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Editorial: Smart v. wise

In an age that glorifies Big Data and everything digital, it’s rare to hear a lone dissenting voice that advocates for face-to-face contact. But at the recent Canadian Bar Association conference in Ottawa, writer Susan Pinker advocated roundly for the value of connecting in person. It enhances our health outcomes and our sense of social connectivity in ways digital connection can’t, she says.

“There’s no doubt that this digital world has appeal, but it’s not enough for us,” she says.

That’s not to say digital doesn’t have a place. This summer, Law Times has run a series of pieces on legal technology — showing the best of what digital connection can offer. For example, Knomos co-founder Adam La France has created an app to increase access to justice.

“You wouldn’t see this proliferation of apps, or an expanding Canadian legal tech marketplace, if there wasn’t a fundamental demand for it,” he says. The app will use data visualization to help convey complicated legal information to lawyers and clients.

I once had the pleasure of hearing modern philosopher Cornel West speak. Let our phones be smart, he said, but let us be wise.

Lawyers everywhere can benefit from being both smart technologically and professionally wise, with mental judgment and experience they bring to the table for their clients.

Let us have the discernment to know the difference.

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