Reboot your legal career
By Lee Holcomb
If you’re an attorney, it’s hard not to think about how technology is transforming the practice of law. Whether you’re talking about the ethical duty of lawyers to keep up-to-date with the latest technology, how attorneys charge for their services, or the potential for robots to eliminate attorneys’ jobs, it’s hard to have a business discussion without considering how technology is going to play into the legal roadmap for the foreseeable future.
Lawyers who understand technology and how to implement technology solutions into their playbooks will be the ones who come out on top. Think about it: if AI can automate almost any mental tasks that used to take attorneys hours to complete, clients will eventually stop paying for attorneys who only generate work that the computer can produce. Lawyers who can figure out how to use the time-saving and learning features of technology, and couple this with the creativity, judgement and unique understanding that their legal background provides to deliver solutions their clients need, will flourish in the coming years.
Here are ten tips to reboot your business, increase your technology literacy, and keep you compliant with ethical obligations to maintain competency to represent your clients.
10 TIPS TO INCREASE YOUR NEW LEGAL TECHNOLOGY FOOTPRINT
Tip #1—Technology is creating new jobs for attorneys. New ways of working and working remotely are surfacing within more traditional legal paths. For example, many corporations are augmenting their legal departments by in-sourcing attorney managed services. Do some research to see if there are new career possibilities that might better suit your lifestyle.
Tip #2—Consider how your current firm will hold up in the next five years as technology advances. Is your firm using the latest technology? Are they looking for new ways to attract clients and provide innovative solutions? If not, they should be.
Tip #3—Today’s lawyers are increasingly rewarded for the ability to see how to do things differently. Use your unique judgment, creativity and emotional intelligence to set yourself apart from others. Make sure you are well-informed and up-to-date on the latest technology solutions and potential pitfalls. It’s part of your ethical obligation to your clients.
Tip #4—Technology education and certification can help you distinguish yourself and become an expert in your field. Certifications keep you up-to-date and differentiate you from other attorneys. It’s tangible evidence that you’re keeping pace with technology solutions and best practices.
Some hot certification areas for attorneys:
Agile and Scrum
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
Project Management Professional (PMP)
Relativity Certification (RCA)
Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US, CIPP/E or CIPM)
Tip #5—Learn how to use digital marketing tools to promote yourself. However, it's important to be careful of potential ethical issues for lawyers and law firms. Contact your bar if you have questions; don't assume it’s okay just because you see someone else doing it.
Tip #6—Good technology tools can save time and money. Do you really need to print that document before you sign it? Try out a new time-saving technology solution you can integrate into your current legal workflow.
Tip #7—Many online legal staffing agencies have jobs listed for cybersecurity, eDiscovery, privacy and contract staffing. Look to online job listings to identify the latest positions available for attorneys and the qualifications needed to land your dream job.
Tip #8—Try out new Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions. We've all had our time cut by clients. If you can save time on legal research, you’ve got the potential for having less time written off by the client and thus more billable time that’s actually paid. Not to mention, you’ve also got a better work product because you have more time to spend on refining your argument. Check out www.rossintelligence.com or www.kirasystems.com
Tip #9—Knowledge is gold. Having a baseline understanding of technology is paramount for all attorneys. In today's new legal world, technology literacy means being relevant and up-to-date on the “benefits and risks associated” with the use of new technology. Tennessee Rule 1.1, Comment 8
Tip #10—Entrepreneurial lawyers who can market themselves as having valuable skills (particularly things that machines can’t do) will lead the way. There are some extraordinary opportunities on the horizon—be ready for them!
Originally published in the TLAW Fall Newsletter 2018