As a lawyer, there is one thing you should put your whole focus on: practicing the law. You took your bar exam, opened your own law office, or joined a law firm, and you are confident that you know every nook and cranny of the law. You know how to represent people’s rights – but at the same time, you must learn how to keep on track with technology.
Like it or not, technology will affect us significantly – and if you wish to be at the top of your game, you need to be at the top of technology as well. You have to adapt until technology becomes just another extension of you. Here are the main tech skills that you need to hone.
1. Search Ability
We know, you have all the information inside your head – but now and again, you still need to look up information. Perhaps there are changes in the law that you must be aware of or areal hiccups that you have to keep in mind.
For instance, Milwaukee estate planning lawyers need to research the properties of Milwaukee and the asset laws of the state of Wisconsin. They should know how to narrow their searches so that they can represent their clients properly.
2. Securing Documents
Back in the day, securing a document was as simple as making sure your office door was locked. Even if it wasn’t, if the file drawer had a lock, the risk of a security breach was low. No one would get to see those documents without your say-so.
The problem is that nowadays, everything has been digitalized. Chances are that your most important documents are sitting in a folder on your computer because this makes things easier for you. It’s not a bad thing; in fact, it’s a good thing. But you must learn how to take the necessary precautions.
In 2012, around 80% of the largest law companies were victims of cyber-attacks. In 2015, one in four companies had the majority of their employees suffer from a breach – many of those without any response plans. The problem is that you are not the one who is affected the most; it’s your customer.
As an attorney, you will be dealing with crucial property or asset documents. This is why you need to configure your documents so that they may only be opened with a key. By write-protecting your documents, you make sure that even if the systems are breached, hackers can’t do anything with the paper.
3. Using File Creation and Management Software
We are in the middle of 2022, where technology is essentially driving us – but many lawyers passed the age of 40 still find it challenging to operate Microsoft Word or Google Docs. They simply use word processors as a kind of typewriter, without making the most of them. This is especially the case for companies that use Windows 11 on their computers.
As an attorney, you need to learn how to format a document. You have to work with indentation, line spacing, alignment, and many more. Don’t just over-abuse the space bar. It will take too much of your time, and as an attorney, time is probably something you don’t have. Even if you do have the time, it will be much better spent researching a case.
4. Learn Metadata
“Meta” comes from the Greek word “beyond” and it essentially refers to the things beyond your object of attention. In your case, it’s the data backing up the document itself. You need to learn how to find the metadata and how to work around it, as it may potentially influence your work.
Metadata will tell you who read a certain document, who made modifications to it, or who was the original subject of the file – even when that information has been previously cleaned. This can help you find information or connections that may as well win your case.
5. Use Apps
You might think it’s silly, but as an attorney, you also need to learn how to use office apps. They can help you save a lot of time in your office, as you will be able to schedule or respond to emails while on the go. Each attorney might have different app needs but finding the best ones can help you maximize time efficiency.
The Bottom Line
Technology is very important nowadays, especially for attorneys. Luckily, we are so exposed to technology that all it takes is polishing up our existing knowledge. The more you hone your skills, the more your work will improve.