Author Topic: Future Skills and Innovate Legal Training  (Read 572 times)


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Future Skills and Innovate Legal Training
« on: March 15, 2023, 02:46:25 PM »
Harnessing legal tech to boost future skills and innovate legal training

Earlier this year, over 100 legal professionals gathered for a workshop to discuss the impact of legal tech on future skills, productivity, and the delivery of legal services and training. Hosted by the CLLS Training and Education Committee, the event was a rare and valuable opportunity for professionals working across the field to share their perspectives and explore current best practice.

The speakers brought immense knowledge and passion to the discussion. It was great to explore innovations happening in this strategic space across the profession, not least around the common challenge of what and how to digitise to offer effective bite-sized learning that is integrated into the flow of work.

At the core of the discussion were shared reflections on three core issues: the skills needed to take advantage of tech and work in multi-disciplinary teams, the digitalization of learning, and generational perspectives.

Digital skills need to be made available to lawyers of all ages and career stages. Increasingly, legal tech is helping bridge the gaps between what lawyers were trained to do and what their day-to-day work actually looks like. Rather than trying to ‘do it all’, lawyers should increasingly move towards multi-disciplinary teams which include hybrid roles focused on legal tech and other emerging skills.

Adam Curphey, legal author and Senior Manager of Innovation at Mayer Brown, noted that “the oft-cited ‘lawyer of the future’ is a phrase that is not fair on anyone in the legal profession. It places pressure on lawyers to be experts in human, business, change and technology skills while still being exceptional legal advisers.”

He added: “It unfairly ignores all of those in the profession who did not train as lawyers and who can support the provision of legal advice with their own knowledge and skills. We need to facilitate a profession in which everyone who works in it understands the basic foundations of the skills required but can communicate and collaborate with other specialists as part of their day-to-day work.”

The trend towards the digitalisation of learning is a core issue. Proper practical applications and examples can create a deeper engagement with content and better feedback for learners. The benefits of digital learning include reusable content, the ability to easily make changes, and its ability to fit into the flow of work. Attendees at our workshop noted the importance of thoughtful topic selection and creating content that is 1-5 minutes in length and 'bitesize', using multiple elements if needed.

The focus on digitalised learning was warmly welcomed. Given the challenges related to hybrid working and expectations around how training should be offered, the widespread availability of digital training is an absolute must in the future learning plans of all lawyers. Digital training requires us to think harder about feedback and how sessions are structured to maximise learning opportunities but, with planning, it can be developed to be interesting whilst still exacting. The challenge to firms is to make it accessible, relevant, easily navigable and most of all, engaging.

There is also a generational element to how we integrate legal tech into the flow of work. As we move toward a world that demands work outside our own technological comfort zones, adaptation and integration will come more naturally to some than to others. We can harness the digital assurance of those who have grown up with tech to teach others how to engage with it effectively, including through reverse mentoring.

Catherine Goodman, Lead Practice Innovation and Knowledge Counsel at Paul Hastings, commented that “the enveloping of technology into our everyday legal matter tasks is happening, but must happen faster. It’s expected by our younger generations of business professionals, and it is demanded by our clients.”

She added: “Acceptance, across all levels of experience, of the need to move quickly to accommodate these expectations and demands is key. It’s also key that we tailor the support needed to facilitate successful digitalisation so that our business professionals are equipped with the right skillsets, and feel adequately equipped to deliver services leveraging technology.”

Workshops such as this CLLS-led session provide valuable opportunities to exchange these perspectives and explore current best practice. As the legal profession continues to evolve, it is clear that understanding the impact of legal tech will be crucial to future success.

By Fran Moore and Lindsay Gerrand