phone calls help your social skills (or lack thereof)

Maybe some attorneys avoid the phone because they are introverts. But lawyers still have to argue motions in open court and network in person. Talking on the phone with opposing counsel is not the same as arguing in court, but it much better practice than sending an e-mail. Oral arguments require thinking on your feet and adapting on the fly. It can be tough to do that if you only send e-mails.

In addition, your social networking skills will suffer if you refuse to make phone calls. When you go to a networking event, do you send an e-mails to introduce yourself? I doubt it (although, maybe that is the next step). Talking on the phone helps keep you practice your social skills, and in today’s digital world, that is more important than ever.

Every attorney has a lot to do, but picking up the phone will not waste time—it will save it.

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wentzelepsy/5350119902)