5 New Legal Professions Under The Impact Of Legal Tech
According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, by the early 2030s, about 40% of Americans, 35% of Germans, 30% of British people, and a little more than 20% of Japanese could lose their jobs due to the automation of work processes. The Internet rages with horror stories about robots that will deprive people of work and start taking their places. Let’s see what is true here and what is a lie. And of course, which new legal professions await lawyers.
Most of the professions which may disappear involve routine work that can be done through technology. Therefore, technologies should be considered alongside human interaction, and not in a negative way.
Tech optimization will definitely affect jurisprudence. In Tomorrow’s Lawyers (2013), Professor Richard Susskind predicts that the evolution of the legal services industry will go from the stage where most lawyers will be convinced that they are managing to adapt to the new conditions without fundamentally changing their working methods, to reaching a stage where costly and inefficient services are being superseded by advanced technologies. Well, his prediction is coming true.
The technologization will take 20–30% of the work of legal clerks and paralegal lawyers. And this process has already begun.
Technologies give rise to new positions that appeared in the wake of two trends — the automation of legal processes and the transformation of legal consulting from a profession to a business. For example, according to Bloomberg Law, more than 50 law firms currently have a position of “Chief Innovation Officer” in the company.
So, What New Legal Professions Will Appear Under The Impact Of Legal Tech?
1. Legal Automation Engineer (LAE)
The emergence of the Legal Automation Engineer profession stemmed from the idea that such a specialist could help to create effective systems that would eliminate the need to involve IT specialists in automating legal document templates. LAE minimized the risks and allowed lawyers to independently maintain the templates. The main task of the Legal Automation Engineer is to manage the processes of introducing technology into the daily work of lawyers, which include creating legal documentation templates, automating contract forms, building electronic expert systems, due diligence automation, etc.
The first mentions of this profession appeared in 2013, when, according to the Wall Street Journal, more than 55% of law firms reduced from 1 to 5 partners in their firms. The reason was that “it’s not enough to be a good lawyer, you must bring money to the company”.
Companies began to hunt for these specialists and train them in a technological approach. This included teaching flexible working methodologies and the basics of legal design. The number of vacancies for a Legal Automation Engineer in the legal market in the United States is increasing every day. Furthermore, the average salary of a Legal Automation Engineer in the United States is about $87,000 per year.
A Legal Automation Engineer must be highly qualified in the field of IT and logical thinking, familiar with the problems facing the legal market, and able to convince clients of the advantages of digital transformation.
2. Legal Project Manager (LPM)
Law firms are needing to improve their processes to stay competitive, focusing on balancing human resources and technology use. A Legal Project Manager applies project management skills to enhance the delivery of legal services.
The profession provides that a person has the experience of managing legal issues, understanding broader knowledge areas of traditional project management standards, and focusing on the legal issue’s “process” more than on the legitimacy of the issue itself.
In addition, as more team members are engaged, there is a greater need for the legal project manager to understand the process and allocation of work and how to track individual and team performance.
The Legal Project Manager’s objectives are to increase the predictability of results, reduce risks, reduce costs, and secure profits to the satisfaction of both lawyer and client. The Legal Project Manager supervises and implements such functions as project planning, monitoring project progress against the plan, managing project progress, creating a communication plan, informing key stakeholders about the project progress, working with partners, completing the project, and summarizing the results.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of the Legal Project Manager ranges from $51,000 per year to $111,000 per year.
The International Institute of Legal Project Management, which conducts several certification programs, provides the necessary education in this area.
3. Legal Operations Specialist (LOS)
The heads of legal departments and companies have transformed from lawyers into entrepreneurs. They are simultaneously responsible for finances, staff development, external relations, innovation, the optimization of workflow, the attraction of business-partners, and much more. All this distracts them from their common legal work. Therefore, it was decided that there should be a specialist who is responsible for this narrow direction: the Legal Operations Specialist. According to Bloomberg Law research, at least one-third of Fortune 500 law firms have added this position to their structure in past years.
The Legal Operations Specialist has a multidisciplinary function of optimizing the legal services provided to the whole organization. This includes supporting legal and compliance teams with both larger strategic projects and day-to-day operations critical to the business, helping the legal team with contract management and scaling inbound due-diligence processes. The more specific duties of a Legal Operations Specialist vary depending on the needs and size of the department and company.
The growing demand for the position is also confirmed by the fact that law schools began to actively implement the LOS training course, in particular, Colorado University, Stanford Law School, Cal Berkeley, and Northwestern University. The center for the strategic development of the profession is the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC), a non-profit association of legal operations specialists.
According to PayScale, the salary of Legal Operations Specialist in the US varies from $32,000 per year to $70,000 per year.
4. Legal Technologist (LT)
A Legal Technologist is an employee of a law firm whose duties include:
- Collaboration with internal corporate lawyers on consulting, developing and implementing legal tech solutions;
- Informing employees of the company about current technological trends in the legal market, necessary for solving the tasks of lawyers;
- Creating new methods for providing legal services using technologies that improve work efficiency and customer satisfaction;
- Integration, customization, and development of existing legal tech solutions;
- Development of requirements for the creation of new solutions and legal technologies;
- Interaction with colleagues from other law firms (including international) to support the implementation of legal technology tools in practice.
The Legal Technologist, above all, should have the ability to develop innovative solutions to achieve the desired results of lawyers and clients. The average salary of Legal Technologist in the US is $65,000 per year.
5. Legal Process Analyst (LPA)
The Legal Process Analyst is a specialized analyst who helps to understand and improve business processes. He works on projects designed to improve the quality of legal services, reduce errors and introduce new business processes in the company. In addition to excellent knowledge of jurisprudence, the LPA must have the skills to use analytical tools such as data collection and analysis, flow diagrams, and process diagrams.
One of the key tasks of the Legal Process Analyst is to learn new tools and methodologies and implement them in the work of the company to increase efficiency.
According to Glassdoor, the salary of a Legal Process Analyst in the US ranges from $45,000 to $94,000 per year.
These are just a few examples of new intersections between technology and law. Every year their quantity will increase. Thus, the ability to adapt to technological changes and develop relevant skills and a dedicated team becomes as crucial to success as legal knowledge.
What A Strong Legal Operations Team Looks Like?
- Focus. Probably one of the most important aspects of the success of the team is its cohesion, but, at the same time, each team member should be able to focus on their own tasks. Focus helps to make the work process more efficient and avoid duplication in the work process.
- Opening to automation. The team’s willingness to introduce innovations, test them, identify strengths and weaknesses and constantly improve the automation process is important.
- Learning new trends. Constant study of trends and new markets will help the team quickly adapt to new market realities.
- Customer orientation. The client is the main person in your business. All of your team’s actions should be aimed at making the process of receiving services as pleasant as possible for the client.
Professionals who work in the field of jurisprudence should take into account the coming changes. It is necessary to realize the significance of the transition from an industrial society operating with printed texts to an information society operating with Internet-oriented resources. Legal innovations implementation will allow specialists to change their routines and make their work more effective. It is already important to retrain and look for new opportunities. And it doesn’t matter whether you work in a large law company or your own legal tech startup. The game is changing.