Issue Archive

E-mail Lists

News Briefs

Reviews  New

Upcoming Events

Job Bank  New



Becoming a

Media Kit

About Us

Contact Us


Click here
to advertise in LAT's
2007 School Directory.

logo4.gif (10052 bytes)

bar3.gif (1641 bytes)

Cyberspace: The Final Frontier
Legal Assistant Today’s 2000 Technology Survey demonstrates that paralegals haven’t been scared off by the millenium bug, and are instead, continugin to embrace technology.

In the era of Y2K, technology can be a frightening thing. Just a few months ago, many people around the globe waited for the stroke of midnight to discover whether or not technology would turn against them and thrust society into the dark ages, even if only for a day or two. Thankfully, the moment has passed. Banks are still handling accounts, the Internal Revenue Service still knows how much you owe, and cell phones are still ringing at inopportune moments in dark movie theaters everywhere.

Despite the trepidation some might experience in this technology-ridden age, paralegals are apparently braving the cyber frontier.

According to Legal Assistant Today’s (LAT) Annual Technology Survey, the 20th Century closed out with 98.7 percent of all working paralegals surveyed using computers on a daily basis. Of those paralegals, 50.5 percent ranked their technological expertise and experience as above average — an increase of more than four percent over our technology survey of just one year ago (see March/April 1999 Legal Assistant Today).

Like it or not, technology — with all of its glitches and viruses — is here to stay. Technology is not only finding new and different ways to integrate into our everyday lives, it’s also helping to streamline office paperwork and expand global communication. For those on the career track, technology is also helping to raise the visibility of those paralegals tenacious enough to get past all the megabytes and USB ports, and actually master the virtual beast. Nearly 54 percent of paralegals polled indicated that, along with their supervisors, managing partners and department heads, they’re included in their firms’ or departments’ technology decisions.

Legal assistants who participated in this year’s survey also noted that many of their employers are turning to them in greater numbers for advice with technology purchase decisions for items ranging from scanners and imaging software, to network software and upgrades to existing office computer systems.

Beyond raising a paralegal’s profile with his or her employer, technological know-how is fast becoming a requirement in order to work in the field. More than 78 percent of paralegals who participated in our survey — paralegals who work for sole practitioners, small to midsize law firms and major corporations — indicated that they work in office environments that utilize six or more computers. Additionally, 78.4 percent of the total respondents said they overwhelmingly prefer to use at least some form of electronic research (e.g. Lexis, Westlaw, Internet, CD-ROMs, etc.) over more paper-intensive research methods. This figure demonstrates a continuing trend in the paralegal community to expand its ability to conduct electronic research as technology becomes more commonplace in the legal workplace.

More than 89 percent of our surveyed paralegals work in offices with computer systems that are networked, with 88.3 percent having Internet access and nearly 82 percent having work e-mail addresses that play major roles in their daily work routines.

Frightening or not, the future would appear to be upon us. Paralegals looking to explore career alternatives or grow in their present environments would be well advised to move computer training to the top of their to-do list.

In the meantime, watch those e-mail attachments, remember that rebooting is often not as violent and unnecessary as it sounds, and that with the right attitude, any computer problem can be overcome.


LAT conducted the 2000 Technology Survey in conjunction with its Annual Salary Survey. The four-page questionnaire was mailed to a computer-generated random sampling of 5,000 of the magazine’s subscribers. The resulting data was compiled from the 17 percent of respondents who supplied verifiable names and addresses by the Dec. 3, 1999 deadline.

Litigation Support

CaseMap 2.2 %
Concordance 3.0 %
DB/TextWorks 1.0 %
Discovery Pro 1.1 %
DocuFind 1.8 %
DtSearch 0.5 %
E-TECH 0.2 %
E-Transcript Binder 0.4 %
Introspect 0.2 %
ISYS 1.3 %
Lawpro 1.6 %
Litigator’s Notebook 1.1 %
LiveNote 2.7 %
ReplicaRLS 0.0 %
Summation Blaze ** 11.3 %
TrialBook 32 0.1 %
TrialMaker 0.2 %
TrialWorks 0.6 %
Virtual Partner 0.1 %
Other 14.7 %

Word Processing

Lotus Word Pro 3.9 %
Microsoft Word ** 62.3 %
Corel WordPerfect 49.7 %

Legal Online Service

LEXIS Publishing 37.3 %
Westlaw ** 54.0 %
Other 5.8 %

Operating System
What operating system is on your work computer?

DOS 0.4 %
Macintosh 1.5 %
Windows 3.1x 1.6 %
Windows 95/98 ** 81.0 %
Windows NT 15.5 %

Office Equipment
How many computers are in your office?

1 3.1 %
2-5 18.4 %
6-10 16.2 %
11-25 19.6 %
26-50 16.0 %
51-100 10.2 %
101 + 16.5 %

Daily Computer Use
Do you use a computer on a daily basis at work?

Yes 98.7 %
No 1.3 %

Is your workplace networked?

Yes 89.2 %
No 10.8 %

Are you connected to the Internet at work?

Yes 88.3 %
No 11.7 %

Do you have a work e-mail address?

Yes 81.7 %
No 18.3 %

What media do you primarily use most to conduct legal research?

Books 31.1 %
CD-ROMs 17.6 %
Internet 43.0 %
Lexis/Westlaw 39.7 %

Use of Electronic Research
Do you use electronic research on a daily basis?

Yes 78.4 %
No 21.6 %

Technology Expertise
Compared to others in your firm or department, how do you rank your technology expertise?

Above Average 50.5 %
Average 44.5 %
Below Average 5.0 %

Input on Technology Decisions
Do you have input on technology decisions at your firm?

Yes 53.6 %
No 46.7 %

Purchasing Authority
Do you have purchasing authority at your firm?

Yes 36.0 %
No 64.0 %

Future Technology Purchases
The top 10 technology purchases that law firms plan to make this year:

1. Scanner and imaging software
2. Computer workstations
3. Printers
4. Upgrades to existing computers
5. Network hardware and software
6. Internet access
7. Operating system upgrades
8. Calendar software
9. Online research services
10. Voice recognition software

** Indicates a product used most often by paralegals responding to the LAT survey.

All data contained in this survey is subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

bar3.gif (1641 bytes)

| Home |
| Issue Archive | Listserv | News Briefs | Upcoming Events | Links |
| Becoming a Paralegal | Media Kit | About Us | Contact Us | Subscribe |

Updated 08/25/06
© Legal Assistant Today Magazine
[email protected]
(800) 394-2626