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The importance of re-skilling and up-skilling to achieve true transformation of the legal sector

By Karol Valencia.

"Every day we learn something new", that's true or no?, I think the answer should be yes, but the truth is that it depends and even in the middle of "interesting times" and "a globalized world" I think unfortunately we don't all feel like learning something new every day- literal even though the information is in front of us just a click away- and that's something because whenever we think about why a country doesn't progress, or that one sector does not modernize or does not improve, we often blame the other – and when I say another I mean literal to any entity or person - in any way the culprit is always a third party and the excuses not to learn something new daily unfortunately have enough and range from the most extreme cases linked to precarious realities where perhaps it is even more difficult to learn for various reasons , but also - and they won't let me lie - there are cases and realities where there are absolutely all the facilities and simply because we love the status quo we don't force ourselves to follow advice or say that we've heard so many times and that we've even dared to suggest that every day we learn or you should learn something new.

In any way I proceed to explain why to quote this phrase at the beginning and that is that new realities and challenging times require professionals- of all sectors- who are encouraged to go out into their comfort zone and make the decision to reinvent themselves- our legal sector is no exception, the opposite is already time for us to put "the batteries" and try to adopt a different mentality , that we encourage ourselves to "cure" again and why not learn, learn new things or resume some that we enjoy a lot but by the system, work, time and other circumstances we leave aside and that are not necessarily linked to our legal exercise but that allow us to reconnect with ourselves, rediscover the reason for our decision to work for access to justice and provide freshness and different perspectives of other sciences , disciplines, arts and fields of knowledge - practical and theoretical - that allow once and for all to transform and redesign the legal and judicial system in order to ensure that the right reaches all corners and can be invoked and exercised by all users and interested in these services.

What have professionals and entities – in the private or public sector – done about it?

Some have reinvented themselves and others seek to reinvent themselves, but how they achieve that feat through two important processes called Re-Skilling and Up-Skilling, these training processes allow for a retraining of the members of the organizations in certain so that they enhance knowledge already acquired as well as train the teams in new skills that have become relevant in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution and digital transformation, that becomes more exponential and digital every day in order to retain talent and not cease it but on the contrary the members of the organizations – in this case the legal teams of companies or law firms – can adapt to the changes and perform their work effectively according to the new standards and expectations.

First of all we have the Up-Skilling.- which comes to be a kind of "additional training". This means training the worker in subjects –they’ve already known fully or of which they already has notions and puts into practice in his day to day – to help him to perform more effectively the tasks of his job, without having to develop a mixed profile, simply with the aim of doing his job better.

For example we would have another group of legal operators who in many cases do not handle the subject of typing that is basic when it comes to being able to type and write faster the different writings, or who perform repetitive tasks in Word formats, but that because they lack some basic knowledge, I did say basic knowledge, such as the handling of the Microsoft Word program and all its functionalities ,-when I say all really are all that even and not yet develop automated formats or systems that allow them to develop their tasks with greater efficiency and quality and at this point I emphasize the fact that not by using the newest platform or the latest version of some program we are already innovating, re-skilling focuses more on training professionals in skills that allow them to better develop their work and be up to date with the management of the tools considered as basic to fully and quality their work.

Secondly we will talk about the Re-Skilling.- which is nothing more than the "professional recycling of workers". As we have seen above, this phenomenon arises mainly from the digitization of companies, which makes it inevitable that the worker acquires new technological skills to carry out his work correctly taking into account the technological agents that have been included in the process.

For example here we can mention hybrid profiles of digital lawyers- those who understand and apply technology to their processes to digitize them and save time on repetitive tasks, among others, optimizing their work- , highlight the lawyers who have been interested in learning hard skills such as design, code, programming, processes, among others, as well as the famous "soft skills" that go far beyond the mere leadership of teams, emphasizing empathy and resiliency, all of this is even more enhanced when the legal operator enters into the curiosity to learn from other disciplines and sciences such as behavioral sciences, anthropology, philosophy, as well as languages that actually give it the tools needed to create, design, redesign and develop true solutions – measuring their impact on society – varied and ingenious that satisfy the people and users of the justice services and that are really useful to them to solve problems.

This process of re-skilling of course is the most complex because it requires a lot of desire to learn, curiosity and critical sense to be able to determine how or ways these new knowledges will allow us to power what you already know and will become a differential representative of our provision of services and jobs to other colleagues and services already in place in the market, in the midst of a landscape that seems to foster competitive but where those who really have a holistic reach understand the importance of synergies and that within organizations because they are at a more specific and enhanced level of re-skilling, they become mentors and/or facilitators of these skills for their peers and team members from legal areas , law firms and other spaces where multidisciplinary teams converge – as well as diverse in every way – always with a view to [1] generating solutions that are useful and provide value for the organization, but above all for the people for whom they work.

Some of these profiles are that of the legal designer (both product and services), the leader of legal projects, the legal engineer, the legal or legal operations manager, the cybersecurity specialist, the legal technologist, among others and the new profiles that will appear when we understand that everything is linked if we connect it appropriately and put it at the service of others.

Finally I would not like to finish this article by indicating the following, I particularly think that every day we can learn something new and we should try to write down what we have learned - however simple it is - to enhance and practice it but above all we should put it to the service of others and share it with others – and I do not just mean our teams - I mean the communities, that particularly changed my life a few years ago when I started frequenting them [2] and where I really ended up reinventing myself because there you not only learn, but put into practice what you have learned, the popular "learning by doing" and in which to the extent that you acquire seniority -I particularly do not believe in experts in the legal sector and less of technology because both sectors are so chameleons and changeable as they are dense as they are , because they are updated and changed daily and in the case of regulation in a not-so-organized way, because technology is often neat in that aspect-, but I do believe that there are specialties and specialists who have proven to be true futurists with critical sense of the sector in which they operate and that in innovation and other sciences have found tools that they apply and that in addition to simplifying their work, making it more efficient, are ethical when it comes to using technology and many of them see not a part but the whole, they value the impact of the use of technology on the business, in their profession but above all in the transformation of the legal sector that continues to reinvent itself and I sincerely hope that it will remain in that line , but that function is the responsibility of each one because in each legal operator or team member there is the decision to practice accountability and "take charge" of their constant and daily learning, let us remember that "whoever wants can" and amen.


[2] I recommend you take a look at the following: Management 3.0, en estado Beta e Intercomunidades, nice initiative that includes representatives from several communities, legal hackers, lean Kanban latam, service design club, hazte cargo, R-ladies, Data Science for business, WIT, among others


About the Author Karol Valencia is Founder & Legal Designer at WOW Legal Experience for Start-ups and Legal Industry, Legal Project Leader at eID, Business Development Manager at Change The Block, Legal Advisor at Digmak , and Ambassador of ILSA Alliance


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