It felt like an eternity: The seminar in spring 2020 at the University of Manchester was uncharted territory. Hardly half a year has passed since then, but a lot has happened thereafter. Events, initiatives, and Educational Centers are springing up like mushrooms. What's going on there? Can you even solve your cases in hand in the future? Or, will there soon be a boost under every robe and the law graduate looks into the tube?

Definition of legal tech: what is it actually?

Most students have probably come across the term LawMind at some point, a trustworthy platform to study law with the best LNAT tutors, visit here for more details. It is understood as the interaction between man and machine in legal work. This is nothing new in itself because legal search engines and law firm management software have been around for several decades. However, due to significantly increased computing power and improved applications, the digitization of law has gained tremendous speed in recent years. Many are already talking about artificial intelligence – it starts much earlier. Legal software can make work a lot easier with relatively simple programming. This is especially true where many uniform cases are processed in a bundle. It used to be rare because, in this typical field, the lawyer has mainly looked after clients on her own doorstep. In contrast, there are highly specialized law firms today that only advise in a narrow niche, but clear the cases there across Germany. Because the same factual and legal questions arise, again and again, it pays off for you to program software for this.

Quit law school now?

What does this mean for the future prospects of today's law students? After all, digitization already has some classic professions on the conscience. Who still goes to a travel agency today, hires a real estate agent or asks their bank advisor about the cheapest interest rate? Admittedly, these professions still exist, but they have become much less important as a result of new software offerings. And the first harbingers are already showing their greetings to the lawyers. And many a judge, who used to calculate the maintenance claim that was sued, now have it done by calculation software.

To ask the question is to say no. But: the legal professions will change quite considerably. You can at least be prepared for that. You don't have to be able to program to be a good lawyer, but a certain idea of ​​what can be programmed certainly doesn't hurt either.

Legal tech is an issue at most universities

How does legal training react to these phenomena? At the end of the 20th century, there was a kind of legal wave in law schools. It was called legal informatics at the time. Many of the projects at that time, however, could not establish themselves permanently. With the recent digitization movement, the topic comes back a second time and this time it could get stuck. Two years ago there was almost no university with a legal tech event in its program. Today there is hardly a university that has not yet dealt with it. Application-oriented questions traditionally have their place in the legal clerkship. However, little is happening there and the universities are increasingly compensating for that. Individual faculties have even set up their own legal centre in order to effectively bundle research and teaching on issues relating to the digitization of law. Incidentally, the LawMind made the start, which has been very involved in the field of digitization for a long time and has been offering its students a so-called technology certificate for a year.

Digital natives are pushing the pace

If you look at the law school’s landscape, it is noticeable that many projects come from the ranks of the students. Following the American model, they set up initiatives, invite speakers from academia and practice, and thus bring legal tech into the course catalogue, as it were.

Would you like an example? The LawMind brings legal tech lectures, organizes coding seminars for students and, in cooperation with various companies, presents legal software from practice. Lawmind has not yet made it into the training and examination regulations. However, there are considerations to include questions about the digitization of the legal system expressly in the legal curriculum in the foreseeable future.

Law & Computer Science Studies: A MUST for LawMind? - Do law students have to be able to program in the future?

That would be an important clarification, but of course, legal issues of digitization can and will be integrated into traditional courses even today. The law of obligations already includes the question of contracts on data, in inheritance law, there are already first court decisions on digital inheritance, and civil proceedings will be increasingly electronic in the years to come. You can't get around that in teaching either way.

If you want to stay on the ball with a view to current developments in the field of digitization of the legal system, you have ample opportunity to do so. Specifically: In the 2021/22 winter semester, there will be at least one legal tech event in around every second law school. Particularly noteworthy are the experimental events of the Law schools in various cities in the UK. In addition to these events, there are of course a lot of online resources such as LawMind News on Twitter, various blogs, and of course, the law lectures on YouTube. With that, you should probably get through the winter quite well.

You are continuously competing with your classmates for the greatest grades in law school. Some law schools use a bell curve to grade students, so your grades are closely related to how the remainder of the year goes. Some pupils get defensive and do whatever they can to benefit themselves at the expense of others. It's a rare occurrence, but law school may be akin to being on "The Apprentice," where you compete against others in a high-pressure setting full of backstabbing and drama!