Legal Tech is changing the legal workforce
A lot has been said and written on the future of the legal workforce. What you should have figured out by now is that robots are not going to steal your job. Nor is software. However, what we do see happening in the market, is the rise of new positions in the legal industry under the impact of Legal
It is necessary to realize the significance of the transition from an industrial society operating with printed texts to an information society operating with internet-oriented resources.
The use of technology is becoming increasingly important in practicing law. From document drafting, over case research on to information delivery, the entire legal practice skillset is becoming technology-driven.
Running a legal service delivery business with lawyers and/or counsels, supplemented only with paralegals isn’t going to work in the future. You will need to assemble a diverse team of people with complementary skillsets that go beyond traditional legal knowledge.
Whether you’re exploring different career paths or looking for your next team hire, let’s explore some technology-driven legal jobs!
Legal Operations Manager
Legal Operations is a matter on the rise in the legal industry. A legal operations manager deals with everything but law in a corporate legal department. It is a multi-disciplinary job that entails dealing with budgets, data, technology, human resources and many other fields.
Anyone who has worked in a corporate legal department knows; if lawyers only had to focus on law it would be paradise. But so many other things keep lawyers from law: communication, hiring, implementing new tools… Legal Ops are here to make sure all these tasks get done and improve legal processes to make them more productive and cost-efficient.
Similar to legal project managers, the job of legal operations manager is about helping lawyers get their jobs done. By undertaking non-law related jobs, which keep counsels from doing other higher value added tasks, they help optimize the efficient delivery of legal services within the company.
In this position, you sit at the intersection of technology, law and data. You will use lean process methods to troubleshoot problems in legal process for in-house teams and law firms. Building the technology-driven law service delivery firm of the future.
You probably have a dissatisfaction with the status quo and find yourself asking “can we do this legal process faster, smarter, and who needs to be involved?”. Talking to both technologists and lawyers, you help each understand the other and make them work towards a common objective.
You don’t always chase the newest tech. Sometimes it’s a matter of re-implementing existing tools, cleaning data sets and perhaps making clean data in old systems available to newer systems with enhanced capabilities.
The beauty about this role is that you can also be one in your capacity as a lawyer or counsel. You’re basically a lawyer 2.0. The go-to person in your team for questions and suggestions on technology-driven solutions in the practice.
Although this role has been around for time, it’s changing under the influence of technology. Whether it’s distributing content through blogs, vlogs, podcasts or printed media, you need to be a digital native to do it efficiently nowadays.
With more new tools being used and information increasingly being processed digitally, online and even in the cloud, you need someone to manage these new workflows and distribute the information towards the right people within the company.
In this dynamic role, you will work closely with the marketing and the legal teams to develop a strategic content distribution plan, champion adoption of content best practices, and be in touch with key stakeholders. And if you’re lucky, you might even be able to join forces with a legal designer.
Since knowledge also contains the workflows and processes used in the company, knowledge managers can have an important role in enhancing efficiency and create huge time savings. However, in order to do this, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of service design principles.
Legal Project Manager
As more team members are engaged, there is a greater need for the legal project manager to understand the process and allocation of work and how to track individual and team performance. Needless to say, technology makes tracking and monitoring a lot more efficient.
Focusing on balancing human resources and technology use, a legal project manager applies project management skills to improve service delivery. In this role you need to have a broad business understanding and manage stakeholders, while focussing on the process rather than the legal issue at hand.
Big corporates have hired project managers for decades and have come to realize their use in legal service delivery too. As Legal Tech products keep popping up, you’ll see a lot of positions being created since the nature of a software business requires their presence.
Interested in knowing more? Check out the International Institute of Legal Project Management’s website.
Information design and new ways of representing knowledge are becoming an important aspect of legal service delivery. Although legal departments have not so much started hiring for this position yet, alternative legal service providers and smaller NewLaw firms are.
As a legal designer you’ll not be a technologist or work in an IT-setting, but you’ll need to know about the latest tools and possess a creative mindset and attitude towards information delivery.
In this role you’ll also be working together with the knowledge manager, if there is one appointed, on creating content templates and defining a service delivery strategy. Meaning you need to be a digital expert, but I hope you figured that out by now.
Innovation in the legal industry will force specialists to change their routines and make their work more effective. And it doesn’t matter whether you work in a large corporate department or your own law firm. The game is changing.
It’s all part of encouraging a growth mind-set where lawyers of all levels are comfortable with admitting that they are constantly learning and that learning is not always a linear process.
To weapon up for the future, you’ll need these skills
- Have an open mindset
- Be technology-minded
- Develop managerial skills
- Commercial flair
Tomorrow’s Lawyers predicts the beginning of a period of fundamental transformation in the legal industry. Where the future of the legal service will be a world of internet-based global businesses, online document production, commoditized service, legal process outsourcing, and web based practices.