Law, where are you headed?

Today’s contribution to Dialogue is by Dr Eva Bruch of Spain. We first met when Eva engaged as a co-author in the online conversation that became NewLaw New Rules, my e-book on the NewLaw phenomenon. I am delighted to welcome Eva to Dialogue, more especially as she is the first contributor from western Europe.

I was recently reading an interview with Professor Matilde Cuena (@mcuenaca) in Juristas con Futuro in which she expressed the view that:

“Current times require new attitudes and skills such as the ability to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary work environments, emotional intelligence, financial management skills, proper management and project planning, optimal time management capacity, technological affinity and resilience.”

Among other issues, Matilde criticises the shorter duration of law degrees because of the breadth of the information to be taught, but she believes that the reforms themselves are sound, despite poorly implemented.

I agree with her on this, and I think it is a pity that the Spanish reforms have not seized the opportunity to introduce skills that are now essential in the daily life of a lawyer.

The legal services sector is undergoing fundamental changes in several aspects. One of these is the way legal services are delivered. New technologies are completely transforming the day-to-day work of lawyers, or at least should be doing so. These range from contract drafting and revision with machine learning, to how to plan and run a matter using legal project management (LPM) techniques. Artificial intelligence systems are already in use in the sector.

Where are you headed

Universities should include technology-based skills in training of the future lawyers of Spain, especially if we want a more competitive and efficient justice system in both public and private sectors. Other universities, like Suffolk University of Boston through its Institute for the Practice of Law, Technology and Innovation and Michigan State University with the appointment of Kenneth Grady, are already well advanced. For example, Ken Grady’s goal is to train lawyers with the minimum skills required (the T-shaped lawyer as defined in the American Bar Association), in addition to the essential legal skills to develop a successful career in their own benefit and that of society.

Matilde said in her interview, reflecting the changing trend:

“Many times I am asked for recommendations about our students. On one occasion I was expressly asked not to suggest the one with the most brilliant academic results. The employer preferred someone with lower results, but with other skills such as the ability to work in a team, be inclusive, and relate well to others. These are skills that are not taught in college and they are extremely important. Many times I have seen how some not very brilliant students succeeded because they were very savvy in other ways: They work hard and are affable with strong social skills.”

It is a fact that not all law students will be lawyers. Only 45% of Spanish graduates join the Lawyers Professional Association – 37% as practising lawyers and 16% as non-practising, according to the “Abogacía Española” report. For the rest, many are working in public administration, as judges, prosecutors, court clerks, etc. All would benefit from the above-mentioned skills, bringing a good deal to the administration of justice.

The reality is that the legal services sector requires professionals with more diverse skills than are currently taught. My concern is, where are we going to find them? Will we have to go outside Spain?



Eva Bruch is a Partner at +MoreThanLaw. She earned her PhD at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and has as a Law degree (UB) and an MBA (EADA).

Co-author of “Reflections on the importance of management in law firms” (Thomson Reuters) and “NewLaw New Rules: A Conversation about the future of the legal industry” (Beaton Capital), and several articles on management and technology applied to law firms. Eva is a frequent speaker at conferences on the future of the legal sector.

Eva worked as a lawyer at Morison ACPM and Pi Costa law firms. She joined, also as a lawyer, a center for LPO (Legal Process Outsourcing), providing technology-based legal services, assuming later a leadership role in marketing and business development.

More on law schools in Dialogue

Will traditional law schools be disrupted?


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