Technology is Now in the Hands of Legal Secretaries
Many people worry that technology is going to make their role obsolete. And maybe they should! Grocery store clerks are skipping away into the night. Fast-food cashiers are going the way of the Dodo. Car technicians are being replaced by robots. Quickly, so quickly, jobs seem to be disappearing into the maw of a giant metal monster.
Legal secretaries, on the other hand? Nope. They are sticking around. You want to know why? Because lawyers are terrified of technology. They are absolutely scared of things they do not comprehend, and they need their secretaries around to help them understand it. This has always been the way of things, and this will never change.
Job security is a good thing in that regard.
It used to be about things like tape recorders and dictation. Lawyers would dictate their letters for legal secretaries, who would then transcribe the letters and memos to be sent out. Now there are things like e-filing, e-calendars, DropBox, the Cloud, synchronization, and countless programs that are constantly being updated; and lawyers just want to do lawyering. They shunt all the programs off onto their secretaries, who dutifully learn what they need to learn to keep the office running.
The Way of the Future
Now legal secretaries have to know things like e-calendars and e-docket software, online research management engines like LexisNexis and Westlaw, new billing programs, case management software, and more. It has become a great equalizer in law firms because it makes legal secretaries more necessary than ever before. They are a central pillar in the office. When lawyers are able to use their fancy new phones and not much else, they need to lean on their secretaries for help — especially when they had a new sales representative come in with a software product and they weren’t listening during the pitch presentation but their secretary was.
Legal secretaries take on the brunt of carrying a law office because they are the backbone, the foundation of the firm. Lawyers do amazing lawyering; and an office cannot succeed without that, obviously. That’s the very point of a law firm. But it is very easy to forget that unless those bills get paid, the lights shut off. And those bills don’t get paid unless someone knows how to use the billing software.
These seem like rudimentary things, but they are oh-so-necessary for a law firm to succeed.