Legal Technology

Law Prof Explains Why He Is a Cellphone Luddite


Some high-profile professionals are ditching their cellphones, giving them more power over their time and eliminating distractions that interrupt their work and their relationships.

Among those giving up their phones are billionaire Warren Buffett, talk show host Tavis Smiley and William Mitchell law professor Afsheen John Radsan, Bloomberg News reports. According to the wire service, refusing to own a cellphone “isn’t just the act of a Luddite. It’s a pretty serious power move.”

Radsan first saw the downside of telephones when he was an associate at Sullivan & Cromwell. “If you were called on a Friday, it could only be a partner asking you to work over the weekend,” he told Bloomberg. “And we had caller ID. So some of the partners would call from an outside phone and say, ‘We got you!’ “

At that time, Radsan made a bold decision to stop answering his phone, the story says. Then, when he was assistant general counsel at the CIA, he wasn’t allowed to bring electronic gadgets into the building, reinforcing his decision to stop using cellphones. He also bans laptops in the classroom, an idea that has caught on with some colleagues. The only person who is annoyed by his refusal to use a cellphone, the story says, is Radsan’s wife.

A Los Angeles-area college dean, Jonathan Reed of the University of La Verne, said ditching his cellphone helps him pay attention in meetings and frees him up to talk to strangers. “A cellphone signals that my whole world is me and it excludes everyone else,” he told Bloomberg. He recalls a recent trip where he saw two men in a restaurant sitting with beautiful women, and both were on their cellphones.

“Do they have someone better on the other line?” he wondered.

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