Got an interesting post from our former intern who is now deeply ensconced in her 2nd year. Among her other thoughts, she reports that at law schools,”legal technology” basically means “Word and Westlaw” and nothing else.
Take it away, embedded 2-L…
“The thing lawyers have in common with everyone else is the need to find balance. Balance between work and home, business and pleasure, etc. Then, there is also the balance between tradition and technology. This is particularly relevant to lawyers, especially given the world we live in. Lawyers are often trained to think in terms of tradition and precedent. And there are those, including myself, who believe in taking notes by hand. But, the practice of law is changing and that change is being felt everywhere.
This year, I am working in one of the Law Clinics here at Syracuse. When drafting documents, Word is the only software used and Westlaw is the extent of research technology.
But, legal search engines are not the extent of technology in actual legal practice. Both law students and lawyers need to be trained in more than Westlaw and LexisNexis. There is a lot of software out there designed to make work faster and more efficient. Given how quickly technology is becoming commonplace for clients and corporations, lawyers need to know it too.
That’s not to say that technology should replace all traditional legal practices. There is clear value in law as it is currently practiced. However, like all fields, it should be flexible enough to allow for growth and change. By allowing technology to handle certain tasks, lawyers have more time to practice law. Balancing between legal traditions and legal technology is possible in both law schools and law firms. Not only is balance possible, but it’s essential.”