I am uncomfortable writing about technology proficiency because many people who read this blog are more proficient than me. So there is a danger of sounding stupid to some readers.

But, I am often amazed at the lack of tech. proficiency many great attorneys have. Two examples:

  1. Two years ago an attorney copied me on an email to his legal assistant asking how to save a spreadsheet he changed [if this is you, a button says “save”]; and
  2. a few months ago an attorney complained about how he spent half a day finding deposition testimony to cite in a brief.

At the 2017 Mississippi Bar Convention, I talked to Jackson attorney Mark Chinn about how much I enjoyed an article he wrote in SuperLawyers Magazine about becoming technology proficient. The gist of it was that attorneys’ lives would be much easier if they learned the basics of the software they already have on their computers.

PDF skills are a prime example. Everyone has pdf software on their computer. Most use Adobe. Some prefer other software. I use Adobe DC. It’s Adobe’s monthly subscription cloud-based pdf software. I think I pay about $16 per month.

You are wrong if you think you are better off buying a license than paying the monthly subscription fee for Adobe or Microsoft Office. I will not explain it here. But that used to be me. The monthly licensing is better because it is cloud-based, can be installed on multiple devices and updates automatically.

Here are five pdf skills every lawyer should know:

  1. downloading an ECF document as a pdf and save it to your firm’s pleading file;
  2. extracting pages from a pdf and save them as a separate document;
  3. running OCR (optical character recognition) to make a pdf searchable (save the doc. after you run OCR);
  4. adding text to a pdf (for instance: “Ex. 1”); and
  5. bates numbering pdfs.

If you don’t know how to do these things, learn. Just google “how do I OCR a pdf in Adobe (or whatever you use). It can take a few minutes for OCR to run on a long document. Otherwise, it takes seconds to perform all these tasks. Trust me. These are skills you will wonder how you lived without.

Meanwhile, for the people who think I’m an idiot, post a comment with an important pdf skill I left out.