Before the maps, people traveled less: many were born, lived, and died in the same place. Travel was expensive, risky, and, therefore, rare. The legal industry today is in the exact same spot: our legal professionals don’t have maps, our clients are forced to rely on our anecdotal, subjective experiences as guides. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and surely the future will introduce structural changes in how legal services are provided. The only question is how the legal industry will react and implement the necessary reforms.
Data should no longer be a scarecrow to legal professionals out there. Ideally, collecting data should be straightforward, and data visualisation should be clear. A data-driven discussion brings forward topics such as return on technology investment, motivates a team to undertake changes, and overall brings success. Thus, data analytics should extend beyond cost control and cover information about the legal function as a whole. Ultimately, legal teams would be able to pivot their focus from “cost savings” to “value creation”.
Legal technology has been around for a while.
It has transformed some legal operations and inspired professionals to keep searching for more innovative solutions. The legal industry is ripe with career opportunities for tech savvies who can use technology to aid lawyers with client work and with their internal procedures. Legal technologists are tech experts that seem to be in high demand nowadays.
In this article, I will discuss the characteristics and responsibilities of a legal technologist and the adjustments designed to ensure that this role meets the requirements of different stakeholders such as law firms and legal departments. I will present the career hurdles a legal technologist might face when working in law firms or corporate legal departments. In the end, I will try and predict how this job will evolve in the foreseeable future.
Lawyers are, by definition, multi-skilled: they must have a keen knowledge of the law, they should master time management, the power of persuasion, and the art of eloquence. When it comes to tech capabilities, though, their stack is often limited at Microsoft Word.
This paradox has been observed by many, and it is the premise for the ascent of a new breed of legal professionals at the frontiers between law and technology. They were symbolically called legal engineers.
Before going about paving the future, these pioneers might want to first find answers to some pressing questions such as: What legal process should we digitalise? Should we use existing technologies or create new ones from scratch? How to attenuate the community’s resistance towards this type of solution? Equally important, how to educate the general public into trusting this approach?