Recently, I had a conversation with an attorney about implementing Microsoft 365 for his busy legal practice. During our conversation, I inquired about his paralegal and her level of tech-savvy skills, to which he responded:
"My paralegal isn't tech-savvy, because she's a paralegal."
I paused, a little shocked, and thought to myself, "Why can't she be both?". I didn't dare inquire further out of fear of losing the sale, and instead, I chose to quickly transition to the next question. After all, I could still make the sale and "Para-splain" things to him later during training.
Of course, I couldn't help but also wonder, is this what most attorneys think? Is he speaking in the majority? How can this be? Flooded with questions, I turned to my fellow paralegal Bosses in my Facebook group. I quickly typed the attorney's response to my question, and within seconds, the comments started coming in like a tidal wave. I read through the flood of comments with my mouth open, utterly befuddled. The comments told stories of paralegals lacking the technology they needed to do their job, and about many paralegals coming to the rescue of attorneys who lack the ability to perform basic functions in technology such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Respectfully, the attorney's statement is one of the most counter-productive statements an attorney can make, especially in today's highly digital legal industry. Ready or not, the legal industry's transition into cloud computing, videoconference depositions, Zoom court appearances, and paperless systems was expedited by the onset of a Pandemic. Unfortunately, there were a lot of law offices completely unprepared for such a catastrophic event, and thus, those offices were cast into darkness until someone found a solution (probably from home - oh, the irony).
However, dare I pose the question:
Who found your law office's solution? I'm willing to bet it was a paralegal.
If you're that paralegal, I'm sending you virtual applause. Frankly, it's my opinion that it was, and still is, the tech-savvy paralegals rising to the occasion of a digital transition and pulling the "it's not broken, don't fix it" law offices out of the darkness. Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, it is the tech-savvy paralegal guiding the way and lighting the path to more modernized law offices.
To the lawyers reading this, take it from me, a tech-savvy paralegal is one of the biggest assets in your practice. Tech-savvy paralegals are forward thinkers, innovators, and problem-solvers. They are also more likely to save your legal practice time and money by fostering efficient, cost-effective systems.
To my fellow paralegals reading this and thinking,
I'm not prepared for this digital transition!
I'll be the first to tell you: Yes, you are, but you must broaden your tech skills now. Now is the time for paralegals to become experts in technology that moves the needle forward in your day-to-day operations. This technology includes cloud computing, Adobe Acrobat Pro, digital signature programs, e-discovery platforms, and Microsoft 365 applications such as Calendar, Forms, Lists, OneDrive, Teams, and OneNote. These applications are practical solutions that provide a solid foundation for any legal practice, leading to better efficiency and productivity.
In conclusion, gone are the days of expandable folders, color-coded labels, SQL servers, and the, "Let me text my paralegal!" mentality. A tech-savvy paralegal is both necessary and imperative to the success of any legal practice! In fact, most paralegals will say they are tech-savvy because they are paralegals. Therefore, law firms should hire tech-savvy paralegals, pay those tech-savvy paralegals well, and empower paralegals with the technology needed to perform their job duties both effectively and efficiently. Any legal practice will be all the better for it.
If you're an attorney or paralegal struggling to develop and implement efficient, practical, cost-saving solutions that fit the needs of your practice, your team, and your lifestyle, call Arrow Consultants. We have multiple services that lead to your solutions. Contact information is below.
Owner | CEO
Arrow Consultants, LLC
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