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We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

I always thought I had a decent grasp on technology – at least the basics. After all, I’ve lived in a time of technological expansion, so it seemed only natural that I be equipped to use most technology that came my way both for fun and for work. As a blind person, I always spend extra time pondering how technology will fit into my life and my needs in terms of screenreader compatibility, efficiency, and whatnot. I have a few friends who are into coding and programming, but I’ve always considered myself to be the middle-of-the-road user who used Google and her more tech-savvy friends for help.
That was my thought process leading up to my first attempt at the Legal Tech Assessment a few weeks ago. I figured I would start with Excel, which I’d frequently utilized as an accounting major and during my Statistics classes. I figured I could Google anything I was stuck on and complete it quickly.
I was in for a shock. The assessment was perfectly accessible, but I took forever in my first Excel attempt because I spent a lot of time googling things, fiddling with the menus in Excel, and the like. A large part of the reason I was so slow was that somehow, I’d missed that there were tutorials for each part and skipped straight to the assessments. Even so, I was surprised not only by how little I actually knew, but how inefficient I would have been time-wise if I’d been billing a client by the hour in this situation.
So, when I heard Mr. Flaherty’s presentation this past week, I was floored. In a way, it was a relief to know that not only was I the only one who was not as well-versed on the basic of Office as I thought, but that it was not my fault and could be remedied. At the same time, it showed me how much I still have to learn. I don’t want to waste my valuable work time figuring out formatting issues in Word or how to calculate data in Excel when I could be working, because struggling with things like that can derail productivity and take up precious time.
The fact that many lawyers find themselves in the same boat is alarming. Perhaps some of it is attributable to the trends of different generations’ response – or lack thereof – to technological innovations, and perhaps our ineptness is due in part to a lack of training in law school. Regardless of the reasons, this is something that, as Mr. Flaherty said, won’t fix itself with time and new generations entering the work force. Hopefully, more lawyers are made aware of these issues and will work on their technology skills, for the sake of their knowledge and efficiency.
Source: http://www.lawtechnologytoday.org/2015/09/rebuttal-lawyer-as-word-processor/

Emily Pennington