Legal educators must increase the use of technology in legal education today Although some legal educators may disagree vehemently with this statement, most have accepted the fact that technology has and will become an even greater part of the fabric of our learning institutions. Students in kindergarten spend some portion of their week in the computer lab. By the time kids reach their middle- and high-school years, many are well-versed in word processing programs, e-mail, and surfing the Internet. Elementary school teachers are trained and encouraged to use multi-media software, the Internet, and other technology in their classrooms because not all students learn effectively using only auditory skills, nor do all students respond to a "chalk and talk" teaching style. Undergraduate professors in business, science, religion, and other subjects commonly use presentation software to illustrate substantive concepts with formulas, maps, and text. Students are encouraged and trained to utilize technology in class projects and presentations. Most law schools, however, are far behind the educational systems that send us our students in terms of integrating technology into the learning process. Certainly, legal educators have had WESTLAW and LEXIS/NEXIS at their disposal for years, but these tools do not demonstrate a commitment to technology. Even these automated legal databases have at times been viewed with scorn or caution by law professors and legal professionals. Law professors are rightfully concerned that students may rely on automated search techniques without understanding how to research a case or statute in the bound books. Similarly, some law firms would rather bill associate hours than bill clients for LEXIS or WESTLAW search charges. Law students, however, need to recognize the important role that technology plays in our society, and academicians should be the ones to guide them.
Shelley R. Saxer,
One Professor's Approach to Increasing Technology Use in Legal Education,
Rich. J.L. & Tech
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolt/vol6/iss4/6