To Grow to Be a Successful Lawyer: Learn Blind Typing Skills

When people talk about successful lawyering skills, they may mention communication, writing and editing, research, oral presentation, and time management. Rarely do they mention “blind typing.” But having that seemingly mundane skill can save valuable time in a lawyer’s practice.

As we all know, a considerable amount of a lawyer’s time is spent writing. And of course that usually means composing on a keyboard. After all, typing is so much faster than putting pen to paper, and lawyers are always pressed for time. (See blogs “Time Management” and “Respect Deadlines.”)

My difficulty is three-fold. First, my ideas flow so quickly that I can’t type fast enough, but my fingers fly frantically, with the result that I make a lot of typographical errors that I then have to spend valuable time correcting. Second, I often glance at the keyboard as I type, even though I know where all of the letters are and shouldn’t need to look at them. This bad habit also slows me down. Third, when I’m referring to my written notes or cases that I’ve printed, my eyes move back and forth between the keyboard and my notes (like the eyes of a spectator at a tennis match) and that slows me down as well.

Ideally I would like to slow down enough that I can be accurate, which will eliminate the need for unnecessary corrections, while at the same time speed up by learning to type blindly (i.e., without looking at the keyboard). Sometimes I wonder if my habits are so ingrained that they can’t be changed. I read recently that once you have typed for a number of years, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to change your habits. But… blind typing skills remain to be my dream.

Have any of your encountered this issue? Do you have any advice for how accuracy can be improved? If you have this type of skill: when and how you learnt?