Peer to Peer Magazine

Spring 2015

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 30 of 75

PEER TO PEER: THE QUARTERLY MAGA ZINE OF ILTA 32 Even those who have been with firms for many years need to learn something new regularly. Enter ILTA's "Law Firm 101" initiative: three program tracks aimed at educating incoming administrative professionals, new lawyers and law students about the business of law. BACKGROUND AND PROGRAMMING Law Firm 101 was the brainchild of Joy Health Rush a few years ago when she served on ILTA's Board of Directors. Current Board member Shirley Crow shares Joy's passion for delivering Law Firm 101 education to our members, and I was appointed as Law Firm 101 chair in March 2014. Shirley sums up the need to implement such an initiative: "People succeed better in their jobs if they understand the full context of their organization. Law firm staff benefit from understanding the law firm environment holistically, lawyers new to law firms benefit from understanding the nuances of practice not taught in law school, and law students benefit from having practical (especially technology-related) skills applicable to the jobs they will be seeking." The initiative is divided into three educational programming tracks, each with its own curriculum: 1. Administrative Professionals: The educational focus is on topics related to law firm business operations, practices and ethics to understand the context of the administrative professional's role within his or her firm 2. Lawyers: Lawyers who are new to law firms learn how administrative support groups can help and serve them 3. Law Schools: This track helps students increase their skill sets to prepare for the real world of being a legal practitioner in any employment environment CREATING THE CONTENT A volunteer group with diverse backgrounds and passionate foresight was tasked with getting this initiative off the ground. Their job was to ensure the educational deliverables had depth and the curriculum content had a significant technology foundation. Parameters for the project included development of a sustainable educational e-learning model that: • Engages audiences • Accounts for differences in firm culture and governing laws • Allows for individual firm customization • Provides ongoing updates and enhancements to courseware Another volunteer team comprising dedicated user support subject-matter experts has been assembled and is working on storyboards and courseware development. CASE STUDIES About the Author Sandy Mikita is the Information Support Project Manager at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC. She has been involved in legal technology management since 1987 and has been an active ILTA volunteer since 2001, currently serving as Law Firm 101 Initiative Chair and on the Board of Directors Nominating Committee. Contact her at Law Firm 101 Developments Working in the legal profession can be an overwhelming challenge filled with high expectations, new concepts, specialized terminology and acronyms galore. Add a unique business model and culture, and you have the right blend to make a long learning curve for someone new.

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