The end of the world will follow shortly after.
From Roll On Friday 28/09/14:
“CMS Cameron McKenna is getting rid of landlines in its London office.
Next year the firm's City staff are moving to new premises on Cannon Street, where they will use a mobile phone and a headset to connect to a Microsoft product called Lync, freeing themselves from the tyranny of wires.”
Oh let the good Lord help us. A law firm embracing technology. That never ends well.
Ok - now I’ve got that customary knee-jerk reaction out of the way, I accept that this isn’t exactly ground-breaking news. However, it does make me nervous about the encroachment of technology into the work-life balance of people generally, but particularly lawyers.
Granted - getting rid of a desk phone isn’t going to kill anyone. I can’t imagine there are many lawyers who don’t currently have a work-issued mobile phone either. But what scares me is that tying a person to a mobile phone might be just one step away from senior partners and clients daring to think that fee earners are on round-the-clock call for them personally.
Oh wait - they already think that, don’t they?
By the by, I’ve never really got on with phone headsets. The nearest I got to embracing one was a short stint using a Bluetooth ear thing about three or four years ago. I quickly abandoned it after a couple of days’ use. I’m not sure which influenced that decision more: finding the thing hard to operate, or the fact it risked making me feel like a taxi driver!
Maybe what also alarms me about this story is that I hate the thought of lawyers sat at their desks with headsets on, clucking away like a warehouse full of battery hens. It’s bad enough when colleagues choose to pace about in the office talking on their mobile (apparently pacing helps some people to think). I don’t like having to contend with any kind of phone at work, quite frankly, but having a deskphone with a receiver you can slam down occasionally works wonders for stress management. Whipping your headset off and lobbing it at
your nearest colleague the wall just isn’t the same thing.
As I see it, lawyers shouldn’t be relegated to legally trained call centre operatives - even in a world where clients are ‘users of legal services’ and solicitors are just an increasingly unpopular grade of fee earner.
Ditching the deskphone could be a slippery slope, folks. And that scares me.