Last week, on the ABA Journal website, two "Legal Rebels," Darth Vaughn and Casey Flaherty of Procertas (famous for developing the Legal Tech Assessment), co-wrote a column about the necessity of learning how to use technology in the practice of law. "Sorry," they say, "technology isn't easy -- you take the time to learn, or you lose."
No advanced skills are required to conduct a basic Google search or to compose a simple document in Microsoft Word, but for attorneys and other legal professionals, sophisticated tech abilities are a must. As Vaughn and Flaherty say, "We actually need to work at becoming proficient with the standard technology tools of our trade."
Developing technological competency as a lawyer is mandated by the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and being aware of the limitations and potential risks of technology's applications is just as critical. The adage about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice may not apply, but familiarity with standard issue software and expert-level skill in managing email, manipulating spreadsheets, and conducting advanced legal research is increasingly essential.