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If you brought a lawyer from 40 years ago to the present, they'd have a *lot* to learn about how to practice law in 2020 – technology has transformed nearly every aspect of legal practice, from research, through discovery, to filling.

If you brought a programmer from 40 years ago to the present, they'd fire up emacs or vi(m), start writing C or Lisp, and be basically caught up within a week.

Not sure what that says about the world, but it sure seems like is says *something*

@codesections Programming: Pretty much the same. Project management by kanban, XP, Scrum instead of waterfall and change requests, no more flowcharts: Utterly weird; those taught by IBM etc would never adjust. Noobs copy-pasting from stackoverflow would be seen as some kind of zombies or grifters.

@codesections I'm not so sure a lawyer would be *that* out of depth. There is a *lot* of historical case law that still applies the same today as it did 40 years ago. They'd have as much issue catching up with the major changes, then settling into the minutiae of specific rulings. The legal field changes at a glacial pace.

@nathand

> I'm not so sure a lawyer would be *that* out of depth.

Not to play the I'm-a-lawyer card, but I disagree :D

> There is a *lot* of historical case law that still applies the same today as it did 40 years ago.… The legal field changes at a glacial pace.

Oh, absolutely, the *law* hasn't changed all that much. But 40 years ago, lawyers were still going to actual libraries to pull cases, and "doc review" in discovery meant personally reading through a few boxes of physical documents

@codesections I mean, *some* of that has changed, especially with Lexis and Westlaw. Document review and production is a bit more automated, sure.

The meat and potatoes of being an attorney is still research, constructing arguments and convincing the jury and/or the judge/panel that you're right and the other person is wrong and here's why.

I would agree that the lawyer would likely have *more* material to get accustom to, but there are law offices still using micro-cassettes and dictation.

@codesections And I'm just now realizing that 40 years ago was 1980. Oh my god I am old.

@codesections It's also not like publishing houses have stopped printing legal judgements and other case resources full-stop. You can still send a lawyer to a law school and have them read like they used to do.

I would know, I worked at a law school 😁, my wife is a lawyer, too.

@codesections I would also argue that a C or Lisp developer from 1980 would have lots of architectural changes to adjust to like 64-bit, MMU, ASLR. Massive libraries of code have come and gone in that time. Techniques have been updated. New languages (*cough* node *cough*) have been introduced -- holy shit, the whole of the web has exploded beyond any recognition of the old dialup days, if you even had it.

@codesections I think the biggest adjustment for someone from the 80s is that they're now "always on" and expected to do more with, arguably, less. Oh yeah, and get rid of those horrible clothes.

@nathand

> Oh yeah, and get rid of those horrible clothes.

Oh, man, the clothes female lawyers put up with in the 80s! (and general sexism, but that's a separate topic). I wasn't practicing then, but my mother was and the photos are… interesting

@nathand

> I would agree that the lawyer would likely have *more* material to get accustom to, but there are law offices still using micro-cassettes and dictation.

Oh, I know it! Including the federal judge I clerked for in 2016 – literally the only use his computer ever got was when he'd ask his judicial assistant to turn on piano music!

(Though even he read/sent emails from his iPhone, which goes to your point about about "always on" being the biggest change)

@codesections It's 2020. My wife's law office still has dictation recorders. They're digital, and they send their assistants mp3s, but... wow, yeah, still have to have the whole pedal setup and basically do what text-to-speech engines have been perfecting for the last 10 years.

The judges, from what I understand, are even further behind. It's like they leave regular practice, and whatever the tech is at that time, they use until they're out.

I know one who uses an old DOS database....

@codesections Source control's a big change. Only tarballs and diff/patch existed.

No line printers anymore, so how do you get a printout and mark up your code, since compiles take an hour? (Which hasn't changed if you're coding in C++ or Swift)

@mdhughes

> Source control's a big change [from 40 years ago]. Only tarballs and diff/patch existed.

That's a good point. I was going to say "git wouldn't be too hard to explain to anyone used to using patch", but it turns out even patch is only 35 years old!

@codesections vi and C programming.. sigh. I wish there were more jobs like that. Especially on the frontend.. they have six new frameworks each week.. :P

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