Future of Law was sponsored by Legal Tech Lab (University of Helsinki), Fondia ja Dottir, was organized by Future Female on 8.3.2018 in Tiedekulma. The speakers in the event were Riikka Koulu, Assistant Professor at Helsinki University and one of the founders of Legal Tech Lab who covered the topic of legal digitalization, co-founder of Dottir Attorneys Ltd. Johanna Rantanen who presented her thoughts about the future of legal work and the Legal Advisors from Fondia Nea Welling ja Sini Majlander who discussed the complex nature of the work of the “Tomorrow’s Lawyers”.

You can also watch recording from the event below

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5Qc4FFmpoo]

Digitalization is a trend that is currently affecting every aspect of human life: work, people, businesses and markets. At Future of Law lawyers from law firms and University of Helsinki talked about how digitalization will change law: how legal tech tools can help make law better, what is the future of legal work and what is expected from the lawyer of tomorrow.

Legal Tech Tools

Currently a lot is expected from legal digitalization, and University of Helsinki’s Legal Tech Lab is aiming to help define what legal digitalization actually is and tries to find ways to move from hype to reality so that people could find help in the legal tech tools.

Today the reality is that Google and email are considered the most important legal tech tools although more detailed and effective tools such as Online Dispute Resolution tool (ODR platform) by European Union have been developed.

According to Riikka Koulu from the Legal Tech Lab the ODR platform is an example of a well designed tool that people just have not started to use in big numbers. The ODR platform is free of charge and provided in many different languages but only few people have started to use the tool since it was launched in 2016.

Riikka Koulu suggests that well designed legal tech tools with proper implementation can help make the law better as the people could find legal help through such proper tools quickly and promptly.

The Future of Legal Work

Johanna Rantanen from Dottir focused in her speech on how digitalization may affect legal work such as the nature of legal contracts and how they are crafted. Traditionally the legal contracts are written for court in case there will be a dispute.

However, in the modern society other stakeholders will also need to understand the content of legal contracts. Today the law too has a user. The changing needs for law affect how legal work is done, and currently some work methods have already been copied from designers and software developers.

The future of legal work will also try to find solutions to the slow and expensive nature of traditional legal work, and Johanna Rantanen noted that in the future the legal work should be more human-centered, multi-disciplinary and diverse as well as tech-centered with iterative working methods.

Tomorrow’s Lawyers

Due to the cost-efficiency of digitalization Nea Welling and Sini Majlander from Fondia presented grim figures that up to 50 % of junior lawyers’ work could disappear in the future, and as a result more and more lawyers’ work will be at risk.

To be more cost-efficient and effective the tomorrow’s lawyers need to concentrate on more demanding legal analysis. The changing nature of legal work also requires that the lawyers of the future need to master social skills, negotiation skills and presentation skills as well as embrace life-long learning and combine different kinds of work profiles including possessing technical skills.

In the panel discussion at the end of the event all the speakers agreed that the digitalization of legal work will affect both the lawyers and other professionals working with law. The panelists had differing thoughts about if technology will bring more jobs than take away and if the lawyers of the future should know how to code. However, they almost unanimously agreed that the coders should be able to read the law.

 The Finnish version for the ODR platform can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr/main/index.cfm?event=main.home2.show&lng=FI

Writer: Laura Tynninen, laura.tynninen@espoonasunnot.fi

Laura works in real estate and is interested in learning how digitalisation is affecting life both at home and at work.