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Dawn’s Debrief: CLOC 2024 - Part 2

The New Legal Professional: Navigating a Technology-Driven Landscape


By Dawn Kabiri Following our coverage of the technologies unveiled at  CGI 2024 in Part 1, this second installment of our comprehensive three-part series shifts our focus to how the legal profession itself is adapting to new operational demands and technologies.



The transformation in the role of legal professionals was a major topic of the conference, influenced heavily by the integration of technology into everyday legal functions. Technological advancements and increased adoption are not just changing how legal tasks are performed; they're reshaping career paths within legal departments and necessitating a new set of skills focused on tech-savviness and strategic thinking.

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Automating Legal Tasks: One of the central themes at CGI 2024 was how new automated tools that use natural language processing to interpret and organize large volumes of information significantly reduce the time required for tasks such as document review, due diligence, and even legal research. This automation not only increases efficiency but also reduces the likelihood of human error, enhancing the overall reliability of legal processes.

Concerns around job security could still be heard in hushed voices huddled in the corridors after sessions, but most attendees seemed to be accepting of this change and even optimistic for new, more strategic and critical-thinking-heavy opportunities. As routine tasks are automated, the focus shifts to strategic and creative legal work. This shift demands a higher level of collaboration and communication within teams as members combine their expertise to tackle complex legal challenges.


Thus, in a glass-half-full view, with automation, the role of the legal professional expands beyond individual contributions to more collaborative problem-solving efforts, with the opportunity to work more closely with cross-functional clients and partners in achieving strategic business objectives.

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Training and Upskilling: As new technologies permeate the legal sector, professionals are required to adapt by developing skills that complement these advanced tools. The successful adoption of these technologies requires a new breed of legal professionals who are as comfortable with tech solutions as they are with legal principles.


Recognizing the shift towards a more technologically integrated practice, CGI 2024 showcased various training programs aimed at upskilling legal professionals. These ongoing education and training programs cover areas such as AI ethics, data security, and the use of predictive analytics in legal settings. The goal is to prepare legal professionals not just to use technology effectively but to understand its implications fully and navigate the associated risks.


Speakers also highlighted the emergence of roles like Legal Technology Strategist and Data Compliance Officer, emphasizing the shift towards more specialized positions within legal teams. Panel discussions provided insights into how other traditional roles are being transformed, with legal professionals increasingly taking on strategic advisory roles within businesses, influenced by their ability to leverage technology for enhanced data analysis and risk management. These roles reflect the interdisciplinary nature of modern legal challenges, where law intersects with data analysis, technology management, and business strategy.

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Cultural Shifts in Legal Departments: A recurring discussion at CGI 2024 revolved around the cultural shifts necessary to integrate new technologies into traditionally stubborn legal practices and processes. Leaders in legal operations spoke about creating an environment that fosters innovation and continuous learning as crucial for leveraging technology to achieve strategic goals. They emphasized the importance of leadership support in championing technological adoption and change management. This requires a transformational leadership style that encourages innovation, supports risk-taking, and fosters an environment of continuous improvement and adaptation.


Additionally, a significant cultural shift discussed often this year was the move towards data-driven decision-making. Legal departments are increasingly relying on Legal Operations KPIs, metrics, and data analytics to guide their actions and strategies. This shift requires a culture that not only understands and values data but also knows how to effectively interpret and utilize this information to drive legal and business outcomes.

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As we close this discussion on the evolving roles of legal professionals, it's clear that data and technology are two of the most powerful drivers of change in the modern legal department. Our next and final part in the coverage of CGI 2024 will examine how the changes inform advanced legal operations, positioning the legal department as integral to corporate strategy and decision-making.

 

About the Author Dawn Kabiri is Director of Legal Operations and Consulting at InfiniGlobe, a software technology and consulting company headquartered in Newport Beach, California. InfiniGlobe offers a broad range of professional services and software solutions for the legal industry. #DawnKabiri #CLOC24 #debrief #legalops #trends #automation

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