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Trending… Friday thought: Teach your lawyers to use the tech you’ve got

Added on the 3rd Aug 2018 at 11:42 am
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I’m speaking at The Junior Lawyers Division forum at the Law Society in September about what legal technology means for or to junior lawyers and had a fantastic conversation this week with an incredibly bright young lawyer on that topic.

Law firms are buying shiny toys and talking about training young lawyers to code despite the fact that many lawyers don’t understand how to use a fraction of the software they interact with every day.

The conversation went like this:

Me: “So, I’m talking about legal technology to junior lawyers, what would you find it most valuable to hear about if you attend?”

JL: “Well, law firms are talking about teaching lawyers to code but they don’t teach them how to use the tools available in Word and most lawyers don’t how to use Excel despite the fact that it can save hours on the sorts of tasks we’re given.

“We’re asked to do things like swap first names and surnames in a list and most people do that manually, because they don’t know how to use advanced find and replace. In due diligence we’re asked to go through different deal checklists on paper with a ruler, but if you know how to use Excel and create a formula to help you, you can compare the lists in no time at all.

“The key is to know how to properly use the software you use every day and not be afraid to use technology to create shortcuts.”

My talk in September is practically done right there. If everyone was as on the money as this, efficiency would go through the roof with zero further investment in tech. LTC4 is making good progress in helping lawyers to use technology and, therefore, be more efficient, and this is far more valuable to the client than some of the more press-worthy initiatives of late.


  1. Joanne Humber says:

    I agree absolutely, it never fails to amaze me that law firms invest so little in training and so many lawyers readily admit that they are “no good with computers”! Law schools are slowly coming round to the idea that teaching some basic tech skills – Word, Excel, Outlook, cyber security etc – must become part of the curriculum. LTC4 member firms are doing something positive about improving skills and will gain competitive advantage as clients ask for reassurance that their lawyers do know their way around the technology on their desktop! It is not enough to be a good lawyer any more!

  2. Andy Stokes says:

    I completely agree – you can’t have any pudding until you’ve finished your tea (yes, OK, ‘dinner’ for those not of a Brummie persuasion). In other words use what you have properly and we’ll then talk about ‘new and shiny’.

    As I argued nearly two years ago …

    • Charles Christian says:

      I’m just sorting and reorganising files in the office and see that I argued something like that in the Law Society Gazette in 1981 – the only lesson history teaches us, is that nobody leans the lessons of history.

      • Alex Smith says:

        What Charles said!!
        Everyone is too busy trying to flog stuff to think back to what may or may not have worked in the past. Relentless positivism can lead to the same mistakes over and over again. I’m now old enough to write history presentations in legal tech. Not sure anyone wants to listen.

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