I had a conversation with law students, interns and lawyers today on the future of law, and how technology could play a role in the legal profession. Thank you Deborah Enyone Oni (LLB. BL. LLM. NIM) for the invitation. Yes, a gathering of female lawyers. So, I prepared my joke: “I am honoured gentlemen to be in your midst”. Is that not interesting? Yes, as a lay person, I have been informed that all lawyers are addressed as “gentlemen”. Awesome.
The digital skills for lawyers would be the skills needed for the knowledge economy. As businesses become digital bytes, being eaten by software, the practice of law has to evolve. How can Nigeria clear all the pending cases? How can machines predict the chance of winning a case before going for trial? Lawyers have to build Lawtech (law + technology)* startups bringing the fusion of computer scientists, public policy experts, lawyers, etc together to fix the modern frictions in law. Those frictions abound in Nigeria!
Nigerians play major roles in the legal sectors in Gambia, Senegal and other African nations. If what lawyers do can be scaled through a technology, reducing the marginal cost of service, you will suddenly see a massive business opportunity coming out of law schools. That lawtech part is what excites me as disruption awaits in Nigeria’s legal sector.
Gentlemen, thank you for the invitation.
*some use legaltech but they are actually different things:
Simply put, LegalTech is a technological solution created for lawyers in law firms, businesses or corporations to help them simplify and automate their own operations..
LawTech is more disruptive, in that it aims to bring law to small business and people directly by enabling them to self-serve.
Lex Machina is a LegalTech technology that aids lawyers to get information about cases quickly and efficiently by providing information about judges, parties and opposing counsel which would otherwise be unavailable in traditional research tools.
Rocket Lawyer on the other hand, is a LawTech technology which provides online legal services to individuals and small to medium-size businesses i.e. to consumers.