Just because something’s possible with technology doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do it.
You should never make important decisions regarding technology without putting things in proper context first.
So, when people ask me if they should switch to a Mac computer, I put things in context first.
Otherwise, I’d make the mistake of reflexively saying, “Yes, you absolutely should switch to a Mac computer.”
Without proper context, I’d make that recommendation based on (1) my love of Mac computers, and (2) my belief that they are much easier to use than PCs and generally more reliable.
People who ask me for advice tend to know that I use Macs and think they’re better. So often, their question is really a disguised invitation – one that asks me to assure them that switching to a Mac is a good idea.
I’ve learned not to make important recommendations (or provide assurance) without considering the proper context. And I’ve learned that most lawyers who switch to Macs wind up facing challenges they wish they had known about before they opted to switch.
So…how about adding some “context” to the decision?
First, switching technology platforms means you have to replace a lot of important knowledge that you now take for granted.
For example, on a PC you do many things now without even thinking about it.
Need to open a file? No problem because the Windows Explorer file management system is very familiar.
Do you know what the Mac equivalent is? Do you know how it works? Do you know if it has all the same features you know, love and never think about on a PC?
Multiply the questions about file management to include similar ones for other aspects of using a PC and that will give you a sense of the amount of knowledge you have to replace.
Okay, on to the next important question…
WHY do you want to switch to a Mac? Is there a specific problem you want to solve, or is it just a general sense that Macs are easier (once you know how to use them)?
Maybe you’ve streamlined your legal practice by using some specialized software. Unfortunately, that software is only available on the PC.
Sure, you can use one of those “virtual machine” software packages that let you run Windows programs on a Mac. Your tech-savvy lawyer friend says it “works just fine.”
For him, that is.
How great will YOUR life be after you switch to a Mac and start trying to use a bunch of new software tools? You’re going down a rabbit hole that’s a lot deeper than you first realized.
Remember, you’ve committed to replacing knowledge about COMMON tasks on the PC. Now, you’re going to learn to connect new dots so you can do UNCOMMON things— like running Windows software on a Mac.
Is that going to make your life easier or harder?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I use Macs exclusively and I love them. And for some lawyers I’d say that switching makes sense.
But for you?
I don’t know.
I’ve highlighted some (but not all) of the factors you should consider. If you’re now starting to feel a little uncomfortable about the idea of switching to a Mac (after thinking about just the factors I’ve mentioned so far), I’d say trust that feeling.
But if, after thoughtful consideration of all the factors, you decide that switching to a Mac makes sense for you…
You’ll still need to budget time and mental energy for fumbling around awkwardly and feeling frustrated. You can diminish some of that awkwardness by joining an online forum like the wonderful Macs in Law Offices (“MILO”) Google group, and I’d highly recommend that you do.
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