If I am in a room with an academic law librarian for more than five minutes, I almost always get some form of this question:
What are the tech skills I should be teaching law students to better prepare them for working in the ‘real world?’
My answer is a pretty standard one. “Make sure they know the basics… then we can teach them the unique skills needed for our particular firm.” The same question came up last Friday when I was on the Law Librarians Conversation podcast with Rich Leiter, Roger Skalbeck, Elizabeth Farrell, Ken Hirsh, Darin Fox, and Michael Robak. Knowing the cool stuff is secondary to knowing the basics.
What are the basics? My guess is that you already know (especially if you’ve read any of my co-geek, Casey Flaherty, posts.)
- MS Word – especially style sheets and any basic tasks that are automated rather than manual.
- MS Excel – with some basic understandings of formulas, especially simple math formulas, sorting and filtering.
- Adobe PDF – Focus on how to effectively use PDF and exporting from other programs like Word.
- MS PowerPoint – pretty much Google “Death by PowerPoint” and learn the what not to do lessons.
- MS Outlook – learn rules and foldering. Once you’re at your firm, learn how Outlook interacts with your document management system (DMS) and be an avid filer and rule follower for the DMS standards of your firm.
- Accept/Turn-off track changes.
- Cut & Paste.
- Replace text.
- Format font and paragraph.
- Fix footers.
- Insert hyperlink.
- Apply/Modify style.
- Insert/Update cross-references.
- Insert page break.
- Insert non-breaking space.
- Clean document properties.
- Create comparison document (i.e., a redline).