Legal Tech:
A Threat to Lawyers?

Roberto Valladares
Student of “Legal Tech in the Digital Era Certificate
MIT Professional Education in collaboration with Esade
rvalladares@lmintelligence.com

In 1893, the Duryea brothers launched the first single-cylinder automobile in the United States. The cost of this was $1,500, which was twice the annual income of an average family. This meant that only a select group of people could afford a vehicle.

Some years later, in 1908, Henry Ford implemented the assembly line production, what we know as ‘Fordism.’ Thanks to this system they could produce more cars in less time and at a lower cost. In 1924, the Ford Model T came at a price of $290.

Did ‘Fordism’ end vehicle-related jobs? Did it end the automotive industry? No.1

The legal service model is a model of more than 100 years, in which, similar to the vehicles, not everyone has access to them, namely due to the cost.

Currently, the legal sector has endured an earthquake similar to which ‘Fordism’ caused in the automotive industry. Through the use of several technologies, such as artificial intelligence or cloud, to mention a couple of examples, the legal profession will change for good.

Does this mean there will be dismissals? That the number of lawyers will be reduced? No. The way of working will change, and the skills of the lawyers will also change as they must learn new technological tools that will improve their daily lives and that of their clients. Legal services will be more accessible and will pay more attention to an entirely neglected market.

With regard to the skills that lawyers will require, I consider some of them to be related to:

  • Management and analysis of projects.
  • Implementation and use of Legal Tech tools and technologies.
  • Working in diverse teams, meaning that a team not only of lawyers, but of lawyers, engineers, designers…
  • Having a basic understanding of technologies related to Legal Tech.

With regard to the new roles that we will begin to see, thanks to the Legal Tech in the Digital Era Certificate offered by MIT Professional Education in collaboration with Esade, today I have clarity regarding the new jobs that will be available to legal professionals, these being, among others, the following:

  1. Legal Automation Engineer (LAE): this position will consist of administering technological introduction processes – as it would be done with a document automation program, such as Legal Machine. Likewise, they would also be the person in charge of the managing and structuring of templates.
  2. Legal Project Manager (LPM): this role consists of improving the delivery of legal services. They will particularly focus on the processes and will increase predictability, reduce risks and costs, and measure client satisfaction.
  3. Legal Operations Specialist (LOS): this position will carry out a multidisciplinary function, seeking to optimize the legal services provided.
  4. Legal Process Analyst (LPA): this will be the person in charge of helping to understand and improve commercial processes.

Therefore, Legal Tech is not a threat to lawyers, but a great opportunity to venture into a blue ocean, as well as to serve a previously neglected market in a more efficient way. This can be taken advantage of by those who adapt to it, but mainly those who recognize the opportunity and prepare and train themselves aptly.

To read the article published in Spanish on The Lawyer Magazine:

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1 “Blue Ocean Strategy,” W Chan Kim / Renée Mauborgne.