The Exclusive Newsletter for the Paralegal Community.

New Technology Series: Be Part of the Steamroller - Not Part of the Road

Let’s place this in perspective, shall we? Forty years ago, the most advanced piece of technology in a law office — or heck, most any office — was an electric typewriter.  Is that an indicator about the advancement of technology today? We can buy the latest, greatest, newest technology on Monday - only to find out there is hotter, newer technology on Friday. It’s a New Era Folks! It’s the Digital Era - so as Paralegals, it is imperative that we get aboard and stay aboard the Technology Train! To stay up-to-date, we have to be diligent in our efforts.

To stay ahead of the curve of technology - we have to practice “thinknology”. Thinkology is the concept which employs the idea that “thinking + technology can be utilized for a common good,” often in a context beyond what it was originally designed for. In essence, we need to think smart about technology, to be smart about technology!

To quote Stewart Brand: Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road.

CHANGING THE FACE OF OUR PROFESSION

Technology is changing the face of our profession as paralegals learn new software programs and take charge of cases with proficiency that reinforces and expands the role and nature of the paralegal profession. It is up to us, to expose ourselves to the new software being introduced to the legal community and it is up to us, to be diligent in remaining current about the use of this software, so that we are able to perform our tasks with speed and accuracy. It is not hard to believe and the research clearly indicates, that those paralegals who keep current with technology become invaluable to their law firms.

So it boils down to this - no matter what you’re doing, what you plan on doing or what you need to have done, you cannot expect to get far without using the relevant technology to speed up the process. Hardly anyone has the time nowadays to leaf through hundreds of pages of information, when they can just turn on their computer and find it instantly.

TECHOLOGICAL TIMELINE

A recent article in Law.com provided the following timeline related to the advances in technology:

  • In the late 1970s, Lexis (now LexisNexis) and Westlaw develop the first electronic research databases;
  • In 1980, WordPerfect 1.0 is released; the first IBM PC goes on
    sale the next year;
  • In the mid-1980s, a first-generation cellular telephone network is established in the United States;
  • In 1990, an international consortium launches the World Wide Web;
  • In 1993, Adobe Systems unveils the Portable Document Format (which you probably know as the PDF) By the early 2000s, many Federal District Courts allow electronic filing and State Courts follow suit.

It’s amazing just how far we have come! For many law firms the biggest challenge now, isn’t implementing new technology, actually, it’s dealing with the enormous amount of data these technologies have created. The tools that are available to us have evolved from paper drawings, to large foam presentation boards, to digital presentations, video animations, video conferencing and the list goes on. All of these things equate to one solid concept: Paralegals are essential in the use of technology in the law firm. So I hope you get on board and stay on board the Technology Train!

Please note that the next post in this New Technology Series will be published next week!


Ms. Sherry Kubanyi received her B.A. in Political Science and has worked as a paralegal for plaintiffs and defense firms throughout the State of Georgia for over 15 years.