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Can You Survive a Day Without Email?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Admit it. Now that you have your iPhone, iPad, and laptop you can't really envision life without email anymore.

Need to quickly send over a draft of your brief so you can get some input from your colleagues? Email them a copy. Need to make sure your co-counsel is on track with her legal research? Email her a quick query.

These days, emailing someone seems almost as second nature as picking up a phone. Email has long been touted as a beacon of productivity -- which is why it's surprising that for one tech firm, email will soon be a thing of the past.

Atos Origin, a French tech company, has decided that the amount of email bouncing between its employees has reached an unsustainable level. The company plans to eliminate its internal email system within two years.

Atos Origin employees will still be using the Internet to communicate. The firm plans to migrate most of its communication channels to instant-messaging or web-based documents that can be edited simultaneously by multiple users.

It's a bold move, but maybe it's prudent as well. According to Atos Origin's estimates, only about 10% of emails received by employees are actually useful. And on average, their employees receive about 200 messages a day. The company estimates its employees end up spending between five to 20 hours each week reading and writing email.

For attorneys, many of Atos Origin's complaints probably strike a chord. After all, how many of your emails are actually pertinent? And, how many times do emails take the place of conversations that could have been completed via a few seconds of face-to-face interaction? Maybe in this digital age, even attorneys are finding that their productivity has been hampered by technology.

Perhaps it's not necessary to fully eliminate email from your law practice. But maybe even the most tech-savvy attorneys would appreciate a productivity boost gained by disconnecting themselves from the web.

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