The emerging roles of humans and robots in the legal industry

5 min read

Last updated: April 30, 2021

We are currently at the CLOC Institute 2018 event in Las Vegas. Its the world’s biggest gathering of legal operation professionals – to discuss optimising the delivery of legal services to businesses. Key takeaways from the first day have been around developing soft skills for people and the future of emerging technology in our industry.

Developing your people skills

Soft skills are often those that are exemplified by our characteristics and personality traits. Our top tips from CLOC 2018 on what to focus on are:

Be authentic

Don’t try to mould yourself to different situations, legal environments tend to focus our minds on fixing what’s deemed as “wrong”. By understanding what your strengths are, you can leverage and accentuate these to solve a particular challenge. The outcome of this approach is an improvement in your engagement at work, productivity levels and work satisfaction. In fact, people who know and use their strengths are three times as likely to report an excellent quality of life; they are six times as likely to be engaged at work as those who don’t; and they are six times as likely to report that “I do what I do best everyday”.

Build valuable relationships in your team and network

Active mentor/mentee relationships can be incredibly rewarding and valuable to both sides. Even as a senior person in your team, having someone to coach you, can help you to find your strengths, improve your output, help you to learn from and be comfortable with your mistakes and ultimately progress your career.

Hire for excellence not fitting the norm

To ensure that we build the best possible relationships we need to stop making assumptions about people based on just a perception. When looking to build our networks or teams we should focus on excellence and the value someone can bring. So, don’t worry if someone needs a little more flexibility in how they work – so what if they do less conventional hours. Look to see if interviewees can bring new skills to your team and business.

For more of our take on people skills, check out our latest toolkit  ‘Inspire your team: 6 ways to create a productive working environment for in-house legal teams‘. And be sure to check out our previous ones now:

Technology for the future

The legal industry is abuzz with talk of technology and how it’s going to change our industry. We listened in on talk about two of the most hyped subjects – AI and Blockchain. Here’s what we learnt:

AI in the legal industry

At the moment people are often worried about AI as they don’t really understand what it is and how it’s going to impact them. While we know AI is used in many things around us each day taking personal assistants such as Siri or Alexa as some examples. We don’t know how it might impact us at work.

Our expectation is that computers are 100% accurate all the time, but this expectation has been set as we traditionally programme computers to operate within a pre-determined set of rules. When we talk about AI we mean something different and often in the legal industry we’re talking about a process called deep learning. This simply put, is the idea of training a machine to predict an outcome, based on a prior analysis of a huge volume of similar data.

The major challenge for AI in the legal sector currently is the lack of data – or rather the lack of organised data. Machines are not at the point where they can understand context to information the same way, we as people would. So, when your business stores information in different formats and systems, this lack of cohesion will prove a barrier in taking advantages of advances being made in AI tech.

Blockchain for legal ops

A topic we’ve previously discussed and another buzzword in the tech industry is Blockchain. It’s often referred as a solution of the future, while never quite enunciating the problem it actually solves. So, while organisations like the global legal blockchain consortium are working with a variety of organisations on use cases – the thing you need to keep in mind for now, is that it’s a way to digitally keep records.

A blockchain can be used to store the signed version of a contract, with a unique identifier so you can always find the correct version. However, where the main challenges to a business are not reliant on that sole source of truth the application of blockchain is less clear. It’s likely going to become a near-future foundational technology, but for now it’s still one for the future from a legal ops perspective.