Lawyers are traditionally regarded as one of the least tech-savvy professions and as slow to adopt technology due to their cautiousness. Many lawyers used to limit their tech usage to word processing software, and that was just fine. However, 21st-century lawyers can no longer use their profession as an excuse for their poor tech skills.
The professional rules of some countries, including the US, now include the duty of technology competence within the concept of the “lawyers’ duty of competence,” one of the lawyers’ core duties. This duty by no means says that lawyers must become tech geeks or be on top of every new tech trend. But what should you do to be better at technology?
If you have ever questioned your tech adoption level or thought about introducing more tech into your practice, here are a few small steps to start embracing more technology.
One: Master the Tech You Already Have
You do not have to own the latest laptop or expensive software to start embracing technology. There are so many hidden features and possibilities in the software and hardware you already have. You can start by learning those features first.
If you use MS Office, you can start with Lawyerist’s Microsoft Word Guide for Lawyers or Clio’s Top 13 Microsoft Word Tips for Lawyers. If you think you need to improve your typing speed, you can start with this guide for typing faster or start practicing fast typing using tools such as Ratatype or TypingClub.
Ask yourself, “Am I making the most out of this software or hardware?” If your answer is no, try to find ways to improve.
Two: Start with A Beginner’s Mindset
Lawyer, writer, and media consultant Robert Ambrogi asked lawyers on Twitter, “If a luddite lawyer were to ask you, ‘How do I get competent in technology,’ what would be your #1 piece of advice?” Afterpattern.com’s response was, “Have a ‘beginner’s mind’ and just get started. Nothing beats being curious.” We could not agree more.
We all know lawyers are good at seeing risks in everything. When confronted with new technology, you might want to avoid it at first because you have your own way of doing things, it looks suspicious, or you have someone who does that job for you. I am not saying that you should adopt every new technology trend without thinking, but if you see the dark side in everything, nothing can be really good.
Try to think about the value the new tech will add to your practice before rushing to say no. Think about how much time and money it could save or how much efficiency the product will bring.
Three: Pay Attention to Your Problems and Research Existing Solutions
Ignoring technological developments is like trying to send someone a letter when you could have sent an e-mail. Imagine that there is already an existing solution to the problem you always struggle with.
Start by taking the time to think about the following:
- The things you spend the most time on
- The things you struggle with the most;
- Things that could be automated
- Repetitive tasks
- Tasks that feel like a waste of your time
If you identify a problem that really needs to be dealt with, do some research or ask your tech-savvy friends if there any tech solutions to your problem that you can introduce. Of course, technology may not be the answer to all your problems, but it sure is the answer to many.
Four: Start following Legal Tech News Websites and Blogs
You can add a few Legal-tech news websites and blogs to the list of websites you check daily or weekly. Below are some of the well-known legal-tech websites and blogs:
Don’t forget to take the time to research legal-tech websites and blogs in your region or country.
Don’t be overwhelmed by technological developments and feel like you are already behind in the sprint. Law practice is more like a marathon that you run for years than a dash to the finish line. There is no silver bullet to help you master all tech developments at once. Instead, start with the small steps above and try to make them a part of your practice.
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