Blog: Technology Tools at Law School

technology-todays-tech-300x208By:Walton Milam

Richmond Law School boasts a progressive and largely successful history of implementing technological innovation into the law school curriculum. Richmond Law was the first law school to require all students to have their own laptop and the first law school to host an exclusively online law review. Law schools have long received criticism for not adequately preparing students to practice law upon graduation. Though law schools generally provide students with the intellectual tools to identify, analyze, and argue legal issues, some young lawyers in particular lament their lack of preparation for the nuts and bolts of practice.   Law schools have a strong counter, however, in that law school graduates enter a diverse number of legal and non-legal jobs. Teaching students to how to lead profitable careers applying their law school skillset in diverse careers is assuredly not a one-size-fits-all formula. Firms and other employers maintain a better position and incentive to teach such specialized and career specific skills to young employees. Still, many schools including the University of Richmond have successful clinical programs that allow students to gain practical students. Further, many students gain valuable experience and insight through summer experiences.

Though students graduating law school today face an improving market that continues to rebound from the period of prolonged law school graduate unhappiness afflicting graduates from around 2008 to 2013, the job market remains cutthroat and law students must fight for any advantage to compete for desirable employment. Though fresh law school graduates necessarily lack the experience and savvy of older lawyers, younger law students likely command a far better grasp of technological innovation and tools than their older colleagues. Proficiency with iPhones, word processors, e-mail, electronic calendars, online legal research tools, and technology generally gives young lawyers a comparative advantage that might partially make up for deficiencies in experience. Such technological advantages for example allow for better communication with clients, increased efficiency with legal research, and mitigation of time and money costs generally. While many young graduates will maintain advantages in technological ability merely by virtue of their date of birth, law schools might serve their students well by implementing technological education into the curriculum. A number of new tools that allows lawyers to have legal tools at their finger tips at all times. Ever-evolving document search document databases for example can give older lawyers fits but likely provides young lawyers an opportunity to more effectively tackle assignments. University of Richmond for example has a weekend dedicated to trial practice and requires a number of law skills classes. Perhaps a similar weekend of law skills class dedicated electronic legal skills is worth considering.

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