Continuing our discussion about SmartLaw and the future of the legal industry, which hopefully we can all say with some degree of comfort is here NOW, let’s consider another major theme of HighQ’s recent eBook – the intersection of technology and people. This idea is one that we touched on during our last series on the future of law, and it will continue to be a hot topic. As we seem to be in the midst of an almost technological revolution, with exciting new advances happening daily, it can seem very real that maybe robots will replace lawyers.

But many of the contributing authors (and I would wholeheartedly agree with them) take an alternative view – while technology will become increasingly important in the practice of law, it will not replace lawyers. Nor will lawyers have to be programmers any time soon – though my decision to major in computer science is looking more and more fortuitous as time goes on. Will many jobs and roles change? Of course, but that was the case with the advent of the telephone and email, and as those technologies improved too. Telephone operators used to be essential in order to place a call, and now you have a device that you can hold in your hand with which to place a call directly – operators lost their jobs, but other jobs were created as well by expanding technologies.

If we’re embracing the idea that change is afoot, what does that really look like, per the authors in the eBook? What are our opportunities and challenges? 
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We’ve had a lot of discussion over the past several years about what the future of legal services will look like, and what critical characteristics and ideas will be necessary for lawyers and law firms to embrace in order to operate within it successfully. Last week, we opened the conversation again with the release of HighQ’s updated eBook on SmartLaw addressing these concepts, and as we did with the first eBook, I’d like to delve a little further into what some of the other authors had to say.

Let’s kick this off with two of my favorites – Jordan Furlong and D. Casey Flaherty, who had essentially the same core message: the future is now. You may remember that this isn’t the first time we’ve addressed this concept here on Zen either – looking back to 2016 and the Altman Weil CLO study, this was already a call to action. Flaherty and Furlong are continuing to beat the drum on this too, and each has an important message for firms and their lawyers.
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Long-time readers of Zen may remember when we first started talking about the future of the law firm and the idea of “SmartLaw” in 2016, when HighQ asked the question “What do you believe lawyers and law firms need to do to prepare for the future of legal services?” Over the course of several posts, we delved into the answers of a number of industry experts, which supported the idea that clients, culture, and technology would be key.

Since then, HighQ observes that the concept of SmartLaw has evolved:

Future-focused law firms have found success putting the concept to work as they create amazing client experiences, adopt a culture of change and use technology to empower greater efficiency. Even so, as the industry continues to change, so must the SmartLaw concept.

In addition to the original three areas of focus, we now believe that firms must also prioritise data and process. Together, these five pillars of clients, culture, technology, data and process create SmartLaw 2.0. These key areas will be critical to the success of firms in the future.”

Bearing these pillars in mind, HighQ asked a number of experts again, “What do you believe lawyers and law firms need to do to prepare for the future of legal services?”
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photo-1457528877294-b48235bdaa68We continue to delve into the characteristics that will make up the most successful lawyers of the future. Last week, it was curiosity, innovation, open-mindedness, and a willingness to learn, which all really overlap. Today, we’ll look at what two more of the leaders in HighQ’s book on SmartLaw had  to say in answer to the question:

What do you believe lawyers and law firms need to do to prepare for the future of legal services?”


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photo-1447433865958-f402f562b843A couple of weeks ago, I shared HighQ’s eBook on Smart Law, addressing the question “What do you believe lawyers and law firms need to do to prepare for the future of legal services?” My response to their question is that firms need flexibility, and today and over the next few months, I want to look at what some of the other contributors consider to be essential to the future of the legal industry.

As I’m sure we all have our own thoughts on where the industry is headed and why, don’t be shy about sharing your answers to HighQ’s question in the comments, and responding to what the other contributors had to say as well! 
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