The Road Ahead – 5 Insights for 2022

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In this issue, Kai Jacob, Dr. Dierk Schindler and Dr. Bernhard Waltl, the co-CEOs of the German non-profit thinktank Liquid Legal Institute e.V., share their collective insights for 2022 with us:

The ‘Going Digital’s Top 5’ aim to provide guidance for those being engaged in the legal transformation business: law schools, law firms, legal departments, including, but not limited to their clients and stakeholders. The topics have been assembled by the leaders of the Liquid Legal Institute based on their experience from closely observing and actively contributing to innovation in the legal ecosystem.

(1) Diversity:
More than ever, a diverse and cross-functional organization is required to identify and respond to the challenges ahead. We need to embrace, acknowledge and authentically address the full range of talents, especially those with „non-legal“ skills, e.g. when it comes to understanding a problem and creating possible solutions by means of design thinking, or when executing a complex project with project management skills.

(2) Digital and agile mindset:
“The pace of change has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again.” Clients transform their business models in the digital era. Legal departments are called to run more effectively and efficiently. Legal talent expects a modern and future oriented career path. We need to accept this by changing our mindset and by improving our skill set with exactly those methods that help us to constantly adapt: agility.

(3) Platforms & managed services:
Successfully delivering a project within time and budget has always been challenging. Modern trends towards platforms that already meet many basic requirements we (and many others) have in common allow us to kick-start new approaches and solutions and thereby to stay focused on “our problem at hand”. It is not “build or buy” anymore – it might well be “use as a service and adapt”. Projects like DIKE – Digital Legal Ecosystem, which will most likely be funded within the European GAIA-X project, will significantly contribute to the adoption of platforms in the legal space.

(4) Data literacy & metrics:
The usage of digital tools and applications will allow us to work more efficiently and effectively, plus, it generates data that gives us insights we have never had before. With an appropriate digital mindset and data literacy, this data can be used to rethink our legal services in light of the needs of our clients, and the way we deliver them. In addition, it will create unprecedented transparency, thereby opening a totally new world of improving the working environment for our people, of analyzing our workload to initiate improvements, and, of identifying trends in our daily work to help our clients move faster. However, we need to adapt our “data skill set“ across the organization. We must never forget that ultimately, we are dealing with humans and not with machines.

(5) Lawyer well-being, sustainability & responsibility:
At the very center of everything we are doing are neither the formal roles, nor the tech solutions, nor budget optimization – but the people, the individual human beings. The pandemic and the digitalization force us to rethink the role of humans during all these discussions that are still led by technical and economic considerations. Once we start thinking about the humans, e.g., lawyer well-being, additional important topics, such as (environmental) sustainability, and corporate digital responsibility will automatically become visible as well. We will see an increased demand on answers on the question: What role will legal play within these discussions?

Most importantly Going Digital is a team sport! Understanding yourself as a part of a larger team and community is essential. Without the right blend of skills and mindsets, you won’t be able to cope with the challenges ahead. In fact, you will not be able to understand the challenges at hand or even foresee some of the most urgent topics. Let us face the challenges together!

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