In February, I experienced every computer user’s worst nightmare. My computer crashed, and unless I was willing to pay $3,000 to a forensic expert (a/k/a a professional hacker), nothing was retrievable from the hard drive.
For several weeks prior to the crash, whenever I turned my computer on, it sounded like a plane about to take off. So, the crash was not entirely unexpected. In anticipation of the inevitable, I purchased a new computer, but unfortunately, my hardware died before I had a chance to set up the new system and transfer the data. I spent a lot of wasted hours stressing out about the anticipated loss of my data, even though I was relying on a third-party, cloud-based storage provider to protect, access and restore my work product.
Despite the fact that it is the shortest month of the year, February was a very long month for me, until I learned some valuable lessons:
The anxiety resulting from the loss of data may be akin to what victims of house fires and other casualties face over the loss of their photographs and sentimental items. When tragedy such as a fire strikes, we are forced to rely on the memories of our experiences, rather than relying on the prompts offered by our photographs, etc. Although not an enviable situation, no one can take our experiences away from us.
It is true that attorneys are generally reliant on form documents. However, facing a computer crash reminded me of the value of exercising the memory of my experiences. I appreciated being forced to think independently to create work product addressing my client’s concerns with respect to the matter at hand.
Similar to the adage of not wanting to be “owned” by our material possessions, we should not become too dependent on our digital content. With the increased reliance on computers, suffering a data loss may be unavoidable, and we should prepare ourselves for the worst. As attorneys, we are uniquely trained to apply our expertise and prior experience to new situations.
We need to stay adaptable, and be prepared to let go of lost digital content in the same way we may be forced to move on from the loss of our material possessions. In order to be productive, we cannot afford to get stuck and be stressed out by the potential loss of data. Thank you, Adam Hurd, for helping me find this clarity.