Law schools, at least those accredited by the American Bar Association, are struggling to address the growing outcry from critics who suggest that today’s legal education costs too much and does not provide the level of practical skills training required to succeed as a new attorney in an extremely competitive market. Among those practical skills, many would argue, is a basic facility with technology tools that can facilitate client-attorney communication, streamline document generation, track billable hours and distribute workloads more effectively.
As today’s law students enter the stressful journey that is legal education in the early 21st technology that digital natives have become widely known for, moving effortlessly between Google searches and social media platforms, multitasking like mad using multiple mobile devices, much to the consternation of their professors! They store documents in Dropbox and use Google Docs to collaborate with their classmates, even while their schools race to provide similar tools in-house. Still, these bright technology-aware students are often just as unaware of advances in legal technology software and new ways of doing business in both small and large firm environments.
And so, with feet firmly on the ground as far as the brutal realities of paying for law school and finding a job, and with heads in the cloud as far as the way they use technology to communicate and collaborate, tomorrow’s lawyers need law schools to incorporate courses on modern legal practice technology in order to prepare them more effectively.