Can artificial intelligence and social intelligence co-exist?

Disruptive change in the legal profession has been unknown so far. Buzzwords like change management or business process redesign have been linked more to the industrial world than to the legal profession – however this is changing fundamentally.

The Watson-Technology of IBM is capable of scanning thousands of documents and linking them to the respective legal literature. Results form the basis for case interpretation of lawyers and decisions of legal experts are the benchmark for an independent technological development of the systems, says Andrew Arruda, CEO of Ross Intelligence, in the “Washington Post”. (derstandard.at/2000038441892/Der-Robo-Anwalt-kommt-noch-nicht)

Some start-ups seize the chances to offer a new kind of legal service for customers that have so far not been in the position to pay a high cost lawyer. They are already capable of scanning, analyzing and evaluating complex documents with algorithms that take hardly any time and cost only a fraction of what a legal expert would charge. (http://www.zeit.de/2016/40/legal-tech-algorithmen-juristen-ersatz/komplettansicht)

At the very moment the legal profession is overwhelmed by this wave of digital change and bears concerns for the ones impacted by it and high hopes for the ones initiating it.

So far an outlook of legal tech development… Now let’s have a closer look at the developmental needs of human lawyers.

If our systems and machines are capable of learning and developing independently – what is there for us left to do?

The fast progress of digitation in our workplaces makes us more and more aware how precious and vulnerable our personal relationships are. While algorithms reflect the development of artificial intelligence, the ability to build strong and trustful relationships reflects our social intelligence.

There is a special need on new ideas of leadership and communication and our personal development needs should place an emphasis on this to provide personal guidance and orientation in a digitised working environment.

Digitization makes it possible for law firms to effectively scan and evaluate complex documents and produce reliable legal results faster and cheaper. The profession of the lawyer as we know it today will change fundamentally. However this does not mean that a lawyer has less to do.  On the contrary! While machines take over the analysis of complex data, the lawyer can focus on what really matters for the clients – to establish a strong and trustful relationship and convey confidence as a subject matter expert.

The lawyer will have a better chance to step in at a very early stage of the business case and act as a sparring partner for clients. Thus the profession of lawyers will change from a “complex legal solution provider” to a trustful business partner who can relate to both – business and clients.

This “relationship building competence” will be the cornerstone of the personal development needs of lawyers – an ability only humans are capable of.

For the training & development market this means that we need to contribute in a different manner to the development needs of the legal profession.  While tools and techniques for leadership and communication are still valid, we need to emphasis a different aspect of these topics.

Changing perspectives, reflecting values and broaden horizons for inspirational leaders will be key to the on-going success of the legal profession.  The art of building trustful and long lasting relationships to both employees and clients will be incremental to the future success of law firms.

Innovative law firms will have to acknowledge this and adapt their organisational cultures respectively. At our center of excellence we focus on these elements of business & people development and advise our clients on how to deal with this change. (http://medved-fuenck.com)