Two of the most overhyped words in the legal profession at the moment are probably innovation and legaltech.
Why because they are buzzwords with such fluid meanings and used to hype up scenarios such as the robots are going to take over lawyers jobs or innovate or perish headlines!
Innovation IMO is about stretching the boundaries of our minds to look at what we do everyday at work whilst practicing law to create something different out of it that adds value in some way. Value being the operative word!
All lawyers should do their fair share of innovating from time to time.
Some people indeed say lawyers are well placed to innovate taken for granted legal problems, it is normally that they are too busy to stop and take time to redesign their legal space. I don’t disagree.
There is also a school of thought that says that lawyers may not be the best ones to innovate themselves and this has led to the enormous growth of the disruption of law movement and legaltech industry. This industry leverages off the significant innovative emerging technologies and latent legal markets out there which venture capitalists see as prime ground for reform. I don’t disagree either that the sustained use of legaltech is required.
I say we need both approaches within the profession – from within and from outside.
Both can work side by side in what is a very big global legal market – most of it untapped and latent.
Small law, new law and big law all have their role in innovation and legal tech.
Redesigning and making better something repetitive, routine and soul destroyingly boring has to be a good thing.
Whether it happens through the actions of an innovative lawyer or a disruptive piece of innovative legaltech technology doesn’t really matter.
The end result is the same – smarter and more high value lawyering, better quality legal processes, products and outcomes and greater access for the consumer along with faster service.
The reality is that legaltech, innovation and disruption in the legal profession divests lawyers of certain parts of their work that frankly they don’t like doing (and their clients don’t like paying lots for) but in turn frees them up to become smarter and more valuable to their clients for the vast array of more complex legal work that a technologically driven society has brought and will ultimately continued to bring.
Lawyers should be encouraged and not be discouraged by innovation and legaltech.