Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We've Come a Long Way, Baby

My readers of a certain age (my age) will relate to The National Law Journal article, "A veteran legal secretary reflects on changes in the workplace." Carol Coon, an employee of Shook Hardy in Kansas City, Missouri, started her legal career in 1977. I started mine about nine years later (and also as a legal secretary), but boy, this article brings back memories of a few of my least favorite things, like typewriter ribbons, carbon paper - and pantyhose.

Back in the day, a female legal staffer:
  • Always wore pantyhose (and had an extra pair in a desk drawer, as well as a bottle of clear nail polish to repair runs)

  • Typed all day on an electric typewriter (and was so grateful it wasn't a manual typewriter)

  • Washed dishes and fetched coffee (and sometimes dry-cleaning)

  • Knew shorthand (or faked it)

  • Spent hours removing and inserting paper supplements into the firm's statute books

  • Wielded a Bates-numbering machine with an iron fist

And did lots of other mind-numbing tasks that required the mechanical intuitiveness of an auto mechanic and the [silent] swearing skills of a sailor - most of which can now be accomplished electronically via technology that fits in your hand.

It'd be awesome if a smartphone could make pantyhose entirely obsolete.

Source: The National Law Journal

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