I am willing to go out on a limb with this one, but I have come to the conclusion that smartphones are quickly becoming a requirement for paralegals. Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of invisible fences and constant communication (as one of my collegues constantly reminds me). Several weeks ago, I finally broke down and purchased the Samsung Blackjack smart phone (I highly recommend this phone to anyone interested in a slim smart phone).
Until that point, I had a long standing line-in-the-sand against smart phones. I felt that cell phones should be used for talking and computers should be used for email. This is of course, not to say that I am technophobic or against consolidation of devices. I like Pizza, and I like ice cream. But I like them much more on their own, rather than mixed together. I also felt that the idea of being in constant contact via e-mail, IM, etc., seemed a bit overwhelming. The point that finally forced me to take the plunge was client contact. I have always believed that paralegals are great client ambassadors. In fact, I have always considered client contact a perk of the profession (well, most of the time at least). One aspect of email that I have noticed over the years is how much people honestly appreciate quick email responses. I routinely receive thank you emails from clients who comment on how much they appreciate a quick email response. I believe that it is becoming an expectation of paralegals, that they will be in near constant contact via email. I have even heard of several large law firms purchasing their paralegals smartphones or blackberry devices.