As of 2019, only two states mandate the completion of a technology component as a part of continuing legal education credit. Attorneys far and wide partake in ongoing training and education in subjects such as ethics yet tech has been neglected for the most part. It might not be long until attorneys beyond North Carolina and Florida are forced to take technology credit hours at least once every year couple years. Technology will undoubtedly continue to rapidly evolve, making the workplace that much more challenging for attorneys. Fast forward five years and it is highly likely every state will mandate licensed attorneys take a minimum of a single hour of tech training every year or two to ensure competency with the latest tech advances.
Attorneys Must Embrace Technological Challenges
Though most attorneys did not receive extensive tech training in law school, computers, the web and other digital devices are becoming key components of the legal landscape. If an attorney is incapable of using electronic calendaring, managing a caseload with the proper software and interacting with clients through digital devices, he or she will be at a significant competitive disadvantage. Those who embrace technology and incorporate it to automate processes will find these tools quite helpful.
Technology for Improved Legal Services
It might not be long until tech advances liberate attorneys and paralegals from monotonous office activities. All sorts of mundane and repetitive law firm tasks are being automated with each passing day. However, some attorneys refuse to change with the times. Those who remain abreast of improvements in technology and implement those improvements will be able to serve that many more clients in a much more efficient manner. As an example, tech platforms contain tools that permit the automation of case searches for cases with pre-established criteria. It is now possible for automatic notifications to be transmitted that detail new litigation, case updates and other essential information. Such automated tools help attorneys stay on top of matters that affect clients without investing an abundance of time, effort and capital.
If ongoing tech education were required of licensed attorneys, they would find it much easier to automate case queries based on pre-established criteria. Even something as simple as generating electronic templates for motions challenges some of today’s most experienced attorneys. Though these legal practitioners are certainly worth their keep and then some, they are at a competitive disadvantage with attorneys willing to integrate the latest tech advances. The end result of embracing tech is less time and money spent on client cases. Rather than focus on completing routine tasks, attorneys are liberated to invest their time and effort solving much more complex problems.
Busy Attorneys Cannot be Expected to Master the Latest Technological Innovations
The average attorney is unwilling to invest the time necessary to learn the nuances of the latest tech. This is precisely why there should be a technological component of ongoing legal education for licensed attorneys. If continuing legal education requirements mandated the completion of tech courses, attorneys would be more capable of streamlining tasks, reducing client costs and shifting their focus to providing legal advice. The end result of ongoing tech education for licensed attorneys would ultimately prove mutually beneficial to attorneys as well as clients. It is not a question of if but when attorneys will be required to complete a tech credit hour at least once every year or two as a component of continuing legal education and training