Is the computer experience skill for paralegals an essential requirement? If you are studying to become a paralegal and you want to attract all of the largest legal firms when you are applying for an open position, you need to be sure that you possess all of the skills that law firm hiring managers are looking for when they are making their hiring decisions. Paralegals in today’s modern world need strong computer skills so that they can adapt to all of the differences between legal documents and computer programs that lawyers and firms use. If you are wondering just what type of computer skills that you need to be the best paralegal, you have come to the right place. Here are the types of computer skills that you will need succeed in the field without needing any special type of training.
All Employers and Lawyers Need Paralegals with General Computer Skills
As a paralegal, you will need to have general computer skills. While these are skills that you will not necessarily gain while you earn your high school diploma, they are skills that you can learn by taking basic computer courses in college or at a technical school. You will be conducting a lot of research and writing several reports when you do paralegal tasks. This is why it is essential to learn how to backup data and how to use a secure Internet connection when you are working in a law firm.
Most of the time, a firm will have a data backup process that you will be taught so that all records or automatically stored. If you are doing a project at home, you may need to learn how to use an external hard drive to store data and take it with you on-the-go. This also ensures that data stored on a specific data will be accessible if it becomes obsolete or gets a virus. While it can seem daunting for individuals who are not experts with general computer tasks, you will catch on after repetitive training.
Learning How to Use Specific Software Programs
In addition to having general computer skills, employer may also ask you about your experience with specific software programs. The usage of software systems can vary from firm to firm depending on its size, but almost all law firms will use Microsoft Word and other word processing programs. You will also be expected to know how to search electronic legal databases for case information so that information can be gathered in a timely manner. Most law firms expect paralegals to implement Boolean search techniques to conduct smarter searches throughout legal databases. These techniques involve broadening and narrowing a search with combined terms in many different directories so that you can find streamlined information in a more sophisticated manner. Imaging software may also be a requirement if you need to scan evidence into the systems and add it to evidence inventory.
Computers make professional life much easier, but you need to be trained to use them to use these devices to your advantage. You will need a working knowledge of common software systems and legal software to land a job at a top-notch law firm. You will also need to highlight that you can grasp software quickly when trained. Do not forget to obtain skill in school and then highlight computer experience skill for paralegals on your resume.
For more information on earning your paralegal degree, please see Top 10 Online Paralegal Degree Programs.