Legal technology has been a trendy topic over the last few years and the pandemic has only increased the drive to create and promote new ways of performing tasks. It has become an essential component in the legal industry. Below is a rundown of a few reasons why every future trainee should think about legal tech and how it will impact their work.
Legal technology has become an essential part of lawyer’s job. It is not just about the basic technologies which enable them to get their job done, but also about shaping and enriching the ways they work. Automation, workflow, visualisation and drafting tools are key elements of the legal tech toolkit which lawyers use to serve their clients. Unlike previous times, future trainees can now use tools to simply to their job.
Client needs are central to most law firms’ strategy and decision-making processes, so it follows that they are a major driving force behind the focus on legal tech. If technology makes us more efficient, our clients are entitled to ask us if we are using and making the most of technology to provide efficient services to them. Technology also allows us to collaborate much more closely with our clients, so opportunities to use shared technology are increasingly important.
As we move away from the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, we have emerged into this new hybrid world. It’s clear our relationship with tech has changed in the last few years and some of these changes are here to stay. Legal tech has now undoubtedly become a part of our new hybrid working relationships. The forced adoption of technologies from Covid has been great because it’s changed some standing assumptions about how we can get the job done. Whether that’s virtual meetings or electronic signing of legal documents, etc.
We should never expect our lawyers to be able to code just like we don’t expect developers to negotiate contracts. Instead, we should allow students or young lawyers to themselves show an understanding of how legal work is structured so they can think methodically about the processes law firms use. For example, if we break down what it takes to author a contract based on a template or precedent, it is really a process of compiling different objects. The logic of determining which provisions to include is much like programming — IF/OR/ELSE statements, variables, loops, etc. this process is more about thinking, rather than understanding technologies.
Finally, there always lies a worry, that automation makes us dispensable. But for lawyers, this sort of automation frees up precious time to get on with tasks that require higher-level thinking. There are loads of contexts in which we are using technology to help in this way. For instance, technology helps them operate in the places where they truly add value and also helps them uncover legal issues and risks.
These are the few reasons which highlight the importance of legal tech for future trainees. But we should always keep in mind that legal tech should not drive the conversation, rather be a consequence of a business requirement.
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