Two lawyers walk into a bar (association networking event).
A fellow lawyer approaches me and asks “So what time does the event start”…. Bing! He looks down and starts typing on his phone just as I start to respond: “Hmm, I’m not sure, I think it’s at-.”…. BIng! As I am texting my co-worker about a non-emergent issue, the fellow lawyer disappears into the nearest stairwell, also glued to his phone.
Looks like this networking event will lead to a splendid failure of connections for both of us.
I know I’m not the only one who’s done this: You’re doing your best to have a conversation, but you keep being interrupted by the vibrations of a cell phone, either another person’s or your own.
Have you ever binged on Netflix all night and looked up to see the sun rising? A lot of us are suffering from that same addiction epidemic, but with our phones (and yes, maybe also with Netflix. I’m talking to you, Narcos.)
As lawyers, as law students, hell, as PEOPLE, what should we do?
1. PUT THE PHONE DOWN
Yes, I know it’s obvious, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to hear it. A former Facebook executive recently came out to say that social media is basically eroding the threads of connection in society.
These threads of connection are important, especially when we are dealing with the many stressors that come along with being a law student or lawyer. When we are constantly glued to our phone, we aren’t as well equipped to observe the world, or each other.
But when you put your phone down, you’ll become more present in each moment, remembering events through your senses, rather than your phone lens. Whether you are at a bar association networking event, an actual bar, or even at school, you will open yourself up to deeper conversations, new connections, and opportunity. These connections are vital tools to have in our well-being tool box.
2. SHOOT LIKE CURRY
If you’re a law school administrator or legal employer, you should learn how to shoot like Curry. Nope, not the three point shooter from the Warriors but the Curry Pizza Company in Fresno. Curry Pizza is offering groups of four or more people discounts on pizza for putting their phones away while they eat.
“Our goal is to get families/friends to stop using their phones while eating and talk to each other and communicate more,” the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post. “If you like, you may receive a free large (per group) on your next visit or you can donate your free large pizza to the needy.”
Encourage your legal family to be like Curry Pizza and shoot the sh*t more often.
A scientific literature review conducted by The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education on behalf of Dignity Health shows that a simple gesture of empathy and concern makes us feel more connected, more relaxed, and less stressed. We can take a collective step forward towards improved well-being just by talking to each other.
Law school and law practice can be very challenging. You don’t need to go it alone. Taylor Swift says you can’t spell “awesome” without “me”. Well, guess what else: you can’t spell “power” without “we.” There is real strength in the collective, so let’s form it. (and let’s also agree that I should stop quoting Taylor from now on).