Our survey says… It’s time for junior lawyers to embrace lawtech

Craig Matthews, Vice-Chair of the LSSA warns that with ever increasing compliance and regulation, a lack of understanding of lawtech is not an option.

A recent survey by the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) has found that almost half of junior lawyers are oblivious to the benefits of lawtech - or completely unaware of its existence. As someone heavily involved in the sector – and therefore aware of how critical it is to success - this set alarm bells ringing.

When I left school, many years ago, I opted out of IT as part of my further studies. It was a move I was soon to regret: the first role I landed was with a law firm, where the department head tasked me with helping to set up a new case management system. His view was that as I was the youngest there, I was bound to understand it all.

I threw myself into the challenge, which turned out to be a good move, as it eventually led to my career in legal technology. Now, I spend a good deal of my time exploring new tech opportunities both for our own business and more pertinently for our client law firms.  Whilst law may have deep routes, with centuries old cases still being quoted, the tech that is available for law firms evolves alongside the great strides made in technology generally.

The research also highlighted that the lack of understanding may come from an absence of education and training. While 61% of respondents claimed to have received “little or no information/training on lawtech” whilst on the Legal Practice Course (LPC), just 2% said they were given all the information and training they needed from their law school.

With ever increasing compliance and regulation to deal with, a lack of understanding of lawtech is not an option. It has the potential to revolutionise the way we work and therefore needs to be understood from graduate level upwards, so that lawyers can benefit from increased productivity, enhanced and accurately billed hours, and happier clients. It’s true to say that it is an increasing trend for clients to expect more from their lawyers in terms of customer care and ready access to information, and not just the provision of core legal services.

Ultimately, those firms and lawyers who embrace lawtech will achieve a better and more manageable work/life balance. Surely that’s a good thing?

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