I recently came across an article that outlines a comprehensive list of skills for lawyers who will need to be agile, competitive and efficient in their practice to survive and succeed in today’s web 2.0 legal marketplace. Whether working solo, in a firm, or in-house, there is a steady awareness building (thankfully) that, as a profession, there are updated essential skills that we, as lawyers, should already have or had better start learning quickly.
While the full list of skills was gleaned from The Teaching of Law Practice Management and Technology in Law Schools: A New Paradigm, by Richard Granat and Steph Kimbro, who intended it for an audience on innovation in legal education– the author of the blog article I read titled the post, “A Practice Primer for the 21st Century Lawyer.” Both are evidence that these skills can and should first be taught in law school and that those of us in the field can build and brand ourselves as “agile superlawyers” by acquiring them now.
According to Jordan Furlong, the agile lawyer will rise as more flexible, multiple short-term engagement employment arrangements become commonplace. Also, the agile lawyer’s services will be multidisciplinary, technology-enabled, and streamlined—intelligently delivered in various platforms together with other professionals and skilled trades. However, just being agile is not going to cut it, next will be to focus in on a specific set of fresh “super” skills that will enhance and ensure success in the new age of legal services. They are:
- Digital lawyering and mastery of technology/smart tools, e.g. client portals, dashboards, collaboration and data management technologies
- Business development via social media channels, websites, blogs
- Ethical and savvy use of lead generation tools and websites for lawyers
- Ethical and intelligent use of online payment systems, e.g. Paypal, Square
- Innovative law firm business modeling
- Management of outsourced resources
- Project and program management
Really. Not that I expect us all to take on the herculean effort of mastering these skills and technologies overnight, but there will be a surge in new career opportunities for grads who are lucky enough to get exposure to them in law school—and more web 2.0 clients and secure employment for experienced attorneys that make them a priority in their practice today.