Stopping a robot from taking your job means keeping your soft skills relevant, the audience heard at the recent Legal Innovation and Tech Fest in Johannesburg. Bernadette Wicks was there for Africa Legal.
As Africa and the world forge ahead into the fourth industrial revolution, the fear that new technologies, like artificial intelligence, will replace the need for a human workforce, continues to grow.
Consumer law specialist and co-founder of Novation Consulting, Elizabeth de Stadler says key to ensuring “no robot can take your place” is improving your soft skills.
De Stadler joined three others, including the Clicks Group’s head of legal, Matthew Welz, for a panel discussion on some of the disruptive trends that are driving the transformation of the legal sector, at the second annual Legal Innovation and Tech Fest, held in Johannesburg, earlier this month.
The 2019 Legal Innovation and Tech Fest, saw Africa Legal partner with The Eventful Group, to gather a diverse and pan-African delegation, for two days of stimulating debate and networking.
Says Thomas Pearson, the Chief Commercial Officer of the Africa Professional Services Group: “The need to bring African Legal audiences together to collaborate, share ideas and build networks has never been greater. The in-person nature of the event paired with Africa Legals’s extensive digital reach created a truly compelling opportunity and we look forward to working towards adding maximum value to the 2020 conference”.
With a global shift in focus from delivery of traditional legal services and advice, to managing an eco-system underpinned by technology organisations were finding themselves forced to consider what the future of legal service delivery would look like.
De Stadler and her fellow panellists delved into the legal service delivery model of the future and, moreover, the role of both technology and the lawyer, in that model.
And they all agreed that technology’s ‘value add’ – regardless of the form it took or the function it fulfilled in a firm’s day-to-day operations - was time.
“I think what tech does, is it gives you the luxury of time,” de Stadler said, “The product isn't, for example, automated advice. It’s freeing up your time, so that you can do your job better”.
“Our value is going to be in improving our soft skills, in the future. If you want to make sure that no robot can take your place, make sure that you possess one of the soft skills necessary to make a difference in your business,” she went on.
Welz echoed de Stadler’s thoughts on the matter.
He also pointed to new roles in organisations that were taking shape.
“The big changes I’ve seen in the inhouse landscape over the past five years has been the increased use of technology to take that drudge work off the table and with that, certainly in the last year or so, a whole lot more focus on having someone in an in-house team with a ‘legal ops’ type focus,” he commented.
“Having someone in your team whose job it is looking for tech and alternative ways of doing things, raises the awareness as to what’s out there. Having someone with a project management orientation - and who can speak a bit of ‘tech’ – also makes it much easier to bring onboard”.
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