find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Tech to push tomorrow’s lawyers into the ‘background’

Tech to push tomorrow’s lawyers into the ‘background’

According to the executive dean of Bond University’s law school, the future is bright for the next generation of lawyers; however, they must be prepared to deliver legal services from behind the scenes.

It is difficult to predict in which direction the winds of change will blow. In the legal profession, the tricky task of forecasting the future falls first to the law schools, which now number about 40 nationwide.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Professor Nick James from Bond University said that future-ready law grads need to be aware of the different kinds of legal roles that will be on offer. In particular, the executive dean of law expects that in the future lawyers will be hired to provide “background” legal services from behind digital platforms.

“There will still be lawyers involved but they’ll be more in the background,” Professor James said.

“My view is that the technology that is becoming available in terms of providing legal services to large numbers of people will see many legal graduates move into the background of the legal services industry.

“Members of the public will have access to [more affordable] legal services that they’ve never had access to before and those legal services will be mediated by technology, such as websites and apps,” he said.

Law schools entrusted with teaching the next generation of Australian practitioners need to have some sense of what a “modern legal professional” will look like. In the view of Professor James, there is no question that future-ready lawyers are expected to have a certain standard of digital literacy. Bond University has begun to address this need by offering coding electives to its law students.

“The really exciting, interesting stuff is around digital literacy – realising that many, many of our graduates are going to be engaging closely with new technologies, it is our responsibility to make sure that they are ready for that,” Professor James said.

“We’re starting to recognise now the importance of teaching students how to code, although we’re probably still a few years away from making it a compulsory part of the curriculum. And we’ve found out that thinking like a lawyer and thinking like a coder are actually really similar,” he said.

From the time of enrolment, it is impossible to know which law students will ultimately go on to practise. However, according to Professor James, several factors can help to put graduates in good stead regardless of their final vocation.

Part of equipping students to compete in the tough jobs market is making sure that they are able to survive and thrive. Professor James suggested that by combining self-care and resilience techniques with entrepreneurial skills, graduates can learn how to adapt their approach to landing a job in law or another profession.  

“The uncertainty and massive workload that graduates are faced with is a conversation we’ve been having within law schools for a few years now. Wherever the students end up, we want to ensure that they are taught the self-care skills about resilience and wellness,” Professor James said.

To fulfil its aim of providing students with a quality legal education, Bond University’s law school recently announced a formal cap on annual student enrolments for its LLB program. From 2017, the law school will accept no more than 180 students each year.

A formal cap on enrolment numbers for the JD program is currently being considered.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Tech to push tomorrow’s lawyers into the ‘background’
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...