Technology Training for Lawyers

Continue the threat I started yesterday about lawyer’s technology competency level. Today I read the Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 and it touches on whether the bar should add technology CLE in the required CLE hours. In Minnesota, we do not have technology CLE requirement, but we have the hours for law office management.

It is hard to imagine that a lawyer can function well without knowing technology and nobody has any disagreement to that argument. The difference comes in at what level of competency should a lawyer be expected to operate? More specifically, should the technology training purely on technology skills or should it be integrated with specific tasks to be performed, for instance, how do you efile? And then teach the other skills along in the process of efile, such as file conversion, meta data and even PDF editing. The term that Vision 2016 used is technology competency in your practice area, which denotes that a lawyer can have different levels of competency, in some areas more and in other practice area, less.

I am firmly in this later camp. Law students already have many courses to take during their legal study and a course on pure technology might not do them much justice, let alone whether they will retain the skills they learn in the class. In addition, technology changes rapidly. What they learn in class might become obsolete soon.

But then technology can not really be taught the way we teach law students to think like a lawyer using cases from last century. Technology is skills-specific and tied to certain programs now in existence and are being used. You either know how to program in C++ or Java or you do not. Lots of law schools are now offering technology courses. At the recent and ongoing CALI conference at Denver, a session will offer a tool kit to show and teach you that you can teach technology at your law school. I am anxious to get my hand on the tool kit.


Lawyer’s Technology Competency and Ethical Duties

With mobile technology and social media an every day use, does a lawyer have an ethical duty to search on the internet to find out if potential jurors or seating jurors have committed a fraudulent act or dishonest act? ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility Rule 1.1 Comment 8 says that for lawyers to be competent, he/she should keep abreast of current technology which includes its risks and benefits. We often hear or read articles on how lawyers can follow potential jurors on social media and what is ethical and what is unethical in following the potential or seating jurors but very few have pointed out if lawyers should affirmatively look the jurors up. Is it required that lawyers should look the jurors up or research the jurors on internet? When searching the internet is so commonplace and does not require much of technology savvy, can it still be said that failure to search online will constitute lack of technological competence?

For the boundaries of how to follow potential jurors on social media, check out this formal opinion.


Transfer Files between Mac and iPhone

Many options exist to transfer files between a Macbook and iPhone. For instance, you can use EverNote. But today I want to talk about the AirDrop feature that is available on MacBook and iPhone. And use the feature to transfer files is so easy. The steps:
1. On MacBook, open Finder and on the panel on the left, click on the AirDrop Icon, which is the 3/4 lined circle.
2. On the bottom, choose seen by everyone or only people in your contact.
3. Then on the iPhone, swipe up the Control Center, the screen you can bring up by swiping upward at the home screen.
3. Touch the same icon and choose the same option, such as seen by everyone or only people in your contact.
4. Now go back to your MacBook. You will see your iPhone icon appear in that AirDrop space. To drop files into your iPhone, just drag the file and drop into that iPhone Icon, and then drop.
5. You will see the message changes to waiting…
6. On the iPhone, accept the drop and choose a program to accept the file.

That is it.


PC keyboard will sport a home screen like button on the phone

For mobile phones we have grown used to press the round home button to open and close a program, like that on iPhone. Now PC makers are making the move to add a key like that on the keyboard. That key is called Cortana. This will be the first change since the keyboard was introduced at about the time Windows 95 was introduced. It is a step closer to make the PC really function like the mobile devices. Toshiba is reported to build the first Cortana button into its Windows 10 laptops. I have not seen one yet, but will look those buttons up in stores to have a feel for it.


Legal Technology Skills Audit

Lawyers not only need to know the law, but also need to be tech savy nowadays to do the job well. Here is a site that can test the level of legal technology you possess. Even if you do not pass the test, you will sure learn abundantly about how to use the features in Word to draft documents.


Useful and handy tips on creating PDF bookmarks, saving Word document with bookmarks

Creating a bookmark in PDF document is very easy: you highlight the words you want to make into bookmark, and then click on the plus sign in the navigation panel to create new bookmark. Presto! You have a bookmark without typing any letters.

