Growing up with computers and having one in almost every home and office in the country, most people would think that lawyers and paralegals are better trained to use technology. Anyone who’s ever spent any time in a firm, however, knows firsthand that’s woefully not the case. It’s almost sad to look at legal experts who’ve spent years in school struggling even to just use the cloud.
It’s not their fault, though; lawyers are always so busy in the practice of their craft, as well as keeping up with major developments, to focus on anything else. Likewise, paralegal schools don’t train their students to analyze ping data, or how to be proficient in linking schemes. But, someone needs to know what they’re doing when it comes to technology, or else other firms will run roughshod over them.
The question is, whose job is it to understand the latest tech for the good of the firm – the lawyer or the paralegal? Conventional wisdom states that the bulk of the responsibility not directly related to the practice of law falls to the paralegal, which will undoubtedly happen most of the time. There is a case for lawyers learning how to use technology to their advantage, though.
Knowing how to use tools such as SharePoint, MyCase, and Clio will allow lawyers to streamline how they share information on cases, and prevent unauthorized access to their files, which is more important. Lawyers often carry around sensitive information that other people can exploit if they’re not careful. Failing to protect information regarding clients can put lawyers in a well of trouble, making technology use an incredibly important endeavor.
This forces paralegals to adapt and widen their range of skills to include the proficient use of modern technology to either make the work more efficient, or improve the overall system. Paralegals that have skills that firms can immediately benefit from will always be in high demand – people with technological proficiency chief among them.
Both parties have much to gain by learning about what technology can do for them, leaving them little reason not to look at it as a serious part of their career.