By Adedoyin Pearse,
Like many other industries in today’s world, the legal profession has been and is undergoing radical changes.
Today’s legal marketplace has witnessed modern trends in globalisation, the emergence of new practice areas in information and communication technology, intellectual property law etc., changing client preferences from delivery of pure legal services to integrated business solutions, the development of new skill sets to perform the emerging roles for lawyers in the evolving legal landscape, and new technologies that are fast transforming the world of work today, among other developments.
To keep up with the demands of a digitally changing world, some law firms and in-house legal departments in several jurisdictions (including Nigeria) have already begun deploying technology to perform routine tasks like legal research, drafting and review of contracts and legal documents as well as for more sophisticated functions like using artificially intelligent chatbots to communicate with clients, and the use of predictive analytical tools in litigation practice to analyse the extensive volume of data that litigators must sort through to develop winning strategies for their cases.
The adoption of recent technological advancements in legal practice has clearly resulted in the efficient delivery of top-notch legal services at a much faster and cost-efficient rate.
Although most stakeholders in the Nigerian legal industry were until recently quite sceptical of, and slow to embrace various technological tools to aid their practice of law, the COVID-19 pandemic has however accelerated the impending digitalisation of the industry.
The ongoing digital transformation of the legal industry not only reflects the new face of legal practice but critically points to the need for all stakeholders to embrace the broader changes taking place in the industry globally; and the need to reform our system of legal education to adequately prepare lawyers for legal services delivery in the 21st century. State of legal education in Nigeria
Despite the realities of today’s legal marketplace, the system of legal education in Nigeria has remained mostly unaffected. The current curricula are unsuited to prepare lawyers for the fast-paced and rapidly evolving world we live in characterised by globalisation, fast-changing markets, new technologies and a […]
Buy Photos Students at UNC’s School of Law will provide free legal services over spring break with its pro bono program. Heel Talk episode eight: Tackling food insecurity, hurricane preparation during COVID-19 Kelley said this project addresses nonprofits’ legal concerns related to CARES Act loans and loan forgiveness, real estate issues and employment law, as well as other legal questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s great demand for legal services, partly helping nonprofit organizations get access to federal relief funds under the CARES Act,” Kelley said. “For some nonprofit organizations, they are in such crisis mode, they haven’t even been able to pick up the phone to call us or anyone else for help.”
Martin Brinkley, dean of the law school and Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor of Law, also acknowledged the need to provide legal services for nonprofits, and said the project gives law students the opportunity to acquire experience.
“Nonprofits are the backbone to North Carolina communities and this project allows law students to gain hands-on experience while providing pro-bono services to these organizations who desperately need help,” Brinkley said in an email statement.
Jake Farrell, a law student working on the project, said many students’ plans for the summer were canceled due to rescinded job offers because of the pandemic.
“This COVID project from UNC Law School has provided an opportunity for students who would have otherwise worked with other employers an opportunity to get really hands-on substantive legal experiences,” Farrell said.
As part of the project, law firms Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton — soon to be Troutman Pepper — are helping to mentor law students.
Walter Fisher, partner at Troutman Sanders, said they hosted a two-day training session over Zoom, and now offer weekly office hours to answer students’ questions.
“We thought it was an appropriate and fitting way for our firms to make the contribution to the greater good during what is a very difficult time,” Fisher said.Kelley said that though this project is only scheduled for eight weeks during summer, the need for the services being provided will likely continue past the program.“In some cases, our perception is that […]
Dina Megretskaia If you’ll be attending law school in the evenings while working during the day, and are searching for advice on how to succeed as an evening 1L from someone who has been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale — hi! Being an evening law student felt markedly different from my undergraduate and master’s degree experiences, and I find that’s a universal observation. Before I started law school, I tried to map out hour-by-hour how I could fit work, classes, studying, life, sleep, and adulting into the 168 hours we each have per week. I had no idea if my estimates for time to study were realistic, but I knew that I needed to be savvy with my time, and set up systems that I’d have a good chance of following even when life outside of school was crazy.
