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Future Legal Jobs That Will Replace Traditional Lawyer Roles

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By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on August 24, 2016 1:58 PM

Lawyers are beginning to worry that the legal tech wave will render many law jobs obsolete. One thing is for sure: mundane tasks like demand letters are already on their way to the computers. So what tasks will be left for humans? And what future jobs will lawyers likely be holding?

To maintain job security these days, it's all about adaptation.

Replacement

As you already know, mundane tasks are prime targets for computerization. Just take the form demand letter. Many lawyers have already availed themselves of the benefits of writing such letters because the basic forms are already widely available through legal guides and the internet. And fillable PDF technology makes the task that much easier. That's great if you're an attorney collecting $150 or more per letter. But what if the client can bypass the attorney altogether? That's what's happening now.

And that technology is really nothing more than an app with the barest of AI. Firms are making bottom dollars investments in AI with the hopes of eventually replacing their human counterparts.

Adapt

In his book Tomorrow's Lawyers, author Richard Susskind predicts that tomorrow's (today's?) lawyers will wear many hats. Here are a few choice examples:

  • Expert trusted adviser
  • Enhanced practitioner
  • Legal knowledge engineer
  • Legal technologist
  • Legal hybrid
  • Legal management consultant

At a glance, at least, all of those titles seem pretty wishy-washy. What on earth is an "enhanced practitioner"? Possibly these new job titles simply point to what might be broadly called a freelance legal consultant. No longer can a lawyer make his daily bread writing briefs and conducting legal research. The bot will do most of that work in about 5 seconds.

But there's something that robots can't yet do because they're designed specifically not to do it: find risks and problems where none exist. As a legal consultant, you will be invaluable to your human client for creating scenarios in which a client has not taken the proper legal steps to safeguard his or her position. Until computers start developing emotions like fear and jealousy, lawyers will maintain a unique value. At this point, it's safe to say that the best way to maintain your job security is to focus on being human.

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