You are living and working in the digital age. Technology is here to stay, and it is having a huge impact on how you live, work, and relax. For anyone working in the legal profession, there have been many positive changes, and we expect, more to come.
Yes, you likely have colleagues who resist the advances of digital technology and there’s probably even a fax machine lurking in a dark corner somewhere in your office. Well, there’s no avoiding it – technology has changed the legal profession for the good.
Now, thanks to the vast amounts of information and data online, it’s easy to get a substantive answer to a Google search such as show me court reporters near me or to find case details on a 20 year-old legal case. Any question or query can be answered with a few taps of the keyboard or swipe of your smartphone.
To help you navigate the ever-changing technology landscape within the legal profession, we’ve put together a list of key technology terms every lawyer needs to know, and we look at how technology has can improve your legal career.
Key Technology Terms Every Lawyer Needs To Know
The better you understand technology, the more easily you can navigate the digital legal world and have a better understand how technology is impacting every aspect of daily life.
- Digital marketing terms. If you run your own law firm or are tasked with managing the marketing of your firm, it’s key that you have a basic awareness of some digital marketing terms.
- Engagement: how much attention your website, social media posts, blog posts, and other digital activity capture.
- Keyword: the words that you enter in a Google search bar or that others are searching on are keywords. It’s useful to know which keywords are associated with your law firm and area of specialization.
- SEO: search engine optimization determines how easily your website and other digital collateral can be found online.
- Software terminology. Gone are the days of using multiple CD-ROMs to install a database or other piece of software on your computer. Now, software is web-based, this means you need to understand how these tools work and interact.
- Cloud: this can be a confusing term for anyone. Cloud software is software that is hosted and accessed through the Internet. Cloud software is stored on distributed servers that can be accessed from anywhere using a range of devices.
- Database: you spend a lot of time searching in databases. These are the large online and digital repositories of data that have replaced traditional information access methods such as books, journals, and even libraries.
You don’t need to be an expert in technology, but you do need a basic understanding of the key terms. This way when you’re interacting with clients or discussing your technology needs with a technology company, you know which questions to ask and can understand the conversation.
Just as when you entered the legal profession and found the language and terminology overwhelming – the same can happen when it comes to technology. Spend some time researching technology and understanding the key language.
How Technology Can Improve Your Legal Career
When we think about what the law firms of the future look like, we need to look at how technology can improve your legal career. It’s interesting to realize that even back in 2016 (which is a long time in technology years) people were interested in technology and the legal field.
When thinking about your legal career, keep in mind these key technology influences:
- The client experience: consider how technology can make it easier to communicate with your clients, to share documents, to get documents signed, and to schedule meetings.
- Your liability: no one wants to deal with a malpractice claim. Take advantage of technology to ensure you’re protected from such claims. Digital scheduling and organizing, online communications, cloud-based software for document storage, and law firm management tools – can all help reduce liability risks.
- Better productivity: admittedly administrative duties take up a lot of your time. Now with the advances in technology such as the automation of billing, scheduling, and review processes, you can cut back on the amount of time spent running your law firm. As well, don’t forget the ease of searching digital law libraries, saving you many hours spent flipping through books and in dusty law libraries.
We want you to embrace technology and to be excited about how it can improve and change your legal career. There are so many new opportunities and possibilities available to you now, whether you’re a lawyer, legal researcher, court reporter, or legal transcriptionist. Stay up-to-date with technology and you’ll soon discover how much richer and enjoyable your legal career can be.