Business Development


Business Development:

5 tips for getting comfortable with new technology

Barron Henley
Columbus, OH

Regardless of your age or generation, technology is rapidly changing. As lawyers, we have to be top of new technology that can make our lives and the lives of our clients better. At times, it can feel overwhelming to explore something new. With these tips, you can become more comfortable with updated or brand new technology.

1. If you're not tech savvy, stop accepting your own tech ignorance

Many lawyers describe themselves as technologically deficient, techno-luddites, even tech adverse. They say things like, "I'm easily the least tech savvy person in this office" with a tone of indifferent resignation. The reality is that age and/or a lack of prior experience does not destroy one's ability to learn something new about technology. If you want to stop relying on others, learn to be more self-reliant and increase your efficiency, then you need to engage in ongoing learning.

2. Baby steps

Many of the technology pieces we have access to are capable of many things and they seem a bit overwhelming. You attack these things one little bite at a time. Every little discovery you make allows you to be a more efficient user of your technology. It doesn't take long and it isn't difficult. But the point is that you have to carve out the time to do this on a regular basis.

3. Read the manual

People who think they can master every piece of technology by just playing around with it are dead wrong. Even seemingly simple technology like an iPad is loaded with latent complexity. Even the most tech-savvy 25-year-old lawyer is never going to figure out everything they need to know about how to control complex formatting in Microsoft Word by simply using it. An important step in mastering any technology is to read instructional manuals. Doing so actually creates a distinct competitive advantage over those who refuse to read manuals because you'll have a much better understanding of what your technology can do for you. What technology is theoretically capable of is irrelevant in the real world. The only technological features and functions that matter are the ones you know how to use.
4. Be a user

Most people learn by doing. You'll never pick up anything new about technology by ignoring it. So dig in and see what you can learn through actual use.

5. Get training

There are classroom training options for most technology, but there is unquestionably video, web-based or on-demand training available. All you have to do is google "how to use [fill-in-the-blank] video" and you'll see that there are many options available to you.

From "Young Lawyer Connect: Law Office Management and Technology" by Barron K. Henley, Esq.

Want more ideas and advice for starting a law firm or solo practice? Join OSBA CLE for Young Lawyer Connect on June 21 (available in multiple locations).