Today’s paralegal is taking on a more active role than ever before, particularly when it comes to the technology that is now part of the legal landscape. Here’s a look at the evolving role of paralegals in a firm’s technology.
The role of a paralegal in simple terms is to help their attorneys do their jobs as much as they possibly can. With technology becoming more commonly used in everything from research to document production, it’s only natural that a paralegal is constantly accessing it in order to do his or her job more effectively.
Because of this direct link between a paralegal’s daily job and the technology available, it was only a matter of time before they became more of a driving force behind a firm’s technological choices. They are the workers who use the technology and are among the most affected by it, so they are often viewed as the most knowledge people about it in the firm as a result.
With great power comes great responsibility, and this is certainly true when it comes to a paralegal’s influence on tech matters. The right choices will help the firm adapt for the future and improve overall efficiency. The wrong choices can have the complete opposite effect, harming productivity and making the jobs of everyone in the firm more difficult.
If you’re wondering how today’s new paralegals prepare themselves for this future responsibility, the short answer is research, practice and education. Your online paralegal training is certainly a big help here, but you’ll also need to consider the areas that you can only prepare for with some firsthand experience.
Set Yourself Some Goals
Get ahead of the game and start familiarizing yourself with the available tech programs and online resources for the legal field you want to work in now. Make learning each resource and program a goal, and evaluate them as you go. Evaluation is especially important if there is more than one type available for the same function. For example, there are multiple real estate closing software programs out there, but you won’t know which one is the most user-friendly and has the all the functions needed in your state until you actually try using them.
Be Prepared to Embrace New Technologies
The legal industry does have a somewhat unfair reputation for being technologically behind. The truth is that it varies by firm, so you need to make sure you are on the cutting edge when it comes to your tech knowledge in case the firm you decide to work for is not modern in this respect. Be ready to embrace any new technology that has a potential place in your law firm and your work as a paralegal. Your knowledge and confidence will help even the most tech-hesitant attorneys adapt, and the more tech knowledge you have, the more marketable you will be.
As part of your time earning a paralegal certification online, you probably learned or heard about some emerging technologies, but the tech world moves fast. Use social media and news feeds to stay on top of tech advances throughout your career. Other great resources for this include your local paralegal and bar associations and legal tech-focused seminars and conferences.
Know What You Need
Keep your tech focus broad enough to cover all the necessary areas. As a paralegal, that is likely to include research programs and online resources, software that relates to your legal field, and even devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Cover all your potential bases so you’re in the best position to help your law firm move into the future.