How to attract more women into legal tech
Broadening views on what legal tech entails could entice more women to enter the field, according to Clio’s general manager in the Asia-Pacific region.
Clio’s general manager APAC, Denise Farmer, said that one of the major barriers to attracting more women into legal tech is an assumption that it is all about coding and mathematics.
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While those skills are necessary, it is critical to counter the perception that legal tech is always “maths-adjacent”, she said.
“I think one of the biggest barriers to getting more women involved in legal tech is because we’re told from a very early age that we’re not good at maths or coding,” Ms Farmer said ahead of the Women in Law Forum 2023.
“A friend of mine who has held many senior product roles in legal tech was telling me that legal tech is about leveraging empathy and language skills for better legal product management.”
At the forum, Ms Farmer will outline the obstacles confronting women in legal tech and how to change perceptions so more enter the field.
For example, the legal tech sector requires employees with skills in market research, product management, and user experience, and knowledge about how lawyers function, Ms Farmer said.
“I’m not doing a technology role. But I’m working in a technology business on the commercial side and team building,” she said.
“I think we have to broaden people’s understanding of what it is to work in tech. It’s not just about coding.”
Alongside this, increasing the visibility of women who are innovating in legal tech is key because other women require role models whom they could aspire to emulate, Ms Farmer said.
Groups like the Women of Australian Legal Technology Association (WALTA) are raising the profile of women in this area to remove barriers for others contemplating entering the field, she noted.
Ms Farmer also encouraged organisations to include male and non-binary lawyers along the journey as champions of change for their female colleagues because “it’s too big a structural problem for women to solve it by ourselves”.
For this to be effective, Ms Farmer suggested that diversity councils in organisations must be diverse and representative of the organisation’s composition in relation to gender, sexual orientation, disability, and ethnicity.
She also underscored the need for the legal profession to engage in broader discussions about how the nature of work is evolving and the implications this could have for female lawyers and the larger workforce.
“I want attendees at the Women in Law Forum to come out thinking about how the nature and location of work are changing and the potential impact of technology on the way we work,” she said.
“I want them to reflect upon their actions within their own organisations and think about how they could deploy these tools. I think this would make for a really robust discussion.”
To hear more from Denise Farmer on how the legal tech sector could break down barriers and increase the visibility of women, come along to the Women in Law Forum 2023.
It will be held on Thursday, 23 November, at Crown Melbourne.