Some say that COVID was a catalyst for change and a test on society’s response to a crisis. For many legal professionals, 2020 and into 2021 quickly changed from a year of business as usual, to a year of survival, and keeping your head above water. Currently, it is evident that the profession has accelerated the transformation of the legal industry. Organisations need to be prepared with an increasing importance of legal technology, coping with increased volume and complexity of information, and improving the client-firm relationship.
Legal departments are redefining what their KSPs (Key Selling Points) are; and have focused on attributes that showcase value for clients choosing a firm and how well the firm delivers their services and capabilities. Trust, specialisations, use of technology in providing quality service, and staff who demonstrate productivity and efficiencies. While the pandemic drives the need for remote and automated solutions, it likely helped accelerate organisation’s focus and with technology and skills as a top priority.
At The University of Law (ULaw), the faculty, staff and students had also been busy cultivating the legal talent for Hong Kong. ULaw hosted its Summer Law and Business Fair on the 14 July 2021, a face-to-face event highlighting the course programmes, dialogue on skills needed for today’s legal professional, employability and professional development skills. The evening had attracted a large contingency of astute legal students or soon-to-be students. The evening included presentations from the University and direct dialogue with industry leaders. With frequent questions being deliberated such as are the trends and priorities for the legal profession? ‘Learning to learn’ so individuals can capitalise on the ability to use technology to ensure performance and prepare themselves for post-COVID opportunities.
COVID is an epitome of a VUCA era – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous, among one of the talks that had been shared to a captive audience.
Individuals need to become more relevant and prepared to become academically and professionally ready, as the pandemic and a VUCA environment sent professionals out of the office and into their homes where they interacted remotely with clients, colleagues and the courts.
The evening also had representatives from LexisNexis, Justice Centre Hong Kong, Pro Bono HK Limited, The Hong Kong Schools Mooting and Mock Trial Association, and ULaw Student Ambassadors and the Asian Law Students’ Association – ULaw Chapter.
Mr Kim Lee, Director of Partnership Development said that: “There are many firms who are facing increased financial and cost pressures as a result of the pandemic, yet they continue to view technology as an important investment in their future ability to thrive. During a VUCA environment, it is crucial that students also invest not only in furthering their legal education, but also a variety of employability skills and non-traditional knowledge such as tech-based advancements”.
The outcome was clear, individuals need to invest in themselves in developing their knowledge and technology-based skills. As firms are focusing on technology solutions are essential to business resilience and client service. Graduates must also prepare themselves towards this evolving technology, client relations and skilled-staffing.
The workplace in the next five years will look very different to what we see today. As legal teams and corporations start to navigate the changes of the workplace, What do we need to learn and what should individuals be focusing on for their future? And, perhaps most important, what will it take to thrive in the post-pandemic?
The future legal profession will be focused on staffing skills, strong with organisational and client focus, technology Leaders will outperform in key areas of preparedness. The legal profession sees digital transformation and technology as critical to achieving better outcomes including improved services, productivity, efficiency and performance.
ULaw hosted a Speaker Seminar on the 26th August 2021, focusing on Future Lawyering: How Technology has Impacted the Legal Industry, and What’s Next, presented by Ms Stephanie Siu (Lecturer at ULaw Hong Kong and Project Manager & Legal Counsel, APAC at eBrevia) and Mr Abbas Khan (Director of Sales, EMEA at eBrevia). For further details on ULaw courses and forthcoming seminars and lectures to enhance your credentials and knowledge, visit website www.law.ac.uk/hong-kong.
Kim Lee is the Director of Partnership Development at The University of Law. Focusing on various remits including strategic partnerships, employability, alumni relations and the professions. Kim regularly works with business leaders, lawyers and the professions in Hong Kong, South East Asia, Greater China, UK and Australia. Prior to joining The University of Law, he was the Director for Medical Protection Society and ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales).