The use of Legal Tech applications and new professional profiles in the legal sector

The use of Legal Tech applications and new professional profiles in the legal sector

No one imagined that something like this was going to happen in 2020, this is a sarcastic call of attention to all those who said, “2020 surprise me.” Please, the next time I say that… We’re going to throw him… (laughs). Lie, we will not throw anything at you, but definitely in this “NEW NORMAL”-definition that this author does not use – or “new normal”, for those who like English better, or “back to normal” – an expression that the author loves – and I must add back to normal but with an improved and recharged mindset.

Either way, the point is that in record time we have all taken different courses, requested demos from different applications and platforms, as well as we have written quite a bit using the expression “in COVID times” or “Post COVID”. This is not a criticism, it is only the different ways of reacting that we have adopted to deal with the pandemic and everything it brought with it, we have rethinkeddo  many thingsand, above all, we have dared to “RE THINKING” the pillars of the right on which we have built our legal and justice system, which apparently often does not satisfy the main users who are citizens.

The issue of the use – misuse and perhaps abuse – of Legal Tech solutions is important because by not being prepared or knowing in many cases what our own business is engaged in, what are the real needs of our users and what is the purpose of each of the existing solutions in the market, what usually happens is that we choose right and wrongfully the Legal Tech solutions that we consider to be “the best”, those that promise to solve life and streamline processes within law firms and legal teams, as well as those that we consider most innovative, the ones that have the best name, etc.

Indeed, believe it or not when it is not clear what each thing is for – and here a video series to learn more about it about Legal Tech – this kind of thing happens and we start spending money on solutions for which our teams are not yet ready,que no solucionan nuestros problemas- sino que los incrementan- y que lejos de promover la colaboración y los procesos de Up-skilling y Re- skilling mentioned above among people, they throw down what little could have been built.

As legalprofessionals, a large number have chosen to digitize processes, such as mailing, creatingmoderndatabases, and acquiring licenses or digital marketing services for their offices and even employing Legal Tech  (technologyapplied to simplify orenhance some tasks of the legal exercise).).

This is very good but from my point of view there is something that we are missing and that is thatadopting and implementing technologies without fully understanding themand,  worse,, without knowing the previous versions or the platforms on which they were based,does  not make much sense and perhaps here is the main problem.

Without going any further I put as an example the simple Word or PDF, many of us don’t use them fully and “throw the first stone who types perfectly well with all his fingers”-this is the part where I confess that I type fast but use all my fingers 100% well still costs me – then, I think it is necessary to recognize those gaps to start from there to identify the Legal Tech solutions that really serve us, and we recognize that it is important to learn to walk before running.

Moving on to the second topic that is a consequence of the first one mentioned in the title of this article, there are a number of lawyers, so-called disruptives – I prefer to call them rehabilitated   as Elizabeth de Stadler often says – those who have truly made the decision to REINVENT  themselves, since they have adopted the practices mentioned in the preceding paragraph, such as recognizing which Legal Tech solutions serve them and which do not, or recognizing that they must learn to enhance the use of existing ones before proceeding to experiment with new ones because they have understood that they must satisfy users, because they are the consumers of our services.

In that sense, these colleagues have given a turn of 90, 180 and even in some cases much more specific a turn of 360 degrees – that is,  they have completely reinvented themselves which is great – and really inspire and give a fresh sense and purpose to the practice of law; it is from  this reinvention in the roles of the lawyer and the legal exercise that we can identify los siguientes perfiles híbridos, para lo which I proceed to make an adaptation of the talk of my mentor and friend Andrés Botero, who in his talks of future, humanity and design comments about 4 profiles within which I will mention some hybrid roles that have been developing among lawyers – and not lawyers from the sectors that que se hahave reinvented  themselves,and who do not even know it- but there is already a name for what they have beendoing,  colleagues:

FIRST, TRAINERS. – They are those professionals who design systems from the human for their sustainability and self-management.

Its main areas of knowledge are: technology, engineering, design systems, product and data. They create diverse and inclusive technology, and algorithms, understand the human and business impact.

Within this space I allow myself to highlight the role of legal engineers, whose function is to interact between legal and technological professionals in order to build software to interpret, enforce or demonstrate compliance with the law. Some legal engineers are developers or data scientists who developed an interest in legal processes.

I also highlight the Legal Project Managers, who have the role of leading teams, estimating budgets and managing economic and human resources. In addition ,they make workplans,  and manage multiple tasks broken down into multiproject environments.

SECOND THE FUTURISTS. – Someone who builds future scenarios and imagines fictions; who helps anticipate and design for post-normal times. Being his areas of knowledge:  prospective, design fiction, business, strategic design, service design, history, art, design.

