Deloitte in 2016 released a report focusing on the global legal sector and predicted that profound reforms will take place over the coming decade. The report highlighted different factors as the basis for the prediction, and the factors include increasing millennials in employment, automation, changes in client demands, among others. Based on those factors, Deloitte forecasted that there will a 39 percent loss of jobs in the legal sector.
These profound reforms are reportedly taking place already. For instance, the law is already transitioning from a provincial, lawyer-centric and labor-intensive field to one which is global, customer-centric and digitized. The combination of all these changes has made the requirement of new training and skillsets necessary.
Business and technology have become tools of legal education, training, and legal trade. The fact that clients now want to achieve more while working with fewer resources has also affected the legal industry.
Clients now demand cost-effective, predictive, scalable, accessible, agile and more efficient delivery of services from law firms. Merely knowing the law is gradually becoming insufficient. As a matter of fact, the delivery of these legal services is rapidly becoming a business for which a possession of skill sets such as data analytics, project management, technical agility, business basics, among other skills is required.
There is, however, a visible skill gap in the legal industry because law schools majorly prepare the students for the practical aspect of law and not the business or tech aspects.
The transition now demands that lawyers possess these skillsets. The challenge in the legal industry now becomes how to effectively identify, train and deploy people who can fill the void.
The way out of this challenge involves an augmentation of legal expertise with technology-focused and project management skills, personal branding, data analytics among others. The second aspect has to do with the organizational, cultural and economic parity that exists among lawyers.
There are also some global law schools and training programs that are clearing the path for the future of the legal industry. Some of these include:
This is also known as LWOW. It is an experiential training and learning program that is specifically designed for aspiring and practicing lawyers. The program is organized by the Law School, Uni. Of Miami.
LWOW makes use of mentorship, team building coupled with an interdisciplinary method to create collaborative relationships among the participants.
It has a mission that can be divided into three parts. The first part of the mission borders on the creation of innovations that combine law, technology, and business to solve real-life problems. The second mission has to do with honing the lawyers’ skills. The third is to improve the dynamics that exist between lawyers and their clients and also promote collaboration.
LawWithoutWalls equips participants with those set of skills needed to thrive as a lawyer today such as communication, project management, mentoring, leadership, cultural competency, networking, and technology skills.
The program employs a collaborative and real-life approach to solving problems and providing holistic solutions. Nearly a thousand students from 30 different business and law schools all over the world have enjoyed the dynamic experience offered by LWOW. The mentors are drawn from different fields such as the legal academy, technology, entrepreneur and business.
The Institute for the Future of Law Practice
IFLP was founded by Bill Henderson and Bill Mooz. According to Mooz, IFLP is more of a partnership that exists between all the members of the corporate legal departments, providers of alternative legal service, legal academics and law firms to aid the modernization of legal education and contribute to the upgrade of skills of the coming generation’s legal professionals. The founders outlined RFLP’s foundation at the law schools of University of Indiana and University of Colorado.
At those universities, they organized boot camps that exposed students to problem-solving that cuts across different disciplines and placed an emphasis on the augmentation of skills even beyond the basic legal knowledge. They recorded terrific results and that made them create IFLP.
This Institute has established a curriculum made available to several law schools. The aim of this modularized curriculum is to enable the schools to have novel course options in other areas to complement existing traditional curriculum. This is made possible for the schools without them needing to incur the development and research expenses or suffer time-lag.
Currently, IFLP works with the law schools in Colorado, Northwestern, Osgoode, and Indiana. IFLP also has plans in place to expand both domestically and to every part of the world. It has an interdisciplinary faculty, a classroom of mid-career professionals and law students. IFLP also focuses on additional skills.