Aspiring lawyers face a forbidding landscape. Often laden with debt, they must clear a high entry bar – and the route to law’s personal and professional riches is haphazard. Add in the rate at which technology is taking on tasks juniors once did while they learned to be good lawyers, and a discussion on the topic tends to be coloured by apprehension.
So it was at a roundtable discussion held last week at the Law Society and co-hosted by Thomson Reuters. This brought together corporate counsel, City lawyers, academics and quite a few at the start of their legal careers. The latter head into this facing complaints from some seniors that their search for answers starts and ends with Google.
And yet… most have already worked in legal services as interns. They are more likely to have combined study with work, acquiring resilience and skills in communication and project management. It could be that some of the older generation have forgotten how green they were straight out of law school.
Moreover, if technology has reduced the need to spend months doing pre-trial pagination in a windowless room, then those responsible for guiding development must find ways to identify and replicate any benefit of what is now otiose.
Reflecting on the discussion, though, it seems more urgent to make sure the first six or seven years of a legal career are financially viable for those with limited means. If that is not so, all else is superfluous.