Advice For Up-and-Coming Law Students: Get Some Computer Skills

by Laura Bergus on June 23, 2009

It’s tough out there. Law school enrollments are rising [pdf] and yet fewer graduates are getting law jobs.

So here’s a suggestion for beating the competition among your law student peers: become a geek. A computer geek, that is. From the least-geeky (being a MS Word appellate-brief-formatting master) to the über-geek (programming custom visualizations for non-regression data analysis), picking up or polishing your computer-based skills cannot hurt in arraythis industry.

Lawyers and law schools are notoriously behind in adopting and using new technologies.  Here are some concrete suggestions for technical skills that may give you an edge:

Once you have the skills, be sure to leverage them: offer to assist a professor or student organization in building a website or compiling and analyzing useful data. Tell your online friends and followers about your special skills and interests. Chances are someone will notice and reward you for your efforts (this is how I got my summer job).

Let me know what else you think you need to know and what’s helped you get an edge in law school.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Alana Edmunds June 24, 2009 at 10:30 am

I agree with this completely.

Also… with social media- it is important to understand this communication/collaboration medium for more than just personal branding– it’s not only how, but where people are publishing information on themselves and each other (which always has legal implications? I’m a tech nerd not a legal one, but i have a general idea)

Additionally, as social media continues to change (and web 2.0 turns into web 3.0 and upward), it’s going to be increasingly important for millennials (us) in any profession to have a good understanding of what the impact is on THEIR profession… it could be the one factor that has you stand out from the “rest.”

…and today, who wouldn’t want that?

Reply

Laura Bergus June 24, 2009 at 10:54 am

@Alana Edmunds, Great points. There’re the issues of privacy and security (and for some users, actual personal safety) that come with building an online identity. Important to keep that in mind. What we post is out there forever, and may not show up in the context we’d like.

It seems to me that legal tech is particularly behind in many places, but yes! – whatever kind of work you do it’s important to master seemingly-unrelated (tech) skills to make it better and easier.

Reply

Chad June 25, 2009 at 5:02 am

better advice to incoming law students: get out of it

Reply

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