For the 21st century, technology literacy is mandatory for many industries, including the legal profession. Lawyers must be technologically equipped to remain competitive in the quickly evolving legal sector. The digital transformation of firms has been boosted because of coronavirus; therefore, legal professionals with digital skills become even more important than they are now. It is becoming clear employees without technical competence are being left more vulnerable in the post-COVID 19 era.
During lockdowns or pandemic, companies are digitally driven in some way, so the opportunities to put digital skills to work are countless. Below we’ve compiled the top five technology skills that every lawyer should master to keep up with the tires.
- Video conferencing has become a must-have skill for lawyers. During the pandemic, video conferencing becomes the norm as people work. We believe video conferencing is likely to be in high demand in a post-pandemic world. Familiarity with the most popular video conferencing software, BlueJeans, Skype, Teams, WebEx, or Zoom, is therefore highly desirable.
- Social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs present a wealth of opportunities to promote businesses, establish reputation, and open up a channel for networking. Lawyers should take advantage of social media tools to develop their personal branding and network.
- For many lawyers, legal research is inescapable when practicing law. Fortunately, a range of advanced legal research tools is available. Many legal research providers, LexisNexis, Law Pavilion, and Westlaw, incorporate AI tools for their platforms to serve up precise and relevant legal research results. Google Scholar is a robust legal research tool that is entirely free to use and now includes features that offer lawyers to check the citations of relevant cases.
- The ability to code is not so important for lawyers, but it is important to know how tech products can be implemented in work to make it more efficient. Also, nowadays, any lawyer can create solutions that will help optimize the working process.
- Document security is a technology issue that every lawyer should be able to manage. There are many levels of security that you can place on just about any document. You must be able to keep the documents from getting into the wrong hands, and to keep those items from being tampered with by clients or other counsel. The right data security protocol includes proper encryption, file backup, mobile security, password security, and Wi-Fi/VPN security.
Data is indispensable to the practice of law. Lawyers work with a huge amount of fragmented and disorganized data, for example, court data, legislation, regulations, credit scores, or internal billing records. In the past, lawyers often made decisions with a reliance on their personal experience and specific expertise. However, the convenience and speed of digital mediums are transforming the industry. With the right data analysis and business intelligence, some firms can better predict the impact of future business disruptions and are better to serve clients’ needs with the right advice and services during or after any pandemic. The skills to understand the data and make better data-driven advice/decisions are on the rise. Lawyers with data competency will be a critical asset for every firm.
Data competent lawyers have the skill level to find and manipulate the data when they need to make key decisions in every specific legal purpose, for instance litigation risk, corporate compliance, potential settlement amounts, or success rates for data-driven applications such as for patent work. There are many data-driven tools on the market, and you need to be comfortable with these tech tools as well as be able to work with them effectively.
Here are 3 sources of online training for lawyers to acquire data analytic skills:
- Procertas: Casey Flaherty, a former outside and in-house counsel, founded Procertas, which offers The Legal Technology Assessment for lawyers. This tool assesses a legal professional’s proficiency with basic, everyday technology and provides training on tasks in which they are deficient.
- Praktio: Founded by Michigan Law Professor Michael L. Bloom, Praktio provides practical online interactive contract training.
- HotShot: Hotshot covers a range of legal and business topics, including the basics of Excel for data analysis for law students, solo lawyers, and helping organizations run more effective training programs. They also offer a free access to 3 courses as a trial.
Contributor: Fai Choi
Editor: Katherine Fan