It is no secret that the legal sector is under disruption, particularly with AI and document automation transforming the industry and opening opportunities for new entrants, such as consultancy and accountancy firms. Within the legal sector, this change presents unique opportunities for lawyers. Traditionally, their careers have progressed based on experience and knowledge, but that career structure is already shifting.
Jose Truchado and Neil Mitchell of Loud Voice Digital bring together almost 40 years of training top-tier law firms and leading technology firms alongside executive coaching, to provide advice for future practitioners on moving toward a technologically ubiquitous legal career.
Their advice for current law students, trainees and even established lawyers is to focus on the skills which add the greatest value to firms and their clients, and most importantly are both insulated from and aligned to the transformation we see in many law firms, such as automation and outsourcing.
Here are Loud Voice Digital’s top four skills to future-proof a legal career:
To survive, clients’ businesses are changing rapidly; innovation and technology are driving change in most businesses. That means legal problems no longer have a certainty of a solution in the same way they did in the recent past as business innovations venture into uncharted legal territory such as data and cybersecurity, complex IP rights, or simply new product lines such as autonomous vehicles. In this commercial context, new business problems will require new legal solutions. Legal teams will need to be creative, commercial and innovative to deliver what clients need and that requires lawyers who can do more than learn the law but can also apply creative problem-solving.
The importance of updating your skills to keep up with changes constantly affecting the business world cannot be overstated. Your ability to learn new approaches to problem-solving and doing it with confidence can help you deal with these challenges successfully.
Clients in business continue to cite a lack of commercial awareness from their advisors as a big frustration. Clients want lawyers to help grow, shape and protect their business and to do that, lawyers need to understand the mechanics of their own firm and the reality of their client’s sector.
Being ‘commercial’ includes in-depth knowledge of what’s happening legally that affects clients’ businesses but also politically, economically, socially, technologically and environmentally. But it is not just knowing, it is piecing that information together to draw conclusions and recommendations, such as commercially relevant advice. To do this you must draw on knowledge gleaned from multiple sources: online, professional, and personal.
The ability to create connections with people, develop these into relationships and establish trust is important. This applies to teamwork with internal colleagues as well as finding mutually beneficial opportunities to collaborate with clients. Buyers of legal services routinely put the relationship in their top reasons for instructing lawyers. This means putting aside the social media, getting out from behind your desk and reaching out to make face-to-face connections. While updating your LinkedIn profile is an important hygiene activity, getting face time with contacts is what will transform your career.
While a lot can be learned from watching interactions between people online, paying attention to their body language and speech in-person can inform your own behaviour when dealing with similar circumstances. Too often people are limited by only what they experience or see around them. It is important to broaden your perspective when preparing for personal contacts.
If all this sounds pretty exhausting, that is because it is. The final skill is the ability to take on the challenge, uncertainty, change and everything else the industry throws out while still being able to bounce back, ready to keep going, while keeping your health in check. Lawyers will need to apply strategies to thrive in a challenging environment and maintain their physical and mental well-being. This means understanding what happens physiologically, spotting the signs of stress and taking practical steps to maintain peak performance. Having access to other professionals, their experience and expertise can broaden your outlook on how to enrich your view of staying energetic, relevant and confident with challenges that come with each day.
Loud Voice Digital have recently produced helpful resources and practical modules to help professionals thrive in the commercial world, and they have started discussions with Justis to create new online resources for law students and trainees. This follows the findings from a recent research study and the Justis Academy, which proved successful in validating the need for resources in addition to those provided by colleges and universities.
All of this on top of learning the law can be a lot for one individual. How people are learning these skills has changed with bite-sized learning that professionals can consume on the go, at a time that suits them, becoming increasingly popular.
If you would like to share with us what knowledge you found useful, or anything you feel would a law student or even trainee prepare for their legal career, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil spent the first ten years of his career in top tier law firms in London. For the last nine years, he has been working as a trainer, business coach and facilitator for top tier businesses. He advises leaders on how to get the most from their people and their businesses and works with ambitious professionals to drive forward their careers. He combines his coaching and training experience with a deeply commercial approach while seeking ways to innovate through the use of digital learning and technology.
Jose Truchado is an entrepreneur, certified Executive Coach and Myers Briggs Practitioner that has been selecting, training and leading teams in technology companies for 20 years. Jose has been speaking in international conferences about working with efficient teams for the past 10 years. He is passionate about mentoring younger generations helping them to become the best version of themselves through working on their individual strengths.
To learn more about Loud Voice Digital you can visit their website or YouTube, which features helpful resources and insightful and practical modules to help professionals thrive in the commercial world.