They Said What?

     Remember the old telephone game?
     You probably don’t if you’re not a geezer like me, but back in the day we didn’t have Game Boys or Wiis, so we played some pretty lame games.
     One of them – sometimes used by an elementary school teacher to make a point or kill time – was the telephone game. Kids would sit in a circle and someone would whisper into the next person’s ear. The message would be whispered around the circle until the last person got it and repeated it out loud.
     Usually what came out was something completely different from the original message. This could be either entertaining or annoyingly boring.
     I bring this up because sometimes the Internet seems an awful lot like the telephone game.
     Last week, for example, Bryan Cave – which is either a law firm, a guy named Bryan, or the promotional arm for a spelunker tourist trap – posted the following on Twitter:
     “MRT @ MobileHelix Prof @ wihender commends @ BryanCaveLLP , @ seyfarthshawLLP , @ LittlerNews for innovation. http://bit.ly/1BUIP8K “
     That sounds exciting. What could this innovation possibly be?
     Robot lawyers?
     A new method of generating fees without pesky clients?
     A hybrid law firm/fashion design house?
     I eagerly clicked on the link to discover an article on a website called “helixpulse” apparently created by “the makers of Mobile Helix Link. A smarter way for lawyers to work while mobile.”
     Paralyzed lawyers should go elsewhere.
     The article was called “Legal Disrupted. A Case of the Innovator’s Dilemma.”
     It did not appear to be about honoring law firms.
     I had to go down to the ninth paragraph before finding this half-sentence: “Dolin references Prof. William Henderson of Indiana University Law School who commends the innovation of Bryan Cave, Seyfarth Shaw, and Littler Mendelson …”
     Yes. This was an item quoting someone else who was quoting someone else giving some law firms a pat on the back for something they did but wasn’t described in the article.
     Clearly something to tweet about.
     The “telephone” connection doesn’t begin there.
     The helixpulse article cites a blog post called “ The Profession Is Doomed ” as the “catalyst” for a “thoughtful Internet debate” about the use of technology by law firms.
     Can you guess what that blog was about?
     It’s on a website called geeklawblog.com and it’s about non-lawyers – e.g. “limited licensure legal technicians” – doing jobs that used to be the sole domain of licensed attorneys.
     No sign of a debate over legal technology.
     So what do we conclude from all this?
     I refer you to an article that has nothing to do with this column but could have inspired it and also looks delicious.
     
     By the numbers. Bryan Cave, by the way, apparently has found a cure for arithmophobia.
     I discovered this after finding out where those three law firms really were commended: the website of the International Legal Technology Association.
     There you will find a cartoon character explaining that, among other things, Bryan Cave – for the benefit of arithmophobes – has developed a program that translates numbers into stories.
     I think this means that if the law business doesn’t work out, the firm can fall back on generating scripts for movies and TV.
     It’s good to have alternatives if the legal thing doesn’t work out.

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