Volume 12, no. 3
My Cell Phone—My Superhero
By David Leffler
I’ve owned a Palm Treo 650 cell phone for about a year. It is my constant companion and gives me powers far beyond those of mortal men (or mortal women, for that matter). I catch my wife giving it a nervous look every now and then as if she suspects that one day I’ll run off with it. But it is true that more than once it has saved me in tight situations. You may not believe it, but it has given me the ability to fly, time travel, possess super memory and super hearing, to be invulnerable and have x-ray vision. Don’t believe me? Read on.
Once I was in a rush to get to a new client and I had forgotten to ask for directions. While on the road I had the client send me directions by a simple cut and paste into an email of directions he already had on his computer. The email was in my cell phone within a minute or two from when he sent it and his directions guided me perfectly to his door. It may not have been flying, but it sure felt pretty miraculous.
I wanted to take another client to a restaurant that I had been to once and really enjoyed, but I couldn’t remember its name. What to do? I couldn’t Google the restaurant’s name because I didn’t know it. However, I did remember the name of the person that I had the lunch with, so I did a search in my cell phone date book function for that name, and it was like time traveling back to that date to see the appointment entry that included the name of the restaurant.
I don’t have a great memory for faces, so lately I’ve been taking pictures of new clients and other people that I meet and want to remember. They are stored right on my cell phone so if for our next appointment we will be meeting in a crowded area I have the photos to remind me what they look like. This is more of a problem these days because technology allows us to work for long periods of time for clients without seeing them face-to-face, and people are less and less interested in meeting face-to-face or simply don’t have the time.
Believe it or not, my cell phone has an incredible speakerphone, better than the speakerphone on my office system. Often I’ll put my cell phone in the middle of my conference room table and it’s able to convey the discussions of a group of five—even 10—people to the person on the phone, and we can clearly hear that person when he or she speaks.
There are times when I am off to a meeting or returning home and I am carrying stress from the day that will interfere with the meeting or my time with my family. So I whip out my headphone, plug it into my cell phone, and I am transported back to 1969 Switzerland to the Montreux Jazz Festival, listening to a classic performance by Les McCann and Eddie Harris. It is not nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, and my cell phone has made me invulnerable against a sea of troubles.
Sometimes, when representing a tenant in an office lease negotiation, it is helpful to have a reminder of the layout and appearance of the premises after I’ve seen the space and returned to my office. While I make my visit I can snap a few photos with my camera cell phone, and later my “x-ray eyes” permit me to review the inside of the space without leaving my office.
Look! Up in the Sky!
Having a piece of technology that can do so many things without any support staff is particularly valuable for solo lawyers, who often carry the whole load of their practices by themselves. Although these so-called “smartphones” cost more to buy and require higher-priced email subscription plans, I believe it’s worth the cost, considering all that they do. It’s a thrill just not having to run to a computer to see if an important email that you’ve been waiting for has arrived.
So give it a try. Just don’t start walking around with a cape—you might scare off the clients.
David Leffler, a former solo, is a member of the New York City law firm Leffler Marcus & McCaffrey LLC, which represents clients in business matters, litigation, and bankruptcy. Contact him at email@example.com.