Although many lawyers stay connected with smartphones, laptops, digital cameras, ebook readers and other mobile gadgets, it takes panache to be able to carry off carting all those devices–especially when you’re walking into a meeting. In some circles, many older lawyers actually appear more at-home carrying these gadgets than their junior counterparts. Perhaps, notes Law.com’s Law Technology News, this is because they’ve long since mastered the art of appearing polished.
Yet lawyers of any age group who carry too many into a meeting risk appearing like “a nerd, a geek or maybe even a Batman wannabe.” So what’s the secret to staying digitally connected in style?
When Sandy Dumont, a style consultant in Norfolk, Virginia, was asked how lawyers can pull this off, she said that, when walking into a business meeting or proceeding, you need to pack those gadgets away. “You don’t want to have too many contraptions.” Others will tend to think you’re carrying the mobile thing a bit too far, she advised. That might be the first thing they notice about you. (Do you really want to be remembered as the lawyer with the most—and perhaps noisiest–contraptions?) People will think you’re focused on technology, at the expense of whatever else is going on.
OK, so how are you supposed to pack the three or four objects you routinely carry? Dumont recommends a good old-fashioned briefcase–especially a thick, leather case. And don’t walk in carrying the laptop alongside the case. “Just make sure everything goes inside…” According to Dumont, this will give the impression of a lawyer who takes his job seriously and is prepared to tackle any situation.
Another advisor, Constance Dunn, an image consultant, takes a different approach. She maintains that you can walk around with as many devices as you can handle, as long as you make it look graceful and easy each time you use one. “When it comes to devices, you need to pay attention to how you take them out, use them and then put them back,” she says. “It’s almost like a dance.”
Dunn maintains that, once you get a set image of how you want to come across in the world, you should develop that image and keep it fixed in your mind. “Get that image firmly in your head and emulate it,” she says. “It will become second nature as you work on it mentally.”
Another helpful hint is to have absolute confidence and proficiency when it comes to working each of the devices. Don’t walk around with one unless you have got past he peering-quizzically-at-the-screen stage. And do get in the habit of putting each gadget in the same place on your person each and every day. You don’t want to have to go fumbling for a particular device when you need it. Oh, yes and make sure it’s “easily reachable” for smooth and fast access.
Now about why older attorneys handle several devices at a time with more aplomb? According to Dunn, the juggling act is a part of developing a smooth persona—specifically an “in-control persona” that you build as you mature. (This applies to both sexes.) “If you’re more of a junior type, momentary pressure can temporarily override your persona,” Dunn explains.
Finally, a useful tip for keeping unnecessary distractions or momentary pressures at bay, start carrying two cell phones…one for personal and one for client phone calls. Then, during important business meetings or proceedings, turn off the personal phone. You might even consider leaving it at the office altogether. This will give you some ability to arrange when you tackle the sort of interruptions that can be dealt with at a later time.
Oh, and don’t use Bluetooth earpieces. They are a bit too “wired” looking, advises Dunn. Those should be reserved for when you are completely out of sight of colleagues and clients. For more, go to: http://www.law.com/jsp/lawtechnologynews/PubArticleLTN.jsp?id=1202491709764