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5 Things Lawyers Can Do When the Internet Goes Down

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on December 10, 2014 11:04 AM

The dreaded spinning circle on your browser tab. That sudden notification that you've been disconnected from your chat program. It can only mean one thing: The Internet is out. Few phrases spawn more fear into a member of the 21st century bourgeoisie than that (other candidates include "Your credit card's been declined" and "Target is closed").

As a solo or small firm, your law office runs on the Internet. Is there anything you can do during an Internet outage? As it turns out, there is. So if you're reading this on your phone (or if you've printed this out just in case), here are five things you can do when the Internet goes down:

1. Look to the Books.

If you have an office, chances are you have some kind of practice guides or something in the back. At my old firm, we used copies of the Penal Code as monitor stands. Until your connectivity is restored, you can always flip through these books to at least bill some time.

2. Bring Out Your Notepad.

Now is as good a time as any to make notes, long-hand. You can read through transcripts, discovery, or opposing counsel's briefs and make notes along the way. Guess what? It might be better for you, as we've learned that constantly having a screen in front of you can decrease your cognition and memory.

3. Use Your Mobile Device.

Why do you have all these other fancy gewgaws if you can't use them? Both Westlaw and that other one have apps for your iDevice, so there's no reason you can't do some legal research there. Lots of other favorite desktop applications, like Microsoft Office, have tablet versions too. Bonus if your iPad has cellular data, which means you get that nice big screen and you can work for a while (especially if someone took our advice and got you a case with a built-in keyboard).

4. Go to the Library, or Starbucks.

If you desperately need to use the Internet, consider a coffee shop. If that's too high-traffic for you, take your laptop down to the local library. You know, that place with all the books. Libraries are nice and quiet, so you'll have a place to work in peace. On the downside, you may not be able to have coffee there.

5. Take a Break.

Why are you still working? It's the modern-day equivalent of a snow day, or at least a snow-couple-of-minutes. Go enjoy the greenery out there in the world. Take a walk! Feed the birds! Or at the very least, go play Candy Crush next to a window.

What do you do when the Internet is down? Let us know via Twitter (@FindLawLP) or Facebook (FindLaw for Legal Professionals).

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