Soft Skills: How to Future-Proof a Career in Law

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Assistant Dean Toni Jaeger-Fine shared her expert opinion with LL.M. Guide on the ways technology will help improve the work and growth of emerging lawyers.

It was once unthinkable that routine corporate legal work could become automated in a sector seen as generally risk averse. That, however, is the new reality facing law firms. A PwC report found that in the next two decades about 114,000 legal jobs are likely to be automated, on top of 31,000 jobs that have already been lost.

However, automation is most likely to come for lower-level employees doing most of the grunt work for the equity partners. Artificial intelligence (AI) frees attorneys up to do more bespoke and interesting tasks, says Toni Jaeger-Fine, assistant dean at Fordham Law School in New York City.

“When I was a junior litigation associate, I spent endless hours doing discovery. It had to be done, but it was tedious. There were few occasions to show your smarts after the repetitive work ate so much time.” Today, she argues technology gives junior attorneys the chance to develop much more quickly, and with more opportunities to distinguish themselves.

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