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Host “Lunch & Learns” to train users on software

Few members of law departments are able to take advantage of more than a fraction of the capabilities of the powerful applications they use, notably the staples: word processing and email. People don’t know what they don’t know, they fall in to bad habits, and they fail to learn many of the functions of their software. Training is done poorly or not at all (See my post of Oct. 6, 2006 on under-investment in training and five references.). A technique from Rees Morrison, Law Department Administrators: Lessons from Leaders (Hildebrandt Inst. 2004) at 23, highlights what Paul Roy, the administrator of the 37-lawyer department of Time Warner, did to remedy this problem.

Roy organized regularly-scheduled “Lunch & Learn” sessions. During them, his staff provided “a number of tips and shortcuts relating to computer applications and software. Everyone [left] the session with a ‘tip sheet’ that highlights new ways of completing their assignments more efficiently.”

The Lunch & Learn sessions were valuable in many ways. “In addition to general tips and shortcuts, it’s an excellent opportunity for our trainers to provide specific instruction on very sophisticated tasks.” The department hosted sessions on working with Excel, creating PDF files, preparing SEC filings, and increasing impact through PowerPoint. For lawyers, sessions covered using Blackberries and other remote access devices.

Wonderful learning, regardless of what food was served for lunch.