But we often encounter a situation where we already have a Word Document and better, we have a table of contents, question is: how can we save the word document with the bookmarks converted automatically? It is also easy, provided that the headings are already in place to create the table of contents.
1. Choose the save as PDF option;
2. Under Options, choose save headings as books marks.

To make sure that when readers click on the PDF file uploaded onto the web, the navigation panel opens with the bookmarks panel, follow the steps:
1. in PDF, click File
2. Properties;
3. Under initial view, choose navigation and page panel.

That is it.


Online learning and research

Read a news today that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded a $800,000 research project conducted by MOOC Research Initiative. Have not read the report, but the themes for the research summarize nicely the things that an online education should focus on, namely: 1. student engagement and learning success, which not surprisingly should predominate; 2. course design and curriculum, critical if the courses are to succeed and this is the place where I see great emphasis whenever online program is mentioned; 3. self-regulated learning and social learning: here it touches on the learning style as well as learning process, 4: [have to admit that the next ones are a bit surprise to me]: social network analysis and networked learning, wonder what it is and what is exactly networked learning and finally 5. motivation, attitude and success criteria. By success criteria, I am sensing an effort to manage expectation, and not to blow or tout the online program out of water.

The report is available here.


Few tips to create paperless exam on examsoft

Paperless exam offers many benefits and if handled well, can be a boon to both students and staff/faculties.

Benefits include: no need to print copies of the exams, wait at the printer, staple them, and if errors were found, reprints and re-staple; no need to hand out the exams, and of course no need to track the paper exams. All questions are online, so no worries that exam questions will leak out.

But to do it well, stars have to align correctly:
1. Faculty has to be comfortable with this format.
2. Administrative staff have to like it and are willing to pull the strings if need be.
3. Somebody has to design the exams, mostly copy and paste.

Mechanics involved and tips for creating one in ExamSoft:
1. When creating questions, make sure to number the questions. With that, you can sort the questions in the assessment. For single digits,add 0, for instance, 1 will be 01.
2.Know the system and understand that icons: pen means editable, and magnifying glass means approved questions.
3. Only approved questions can be imported into assessment.
4. When post the assessment to a course, make sure not to post too early to avoid confusion or other mistakes by the students.
5. Most importantly: since all the questions and answers will be in the exam, rules have to be created to warn students that they could not start the exam, even by mistake before the designated time. There will be no second try at the exam.
6. To make the answer choice truly multiple, when designing the multiple or single answer choice, you have to click apply to all option on the left hand side of the screen. In this case, if the student only check 1 when two or more answers should be checked, no points will be given.
7. To enable easy sorting, add the number before the actual questions.
8. When manual posting, you have to enter a password for students to unlock before the exam. This is a cool feature, ensuring that the content will not be expose by accidents. But it also is unfamiliar with students. When texts are posted through flex test, no password is needed.
9. Assessment name and post name is different. After you post your assessment to a course, you can not chance the assessment name, but you can change the post name. So it might be nice to remember that when you first create the assessment, to use the regular naming convention.
10. The instructions can also be inserted into the beginning screen for the assessment.

[more insights to add when we finish the exams this semester]

MJF Silent Auction 2015

#43 Lunch for Four with The Honorable Judge Chutich

The Honorable Margaret H. Chutich serves on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Judge Chutich received a B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1980, and a J.D. cum laudefrom the University of Michigan Law School in 1984. From 1996 to 2008, Judge Chutich served in the office of the Minnesota Attorney General, and worked in the office of the U.S. Attorney. In 2008, she was appointed assistant dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. On December 27, 2011, she was appointed to the appeals court by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Judge Chutich is committed to giving back to the community. She was the director of the YWCA of Minneapolis for a number of years. Judge Chutich also volunteered with the “Everybody Wins!” Reading Program. In addition, Judge Chutich is one of the mentors in University of St. Thomas School of Law mentor externship program.

Item Value: $40+                                     Starting Bid: 20                                           Bid Increment Amount: $1