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Around the Blawgosphere: Avoiding ‘Digital Distractions’ While Still Having Quality Time Online

Posted Dec 14, 2012 9:30 AM CDT
By Sarah Mui

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The Double-Edged Touchscreen

Writing at her blog, At the Intersection, Edge International general counsel Pam Woldow addresses the "inefficiency disease"–familiar to anyone reading this–of "digital distraction."

While much is written about how technologies that speed up communication increase efficiency in a legal workplace, the constant distraction of email messages and the neverending content stream on social media–not to mention "the Babel of open-plan office spaces"–has become an epidemic, Woldow writes. "The distraction issue is particularly problematic in legal practice because the legal economic model is so fundamentally time-based. Service value still relies heavily on lawyers’ ability to close the door, buckle down, focus on the work and put in the time."

Some corporations are addressing this problem head-on, Woldow writes: Intel Corp. allows workers to "block out certain 'no interruptions allowed' periods for heads-down work," and other workplaces have instituted "standing meetings" at which workers can't use smartphones hidden under desks.

But then, set aside social media too much, and you might also feel like you're dropping the ball. Lisa Salazar, Internet marketing manager at Fulbright & Jaworski, writes at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog that she's pulled away from blogging social media lately, and is trying to find strike an online / offline balance.

"I rationalized that social media was just taking up too much of my own head time," Salazar wrote. "I had a enough going on managing work and home to take the time to participate in the Twitter stream. I barely had enough time to check for DMs, Facebook notices, LinkedIn mail and scan a few Pinterest posts. But to sit down and write a cohesive sentence on what I really thought about it all? Nope. Not happening this year."

She wrote that she needs to remember that her online friends are as valuable as her offline ones. "I can get too wrapped up in the minutia of life and miss the opportunities to connect, share and bond. I have met so many great people online through my professional and personal blogs and accounts–I don't want to lose that."


Stay Out of the Shire

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Image from Shutterstock.

At Legal Bytes, Joseph Rosenbaum notes that the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted a temporary restraining order to the motion picture studios and producer behind The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which opens in theaters today) against Global Asylum, blocking that film company's direct-to-DVD release of Age of the Hobbits. According to the order (PDF) Global Asylum specializes in "mockbusters" and has produced films such as Snakes on a Train and Transmorphers: Fall of Man. The studios point out in their action that Global Asylum always releases its alleged parodies to coincide with the big-budget releases and uses "confusingly similar titles."

Judge Phillip S. Gutierrez noted in his decision: "The evidence of the advertising and promotion for Age of Hobbits, as well as the media coverage the film has received, provides support for plaintiffs' contention that Asylum intended to deceive consumers by associating its movie with plaintiffs' works."


Intrapreneurship at Work

Joan Rataic-Lang, executive director and library manager at the Toronto Lawyers Association, writes at Slaw that she used to ask job candidates about their entrepreneurial qualities, which confused many applicants. In hindsight, she thinks she meant intrapreneurship. "If they were directing their own company, they would be called entrepreneurs, but since they work inside someone else’s corporation, they are better described as intrapreneurs, and that’s what I was looking for!"

Law librarians should be in touch with their firm's long-term strategic plan so they can figure out how the library will actively support it. If law librarians are responsible for contract renewals, they should learn to negotiate. And they should know how to sell the value of the library's services to higher-ups. "After all, the great service provided by the library is not always clear to everyone all the time, especially to those lawyers sitting on the executive committee," Rataic-Lang wrote. "It might have been that way once, but not anymore."

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