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What skills will aspiring lawyers need?

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

SHAUNA CLARKE | LEGAL JARGON FOUNDER


With the growth of technology within the legal field it is incredibly important for current and future lawyers to keep up with the evolving times and embrace a whole new set of skills.



Not only will you need to retain the basic, soft skills needed by a lawyer (skills which machines cannot replicate) but, with the advancement of automation and AI, you also have to be competent with technology. Having additional technological skills would be advantageous to future lawyers as more firms implement it into their daily lives. In the process, you may be able to help your firm create more internal opportunities, build a cost-effective flow of income and uncover the full potential of all their staff.


Nowadays lawyers need to know more than just the law. You should therefore expand your core legal knowledge by learning other skills such as:


Agility and adaptability

Lawyers have to adapt well to the ongoing innovations within the legal industry if they want to guarantee their positions in the market. As a future lawyer, you not only need to be flexible but will also need to be adaptable. This is because you will be required to adjust to shifting workplaces, the higher expectations of clients and increased skill-sets wanted. 


A key point to bear in mind is that: Emerging technology is not a burden; it is instead an opportunity to grow and to innovate. Keeping an open mind is essential to ensure that clients are delivered a swift, efficient and transparent service.


Emotional and social intelligence


Emotional intelligence has become increasingly significant. As this skill is not taught it is our responsibility to develop it throughout our lives. A lawyer who shows good social intelligence is someone who can truly connect with their clients and gage their reactions. This is something machines are unable to do. So, as computerisation grows in popularity, lawyers are called to fill the gap left by machines by providing clients with human interactions needed to properly carry out their instructions.


Machines cannot substitute a person’s ability to connect with others, therefore it is a vital skill that you should be working on because future lawyers with great emotional intelligence may be sought after.


Creativity and a design mind-set

Future lawyers should have the ability to consider creative solutions to client problems. Currently, computer programs are tasked with conducting research, creating simple contracts, analysing legal problems and many other tasks previously done by lawyers. As this monotonous work is eliminated from a lawyers daily job they will need the ability to create outcomes that machines cannot in order to give clients a well-rounded service.

Lawyers must use their creative and problem-solving skills to make the work they do easier to manage and to increase efficiency when tackling a variety of business problems. It must be noted that this does not mean that lawyers will now have a higher workload, it simply just means a shift in their focus. The reason? Because they will pay a lot more attention to creative ways of innovating and successfully implementing their ideas.


Computational thinking

Due to this technological era a lot of information is now becoming digitalised. Information is being fed into programs where computers will automatically generate documents and

process its information. It is therefore important for lawyers to be able to interpret large amounts of data and understand data-based reasoning. Computational thinking is a key skill that provides lawyers with some familiarity of statistical analysis, programming and quantitative reasoning – all which can be used to aid the interpretation of data.

Having computational thinking means you can interpret a problem in more than one way – thinking outside the box – and manage solutions that are focused on the exact needs of the client. This skill should make you stand out from the crowd as firms look for innovative and computational thinkers.

As technology evolves and changes, lawyers have to do the same. They need to embrace and adopt a new set of skills in order to stay relevant in an ever shifting industry. It is therefore important for us, as future lawyers, to ensure we are ahead of the curve and able to manoeuvre effortlessly through the world of legal technology.



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