Allegory Founder and CEO, Alma Asay, spoke on January 27th at The American Journal of Trial Advocacy's Symposium 2017 held at the Cumberland School of Law. Her topic was "Applying the Technology Lessons of Legal Research to Litigation Practice: Just-In-Time Learning for Young Litigators."
This is the second in a two-part discussion about the AJTA Symposium and employing technology in legal practice. You can read the first post here.
How litigators are traditionally trained
In her previous litigation career, Asay noticed that the skills which propel litigators to the top of their fields are seldom taught in a formal environment. Law students typically focus on case law, laws of evidence, and in-court trial practice. This leaves them ill prepared as young litigators for outside-court factual research where the ability to identify relevant evidence, testimony, and facts from scratch are needed. So where can they learn these skills?
Some may benefit from formal training programs or may be aggressive enough to find the right mentorship and opportunities which help them to gain these skills, but this is not always easy. Asay pointed out that the primary responsibility of a first-year associate is to be a first-year associate – not a student.
While traditional learning takes place in lecture halls and seminars, few attorneys have the time to spare for dedicated study, even with the lure of CLE credit. Instead, most attorneys learn new skills the same way the rest of the workforce does - on the job. Answers aren't provided in a formal environment. Instead, they come from helpful colleagues or even Google. Lawyers are no different from the number of workers who expect to learn from peers, learn at their own pace, and access information just-in-time. Technology can be a crucial aid to such informal learning.
New ways to train young litigators
By making best practices the easiest practices,
Pointing to the successful introduction of legal research tools, Asay suggests that deploying technology in the classroom and in the law firm prepares young litigators to hit the ground running. Just as Westlaw and LexisNexis improved the quality and speed of legal research, litigation software can do the same for case management by building in best practice and making case information accessible.
The urgent need for tech in litigation
Modern litigation places heavy emphasis on knowledge management, collaboration, and accountability. Given the steep learning curve and the growing demands of complex litigation, technology offers an opportunity for law firms to not only increase the effectiveness of their new associates but to significantly improve their day to day experience. It is more important than ever to ensure litigators are equipped with the right tools and are trained to use them.
Asay's presentation can be found below:
Thank you to the American Journal of Trial Advocacy and the Cumberland School of Law for inviting us to participate in the Symposium 2017. We also want to thank the other speakers and all those who participated in the event.