They do not intend to predict, but because of their strong knowledge and specialty in the field and sector, and even  multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral knowledge, they can anticipate the trends and things that may occur when asked to do so by their customers, either to choose the future that they think is the best option – viable, sustainable and with the greatest positive impact – or whatever they want to be able to create it and / or redesign the context in that sense.

Normally,   they are usually high-end consultants, with quite seniority and that have already advised, not necessarily large companies, but they do lead companies in the technology sector and that lead their own projects, collaborative, or work with governments in some cases in regulatory initiatives or regional impact, but that above all have a wide network of contacts, mastery of several languages and are generally characterized by being able to provide a holistic perspective of the global seniority landscape. Son the right arm of many decision makers worldwide,  founders and  investors of all levels.

The most important thing to consider is that “… When someone becomes futuristic, they begin to question everything they do and their impact on society…”

THIRD: ETICISTS.- Someone who builds value judgments about technological impact, product decisions and other design outcomes.

His areas of knowledge are: philosophy, technology, design, product, anthropology  and  sociology.

They greatly analyze human behaviors to determine whether they are directed towards good or evil in itself, how they affect us and the decisions that should or should not be made.

Here I should highlight the role of the Legal Operations Manager, which in addition to the “… Obvious functions of the name, such as caring for external advisors and suppliers, many legal operations managers also oversee the budgets and staff of the legal department. They have implemented electronic invoicing systems and electronic contracts and other technological initiatives. In some cases, they can also monitor the diversity and pro bono programs that the firm wants to promote…”

Actually, all of us who operate with the law, servants of the public justice system, legal technologists who comply with this profile, but above all the jurists – who by their function, whether private or public, have issued value judgments or have had to do so as the exposed case of Legal Ops – can also be considered in this category.

FOURTH: THE HUMANISTS. – Someone who observes the human as a design object, as a challenge and anticipates and monitors the human impact of technology. His areas of knowledge are mainly: strategic design, psychology, sociology, philosophy and technology.

It incorporates relationships between people and how technological change will affect us.

This is undoubtedly the place where you find the designer friends and where “with enough UI & UX” you get the wonderful intersection between technology, design and law, a role for you not only understand the technology but are in love with it and take it to the next level where you can visualize, create and design – after identifying pains and problems – viable, friendly and understandable solutions by all that allow full access to justice for all end consumers and users of the law who are nothing more and nothing less than us, people, starting even – and in addition – with the redesign of the training of lawyers from law schools.

In this field I highlight the role of legal designers – lawyers and non-lawyers  – who help us with all their nuances,, because in the end we focus on making everything simpler, friendlier and more  accessible since a right that is not understood generates problems that translate into misconduct..

We discussed and analyzed behavior in depth, as well as in high procedural burden, among other disjunctions that would not arise if in principle laws were carefully designed using the scientific method and applying  any other science, discipline or an art approach to law. This does us no less lawyers, let alone makes us bad lawyers, simply invites us and gives us license to think outside the box and devise differently than “normal”  (that word displeases me and worse the new normal).).

The end of that line we go, being normal is not bad but maybe it was time to discard    things, recycle others, redesign others and create so many others, not by looking for an eureka moment but for that encouragement to make things better for – and although it sounds idealistic – to create a better world where as operators and users of law we have a high role and responsibility.

With all of the above, I believe that we must focus and focus our forces on “working hard to ensure that technology fits our values.” Technology is neither neutral nor objective, it needs human intervention to be designed, and that is precisely why technologies have biases and it is important that we understand this and guide our training as lawyers in that regard. With this I believe I have good news regarding our robot friends or artificial intelligence which, in my opinion, precisely because of the biases mentioned, will be able to become neither objective nor neutral; but will continue to serve humanity and, in this case, the practice of law. I fear that it will not be able to match our wonderful humanity and ethical sense, which varies from one individual to another.

Finally, I invite you to reflect on what you are doing with your legal practice to this day: reflect on whether you have reinvented yourself, if you wish to reinvent yourself and, in that process, wonder about the kind of purpose accompanied. Cito here to another friend and mentor Luis Félix,  founder of   beta status,   who usually says “neither the lack of time, nor any other excuse is enough when we really want to learn and that we never lose that”. By virtue of this, let us look to where we want to guide our de practice,, while recognizing and learning from those who are already within the afore mentioned profiles,  who are on the way to formation and those who may appear, because we create the future now.


Karol Valencia

Legal Project Leader & Legal Service Designer at Electronic Identification-eID

Liquid Legal Designer at Lawcus- Legal Project Management