HISTORY OF LEGAL TECHNOLOGY—ELLIPSIS PERIODS. My mention of ellipsis periods in yesterday’s post reminds me of a story about legal practice back in the day. Although writers had been dictating to a live secretary since the time of Cicero, when I began practicing law in the late 60’s, law firm administrators had determined that it would be more efficient for a lawyer to dictate into a machine and for the secretary to use the recording device to type a draft. Typing pools were also viewed as more efficient. Partners were thought to be too set in their ways (and too powerful) to stop dictating to their secretaries, but young lawyers were expected to use the recording devices and the typing pool. One day I came in to the typing pool and found several secretaries huddled together in discussion. It turned out it was my dictation and it was because I had used the phrase “ellipsis periods” several times. I learned instead to say: “dot…dot…dot”. Of course, if I had been dictating to a person, the confusion would have been only for a moment. Like a number of my contemporaries, I dictated to a live person only rarely. Now, of course, I think most lawyers type their own drafts.

This entry was posted in History. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.