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Legal & Law Programs ►Law Office Technology Specialist Certification & Externship Program


Program includes National Certification & an Externship Opportunity



The Law Office Technology Specialistl

Legal assistants with a focus on technology play one of the most important roles in the legal industry. Advances in technology are revolutionizing today’s legal landscape at a faster pace than ever before. Along with it, the role of the legal professional continues to evolve. The automation of various legal processes has forced lawyers, paralegals, legal secretaries and other legal professionals to become proficient with a constantly growing array of word processing, database, telecommunications, spreadsheet, presentation and legal research software. For better or worse, new technology impacts every aspect of the legal field, making the law office more efficient, but also more complex from traditional law firms and corporate practices to courtroom operations and document management.


The Law Office Technology Specialist Program

This program offers an in-depth view of the role of legal assistants play within the American legal system, specifically with respect to technology in the law office. Examining the myriad of skills legal assistants use everyday alongside the typical legal working environment, students will explore technology that helps to advance the goals of large law firms and individual attorneys.

This course provides an introduction to computer hardware and software fundamentals necessary to the successful operation of a law office, including an overview of traditional legal software, specialty law office and case management software, and litigation support software. From electronic research to eDiscovery and electronic database discovery (EDD), official eFiling and case management software, students will explore all of the different technological advances that have become standard in the legal industry.Students will also explore various methods for learning and keeping current with software updates as well as the various ethical issues that arise with the use of technology in a legal capacity.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Produce a checklist of technology needs for a law office
  • Prepare a plan for setting up technology systems for a new law firm
  • Research legal issues using the Internet
  • Describe security and ethical issues related to the use of the Internet in a law office
  • Use word processing software to prepare documents for a law office
  • Use electronic spreadsheet software to prepare documents for a law office
  • Use a database to store, sort and present client and/or case information
  • Create a basic office management system using law office management software
  • Create a case notebook using case management software
  • Prepare a response to a discovery request
  • Create an electronic presentation to use at trial
  • Investigate the advantages and disadvantages of a paperless office
  • Analyze the impact of federal and court rules on electronic discovery
  • Review court rules on the use of technology
  • Use Microsoft Office

TECHNOLOGY IN THE LAW OFFICE

  • Identify types of technology that are often used to complete specific tasks in a law office
  • Describe how the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure affect technology use in a law office
  • Articulate ethical issues that must be considered when employing technology in a law office
  • Prepare a list of emerging technologies that could be used to improve operations within a law office

COMPUTER HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE

  • Identify types of computer systems used in a law office
  • Indicate differences between applications and specialty applications software
  • Describe the basic components of computer networks
  • Prepare a checklist for installation and licensing requirements to consider when purchasing technology components
  • Summarize computer and network security issues that must be considered when planning technology needs in a law office

THE INTERNET AND ELECTRONIC MAIL

  • Summarize security issues related to Internet use in law offices
  • Identify ethical issues related to Internet use in law offices
  • Describe precautions for using the Internet in law offices

ELECTRONIC RESEARCH

  • Prepare a research plan for a specific legal issue
  • Identify online resources appropriate for locating legal information
  • Locate information about a specific legal issue using search queries

WORD PROCESSING SOFTWARE

  • Describe how word processing software is used in law offices
  • Identify help resources for word processor software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of word processor software in a law office
  • Prepare documents for a law office using word processing software

ELECTRONIC SPREADSHEETS

  • Describe how spreadsheet software is used in law offices
  • Identify help resources for electronic spreadsheet software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of electronic spreadsheet software in a law office
  • Prepare graphics using electronic spreadsheet software
  • Prepare documents for a law office using electronic spreadsheet software

ELECTRONIC DATABASES

  • Describe how a database is used in law offices
  • Identify the components of a database
  • Identify help resources for database software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of database software in a law office
  • Perform basic tasks in a database including data entry, sorting data, and data presentation

THE PAPERLESS OFFICE

  • Describe how a law office can become a "paperless office"
  • Describe the process of filing legal documents electronically
  • Outline ethical considerations related to a paperless office
  • Compare procedures for disseminating electronic versus hardcopy documents to clients and courts
  • Research the pros and cons of implementing a paperless office

OFFICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of office management software in a law office
  • Set up basic office management functions for a law office using law office management software
  • Perform calendaring tasks using law office management software
  • Perform accounting tasks using law office management software
  • Describe how law office management software is used in law offices

CASE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of case management software in a law office
  • Compile a case notebook using case management software

ELECTRONIC DISCOVERY

  • Analyze how recent changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure affect electronic discovery
  • Describe the susceptibility of electronic evidence to spoliation
  • Identify ethical issues related to electronic discovery
  • Prepare a discovery plan for electronic evidence as required under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

LITIGATION SUPPORT

  • Describe ethical methods for processing documents for delivery to an opposing legal team
  • Explain how various types of software can be used to facilitate electronic discovery efforts of the legal team
  • Develop a plan to respond to a discovery request

PRESENTATION AND TRIAL GRAPHICS

  • Describe how presentation and graphics software are used in law offices
  • Identify help resources for presentation and graphics software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of presentation software in a law office
  • Create graphic exhibits to be presented at trial
  • Prepare an electronic presentation for trial

THE ELECTRONIC COURTHOUSE

  • Explain the purpose of back-up plans when using technology in the courtroom
  • List the electronic courtrooms, resources, and technology staff in your jurisdiction

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

  • Identify types of technology that are often used to complete specific tasks in a law office
  • Describe how the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure affect technology use in a law office
  • Identify types of computer systems used in a law office
  • Indicate differences between applications and specialty applications software
  • Describe the basic components of computer networks
  • Summarize computer and network security issues that must be considered when planning technology needs in a law office
  • Identify online resources appropriate for locating legal information
  • Define common terms associated with the Internet
  • Describe common uses of the Internet in law offices
  • Summarize security issues related to Internet use in law offices
  • Identify ethical issues related to Internet use in law offices
  • Describe how word processing software is used in law offices
  • Describe the functions of menus, tools, and commands in word processor software that are used to create, edit, and save documents
  • Identify help resources for word processor software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of word processor software in a law office
  • Describe how spreadsheet software is used in law offices
  • Identify the components of an electronic spreadsheet
  • Describe the functions of menus, tools, and commands in spreadsheet software that are used to create, edit, and save documents
  • Identify help resources for electronic spreadsheet software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of electronic spreadsheet software in a law office
  • Describe how a database is used in law offices
  • Identify the components of a database
  • Describe the functions of menus, tools, and commands in database software that is used to enter, sort, search, and save records
  • Identify help resources for database software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of database software in a law office
  • Describe how a law office can become a "paperless office"
  • Describe the process of filing legal documents electronically
  • Outline ethical considerations related to a paperless office
  • Describe common functions of law office management software
  • Identify help resources for law office management software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of office management software in a law office
  • Describe common functions of case management software
  • Identify help resources for case management software
  • Describe how law office management software is used in law office
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of case management software
  • Analyze how recent changes in the FRCP affect electronic discovery
  • Describe the susceptibility of electronic evidence to spoliation
  • Identify ethical issues related to electronic discovery
  • Describe the electronic discovery process
  • Identify appropriate file formats for a response to a discovery request
  • Describe ethical methods for processing documents to deliver to an opposing legal team
  • Describe how presentation and graphics software are used in law offices
  • Describe the functions of menus, tools, and commands in presentation software that is used to create, edit, and save a presentation
  • Identify help resources for presentation and graphics software
  • Describe potential ethical issues related to the use of presentation software
  • Describe the elements of an electronic courtroom
  • Identify technology tools used to present cases

Education and National Certifications

  • Students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • There are no state approval and/or state requirements associated with this program.
  • There is a National Certification exam available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification Exam.

National Certification

Upon successful completion of this Auburn University program, students would be eligible to sit for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam. Although there are no state approval, state registration or other state requirements for this program, students who complete this program at Auburn University will be prepared and are eligible to sit for this national certification exam. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the externship option with their program. Students who complete this program can and do sit for the MOS national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so. Auburn University works with each student to complete the exam application and register the student to take their national certification exam.

Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement, once students complete the program, they have the ability to participate in an externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a professional in this field. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in this field. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed with a participating organization near their location. Auburn University works with national organizations and has the ability to place students in externship opportunities nationwide.