Lawyers of the future will need to understand coding and the opportunities it can create, according to leading Irish law firm, Matheson.
The comments were made by Matheson Litigation Partner and Leader of the Matheson Smart Programme, Rebecca Ryan, at the launch of Smart Week, the firm’s annual forum dedicated to promoting innovative thinking and the creation of new efficiencies, as well as showcasing new technology products and services that are transforming the legal profession, in order to enhance the client experience.
“Technology is changing every industry, including law. Innovations in AI and blockchain, for example, will alter the way we process and draft legal contracts. Lawyers of the near future will need to demonstrate an understanding of this technology, as well having a better understanding of coding,” said Ms Ryan.
“Smart Week is about collaborating to hardwire innovation into every Matheson team and every process, big and small. It’s more than just a week of events: it’s an attitude of creativity and lateral thinking that we’re encouraging all partners and staff to cultivate and explore every day of the year.”
Throughout the week, staff will be encouraged to attend technology workshops and keynote addresses from senior figures including Brian Kuhn, Global Leader and Co-Creator of IBM Watson Legal; Lory Kehoe, Director of Strategy & Operations (Blockchain, RegTech, FinTech, Innovation) at Deloitte; Enda O’Sullivan, Global Brand Director at William Grant & Sons; Gene Murphy, Co-Founder of Startup Ireland and Entrepreneur in Residence at the Bank of Ireland; and Jonathan McCrea, Founder of Whipsmart Media, Technology Journalist and Broadcaster. The discussions will put the spotlight on topics as diverse as blockchain, AI, cybersecurity and drones.
Kicking of the week, Jonathan McCrea, in conversation with Brian Kuhn, co-creator and global leader of IBM Watson Legal, discussed “AI and The End of Law as We Know It”. The pair discussed how ‘augmented intelligence’ is a better way to describe the concept which is set to revolutionise the way law firms analyse data and provide services. Mr Kuhn explained, however, that the use cases of AI wrap around business problems, not so much ethical quandaries, and therefore human judgement will always have value.
At the launch, Matheson announced its adoption of Workplace by Facebook, a new professional network designed to promote communication and better ways of working; Matheson is the first law firm in Europe to use it. On web browser and mobile, all staff will have access to the service, allowing them to communicate and work more effectively using Facebook’s familiar groups, chat and multimedia features, including live video, yet on a completely secure internal platform.
Michael Jackson, Managing Partner at Matheson, said the firm takes pride in its culture of innovation: “Innovation is one of our core values at Matheson; it is at the heart of everything we do because we understand the importance of keeping ahead of the curve. Smart Week demonstrates our commitment to innovation and providing the best possible service to our clients.”
Matheson has a long history of innovation. It was the first Irish law firm to establish an IT Law Practice Group and it was the first European legal practice to open an office in Silicon Valley in 1996. It continues to work closely with some of the world’s largest technology companies and currently acts for 7 of the 10 leading global technology brands.