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Africa & Middle East Article

Haute couture of the Future Lawyer

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The modern age is characterised by many upheavals and far-reaching changes in short periods of time. Like many other professions these days, the concern regarding the future of the profession does not skip the legal community. 

  • How can one always “stay in the game” – the game that is constantly changing right before our eyes?
  • How can we cope with the changes that technology presents to us?
  • How should we leverage these changes to our advantage so as not to be left behind, and more importantly – to be leaders?

The world is changing rapidly and beyond imagination. The latest example of COVID-19 is imposing a great challenge to the global economy, and its consequences over the world – and especially in the legal market – are yet to be fully understood. But that is just one illustration of how difficult and unexpected modern life is.

Today it’s a plague forcing major changes in all aspects of life, yesterday it’s a ground-breaking technology, making thousands of occupations unnecessary. What awaits us tomorrow? Nothing stays the same – and we must accommodate.

There is a common belief that the relationship between a lawyer and their client is irreplaceable – lawyer is a friend (some might say), guiding you through a complex legal world saturated with complicated regulation, where confidentiality is a must. 

No doubt the sense of security counts for much, but in this era – it seems like the mere relationship between clients and their lawyer just won’t cut it anymore. There are new ways in which the legal service exhausts the lawyer’s capabilities and resources, especially considering the competition with other platforms and services that historically were granted exclusively to legal professionals.

How should one be a pioneer, rather than being left behind

Law is undergoing a transformation. Legal services become more tech-oriented, data-driven, multidisciplinary and global. How should we approach these changes and what different mindset should we adjust in order to remain relevant?

  1. Gain a relative advantage over others – from the beginning

The trend of obtaining additional education besides law is getting stronger in universities worldwide. Having another degree in an adjacent field grants the lawyer a broader perspective, combining interdisciplinary attitude with wide-ranging knowledge and knowhow. The new world encourages ‘outside the box’ solutions, ones that people come up with once they assimilate diverse paradigms and ways of thinking in different fields. 

When you talk business – you know it well, since you are an MBA graduate, or have another degree in economics or accounting. When you handle people or negotiate – a degree in psychology can come in handy. 

  1. The days of being a jack of all trades is gone

Having a broad perspective doesn’t mean you need to go all over the place professionally. Gaining expertise is what counts these days – and being an authority in a certain niche is the aspiration one should have. That doesn’t mean one-stop-shop’s days are over, but an individual lawyer practicing real estate, torts and family law – is just not regarded the same as it was in the good old days. It’s perceived as less professional.

  1. Seek what distinguishes you from others – and make it stand out

This is part of being an expert. With the help of colleagues or a consultant – trace your strength and specialty and go with it all the way. Have it stand out in everything you do – from branding, social media, firm’s logo, website, activities you take part in and cooperation you choose to have.

Take that lane and be creative as you can be in stationing yourself as the authority in your field of practice. Try to generate something that hasn’t been seen before, that will pop-out – while still representing you and what you stand for. 

  1. Perceive technology as an opportunity – not a threat

Legal tech is aiming to provide technological solutions designed to change the traditional way in which legal services are granted. Some lawyers are intimidated by the possibility of being replaced by a machine – but that’s a misconception of what legal tech is all about. Regard legal tech as a force multiplier that grants you the option to do more in less time – and get to the bottom of every legal issue. Don’t combat these changes – adapt to them.

Having all “the dirty work” done by a machine, which is more accurate and efficient – keeps you focused on the important things, and allows you to put your clients in the centre. Many firms claim to be “working tirelessly for their clients’ interests”. Are they really? The test for the veracity of this superlative is how much of high-quality work is executed in a reasonable amount of time. The value of efficiency cannot be overstated.

The real opportunity is taking the technological tools and directing them to your client’s benefit. That requires keeping up with latest updates and always seek how to use them for your own advantage – to conduct legal research, managing and supervising projects and cases, in minor tasks such as creating simple contracts to save time, in retention and analysis of data and more. 

In conclusion

This new era might be teaching the anachronistic legal industry a lesson. We must take a step towards adapting to new technologies, being more creative and gaining expertise. Knowledge, as rich and creative as possible, is power. We should question our working methods – assimilate technological, innovative tools in our work, broaden our horizons with a varied education, and even to adapt a new routine such as work from home or changing work hours in order to be more efficient. 

One should focus on being like no other. Only the strong ones survive – the ones that are fully adjusted to the new world, the ones who gained the necessary skills it requires. Teaching yourself new things will help you become the lawyer which clients choose again and again to retain their services. That’s the true added value – and what being a legal leader is all about. 

Mrs. Keshet Berko Arbibe is a Legal Marketing Consultant at Robus Consulting Group

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