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The best online courses to increase your tech literacy as a legal professional

best online courses for legal professionals

Tech competency is fast becoming a prerequisite for success in the legal profession. Digital technology is continually evolving and transforming our modern world, and the law is not immune to this trend.

There is currently a wide spectrum of tech skill levels in the legal industry, with some legal professionals needing to learn the basics, while others want to improve their existing skills.

How can you increase your tech literacy as a legal professional, no matter your starting point?

Fortunately, there is a wide variety of online courses to educate you in various aspects of modern technology. Here we outline some of the best online courses to improve your tech skills.

Tech literacy courses for beginners

Many legal professionals still have very rudimentary tech skills and knowledge, so they need to start with the basics. Below are several courses designed with the tech beginner in mind.

Introduction to Microsoft Word (Alison)

Microsoft Word is the word processor of choice for the legal industry, so legal professionals need to have some basic familiarity with the program.

Introduction to MS Word 2019/365 is a free online introduction to Microsoft Word 2019 provided by Alison, a top platform for no-cost education and skills training.

The course description promises an overview of the basic elements of the Word screen, various options, and how to execute basic commands.

Email basics (GCFGlobal)

GCFGlobal provides a free tutorial on email basics that teaches common email features and proper email etiquette.

You will also learn how to add email contacts and manage an email calendar.

Especially critical in this era of data breaches and cyber hacks, you will learn to avoid the email-based spam and phishing attacks that often lead to security breaches.

Basic computer skills (GCFGlobal)

Another beginner’s course from GCFGlobal focuses on basic computer skills.

To get an idea of exactly how basic, the first section is entitled “Getting Started with Your First Computer.” In 23 sections, this course covers topics for those new to computers, such as downloads and uploads, how to set up Wi-Fi, and installing and uninstalling software.

Tech courses for legal professionals with moderate skills

Legal professionals at an intermediate level of tech proficiency will want courses that add on to their basic competencies.

These three courses will provide some essential upskilling that will likely increase your value as a lawyer or legal support professional.

Tech tips and tricks (GCFGlobal)

In yet another online offering from GCFGlobal, the Tech Savvy Tips and Tricks tutorial delivers as the title promises.

Taking screenshots, editing PDFs, password tips, keyboard shortcuts — these are just some of the many areas where the course provides “tricks of the trade” for the tech-proficient.

Microsoft 365 tutorials (Microsoft)

Microsoft 365 is a suite of applications that provides many essential functions for law firms — Word, Outlook, and Excel are just some of the most widely used.

Microsoft itself provides numerous learning modules for Microsoft 365, including the 36-minute What is Microsoft 365? providing an overview of the program.

Among the many Microsoft 365 tutorials, another will educate you on staying current with Microsoft 365 and Windows updates.

Law office software (CLS by BARBRI)

Breaking into the higher-price range, this Software Essentials for the Law Office course is for legal professionals seeking to increase their tech skills and knowledge of computer technology and programs used in the law office.

The course is provided by CLS by BARBRI, a legal education company that uses actual legal professionals as teachers. It provides a deep dive into law office technology, delving into topics such as electronic discovery and case management software.

Advanced tech courses

The legal professionals who are most proficient with tech know their aptitude gives them real career strength.

This means they are also more willing to take courses that will allow them to skill up and increase their value even more.

Here are some courses for the already tech-savvy legal pros.

Advanced skills for Adobe Acrobat (Udemy)

Advanced Adobe Acrobat XI from Udemy is a low-cost course that covers advanced features in Adobe Acrobat, the primary tool for creating and reading PDF files.

Many of these advanced skills are especially useful in the legal profession, such as password protection and certificate encryption. And the course’s emphasis on document management makes it particularly helpful for legal support professionals.

Cloud computing basics (Coursera)

Despite its name, Cloud Computing Basics (Cloud 101) offered by Coursera would likely not be considered a beginning tech course for most legal professionals.

Because cloud computing is not a common type of expertise in the industry, we include it here as an advanced tech course. With the proliferation of cloud-based tech platforms and solutions for law firms, it may be wise for legal professionals to become cloud-proficient.

The course takes about 9 hours to complete.

Legal tech (Udemy)

We simply could not fail to include a course directed at legal professionals.

Another advanced offering from Udemy, Technology and Innovation for Legal Professionals, provides an overview of a huge array of tech subjects.

Legal technology, legal research, and electronic discovery are some of the most broadly applicable areas in the legal profession. But more specialized topics, such as process automation or the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in law, could provide a legal professional with a real boost in their value to the firm.

Final thoughts

These are just some of the many online course offerings that can help grow your tech skills. Tech is transforming the legal world, which means that legal professionals need to transform as well.

Whenever you find yourself struggling with a program or stumbling through a task, you’ve just found an opportunity to upskill.

Seek out courses on LinkedIn, Coursera, Udemy, or directly on the website of the software you’re using. Many tools offer free training to help you get more value out of your purchase.

Take advantage of the myriad resources available right from your desk. The time you invest in learning now will pay off multiple times over.

Author

  • After a fifteen-year legal career in business and healthcare finance litigation, Mike Robinson now crafts compelling content that explores topics around technology, litigation, and process improvements in the legal industry.