For lawyers, all they had to know was the law like the back of their hands. Now, it’s just one of the requirements of being a lawyer. Future young lawyers even before the pandemic were being asked to come prepared with an understanding of the business, technological capabilities, and a whole range of soft skills. Covid-19 has just made the aforementioned things more important than ever thanks to remote working.
Below are some of the skills lawyers of the future need to possess -
1. Upskilling - In a pandemic and post-pandemic world the only thing certain is uncertainty. In such a scenario, lawyers need to instill confidence in their colleagues, bosses, and most importantly their clients. Despite all the technical training in law, if a lawyer doesn’t possess soft skills to network, build meaningful relationships, he/she might find it harder to progress in life. Lawyers need to make Continuous Professional Development (CPD) as key to climbing up the ladder. While soft skills are not a regulatory requirement, employers in the legal industry are ranking it as important to ensure maximum Return on Investment (ROI) and repeat clients.
2. Technological abilities - Technologies such as AI, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, and Data Analytics will revolutionize the legal industry. The confidence to use new technologies and to make good use of them can be a key differentiator between you and your peers. For a law firm, having in-house technological capabilities will determine whether or not they survive in the future. Technology will be key when it comes to getting paid and signing contracts digitally. Despite its huge potential, certain senior lawyers and partners feel wary about its use. This is partly due to a lack of time, understanding, and fear.
3. Commercial awareness - While this was a skill that was important even before the pandemic struck, it will gain even more significance in a post-pandemic world. Lawyers constantly need to remain up to date in the changes in law, legislation, and regulation. They must think very deeply about how these changes in the law, legislation, and regulation will impact their clients and their industries and offer them the best legal solutions. Thus, understanding global trends, what makes these businesses tick, and the challenges for their growth will always be crucial for lawyers.
4. Diversification and versatility- One of the most important skills a future lawyer must possess is the ability to diversify into different fields of law. Due to the pandemic, some laws are seemingly unimportant while some others are becoming increasingly relevant. For instance, due to remote working, employee and workforce law is gaining relevance amongst lawyers. To remain effective and maintain an active client base, it would be extremely beneficial for lawyers to diversify. This will also help them develop personally and stay relevant for the future.
5. Personal brand building - In the primitive stages of his/her career, a lawyer must focus on building his personal brand. Making good use of social media and taking an active part in the publication of research papers goes a long way in image building. It also helps when smaller businesses are looking for lawyers online and due to the publication of research papers or active law blogs, you get noticed. While online platforms are a great way to source new business, lawyers must also make active efforts to attend networking events to socialize and have meaningful conversations.