Untethered to BlackBerry, Lawyers Cope, Find Peace

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For attorneys throughout North America who reportedly lost Blackberry service for up to 12 hours or more over the past day or so, the elimination of their high-tech e-mail link was either disconcerting or liberating.

Dallas employment lawyer Michael P. Maslanka first noticed the problem around 9 p.m. Tuesday, at a reception focused on the legal profession. “I sent out four or five BlackBerries from the party, and it was clear, you get that ugly red flash,” he told the ABA Journal, explaining how he found out about the transmission issue. And, as he looked around the room, it was apparent he wasn’t the only attorney suffering from the problem, says Maslanka, who is managing partner of Ford & Harrison’s office in Dallas.

“Thank God there was free liquor there being given away, because it was able to mediate the stress I saw on several faces when it became clear their BlackBerries weren’t working,” says Maslanka, who hastened to add that he took a cab to and from the event. To get one for the return trip, however, “the problem was, I had to have the valet call me,” he says, “because I couldn’t use my BlackBerry.”

By Wednesday morning, Maslanka’s device was back in action, he says. But that may or may not have been true for millions of other users, according to an IDG news service article in PC World, and the ongoing outage made international headlines.

The Herald-Sun, in Melbourne, Australia, told its readers that that the outage left Charles Ross, a criminal defense lawyer in New York, feeling “vulnerable and uncomfortable,” and caused him to miss a breakfast meeting. “He did not show and had sent me an e-mail that he wasn’t able to make it,” Ross said.

The outage also affected much of Canada, reports the CP news service.

Some lawyers saw the silver lining, however. Among them was Toronto attorney Jeremy Ehrlich, who appreciated the peace and quiet after his device went out Tuesday night. “I put it down, and that was an enormous relief,” he says, noting that the widespread nature of the problem was a significant plus from his standpoint. “When you know that everyone is out, that’s what’s liberating. When you think it’s just yours, then you get a little nervous.”

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