Lawyers of the Future PART 2
Lawyers of The Future Part 2 was an invigorating debate held at LAW Absolute’s Innovation Hub. Those who participated included Partners, General Counsels, Heads of HR and Innovation, ‘disruptors’ and a legal academic.
The discussion covered the democratisation of the law and how the availability of data has changed the skills which are required from lawyers. It discussed that the world has changed and the legal profession must catch up. Business models and technology are evolving and there are now structures and models (eg uberisation) and business practices (eg gig economy) which are prevalent that simply did not exist 10 years ago.
Naturally there is an ever increasing focus on technology – the way and extent to which it is both used and embraced. However, the consensus is that technology is an enabler (potentially) rather than a cause of change.
Exponentially, situations and issues arise on a regular and frequent basis in business and the world at large for which there are few or no laws. Zuckerberg is fresh in everyone’s minds and a good illustration. Is the legal profession changing and adapting and what further changes, if any, are required, inevitable or essential?
Traditionally, lawyers have typically been analytical with scrupulous attention to detail – however lawyer of today and tomorrow’s needs to think big picture and be intuitive, instinctive and pragmatic.
Empathy – was the word used over and over again by the GCs around the table as the key attribute they seek in their external lawyers. They seek a law firm (or lawyer) who will truly understand in depth what the GC’s business needs and will work collaboratively and sympathetically with the GC to work towards desired goals. (‘The firm I choose reflects me’)
Law firms now operate more like corporates in the sense that they hire non lawyers in areas such as product knowledge, innovation and technology.
Law firms continue to face the challenge of attracting and retaining the best talent. They are responding to this through innovation and adapting to offer new career paths and incentives. The age on line media and instant gratification has led to a shift in the mentality of young lawyers entering the profession – their motivators and influencers differ from those which have driven young trainees and junior associates in the past. The allure of a traditional career path towards partnership has arguably diminished and law firms need to inspire and motivate the junior lawyers coming through with the assurance of commercial and strategic opportunities.