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‘Technology is now essential to legal work’

Young lawyers increasingly need to possess legal technology skills in order to secure top roles, said this award-winning lecturer.

user iconLauren Croft 12 September 2022 Big Law
‘Technology is now essential to legal work’
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Dr Mitchell Adams is the course director of the bachelor of laws and lecturer at Swinburne Law School and leads the Legal Technology and Design Clinics, where he creates the conditions for legal innovation through student and industry collaboration. He was also recently named Academic of the Year at the recent Australian Law Awards.

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly following his win, Dr Adams said that he was “delighted” to be recognised for his efforts “to improve students’ educational experience, skills and readiness for the legal profession” and shared his hopes for academics to focus on moving forward.

“I think it’s important to develop a series of passions that can grow and combine in interesting ways that then raise research questions worthy of scholarly pursuit and lead to technological, social, environmental, or economic progress,” he said.

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Technology is now essential to legal work, and I strive to remain at the forefront of legal technologies. I both model and encourage students to leverage digital literacies to create work with impact.”

Dr Adams specialises in the combination of law and technology and has extensive experience in intellectual property law, legal tech and legal design, after first specialising in legal tech during his final years of law school.

“Having joined the CSIRO as a vacation scholar in the intellectual property and licensing group, I created a CSIRO-wide content management tool, which stored intellectual property and governance information,” he said.

“The experience set me on the path of what I know now as legal tech and innovation.”

Dr Adams also runs the Legal Tech Clinic at Swinburne — and said that legal tech is extremely important for younger lawyers and law students to be learning about.

“The clinic brings together law students and industry to solve complex problems and design new solutions to aid in the practice of law. Our students assist in improving existing legal processes, workflows, documents and contracts. Students develop enterprise skills through working directly with partner organisations.

“An industry partner defines the problem but leaves the approach open to students. For example, students have worked with in-house legal teams from AGL, Spotify, Fitzroy Legal Service, and the Council of Australian University Librarians to create transformative solutions,” he explained.

The demands of modern legal practice require that young lawyers possess a set of technology skills to do their work. We know that legal tech, innovation and design have become a new focus in the legal industry. I believe it is a very exciting time to be a member of the legal profession.”

Lauren Croft

Lauren Croft

Lauren is a journalist at Lawyers Weekly and graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from Macleay College. Prior to joining Lawyers Weekly, she worked as a trade journalist for media and travel industry publications and Travel Weekly. Originally born in England, Lauren enjoys trying new bars and restaurants, attending music festivals and travelling. She is also a keen snowboarder and pre-pandemic, spent a season living in a French ski resort.

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