The world is constantly evolving due to the addition of new technological advancements every day. Indeed, technology has been shaping almost all industries — and the practice of law is far from exempt. Today’s lawyers have a better chance of being hired by firms if they have a clear grasp of the latest technologies, such as information management tools, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain tech. With that said, we’ve listed below the relevant tech skills and competencies that you should develop in order to find success in your practice.
The Tech Skills That Lawyers Need:
- Proficiency in Common Software
Lawyers should learn how to be adept at using productivity tools that can help them finish their work faster and more efficiently. Between managing cases, compiling court documents, and dealing with billings and accounting concerns, you’ll face a lot of time-consuming admin tasks too. Additionally, more firms have been investing in legal technology, with many using niche-specific programs such as AbacusNext, Needles, and ProLaw to improve their productivity. So, it’s important to start with the basics and improve your proficiency by mastering office software like Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Office, and GSuite.
- Streamline Processes Through AI
Practicing law means doing a lot of repetitive processes that can impede your productivity. For instance, tasks such as analyzing and processing legal documents and information can eat up your precious time and resources. Thankfully, you now have access to AI solutions that can help you to streamline relevant tasks. For instance, AI-powered search engines can help you expedite the decision-making process by helping you sift through thousands of knowledge bases easily. Another example is law-trained chatbots, which can assist you in answering some inquiries and allow you to deal with clients easier.
- A Basic Understanding of Blockchain Tech
Blockchain tech goes beyond Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It also has potential applications in fields where law practice is needed — including real estate, healthcare, and financial transactions. For one, blockchain makes it possible for self-executing smart contracts to exist. This technology is poised to change virtual transactions, since it can access and act on data and self-escrow virtual assets. Lawyers need to be aware of what blockchain innovations like smart contracts are and how they work, as these will eventually be integrated into more financial and legal processes.
How Can Lawyers Develop These Tech Skills?
The increasing demand for legal services by businesses and private individuals have pushed lawyers to pursue the relevant knowledge and technical skills we've listed above. And thanks to online higher education, it’s become easier to keep abreast of what tech-inclined universities are teaching to keep up with the changing trends.
In fact, with many technical courses now online, much of the relevant info you need to start developing the aforementioned tech skills can be found online as well. The increasingly integrated nature of legal work, cybersecurity, and business are more apparent now that ever before. The importance of this interdisciplinary approach can be found in how modern online degrees from top universities are now being taught. The online business degrees from Maryville University now include cybersecurity as a key component of the course. This is a major shift from just a few years ago. The same is true of law degrees, which now spend a considerable time focusing on cyber crime. In many ways, integrating emerging technologies is a reflection in how quickly official cyber law policies and initiatives have evolved in recent years.
Given how digital transformation has become a key concern in most industries, this interdisciplinary integration of disciplines is bound to continue. And by observing how top tech-inclined universities are training the next generation of business administration experts, you can more efficiently build your own tech skills in ways that can benefit your law practice.
Additionally, you can invest your time and resources in legal conferences to help you understand how technology is changing law as a whole. These conferences are also a great way to network and meet innovators and experts in the field. As you become more fluent in different technologies, you’ll find it easier to compete in this constantly changing landscape.
An article written exclusively for innovativecomp.com
by Summer Westfield