The Challenges and Pressure on the New Lawyer
It is undeniable that all of us, people, professionals and companies are having to adapt ourselves to the huge amount of information that bombards us daily and mainly to the accelerating pace of all the changes that our society is facing now. The exponential growth of information in the digital word such as: procedural pieces, contracts, jurisprudence and mainly e-mails create for itself an increasing difficulty when we talk about searches, correct identification and analysis of information that are relevant to any lawyer.
On the other hand, the main function of the lawyer, which is to draw up a strategy to the solution of the legal challenge through his/her ability to analyze the information (provided by the customer and the existing legislation, jurisprudence, etc), his/her intellect and experience in the synthesis of his/her ideas, his/her ability to build the case and at last the quality of his oral or written expression when elaborating any legal documents or oral defense, still rely on the human brain, with all its limitations.
Other two factors that also challenge and more and more pressure the legal profession: the efficacy that is the pressure exerted by the clients for better and faster solutions and the competitiveness that is the pressure exerted by the market forcing the professionals to better manage their costs and offer services for more competitive prices.
The great differentiator in the past was the quality (I remember that, two decades ago, there were few corporate offices with international quality in Brazil) and nowadays there are hundreds of excellent offices competing in a market where the increase in demand was significantly lower than the expressive increase in the supply of quality legal services.
With the changing in the legal market behavior, which is becoming more robust and mature (coming closer to the behavior of the other competitive markets) the perception of the general quality of the rendered service occurs by a blend of factors where the legal quality, although it is still the most important one, is no longer the unique factor for advantage. Other factors, such as assistance, responsiveness, understanding the client’s business, managerial capacity, innovation, use of technology and, finally, the brand image, also interfere directly in the client’s satisfaction.
And, as if that were not enough, there is also the pressure exerted by the society’s changing of behavior, which is more and more connected to everything, and to everyone and, concomitantly, generating more and more that sense of urgency and expectation for immediate results in it.
In the three possible career pathways in Law, i.e., public career, corporate career or even a single career in offices, the knowledge of management and governance and of technological updating have become as important as the legal technical development. Technology is faced by the lawyer (and this could not be otherwise) as a means and not an end, and it should be used as a very powerful tool in order to improve efficiency and efficacy in the profession.
The specializations of Law are increasingly spreading towards the fields of economy (Technology, Communication, Agribusiness, Life Sciences, etc.) and no longer by the traditional mode, that is, Civil, Labor, Tax, etc.
The most knowledgeable and most competitive lawyer must be prepared for the challenges of his/her profession, in addition to the legal know-how, and he/she should deeply know the market to which he/she renders services, but as importantly, he/she should possess:
Managerial Knowledge: to get to know and to know how to use the management techniques of a modern company that is engaged in the competitive market.
– Broader knowledge in issues related to human relations in order to manage his/her team and talents better by adopting motivating challenges and the use of specific “KPI´s”, in addition to modern career plans and adapted to new generations.
– Deeper knowledge of institutional and personal Marketing in order to maximize his/her share in the market by means of modern participation techniques and higher reach in the digital media.
– Better training in corporate management to economically, financially and strategically manage his/her company with the help of ERP, BI software units, to name a few.
Technological Updating: to get to know and to know how to use new technologies, and able to make the most of them in order to:
– Quickly find the information that is necessary for the production of his/her legal document by means of the help of search robots and/or cognitive intelligence systems.
– To organize and correctly use his/her strategic knowledge (explicit and tacit), with the use of Knowledge Management Systems (KM).
– Intensively use the prediction systems, statistically analyzing internal and external data, jurisprudences and prior decisions from courts and judges.
– To use the technologies of generation of his/her documents by means of “document automation” software units, speeding up production and analysis of documents.
– To use modern communication and internal collaboration tools among his/her professionals and, external ones with the clients and partners, always focusing on the increase of efficiency and productivity.
Although the technology is just a tool, all the legal or management activities will be used and managed by lawyers with the help of software and intelligence systems, which will require from them a much more eclectic background, beyond the purely technical training such professionals are being submitted to in the universities today, in order for them not to run the risk of becoming Jurassic professionals!