I love data, so here’s how my studying hours panned out. Note: these are concentrated, intense hours of studying. On a weekend day that was mostly dedicated to studying, I could typically only manage 5 such hours. Under more extreme circumstances (like week 11, with two midterms and a big legal research & writing assignment due, I eked out more, still not exactly sure how). Pure will, I guess!
The first semester of law school worked out well for me (and I survived the second semester, which went online and pass/fail), but I really didn’t understand what going to law school would be like until I was there. Before school started, reading advice books and posts from law students gave me hope that I too could do this law school thing. However, advice for traditional students dominated, since us evening students are vastly outnumbered. I hope this speaks to evening students who are now in the same boat that I was, not too long ago!
Caveat 1: Human Biases (Take/leave this advice as desired)
I, like everyone who’s not superhuman, look back on lots of my choices and think they were more amazing and purposeful than they were. Hey, we all gotta feel good about where we end […]
Image courtesy Anjie Vichayanonda Instead of a hot date, you hopefully end up with a job.
Anjie Vichayanonda was an intellectual property lawyer for five years, most recently as an associate with the trademark practice group at Haynes and Boone. As a first-generation Asian-American, she found professional mentorships to be key to her success. So much so, that she decided to give up her law practice to make an app for that. Leg Up Legal seeks to partner practicing attorneys with prospective and current law students, to help them navigate the tricky waters that Vichayanonda eventually decided to extricate herself from.
The reach of the app is nationwide, and participants meet virtually through video chat. Universities pay for yearly subscriptions on behalf of their students, or students can subscribe individually for $19.99 per month. She’s now being approached by law schools like Stanford and Berkeley, which are desperate to find creative ways to connect students with professional opportunities in a physically distant world.
I chatted with the entrepreneur about the importance of mentorship and the challenges of the legal profession. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
This app is fascinating to me, because there has long been a criticism of the legal profession that it needs to go back to more of an apprenticeship model, a med school kind of model. I remember when I showed up for my first job as a lawyer with Legal Aid, and I was supposed to draft a divorce petition. And I walked up to my secretary and was like, “Do you have a form for this?” And she was just stunned that a kid straight out of law school would have no concept of how to actually practice law.
I know this sounds crazy, but you could literally go through every single gateway to our profession and still have no idea whether you will be a good lawyer. You can take the LSAT — that doesn’t tell you jack about whether you will be a good student when you get into law school. And law school itself is mostly an academic exercise. […]
The Hotshot team has put together a list of ways we can support law students and lawyers with remote training and learning.
We’d like to help in any way we can — whether you’re a law school student who wants to learn the basics of M&A and litigation , a law firm that’s trying to design engaging remote training programs for the summer and fall, or a pro bono organization giving advice to clients in need.
(For anyone not familiar with Hotshot : we help lawyers and law students develop their legal, business, and technology skills through short videos, quizzes, and outlines and we help law firms and law schools plan and deliver engaging training programs. Our customers include Am Law 100 and 200 firms, top law schools, and regional and international firms.)
For Law Students and Schools: Free, Unlimited Access to Hotshot
Current law school students and faculty members can sign up at our website to receive immediate, free access to our more than 150 short courses covering corporate, litigation, business acumen, and technology topics. Faculty members: Please contact us if you’d like to discuss ways to incorporate digital learning into your classes, clinics, or career services programs. We offer lesson plans, hypos, model curriculums, and more. We’re working with a lot of schools and would like to help in any way we can.
For Law Firms: eBook on Remote Training for Associates and Help with Virtual Training Programs
To help firms plan and deliver engaging remote training programs, we published this free eBook: Remote Training for Associates. The eBook is for PD teams, recruiting teams, and partners. It provides: Tips and strategies for implementing effective synchronous and asynchronous remote training programs
Remote training guides to help plan engaging remote group training programs
Model curriculums for M&A, litigation, and business acumen programs Advice from partners and PD leaders Self-directed learning paths for summers and associates (even if a firm’s summer program has been canceled) We’re offering free consultations on the issues covered by the book, and the book is designed to be helpful whether or not your firm is a […]