The skills of 21st century lawyers


Like other professions, the legal profession has evolved in recent years and, like other sectors, has been particularly influenced by globalization and technology.

In relation to globalization, on the one hand, there is a greater need to offer legal services of greater international scope and there are also more and more law students who travel to another country to receive this training and who will practice their profession in different jurisdictions throughout the year. of his career.

As it regards the technology has a great influence on the way legal services are delivered and the management of law firms and legal departments of companies that can now benefit from tools that make their work more efficient .

The most relevant skills for the professional market in the year 2022 are, according to the report of the World Economic Forum :

  • Analytical thinking and innovation.
  • Active learning and learning strategies
  • Creativity, originality and initiative

And these are precisely some of the skills that law students should acquire throughout their studies.

Universities are adapting to these changes in the market, and we see examples of Law programs, inside and outside Spain, which give more room for the international element and technology.

There is still a long way to go and there are opportunities for law schools that decide to lead the adaptation to the legal market and excel in internationalization and technology applied to legal services.

Exchanges and joint programs

Some examples, in relation to internationalization, are exchanges of students or professors, joint programs between universities from two or more countries or the introduction of law subjects from other jurisdictions.

The programs with a marked international focus will be the most demanded by the lawyer of the XXI century, those who offer in the totality of their content (in all their subjects and courses) a global approach, through for example Comparative Law. Some faculties of Law that follow this model are McGill in Canada , Tilburg and Maastricht in Holland and IE Law School in Spain.

In relation to technology, some programs add technical subjects such as programming, but the most ambitious programs are those that focus on teaching the application of technology to improve legal services, known as legal tech .

The more traditional teaching methods, such as the lecture, do not fit very well with the new tendencies in the formation of lawyers with an international focus and which include knowledge of legal tech .

Law schools that follow these trends follow more interactive teaching methods, such as the case method , through which students have to learn to solve a hypothetical case.

Also the learning system through problem solving is the one that follows some of the aforementioned law faculties and that fits very well to a global law teaching with a comparative law approach.

Complementing legal training with subjects from other areas is always interesting, since it adds an element of multidisciplinarity to programs that are in themselves very technical.

Some programs offer training in business administration (accounting or finance) or in economics, which fits very well in most degrees and legal masters. Subjects such as entrepreneurship and the humanities are some of which include the law programs of IE Law School.

In addition, the subjects that contribute a greater international character (Comparative Law, Introduction to the Common Law or Introduction to Chinese Law) affect the international element in programs that originally had a marked national character, making them more attractive for the candidates and for the legal market. And those that train students in the use of technology are a current trend that brings a lot of value to future graduates.

Author Bio: Soledad Atienza is Vice Dean IE Law School at IE University