Think you can get by in the contemporary legal world as a Luddite? Think again. What might appear charmingly eccentric on television shows does not translate to success in our techno-centric reality. Because of this, more law schools are aiming to help students develop solid foundations in this increasingly important area by integrating technology into their curricula.
Wondering where to begin when it comes to enhancing your technology understanding within the legal sphere? Here’s a closer look at five valuable technology skills for today’s law students.
PDF and Excel Skills
Many legal documents are preserved and shared in PDF forms. But working with these documents isn’t always a matter of clicking and reading. From signing and editing PDFs to securing them with everything from passwords to redacted images, professional-level PDF editors like Adobe Acrobat Pro and Nuance’s Power PDF Advanced can make your life as a lawyer considerably easier — but only if you know how to use them.
Other basics worth learning? Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Excel. While some of these tasks can be outsourced to assistants, a basic grasp can help you not only get your work done faster, but also better.
Blogging and Social Media Skills
Blogging is no longer the domain of mommies, foodies, and other “ies.” Not only can law students improve their writing and critical thinking skills by blogging themselves, but reading legal blogs can also help them stay apprised of relevant and/or rising issues. Staying current is particularly important in today’s fast-moving law landscape, and blogs are one of the best ways to keep up. Law firms and lawyers, meanwhile, will also find great value in social media for everything from networking to raising their profiles in the legal world.
Online Research Tools
Why spend hours in a dusty old legal library when so many resources are right at your fingertips in the form of today’s extensive and free online research tools? While unlimited Indiankanoon, Manupatra, Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis subscriptions are outside the financial reach of most law students and even some smaller-sized law firms, students with savvy online research skills can find what they need while keeping costs at a minimum.