The T-Shaped Factor: An Exposure to Tech in Law School

Author:Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
Date:June 12, 2019
 
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For this month’s CFCJ Slaw blog, we asked Saba Samanian, a recent graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School to provide her perspective on a topic related to the future of the legal profession. Read on to learn what she has to say about law, technology, access justice and how she is thinking about her responsibility to be technically competent as she enters the profession.

As a recent graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, and as someone who has an interest in technology and innovation, I often find myself thinking about how the two can intersect. While I have been looking for ways to build a career at the juncture of tech and law, I wonder: would taking advantage of technological advancement be beneficial for all future lawyers?

While precedential value is an important pillar of our legal system, law students, practicing lawyers, and clients are beginning to recognize the need for knowledge and competency in technology, which is an inescapable move away from tradition.

Technology has the potential to streamline the work done by lawyers, and the resulting efficiency translates to quicker deliverables for clients, at a lower cost. This ability to use advancement in the profession inevitably begs the question of whether lawyers should have a requisite level of tech competence in order to carry out their duties? And, if so, must they adopt the latest mechanisms and skills in order to zealously represent the interests of their clients, as mandated by the profession? Does technology demand that our professional responsibility rules undergo a dramatic overhaul similar to that of the United States’ amended Model Rules of Professional Conduct in 2012? (This question has been a reoccurring one on Slaw for some time. See for example, Amy Salyzyn’s Slaw blog dating back to 2017).

Several firms have, indeed, adopted emerging technological tools and are actively responding to changing times. Nevertheless, as noted by Colin LaChance in a recent Slaw post, there seems to be a resistance in the profession to fully embrace new advancements. This is, arguably, justifiably so. The high level of responsibility of lawyers and the confidence that is instilled in them by their clients demands that practitioners must perform their duties in a trusted, reliable way. This includes not only privacy concerns (the importance of which cannot be underestimated) but also efficiency, effectiveness, and considering the client’s best interests at all times. Utilizing a new, and untested...

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