How eLearning can work in the legal industry


They say that nobody likes lawyers until they need one. I don’t know, I always liked the profession. Heck, I’m somewhat of a certified lawyer myself, in the sense that, while I have not actually studied the thing, I’ve seen all episodes of Law & Order, The Practice, Boston Legal, Shark, The Defenders and lots of others. That should count for something, right?

In this post we’ll show how legal professionals can benefit from eLearning, and why it is a great fit for law firms and the legal profession in general, an industry where training and re-training is a constant and available time is limited.

It saves time

When you’re trying to save your clients from “doing time”, you usually don’t have that much time yourself. Lawyers and legal professionals are notoriously overworked, and long hours are the norm, whichever branch of law they practice.

eLearning based training doesn’t have the time and location requirements that classroom based training has. Studying can happen at home, during office downtime, etc. at the employees’ own pace.

Since training happens on-demand and can be served through web interfaces, it can be used on any kind of device: desktop, laptop, tablet or even a smartphone. A lawyer can study while at court waiting for the judge to arrive or the jury to come back with their decision, or even while commuting or waiting at the airport to catch a flight.

This makes eLearning a convenient and effective method for lawyers to study for their continuing legal education (CLE), something which is required by law in most countries.

It’s location independent

Lawyers often have to be in different cities, to follow up on a court case or represent a client. That’s especially true for larger law firms that maintain offices in different cities or even in several countries.

Scheduling seminars in all those places, besides being costly and a huge time-sink to manage, leaves lawyers and staff in each office learning something different, as instructor skills can vary widely, and even the same instructor might skip some important points or change his delivery.

eLearning ensures that the exact same content is presented in the same way across all of your branches and offices. And, what’s even better, you have a centralized way to schedule, monitor and manage courses and employee progress.

It’s easy to deploy

Modern LMS platforms are easy to install and deploy.

If you have an IT department, installing an LMS like eFront would be a piece of cake for them. And even if you don’t, there are hosted options that give you a turn-key solution, ready for you to start developing your courses.

It’s easy to update

The things lawyers and legal staff have to study change all the time (as do laws, especially in areas like business or when dealing with international cases), making it difficult to keep up via seminars and printed textbooks.

eLearning material is just bytes on a hard disk, so it’s as easy to update and change, as it is writing a document on Word (or WordPerfect — I’m told a lot of legal professionals, especially in the US, still swear by it).

A modern learning management system (LMS) like our eFront, also allows you to incorporate existing material, from presentations to pdf documents, and from web pages to videos in your courses. You can even buy and include off-the-shelf prepackaged courses made available by third parties into your training material.

It’s easy to track

As a legal professional you’re surely familiar with the “chain of evidence” and the need for careful tracking of everything.

eLearning gives you an easy way to track course completion, employee progress, time spend, skills acquired, and numerous other events and data associated with your training program.

eFront’s reporting capabilities for example, ensure that you’re always ahead of what’s happening during your employee training programs, with up to the moment information of individual and group attendance, performance and grades, and pretty graphs to show to your boss (or get insight from, in case you’re the boss).

It’s a full blown learning experience

eLearning is not just a fancy way to describe webpages with some text and a few automated tests.

With a capable LMS platform, eLearning is a full blown learning experience in its own right, one that has been shown to have even better results for corporate training than traditional seminars and classroom based training (which usually end up being a yawn-fest).

With eFront for example you can add images, presentations, interactive elements, and multimedia assets (sound and video) into your training courses. This allows you to include things like newspaper clippings and forensic expert reconstructions related to a case, or graphs and supporting material to help get your point across.

When you need them, real time instructions and face-to-face meetings are available too, with LMS support for tele-conference sessions and electronic whiteboards. Or the whole class can have a lengthier asynchronous discussion by taking advantage of the chat and forum functionality.

Last, but not least, you can combine classroom based education with online courses in a “blended learning” scenario. eFront for example has a special type of course that can be had in the “real” world but be managed (graded, tracked, etc) as an online class, helping you integrate traditional and on-demand learning.

It’s cheap

This one is kind of obvious.

Deploying a fully featured eLearning solution is cheaper than hiring one or more instructors and renting some classrooms, or paying the travel costs for your staff to attend a seminar.

This gets even more impressive when you add remote offices into the equation, as the same LMS deployment can serve up to thousands of employees all over the world at the same time.

eLearning, being on-demand, is also less disruptive to your normal (hectic) workflow, something that not only will be appreciated by your lawyers or legal staff, but will also save you time by keeping productivity up.

Closing arguments

eLearning is a perfect fit for the legal industry for several reasons:

– It’s cheaper than traditional learning
– Lawyers and legal staff can study at their own pace and from wherever they are
– It’s on-demand, so it doesn’t disrupt your firm’s busy schedule
– It’s great for continuous legal education (CLE)
– It’s easy to deploy, manage and update
– It’s a full blown learning experience, just as valid and effective as classroom based learning.

Have you reached your verdict? If you’re interested in deploying an eLearning solution in your firm, contact us¬†and we’ll be happy to help you and overrule any objections you might have.

Or take eFront for a free demo, and you’ll agree with us that… res ipsa loquitur!

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