Law schools must keep up with changing environment of legal profession, says study

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on July 24, 2020

According to 74 per cent of survey respondents, tech proficiency is one of the most important skills for future lawyers

Law schools will be required to keep up with change as technological innovations will drive the future of the legal profession, according to a joint survey titled “Decoding the Next-Gen Legal Professional” by the BML Munjal University (BMU) School of Law and Vahura.

According to the study, 90 per cent of lawyers surveyed believe that technology will be one of the most significant changes in the legal profession.

All stakeholders, including law schools and young lawyers, will have to keep up with this technological development in order to meet client demands as per the survey.

“The changing client demands, the rise of new generations with different career expectations, automation, and technological innovations such as AI will continue to accelerate a transformation in the legal profession,” the report said.

According to 74 per cent of respondents, tech proficiency is one of the most important skills for future lawyers. Other top skills required include understanding and anticipating client needs (81 per cent), commercial awareness (71 per cent) and time management (57 per cent).

Many lawyers believed that within technology, automation will be a key driver in legal processes.

“The findings state that the technology solutions in the legal space may replace some human roles at the entry-level by way of automating repetitive and standardised work but are expected to augment others such as reviewing documents more efficiently,” the report said.

“Over 42 per cent of all respondents said that they expect 20 per cent of day-to-day tasks to be automated,” it said.

The role of law schools

According to the survey, the onus falls largely on law schools to train future lawyers in legal tech.

Over 60 per cent of respondents were in agreement that these institutions currently were unable to keep up with the changing environment of the legal profession as per the report; 61 per cent of the respondents stated that law schools must be more prepared to train students in legal tech to make them future-ready.

Ritvik Lukose, CEO, Vahura, said “From the outside, the legal ecosystem may appear to be stuck in a different century. This study, however, shows that the legal community is acutely aware of the rapidly changing times, and as practitioners, educators and stakeholders, they are aware of the need to embrace technology and build new skill sets. The recent headlines around eCourts, online dispute resolution and legal tech are some of the more well-known examples of how significantly the practice of law is changing.”

Sunil Kant Munjal, Chancellor, BML Munjal University, said, “In the current scenario, law schools will play a critical role in nurturing and developing lawyers who are equipped with the skills and attitudes essential for modern legal practice. I am confident that these findings will interest both industry and students.”

The survey was based on 200 responses from lawyers currently serving across large, medium, small, boutique law firms in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Published on July 24, 2020

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