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Are You Prepared for Practice?

Posted by Library Blog on 01/23/2015 at 05:55 PM

The spring semester is well underway and soon you will head out to summer or permanent placements at law firms, government offices, and non-profits. Perhaps you are thinking of starting your own practice with a few friends or as a solo practitioner.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • You have enjoyed unlimited use of Lexis and Westlaw for your research at the law school, as well as a variety of research databases.
  • At your summer or full time placement, you might find only a limited subscription to Lexis OR Westlaw, but you  exclusively use the other product.  You might even be told to use Casemaker or Fastcase for preliminary research.
  • You may have heard of "secondary sources" and "practice materials", but are not sure what those are or how to use them.
  • You use Word to write your papers, but perhaps you don’t know about advanced techniques such as adding a table of authorities, redacting metadata, or using templates.
  • While you have accessed dozens if not hundreds of PDFs, you don’t know how to annotate, create, edit, or redact these documents.
  • You own an iPhone or tablet, but only use it to make calls, read magazines, or surf the web.

Now let’s look at some facts:

  • A National Conference of Bar Examiners’ survey showed that:  89% of new attorneys spend a significant portion of their time conducting research, 91% of new attorneys are expected to conduct non-electronic research, 96% of new attorneys are expected to conduct cost effective electronic research, and research methodology came in 5th in average significance among 86 knowledge areas for new attorneys. A Study of the Newly Licensed Lawyer, July 2012.
  • The Model Rules of Professional Conduct require that attorneys keep abreast of changes in law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology. MRPC rule 1.1, comment 8.
  • Lawyers as a group “are deficient in their use of technology.” D. Casey Flaherty, Kia Motors Tests Corporate Counsel Tech Skills, Corp. Counsel (online), Jan. 25, 2013.

Fortunately, the library’s Prepare for Practice Certification Program is available to help bridge the gap from law school into practice, providing students with opportunities to get up to speed with legal research and gain valuable technology skills before entering a competitive job market.

Throughout the semester, the library is offering a series of hands-on classes that count towards certification. To learn more about the program and how to receive a Certificate in Legal Research Skills for Practice (great to put on your resume), go the Prepare for Practice LawGuide. Not sure that you want to take all the classes for the certificate, no problem!   You may still attend the classes to get a legal research refresher or a first look at advanced technology tools.

Announcements about each upcoming class will be made via Facebook, Twitter, signs in the library, and the weekly Administrative Announcements.

Be sure to check out the certification program and get prepared for practice!