from Cletus M. Weber
An Immigration Lawyer's Online
Search for Computer 'Headware'
want and repeat the parts you
want whenever you need to. You
also can easily compile libraries of videos to watch, review, or
share with others on your team.
Some of the videos can be exYour
traordinarily helpful, too, because
they actually focus on how to use
the software you are researching.
For example, most people learn
Outlook by starting with using
the e-mail program and calendar, but then struggle to
move beyond the basics, perhaps by making folders
and creating a few e-mail-sorting rules. While searching for help on a particular Outlook feature, I found
on YouTube an excellent five-part series by Surface7
Associates called "Maximizing Your Productivity with
Outlook 2010," and surprisingly, it assumes you know
how to use Outlook generally, but want to know how
to use the program.
If you try out this series—or have other recommendations—please comment on this article, and perhaps a future article will provide a list of AILA's best
free online headware videos.
hen Greg Walther1 and I wrote a
chapter for AILA's Guide to Technology and Online Legal Research, 3rd
Ed. about 10 years, we mentioned the
need for immigration lawyers to not only get appropriate computer hardware and software, but also to continually improve their "headware." By headware, we
meant knowledge about how to use the infrastructure.
(I also recall another lawyer who wrote about technology, mentioning something to the effect of, "I used
to practice law, but now I just learn new software.")
Increasing headware is easier said than done,
though. First, learning new things can be timeconsuming, and it competes with managing a busy
practice. Second, there seems to be no "sweet spot"
for training. Software manuals, "missing manuals,"
"bibles," "missing bibles," and so on, tend to be welfare projects for technical writers, the vast majority
of which provide little more than feature-by-feature
analyses. Only rarely do they teach you how to actually use the program.
On the other hand, in-person trainers tend to
drown you with information like an "over your head"
math class: it looks easy when the professor does it,
but it all seems lost the minute you leave the classroom. Also, you cannot fast-forward through the
parts you already know or linger longer on the things
you truly want to know.
YouTube and similar online video services can be
the best of all worlds. Not only are they free (except
for your time), you can watch them whenever you
Cletus M. Weber is co-founder of Peng & Weber,
PLLC, based in Mercer Island, WA. He is editor-inchief of AILA's Guide to PERM Labor Certification.
The author's views do not necessarily represent the
views of AILA nor do they constitute legal advice or
S EPTEMBER/ O CTOBER 2013