Zooming in on Legal Tech in 2020

It happened: I got old.  I don’t know exactly when it happened. Maybe it happened this semester. Maybe it happened over the summer. I suppose it could have happened last year and I just didn’t notice.

I’m not even thirty yet, and still, somehow, I have found myself at the optometrist getting fitted for bifocals so I can read the tiny print in the textbooks without giving myself a massive headache. I got a super ugly pair of orthopedic slippers. I also had set up my work station in a way that didn’t hurt my back and I had to stop using my phone so much, because oh my god, my thumbs were cramping so badly.

I have no idea how to talk to my teenage siblings anymore. They want to do all these phone-based things with me, but I spend so much time staring at a screen, that I find myself asking if we can just go play outside like we did back in the olden days.

A year and a half ago, I was working in a support role at a law firm and was running around the office helping with computer setup, database issues, software problems, whatever. But something changed.

Now, my girlfriend (who is a whopping 6 months younger) cannot understand why I don’t know how to use all the new Instagram features.

I used to be baffled by the baby boomers in my workplace who didn’t know how to edit a word document or conduct a basic document search on the firm database.

But now, I must say, I get it.

Sometimes, the font is just too small. Sometimes, the program set-up, or day to day functionality, is just so complex or so filled with bugs, that it can feel impossible to use. Sometimes, the program just isn’t intuitive, and the setup or navigation process is more complicated than the task you need the program to complete. Sometimes, the help line is closed and you’ve got a thousand other things on your plate that needed to be done yesterday.

I never thought I’d say this, but boomers, I get you.

I get you and I’m sorry for shaming you for your technological deficiencies. I now understand that in order for the field of law to step into the 21st century, we have to make legal tech more user-friendly. No senior partner is going to want to relearn their entire work system at a point in their career when they are experiencing peak success.  If I ever find myself in a web design role, I promise to make the font adjustable and organize the contents logically so that you can easily find whatever it is you need and get back to your shuffleboard game.

To my young gen z friends: you can laugh at me and my reading glasses and my misuse of snapchat filters all you like, but remember, you’re next.

3 thoughts on “Zooming in on Legal Tech in 2020

  1. Excellent post! It stood out to me as I was perusing which one to comment on. The fun and informal language drew me in. It’s so much easier to make a point when you are relatable and *interesting* to your audience!

    I think that’s overlooked these days, particularly with law. I find myself becoming a revert-to-argument, revert-to-formal language robot. At the end of the day, law is a business – and very much a *people* business! I love the fact that our DLES class is refocusing our attention that way – apps are useless if they aren’t user friendly. The tone of your post is bang-on…applying our skillset can (and should!) be fun, and doing it properly can give us an edge in the field.

  2. A fantastic example of how HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) is such a crucial part of technology. With all the technology advancements that we’ve seen in this century, it’s honestly baffling.

    The thing is, with advancement comes presumptions. We’re now at a time and place where knowing how to proficiently use Excel is a bare minimum. Years ago, it would’ve been deemed as a learned skill.

    I guess what I’m getting at is that the bottom line for HCI should be absolute zero knowledge, rather than presumption of some – if not a lot. It’s understandable for programs that are catered to those with the skills, but it’s another for day-to-day applications, like Instagram, or Facebook, or even website browsers.

    Or maybe what is “intuitive” for most people just aren’t intuitive to me anymore. (I really hate Instagram, there’s no logic behind that interface. And honestly, apps need to stop with their suggested content, if I wanted your opinion, I’ll ask for it!)

  3. Fun enjoyable post, it is crazy how fast technology evolves; much faster than we do anyway which probably explains why most of us are always lagging a little behind!!

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