In the world of legal recruiting, it’s critical to stay locked into trends in order to be prepared to fill those needs when they arise. For example, when the real estate market in Atlanta came roaring back to life after the 2008 recession, our clients had a huge demand for commercial real estate lawyers that we had to immediately scramble to fill.
While we often have to adjust to developments like these as they occur, the goal is to be ahead of the curve and try to anticipate the next major trend before it hits. With that being said, the intersection of law and technology is becoming impossible to ignore.
In an economy where efficiency and versatility are valued, lawyers who demonstrate a sound understanding and grasp of new technology and data analytics – i.e., big data – are quickly becoming an increasingly valuable commodity. The demand is growing from companies for lawyers that can improve legal operations and champion process improvements through the use of emerging technology, especially at the mid-career level.
Here are five skills lawyers can develop to command interest from firms and companies seeking lawyers with a high level of tech savvy and data analytics experience:
- Know the jargon: Understand the definitions and references to data analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and other emerging technology terms, products and vendors and how they are relevant and used to more efficiently provide legal services.
- Embrace change: While many lawyers are fearful of the gradual intrusion of artificial intelligence and automation into their world, you can set yourself apart by embracing it and adapting as it becomes more prevalent. Instead of worrying it will replace your job, focus on how you can use it as a tool to do your work more effectively and efficiently.
- Utilize blockchain: Whether it’s in more secure record keeping, the simplification of contracts, or even tracking the chain of custody in evidence gathering, blockchain is set to revolutionize law through the storing of data. Understanding how it works and its potential applications is critical.
- Break down billable hours: The way billable hours are tracked and analyzed is changing. The use of big data allows law firms to better assess where their billable hours are being spent and how efficiently they are being allocated. The same applies for in-house attorneys or legal operations specialists – they should know how to analyze data through the use of business intelligence products to oversee outside counsel spend, hold law firms accountable for efficient services, and control time keeping.
- Understand coding: Beyond the obvious applications in web design, coding is fundamentally a process of logistical problem-solving that mirrors the law. It’s such a growing trend that law schools are offering courses on how to code. But if you’re like me and not smart enough to completely master code, do your best to gain a basic understanding by watching videos on YouTube and reading articles online. Having this knowledge can help your approach to cases/transactions and give you a better understanding of tech-focused clients and their issues.
These are just a handful of the skills that can help attorneys maneuver through the intersection of law and big data, but there are countless more that are incredibly valuable. This is the future of law – and your career and résumé as well – so it’s time to embrace it.
As the General Manager for Lucas Group’s Legal Recruiting practice group, Steven Lynch cultivates the development and relationship management of both clients and senior-level attorneys throughout the Southeast. Lynch leads a team of branch leaders and legal recruiters who are singularly dedicated to assisting the country’s firms and companies find and hire transcendent legal talent efficiently and discreetly.
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