As the incoming chair of the Solo and Small Firm Section, I am troubled. I worry that solo and small firm practitioners are isolating themselves from others in the profession. The drop in attendance at live continuing legal education programs is emblematic of that isolation. Instead of mingling with others, we tend to barricade ourselves in our offices.I almost didn't consider this a Weird McLuhan Citing. State Bar of Alabama or Wyoming -- that's weird. California and McLuhan . . I dunno. Strangely, seems to fit.
Herbert Marshall McLuhan (1911-80) seemed to comprehend the problem a long time before the web consumed our lives. McLuhan — modern rhetorician, literary critic, and philosopher of sorts – said, “the medium is the message.” Each medium, independent of the content it mediates, has its own intrinsic effects that are its unique message and, its “massage.”
Of course, McLuhan was not pontificating specifically about educational programs or lawyers. But his insights nonetheless apply to us. When we cut back on attending live meetings, and rely instead on electronic communications, the message changes. What unique things do you get by personally attending a continuing legal education conference or bar meeting that you miss by simply logging on your computer?
06 April 2008
Weird McLuhan Citing #56: State Bar of California
"Telling it Like it Is - Lawyers Need Face-to-Face Communication To Really Succeed," a Letter from the Chair-Elect, Roberta J. Burnette, in the August/September 2007 issue of BIG NEWS for Smaller Firms, the official publication of The Magazine of the Solo and Small Firm Section of the State Bar of California:
file under: mcluhan