“For a long time, simply ‘knowing the law’ was the sole requirement for lawyers to deliver legal services. Those days are over”.
In an ever changing, fast paced world, it is currently a by and large acknowledged view that simply knowing the law, however well, is essentially insufﬁcient for somebody hoping to join the calling. Future lawyers are, more than ever, being asked to come equipped with a new comprehension and understanding of businesses, the legal industry, technology, and, speciﬁcally, alongside a range of abilities and skills. This blog will discuss and list below the most important skills lawyers of the future must have.
Resilience and adaptability like peas in a pod!
One of the key characteristics for lawyers of the future is an eagerness to truly be versatile and keep learning new things. Law has always been a stressful job, thus by having the agility, adaptability, and enthusiasm to take advantage and seize opportunities as they arise, this will help manage the considerable pressures associated with operating in a legal practice area that no longer keeps up with the old standards.
For law students and graduates, this could mean building up on your commercial awareness, participating in virtual networking events, completing virtual internships and using online learning platforms. But for future lawyers who have secured a training contract or a pupillage, this could mean being receptive about which seats you undertake during your training contract or which practice areas of law to specialise into, as the economic cycle indicates departments such as restructuring and litigation could discover their way back to prominence. Therefore the form in which those opportunities present themselves will change as a result of numerous factors.
Say hello to legal tech
It is vital for future lawyers to embrace technology and see it as a way to further expand their skillset. According to Christina Blacklaws, Chair of Lawtech Delivery Panel, technology is the most prominent and disruptive force in the legal industry. Now, that does not mean future lawyers must learn how to code.
But lawyers of the future ought to examine the various types of innovation and technology law ﬁrms utilise; how technologies such as Artiﬁcial Intelligence (AI), Cryptocurrency, and Blockchain impact legal services; and how the law is applied to AI e.g. legal, regulatory and ethical impacts of automation and information access. Legal Tech is fundamentally changing the way lawyers conduct research and practice law. Thus, it is very important for lawyers of the future to prepare, instead of ignoring the inevitable.
Don’t Forget Papa Bear… commercial awareness!
There is no avoiding it, commercial awareness is never coming off the list. Future lawyers must remain up-todate on changes in case law, legislation, regulations and the industry. They must apply their critical thinking and evaluate how these changes will impact their client and relevant industries, and creatively offer the best and most appropriate solutions and advice for them. Hence understanding global trends, what makes these businesses tick and the challenges that may be obstructing and impeding their growth will always be prevalent for lawyers of the future.
The winners are…
There are so many qualities lawyers of the future must acquire, however not all can be listed in one blog post. Having said that, the core skills mentioned above are essential for lawyers of the future, in order to be market-ready. I will leave you, lawyers of future, with a famous quote by Milton Berle, “If an opportunity does not knock, build a door”.
Nouf Abdulrahman won the London Young Lawyers Group’s blog competition for 2020.