Making of an Oreo Lawyer

by Juhi Pancholi

The future of the legal profession is a hot topic of discussions nowadays. Law students, professors, and attorneys are enthralled by the potential impact of technology in the legal space. But some suggest that technology, particularly artificial intelligence, will render lawyers’ services obsolete. Others insinuate that the emergence of Legal Process Outsourcing will inevitably lead to the death of lawyers in America. This very well could be the fate of the profession. But I am no Nostradamus to be predicting your future or mine.

But this is how I look at the situation:

We were born helpless. We couldn’t walk, talk, or even feed ourselves. But if you survived law school, then you can survive ANY catastrophe. So our discussions should pivot not around the extinction of lawyers but on our survival. This is not a do or die situation. Rather it is analogous to a Cupcake 1.5 versus Oreo 8.0 situation (Non-Android users might miss the cue here). The point I am trying to make is that we need to stop being a Cupcake and be an Oreo Lawyer 8.0 instead.

So who is an Oreo Lawyer 8.0?

He/ she is a modern age lawyer who doesn’t want to be helpless anymore, does not shy away from embracing technology, invests heavily in infrastructure that streamlines legal service delivery – all so as to improve client satisfaction in a caveat venditor market. He/ she is a lawyer who accepts that it’s time for a change because extinction occurs in the absence of adaptation. I call them Oreo lawyers because just like the cookie, lawyers today should possess multi-dimensional skill sets with “Law” placed at the center. These skills are the need of the hour because when Uber or Airbnb happens to the legal industry, we are well equipped to adjust the direction of our sails to survive the disruption.

He/ she is a modern age lawyer who doesn’t want to be helpless anymore

As many of you probably know, the elements of a large scale legal disruption are already in place: (1) advanced technology; (2) millions of unrepresented individuals and (3) clients clamoring for cheaper and faster legal services. A disruptive idea connecting clients to service providers in a faster, cheaper, and more efficient way maybe just around the corner but lawyers need not worry about their extinction. Because we, like cab drivers and hoteliers, might start working for companies with a new economic model and perhaps don varied job titles and responsibilities. Admittedly, technology is not an elixir, but it is a powerful enabler increasing access to justice to an enormous population of unrepresented individuals and possibly superior service to existing ones.

Benefits of being an Oreo Lawyer

  • Incorporating advanced technology in your workspace saves you time and money;
  • You work in multidisciplinary teams alongside attorneys, coders, and designers;
  • These tools will help you serve more clients while utilizing fewer resources;
  • We can save ourselves from becoming obsolete and get a life – fo sho.

This article was also published on LinkedIn by the author.