Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Essential Tech Tools for Paralegals

As a paralegal in a small firm, I cannot afford to be afraid of technology. There are times when I will be asked to troubleshoot an issue or recommend a product, and in order to do that properly, I need to stay on top of the latest trends. My technology toolkit consists of:

Gadgets

  • BlackBerry Curve. I recently upgraded from a separate PDA and cell phone, and I am enamored with the Curve. My contacts, calendar, task list, and memos are all integrated, and I can read my e-mail or get directions using Google Maps, which is almost as good as a GPS service. Bonus: the 2.0 megapixel camera, which can be used to take pictures for work and play. I consider a smart phone a must because of the integrated PDA functions.



  • My laptop, a Dell Inspiron 1525 with an Intel Duo Core processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 250GB hard drive. It allows me to work from home (from any room in the house, thanks to built-in wireless connectivity), read up on technology trends, and teach myself office productivity programs (I have the Office 2007 suite.) I also recently used it to give a demonstration of Outlook features to the rest of the office by hooking up a monitor for one side of the room to use. The other side was able to view the demo on the Inspiron's crisp 15.4" screen. Buy the best technology you can afford (i.e. more memory, not necessarily a fully-loaded gaming machine, unless you're a gamer); the investment will allow you to keep the machine longer. I have been using Vista with SP1, and I've found it to be relatively stable and user-friendly.


  • Apple iPod nano. Mine is a 2nd Generation; the one pictured here is the latest, which includes a video screen (great for those commuting on public transit). I listen to podcasts on technology, litigation, and other topics of interest during my commute by plugging my iPod into an adapter in my car. Ok, and it's just plain fun.


Magazines

  • Legal Technology News, which is geared toward IT professionals but has interesting tidbits about the latest hardware and software for law practices. If you're looking to bridge the gap between the legal department and the IT department, LTN will help you speak their language. It also publishes an annual resource guide, with products divided into categories, i.e., document management.

  • PC World, which my office subscribes to and which publishes great tips and ideas for computing. PC World has shown me some of the best free programs available and helped me wrangle Vista.


Technology is not something to fear, especially in this rapidly changing world. By investing in your own technology education, you invest in your career.

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if you've posted on this before, but what Legal podcasts do you recommend?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mars, Dorothy Secol has a wonderful paralegal podcast series at www.paralegalservicesusa.com. I also tune in to LTN's podcast with Monica Bay and sometimes the ABA's litigation podcast.

    Thanks for reading!

    ReplyDelete

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