22nd May 2016

1998 - the e-mail has landed

I joined Berwins in 1998 as a partner in the residential property department. I knew Paul and Sue well and knew Berwins to be a 'techy' firm. Indeed I spent some time in my first two years at Berwins accompanying Paul on seminars and talks on the subject of the Millennium Bug - the programmers' shortcut that was going to make planes fall out of the sky and money become worthless as we passed from the 20th to the 21st century.

I was privileged to be at Berwins when we first got e-mail. Not all of us. We had e-mail installed on Paul Berwin's pc only. Every so often this sound here would herald our connection to the world wide web. When an email came into our Victoria Avenue office, Paul received it, read it and then would excitedly phone the recipient. I remember running downstairs to his office to read an email sent to me. I also recall that when we wanted to send an email (to one of the firm's three clients who asked for this form of communication) we would stand over Paul and dictate it to him. None of us knew how to do attachments so this could be a lengthy process.

Now many of our clients and colleagues alike are digital natives to whom stories like this sound like my parents' tales of powdered egg and ration books. Even we immigrants from the analogue age have phones with more computing power than was available to NASA for the first moon landings.

Everything's changed, but really - nothing has changed.

Clients still value a good working relationship, a responsive lawyer and plain common sense. How ever telecomms move on I can't see those fundamentals being any different in another 30 years.


Carolynn Peace

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