Sure, attorneys aren't the biggest early adopters of new technology. You won't find many esquires who are well-versed in artificial intelligence or nano-architecture, for example. But it turns out that we're also terrible at technology basics. The Legal Tech Assessment, a program developed to test attorneys' skill at simple office tasks like redacting information from PDFs, has proven time and again that lawyers often fail at basic law practice technology, wasting time and client money.
In the 14 months that the LTA has been around, no firm has had all of its attorneys pass the tech test -- until now. The boutique business law firm, Keesal, Young and Logan, has become the first firm ever to have all of its lawyers pass the assessment.
What Is the LTA?
The Legal Tech Assessment (formerly the Legal Tech Audit) was created about a year ago by Casey Flaherty, then in-house counsel at Kia Motors America, based on the simple idea that lawyers waste client money through their "deficient" use of technology. The LTA tests basic competencies in using Word, Excel, PDFs, and other common office software. Can you, for example, use auto-numbering, so that a change in a section heading from Part II to Part III will update all other section headings and internal cross-references? Or will you have to go through and manually renumber every part?
If you're the typical lawyer, you'll probably do it manually. And that can take hours, instead of just a few seconds. Most lawyers simply don't know many basic productivity tricks that could end up saving them hours of work. The LTA tests those skills, identifying lawyers as beginners, experts, and everywhere in between. Attorneys can then use their verified tech smarts to market themselves to clients -- or, if no smarts are found, identify weak spots to work on.
How'd They Do It?
Until Keesal, Young and Logan came around, no firm had passed the test en masse. But their success didn't come easily. According to Flaherty, KYL underwent a lot of training beforehand:
From diagnostic assessment to certification testing, KYL's tailored training program implemented by trainer Mike Carillo improved the average LTA score more than 40 percent with substantial gains in both time and accuracy. Each participant met KYL's competence threshold with firm personnel earning 47 portable COBOT badges (Certified Operator of Basic Office Technology) for exceptional acumen on Word, Excel, or PDF.
If you want to put your own skills to the test, the LTA will cost you a pretty penny (prices vary, but have been reported as $250 per user) -- and probably a bit of your pride.