The notion of a “T-shaped professional” has entered the legal field for good. In fact, there are already some upgraded versions of the “T-shaped lawyer”. Yet, before we dive into the next big thing in legal innovation – the exciting Delta Lawyer Competency Model – it’s worth taking a first step in the direction of becoming #futureproof. This means moving on from “commercial awareness” as an icing on the cake of great legal education and experience. Commercial acumen in lawyers is nowadays deemed a given. What’s become a hallmark of a good lawyer is a varied toolkit consisting of tech & data competencies, design thinking and project management, on top of their business know-how and legal expertise. In this blog post – part 1 of 2 on the T-shaped lawyer – we’re looking closely at why you should strive for elevating your skillset and knowledge to this upper level. So, we’re examining the drivers, present the benefits and look at some “but’s” we commonly hear. In case you‘re wondering: it isn’t a matter only for the young and inexperienced. It is a necessity for all lawyers who want to stay relevant and client-responsive. It’s about implementing a more well-rounded learning for life approach of upskilling. That’s another “innovation” – or a well-established business practice trickling into law, at long last.
So, what does it take to be a T-shaped lawyer? How to become one? And, most importantly – why is it worth your efforts? Read up! And don’t forget to come back for Part 2.
The new laws of competition on the legal market call for shifting focus from the customary “Who?” towards the question of all questions – “Why?”. Beware of old habits, as this is an outward query to clients, on top of some preliminary self-examination. This is a turn from “me/us lawyers” to “you/them clients”. It’s a building block towards “we/us”. Legal experts teaming up with clients to tackle law’s challenges as part of providing broader business solutions. It is a cultural change, “shaped by client expectations, not by the legal guild” in response to the requirements of the globalised and digital economy.
Legal profession shall be able to thrive, beyond merely surviving, only upon: (i) truly listening, combined with (ii) scrutinising the basis of success of the non-traditional legal service providers, and (iii) promptly acting upon what we hear and observe. Otherwise, lawyers follow suit of the supposed Henry Ford’s customers. Stuck in the “faster horses mindset”, traditional law is choking. Behind the wheel sit the new competitors – the business of law companies – racing towards greater market shares; leaving the practice of law far behind.
This post briefly presents some recent changes to the legal service provision in the context of Alternative Legal Service Providers. Then, explores a recently circulating notion of potential new entrants into legal – technological giants, like Amazon. By doing so, it looks at the newly formulating “laws of competition” on the legal market. It concludes that while technology, currently, is a leading enabler of the legal organisation’s success, it does not single-handedly constitute any magic formula. What is required in the long-term, are changes towards a more customer-focused and business-driven culture, for which tech is just an accelerator.
With this blog, we set the scene for our next posts – looking at the legal market transformation in Central and Eastern Europe. Stay tuned and follow our Blog @CEELegalTech.