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Looking back and Moving Forward

As the semester draws to a close, I wanted to offer a few reflective thoughts and takeaways from this class.
While I’ve enjoyed all of my law school classes to some degree, this class and client counseling stood out because they have given me knowledge and techniques I will use on a day-to-day basis in my work. I have a much greater understanding of the technological skills required to have an effective legal practice, as well as my proficiency regarding those skills. Some things are reassuring to me, and some things will require more in-depth practice and learning on my part.
Bearing that in mind, I came across an article from Illinois about law schools implementing technology and skills-based classes into their curriculum. The information didn’t come as much of a surprise to me given the technological developments and lawyers’ need to keep up once the job starts. It made me grateful for all of those research workshops and tech-based assignments. Not only am I concerned with learning programs and processes, but also determining accessibility and finding work-arounds, if need be. These skills-based classes and assignments have increased my knowledge of what works for me and what may need some adapting, which is essential to learn and communicate with potential employers.
I also found an article about the increased use of automated processes in law firms. Again, I was not necessarily surprised – although it had never occurred to me that it could polarize the success of large and small firms in the beginning, when it was new and more costly to implement. It is nice to know that small firms and solo practitioners are now leveling the playing field.
Both articles stressed that lawyers need to come to the job fairly tech-savvy, and that on-the-job training – particularly with technology – is not as practical anymore. The second article mentioned the tendency of law firms to purchase sophisticated software packages that are either not used to their full potential, or are more cumbersome than they are worth. It drove home the importance of making wise technological investments rather than jumping on the bandwagon by implementing technology that looks good but is not a good fit. Technological implementations are important, but law offices should not jump straight from 0 to 100, so to speak.
Essentially, both of these articles stress not only the importance of technology in law firms, but the need to be the master of the technology rather than let the technology conquer us. With that in mind, I can take stock of what I know and what I need to know. I am coming away enlightened to the fact that that I have a lot to learn.

Legal Technology Has A Home In Law School Education


-Emily Pennington