Enhancing your skill set
Enabling better decision-making
Embracing digital tools
Medicine makes a good analogy for this. As medicine has become more advanced over the last few decades, doctors have found themselves using more and more powerful Engelbart tool systems. But this development has not eradicated the need for doctors. Why? Because there is so much more to being a doctor than just the ability to sift through vast amounts of data and identify potential next actions for any particular case. These are capabilities machines have in abundance and they can be leveraged by doctors.
Doctors do not feel threatened by the ability of machines to look directly at a patient’s bone structure or flag a potential illness from a blood test. On the contrary, doctors embrace today’s digital tool system because they know it makes them better doctors.
Now, the same is happening with lawyers. The digital tool system used by lawyers has been somewhat stuck for the last two decades in the areas of document management and search and retrieval. Now, we are seeing rapid advances in the tool system with natural language interfaces, legal reasoning tools, predictive analytics, and so forth.
Digital tools: A distinct advantage for lawyers
Lawyers will adopt these more advanced tools, just as doctors did. The only lawyers who are threatened by these new tools will be the ones who do not keep pace with, and embrace, the advanced digital tool systems used by their peers. For this reason, it is crucial that lawyers don’t delay getting up to speed with the new tool systems that are currently emerging.
The reason being, we are seeing a period of very rapid “bootstrapping” in which the tools are becoming orders of magnitude better than their immediate predecessors. Lawyers who are not up to speed with this newly emerging tool system will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage very quickly.