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You Passed the Bar, But Can You Pass a Tech Literacy Test?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

While being a competent lawyer is one thing, being competent with technology is another thing entirely.

Tech is like a language of its own, and some people know how to speak it, while the rest are left to learn what they can through crude hand gestures, step-by-step guides, and seemingly endless, frustrating hours of point-and-click-trial-and-error. But the truly tech savvy don't just know how to do everything, they know how to figure out how to do the things they don't (and fast).

And while legal employers thankfully aren't too hot on requiring tech literacy tests, some might be quick to figure out when a new associate can't figure out the software, or if they drop the ball and forget to scrub work-product metadata out of a document production.

Below, you'll find the secret to at least appearing to be tech savvy and finding the answers to all your tech questions.

Google Everything, Read Almost None of It

When you don't know how to complete a tech task, or how to type a section symbol, if your first instinct is to ask a fellow lawyer, you need some basic tech training. Fortunately, you have access to Google, so there's no reason you shouldn't train yourself to be tech savvy.

Always ask Google first. Whatever your question is, make it more specific and type it into Google. Need to figure out how to lock or password protect a PDF? Ask Google, and make sure to include the type/edition/update of software you have in the question. Continuing with this locking a PDF example, you would Google: "How do I password protect a PDF in Adobe 9?" Find the result that provides clear information (this may require clicking into a few results, but if the info you need isn't readily apparent on the page, click back, and move on to the next result quickly, rinse, repeat).

Once you have a potential answer, give it a try on a test file. If it works, great, if not, try at least one more search for a method before reaching out to a colleague. And this doesn't just apply to mainstream software that everyone uses. You'd be surprised how many times people have asked the same questions on random web-forums about highly specialized legal software, and the number of times the perfect resource will be just a short Google search away.

Protip: YouTube and other online resources often have free tutorial videos to help teach you how to use software (beyond just what you need it for) which could be incredibly important when it comes to protecting data and confidentiality.

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