Center For Practice Management, Microsoft Office, Productivity, Technology

Back to Basics: Understanding Core Business Technology for Lawyers

Lawyer strengthening her core technology skillsIn today’s fast-paced legal environment, lawyers must be adept at using basic office software, Microsoft 365, browsers, and their operating system. This ability is essential for maintaining competency, efficiency, and productivity, which are critical for effectively serving clients. Lawyers who do not understand and master how to use critical business tools like operating systems, office application suites, and browsers will be at a great disadvantage.

For instance, when drafting legal documents, lawyers can use Microsoft Word’s advanced features such as track changes, comments, and version history to streamline revisions and collaboration. If they do not understand how to use these tools effectively, they may expose confidential information and risk inadvertent disclosure.

Lawyers need to understand the basics of the core tech tools to leverage more sophisticated uses. For instance, in litigation, understanding where and how files and emails are stored on computers is extremely important for understanding the basis of an eDiscovery request.

Moreover, utilizing Microsoft 365’s suite of applications, such as Teams for virtual meetings and SharePoint for document management, allows lawyers to collaborate in real-time with clients and colleagues across the globe. This not only saves time but also reduces the need for physical storage space.

When it comes to research, browsers equipped with legal research extensions can help lawyers quickly find relevant case law and statutes without leaving their web browser. Additionally, understanding how to effectively use operating systems can aid lawyers in customizing their workflow and utilizing shortcuts to access files and applications faster.


Competency in technology is a part of the professional requirements for lawyers. Bar associations and legal governing bodies recognize the importance of technological literacy in law. Lawyers who are proficient in these tools can perform legal research more efficiently, manage case files and documents with ease, and stay organized with calendars and task lists.

Rule 1.1 Competence

[8] To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with the technology relevant to the lawyer’s practice, engage in continuing study and education, and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.

Legal professionals must have a solid foundation in basic office software, Microsoft 365, web browsers, and operating systems to maintain competency in their profession. Familiarity with word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, allows lawyers to draft and edit legal documents efficiently, ensuring accuracy and adherence to legal standards. Additionally, spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel empower lawyers to organize complex information, analyze data, and make informed decisions. Proficiency in presentation software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, enables lawyers to effectively communicate their arguments in the courtroom or during client meetings, enhancing their persuasive abilities. By mastering these essential tools, lawyers can stay up-to-date with technological advancements and remain competent in an increasingly digital legal landscape.

Lawyers handle sensitive and confidential client information, making them prime targets for cyber threats. Technological competence enables lawyers to implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as secure communication channels, encrypted file sharing, and data backup protocols. Understanding web browser security features, recognizing phishing attempts, and keeping software and operating systems updated are essential for safeguarding client data and maintaining client trust.


Efficiency is another crucial aspect for a lawyer’s understanding of basic business technology. Using Microsoft 365’s cloud-based services ensures that documents are always accessible and up to date, facilitating a seamless workflow. This connectivity allows lawyers to respond to clients promptly and manage their documents efficiently, which is crucial in time-sensitive legal matters.

Legal research is a fundamental aspect of a lawyer’s work, and web browsers grant access to vast volumes of legal information and precedents. By efficiently navigating search engines and online legal databases, lawyers can find relevant cases, statutes, and legal opinions, saving valuable time and effort. Moreover, understanding operating systems and software updates ensures that lawyers can leverage the full potential of their devices, benefiting from enhanced speed, security, and new features. By optimizing their use of technology, lawyers can allocate more time to client-focused activities, such as advising, strategizing, and building strong cases.

Technological competence can contribute to cost efficiency and increased access to justice. By leveraging technology, lawyers can automate repetitive tasks, reduce paperwork, and streamline administrative processes. This efficiency translates into cost savings for clients, making legal services more accessible and affordable. Moreover, technology facilitates remote consultations, virtual hearings, and online dispute resolution, eliminating geographical barriers and allowing individuals in remote areas or with mobility limitations to access legal services conveniently.


Productivity is also significantly enhanced when lawyers are familiar with their operating systems and browsers. They can troubleshoot minor issues quickly, understand the capabilities of their systems to optimize performance, and ensure better security practices to protect client information.

Furthermore, the integration of office software with legal-specific tools streamlines case management. Lawyers can automate routine tasks such as scheduling and billing, freeing up more time to focus on client advocacy and case strategy. This automation not only improves accuracy but also reduces the likelihood of human error.

Technological proficiency significantly boosts lawyers’ productivity by enabling them to multitask, collaborate seamlessly, and automate routine tasks. Microsoft 365 and other office software offer a range of productivity tools like email clients (e.g., Outlook) and calendar applications, facilitating effective communication, scheduling, and time management. Lawyers can efficiently organize their workload, set reminders for important deadlines, and stay on top of client communications. Collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, foster teamwork and allow lawyers to collaborate with colleagues, share documents, and host virtual meetings. By harnessing the power of these tools, lawyers can collaborate more effectively, improve document version control, and provide prompt and accurate responses to clients, ultimately enhancing overall productivity.

Lawyers deal with vast amounts of information, including case files, contracts, legal research, and client data. Proficiency in basic office software and operating systems allows lawyers to efficiently organize, store, and retrieve this information. By utilizing features like file organization, document search capabilities, and cloud storage solutions, lawyers can ensure the security, accessibility, and integrity of their data.

Enhanced Client Service

The ability of lawyers to effectively utilize basic office software, Microsoft 365, web browsers, and their operating systems translates into superior client service. By leveraging technology, lawyers can access and manage client information securely and efficiently. By embracing technology, lawyers can deliver faster, more accurate, and client-centric legal services, fostering trust, satisfaction, and long-term relationships with their clients.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of remote work and virtual collaboration in the legal profession. Technological competence enables lawyers to effectively work from anywhere, access case files remotely, and collaborate with colleagues and clients through video conferencing, document sharing platforms, and virtual meeting tools. By embracing these technologies, lawyers can maintain productivity and continue providing seamless legal services, irrespective of geographical limitations.

Technology plays a vital role in enhancing communication and client engagement for lawyers. By utilizing email, instant messaging, and video conferencing tools, lawyers can maintain regular and efficient communication with clients, regardless of their physical location. Technology also enables lawyers to provide secure client portals or document sharing platforms, allowing clients to access case updates, review documents, and communicate securely. These digital communication channels foster transparency, convenience, and accessibility, strengthening the lawyer-client relationship.

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Technological advancements continue to shape the legal profession, making lifelong learning and adaptability crucial for lawyers. By embracing technological competence, lawyers develop a mindset of continuous learning and adaptability to new tools and emerging trends. They can stay ahead of the curve, proactively integrate technology into their practice, and remain agile in a rapidly evolving legal landscape.