#FUTUREPROOFLEGAL: skills, roles, jobs – Intro to the Series (006)

#FUTUREPROOFLEGAL: skills, roles, jobs – Intro to the Series (006)

The latest technological advancements have led to speculations on the impact technology will have on the legal industry. The exponential growth in information technology demonstrates that technological changes will transform the way our profession operates and how professionals make legal expertise accessible to society. Paradoxically, it took the advent of technology for us to be reminded of how critical interpersonal skills are in the workplace. The ability to collaborate across practice areas, cultures and disciplines, the art of compromising and accepting other people’s opinions (while putting oneself under the microscope) and striving to better communicate ideas, are all skills insufficiently addressed in law school (and even in practice, for that matter) but utterly valuable in the interest of both lawyers and clients. The legal industry is already presenting a widening skills gap, and there are no signs this will be alleviated anytime soon

Our #FUTUREPROOFLEGAL: skills, roles, jobs Series will cater to all lawyers and law students out there by presenting the prospecting trends influencing legal roles & jobs, the skills required in the future work environment, and courses that will place you at the cutting edge of legal innovation.
Our series is split into two categories: Roles & Jobs and Skills, and they will be delivered to you alternatively between now and June.

Delta Model of Lawyer Competencies – A Theory of Everything? (005)

Delta Model of Lawyer Competencies – A Theory of Everything? (005)

The interest in perfecting the legal industry is not new, but innovation, interdisciplinarity and human-centrism are elements that have only recently started being used. Relevant stakeholders have gradually understood that purely legal skills are necessary but no longer sufficient to ensure that lawyers provide legal services in a manner consistent with clients’ expectations, social needs and their own aspirations. The focus has shifted between skill-centred models, from I-shaped to T-shaped & +-shaped. The topic of current interest is the so-called Delta Model of Lawyer Competencies but, to be fair, rapid developments within the industry and beyond seem to indicate that this is also another, although important, stepping stone in the efforts to swiftly adapt this profession. That is why, for the scope of this article, we will focus on the Delta Model which, albeit built on the previous models, is nonetheless a pioneer in incorporating and giving equal weight to  three categories of skills that, I dare say, are critical for lawyers’ success in today’s globalised society:  substantive legal knowledge, business & operations (encompassing tech savviness, data analytics and project management) and personal effectiveness (including characteristics like entrepreneurial mindset, emotional intelligence and character). The beauty of this model resides not only in its plasticity but also in the vast spectrum of stakeholders benefiting from it, from individuals (such as law students and lawyers) to actual entities (law schools and organisations). Notwithstanding some concerns that all this skills-model hunt distracts us from real, more acute problems in the industry, the Delta Model managed to attract much attention and was generally hailed as innovative and thought provoking.

T-shaped lawyer: who, what, how? Part 2/2 (004)

T-shaped lawyer: who, what, how? Part 2/2 (004)

In this article, part 2/2, we’re explaining the nitty-gritty practicalities of a T-shaped lawyer. Namely, the “Who?”, “What?” and “How?”.

We begin by presenting the skills and qualities of a T-Shaped lawyer.
Next, explain what does it take to be T-Shaped Lawyer.
Finally, we suggest a few practical steps on how to become a T-Shaped Lawyer.

Read up and be inspired.

For an intro to the concept – the question of all questions, “Why?” – check out the already posted Part 1 of this text: T-Shaped Lawyer: the new commercial awareness. Why should you become a T-Shaped Lawyer?.

T-shaped lawyer: the new commercial awareness. Part 1/2: Why should you become a T-shaped lawyer? (003)

T-shaped lawyer: the new commercial awareness. Part 1/2: Why should you become a T-shaped lawyer? (003)

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.

Dear lawyers! Don’t seek faster horses. Start with “Why?”. (002)

Dear lawyers! Don’t seek faster horses. Start with “Why?”. (002)

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.

It’s already here! Threat or opportunity for CEE Lawyers? (001)

I am talking, of course, about technological and organisational transformation. Still, is it something real in Central and Eastern Europe (“CEE”) and, more importantly, should legal professionals be mindful of it? To put it shortly: YES.

Changing paradigms poses significant challenges especially in industries with more traditional mindsets such as the CEE legal one. The resistance  towards innovation manifested by legal professionals here can be traced back to the nature of both law and legal industry. First, law is branded as a human science, for and about social interaction; I will further detail on the accuracy of this assertion. Second, for centuries now, lawyers have had absolute monopoly over providing and delivering legal services, which in turn eliminated any significant form of stimulation or constraint for the professionals to be agents of change. Change is upon this industry, whether the practitioners like it or not. At this stage, the only control they can exert is over the solutions to adopt in order to survive and thrive under these new circumstances. There is a myriad of options out there but what currently seems best fit for CEE would be professional upskilling and a change in the working methods.

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