Wrap-up & What Next: Today and Tomorrow for the 21st Century Legal Professional
The time has come for us to wrap up our 4-part profile series of the 21st Century Legal Professional.
We have spent the last few months featuring leaders in law whose careers span far beyond traditional knowledge and skillsets of “Black Letter” lawyers and extend to the breadth of “T-Shaped” Legal Professionals. Especially interesting, is that only 1/4 of our featured profiles is actually trained as a lawyer! Although this is not to say that legal education and training are not important.
The distinction is in the augmentation (to use an appropriate AI reference) and integration of traditional legal education with 21st century experience and skills ranging from:
- technology aptitude and understanding (including an appreciation of code/development),
- data science competency,
- project management,
- industry knowledge and expertise,
- intra & entre – preneurship, and
- effective stakeholder communication.
These were seen throughout our profiled leaders’ experience, current roles and in their recommendations for 21st Century Legal Professionals:
- Legal Architect & Designer: Amani Smathers, Legal Solutions Architect at Davis Wright Tremaine’s De Novo applies design-thinking to provide legal solutions and relies on a technology-equipped “toolbox” in place of the traditional lawyer’s briefcase.
- Legal Operations Officer & Project Manager: Stephanie Corey, Co-Founder of UpLevel Ops, navigates and deploys business-tailored strategy to improve process and implement efficiency- enhancing tools within legal departments.
- Legal Analyst & Data Science Expert: Laura Van Wyngaarden, Chief Operations Officer at Diligen – applies AI to the time-consuming task of due diligence with Diligen’s contract extraction software rooted in collaboration among robots and lawyers to ensure accuracy AND efficiency.
- Business Advisor & Industry Expert: James O’Dell, VP MD Australia and APAC at Elevate
Services, helps lead the fusion of law as a business by applying strategic thinking and leveraging big data for quality client service, profitability and scale.
Now what? Move beyond the “I” and build your “T”.
We believe it is an exciting time for legal professionals – no matter what stage of their education or careers, to gain insight and inspiration from leaders like Amani, Stephanie, Laura and James. Despite their diverse titles, there is significant overlap and complementarity in the skills and experience each
bring to their roles.
As our good friend Mark Cohen has explained in reference to the collaborative era for law firms, the 21st Century Legal Professional embraces and seeks opportunities to collaborate with old and new knowledge, tools and thinkers in the realms of data, design, operations and strategy.
Take a look back through the profiles linked above for more recommendations and tips on building out your own 21st Century Legal Professional skillset.