Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Blackberry Bar

Lawyers Weekly writer Milton Kiang takes a look at the relationships between lawyers and our smartphones, and finds attitudes all over the map:
Lang Michener LLP banking partner Eric Friedman says matter-of-factly: “Clients have an expectation that you’ll always be in touch with the office. Not all clients are like that, but with the increase in the use of BlackBerrys, more and more clients carry that expectation.

“If you can’t provide that level of service, someone else will,” says Friedman.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP corporate partner Martin Donner says that according to a legal survey he read several years ago, a lawyer’s availability is what clients value most. Donner says he checks his BlackBerry on evenings and weekends. “I do it because I haven’t left the planet. If there’s something I can do to help out, I’ll do it. Clients’ needs aren’t confined to regular hours.”

So where does one draw the line between work and personal life?

“It’s a source of frustration,” says one second-year Calgary litigation lawyer, who didn’t want to be named. “I don’t want to have my work attached to me all the time. Whenever you check your BlackBerry, it creates work. It doesn’t make sense to be checking your e-mail [on holidays and weekends] because the whole point is not to be working.”

Another Calgary lawyer, Clint Suntjens, a senior litigator with Litwiniuk & Company, refuses to carry a BlackBerry. “I don’t want to be checking my Blackberry 2 million times a day. Of course, if I’m in the office, I’ll check my e-mail messages.”

See the full article - Smartphone Etiquette: Where to Draw The Line?

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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