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Article Europe Future of Law

The Legal Knowledge Engineer – the answer to Lawyers who want to lead technology innovation


According to a report by Gartner report on the trends that will change the world of law in the next few years, legal departments will replace about 20% of their lawyers with technologists by 2024. McKinsey adds that 23% of the work done by lawyers will be automated. These trends are the result of the fact that information and technology have become a part of everything we do daily. after all, it does seem strange that the law will stay immune to IT’s effect. this matter becomes even more aspected Given that one of the most important components of law proceedings is dealing with large amounts of information (like huge litigation cases). so it seems that adaptations for the data era in the law industry are unavoidable.

These adaptations are starting to happen. The legal world has in recent years seen certain changes in relation to technology, whether it’s by involving new technological means in the legal process or new jurist roles involving issues beyond the traditional realm of law. Among those new roles is the ‘Legal Knowledge Engineer’ or ‘Legal Data Engineer’. Basically, this person is a hybrid between an engineer and a lawyer. Its function is to promote and develop legal technological tools that will help law firms and other players in the legal world provide online legal advice, smart contracts, legal analysis, and legal search engines.

The legal information engineers are required to organize and build models that analyze the legal processes and materials. they should be able to describe a set of rules and procedures in computer systems and then construct products themselves or with the help of programmers (the legal information engineer does not necessarily have to know how to program himself, but only have to hold a basic understanding of the task). The character traits needed to succeed as a legal information engineer are legal training (lawyers are not required), a constant drive for innovation and creativity, a determination to launch innovative processes, a drive to persevere even when not everything goes according to plan.

The more standardized law firms and legal tech companies will be and the more they will use digital technologies (beyond computer-only services), the demand for legal information engineers will grow. The demand to organize and model the enormous volumes of information accumulated in law firms will grow what will assure that companies providing legal products and services more systematically and efficiently. due to the fiercely competitive environment that characterizes the legal world, Legal information engineers are the ones who will give their employer an edge.

In practice, The work of information engineers can provide diverse solutions from analytic law analysis to legal information retrieval and even assisting systems for complex litigation cases. Among the companies that provide analytical legal analysis, solutions are Lex Machina. The company provides law firms with tools for marketing to clients (data on experience in similar cases, history in proceedings against the client) and also presents insights about trends in court rulings and analytics about the history of the opposing lawyer. Other products are aimed at finding legal information. The understanding in this world is that effective data analysis can substantially reduce the time it takes to perform a legal search, a key part of the job. One company that offers this product is ROSS, a system based on artificial intelligence technology and based on databases of judgments and other legal materials. Copyright but other companies will also likely offer similar solutions, for example, RAVEL) in litigation matters Companies like the Israeli Litigate offer a system for recommending appropriate legal actions about a particular legal case and even predicting the chances of success in court.

Who will fill this position? What sort of training should they hold? legal knowledge engineers can come from the legal or technological world. On one track information engineers who gained legal knowledge and experience in legal processes during their time working in technology companies will be able to become legal information engineers, while in another, lawyers with an interest in technology will be the ones to become legal information engineers (here, for example, you can find a story of one lawyer took this track).

My opinion is that it is not easy to reconcile either the technological path to the possible world of law or the trend presented at the beginning of this article. meaning, technological training is certainly necessary for the performance of the new roles in the legal world; however, lawyers with the appropriate training can also perform these new roles themselves. This position is crucial not just from an employment viewpoint, but also in terms of proficiency- leaving the legal technological realm to technology alone is problematic, because a thorough understanding of the changing legal systems and the implications of important legal nuances cannot be achieved by one who has no legal training. This approach becomes stronger as the legal product becomes more complex. To get lawyers to perform the new jobs that the technological era has to offer, law firms should train lawyers and jurists for new roles such as those of the legal engineer, and to prefer them over technologists (that holds no legal training). However, the first challenge to complete is to release the conservative worldview of jurists in regards to technology, and this is a particularly difficult one.

Oren Bareket

Intern at Nashitz, Brandes, Amir & co.


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