Large industries need innovation to continue to thrive, and law does not escape this rule. Client demands are changing and lawyers must be able to meet demand for new services and different practice areas. With children, as young as 8 spending upwards of 7 hours a day on different forms of technology, solicitors and barristers need to be reflecting this social change. Law firms generally have not kept pace with the way law is taught; with universities now offering courses such as the GDL online. Even those who chose to study law in a more traditional setting, must quickly master new technologies and software. LexisNexis and Westlaw are always looking for new ways to sell their products to students, providing free training and Q & As on most campuses. Younger generations are simply comfortable with new technology, law students like me will happily learn to use a whole new software package without notice, but if I must draft an email to a partner at a law firm it can take me an hour of editing. This impacts the clients too, if you’re used to being able to pick up a smart phone to order food, book a haircut and open an ISA, why should contacting your lawyer be any different? At The Link App we often talk about our product from a client focus, but it’s also true that apps such as ours go a long way to improving working environments for employees in law firms. Having all client communications in one place saves time, even if you are adept at logging into different platforms and switching browser tabs. Software such as The Link App will become even more vital as more and more lawyers are working from home. Many industries are moving towards more flexible working models for their employees. Hundreds of large companies now offer options such as working from home to their employees, with technology companies such as Dell and Microsoft leading the way. However, law firms have been slower to introduce ‘agile working’, there have been trials at Mayer Brown. However, 9am-5pm (or 8pm) at the office remains the industry standard. Agile working has numerous benefits, including encouraging more women in the workforce and increasing workplace diversity. Increasing client demands, as well as benefits lawyers will look for when choosing a firm to work at. So, in the future we can expect more and more firms to follow the Law Societies suggestions to introduce more agile working. Although for me, the reason technology and innovation are important to law firms, is not that it saves time and makes my life easier when trying to update a client, it is that it represents an openness to change. When it can cost students upwards of £50,000 to qualify as a lawyer, students want to feel their voices will be heard, and that our careers can make a difference within the profession. This week’s blog was written by a work experience student Ellen. Who better to tell us what future lawyers want than one in the making!

Originally published 08 / May / 2017