January 3, 2011
It's 2011: Isn't It Time for the Legal Academy to Add Some Legal Tech Skills to the Mandatory Curriculum (even if only on how to perform document review)?
I have heard (but not confirmed) that 25% of recent law school grads are unemployed. If even close to being accurate, that is one very disturbing stat. Does it include or exclude, for example, temp hiring of recent grads for document review work that once, as in my circa-1980s BigLaw days, was performed by paralegals under the supervision of some young BigLaw associate assigned to supervise this "grunt work" task.
Is it time for the legal academy to offer courses instructing students on how to perform document review work? Time to "tech-up" the curriculum so students have some familiarity with electronic document management systems? It certainly looks like document review is a skill many students will need after law school and passing the bar exam to make themselves marketable for some sort of gainful employment in the current legal labor market.
While some law profs might find the developing law of e-discovery intellectually stimulating, their students are probably sitting in evidence classes wondering "how does e-discovery work in the real world? Show me the database! Show me the workflow applications vendors offer! Teach me something that will beef up the IT skills needed to get a job, any job in my chosen profession, even a temporary document review gig." [JH]