Episode 1: Advice for Those Starting Out
By Ronald J. Coleman
Our first episode is “eDiscovery: The Challenges of Social Media (and Other Ephemeral Data Types)”. I asked our guests—Jennifer Joyce and the Hon. John M. Facciola (Ret.)—if “a student or someone more junior would like to do what you do or get into your area, what advice would you give them?” Jennifer said:
“The first advice that I would give is explore related certifications. I think certifications are a great way to understand the subject matter and sort of give yourself an overview of what’s in the area before maybe investing in a four-year degree. They also allow you to really stay on top of things. So different certifications are emerging in all sorts of different related information governance functions. There’s lots of technology specific certifications, there’s broad privacy and information governance. So I think that’s a great way to sort of get involved and get kind of up to speed in the area. The other thing I would say is the most successful people that I’ve seen in the legal technology and sort of compliance space are those who understand business, business processes, information systems and information environments, as well as emerging technology. Being able to navigate the conversation between a lawyer, an IT professional, and a business individual is really critical to success in this environment.”
Judge Facciola said:
“To young people who are considering a career in law, I would tell them, the wisest advice would be to attend Georgetown Law school. We now have 70 courses, can you believe that, 70 courses about the intersection of law and technology. Now that, obviously, it’s not only my employer, but it’s also my alma mater, but being objective as possible, I can say I don’t know of a law school worthy of the name that’s not doing this. Whether it is in the classroom, curricular activities, and so forth, this is where the world is. So young people doing this might want to do a couple of things. As I tell my grandsons, if you don’t know how to program, you probably want to take a course in Python or something like that, just so you get an idea of what computers are all about. From that point on, see if you can develop some expertise, but more importantly, when you get to law school avail yourselves of these opportunities. One of our students is a remarkable young man, he’s what we call our tech scholars who come to the law school with experience or a background in computer science. While he was at the law school, he showed the United States Senate how to hack into a voting machine. As you can imagine, he’s not having trouble finding potential employers. You simply have to commit yourself, this is the world you want to live in. And this is where lawyers are. You may not like that, you might want to see yourself as the next Clarence Darrow well, good for you, but clients have needs and you’re gonna have to fill those needs.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, and related shutdown, has certainly highlighted the need for lawyers to obtain technological competence. Interested in hearing more? Check out Episode 1 here (available June 29).