The legal industry is in the midst of massive transformation. In a recent interview for the Global Legal Post, I explained why all of us — not just those who have historically had a voice in the legal industry or those who are technically savvy — must pitch in, have a seat at the table, and actively co-create.
Law is changing, and we need everyone on board.
Why? There are three big reasons.
Building The Future Of Law Is A Huge Job
We are not just rebuilding the façade of law. The entire plumbing is being modernized. And plumbing, of course, is critical. Think back to your most recent experience with real estate. While no one buys a house because of the plumbing (for my husband, it’s always about the pool; for me it’s is all about the spacious office where I can write my Above the Law articles surrounded by books, notebooks, and PostIt notes), very few of us seek a house without reliable plumbing. As lawyers, we’d say that it’s necessary but not sufficient.
Safeguarding Legal Principles Is Paramount
As we are modernizing the plumbing, let’s make sure we preserve the foundation. For example, we must safeguard basic principles, like “justice is blind” and “equal justice under the law.” After all, the words “law” (and its variations such as “legal”) and “bias,” let alone “systematic bias,” should never be in the same sentence.
Protecting the solid foundation is a “must-have,” not “nice to have.” Without the proper foundation, the process, people, and tech are just pretty decorations. After all, hanging a Picasso in a house with a crumbling foundation will most definitely not make the house habitable nor safe for your expensive art collection.
You Can’t Do Epic With Basic. Period.
Building the future of law is not a small, part-time gig for a select few to do on the side. It is a major job, and one for everyone. It might require some overtime. Whether you had an opportunity to attend law school and get admitted to your state’s bar should not matter. Whether you have been represented at the proverbial legal decision-making table in the past should not matter. And of course, obviously, your gender, ethnicity, origin, orientation, and other identity-based factors for exclusion should not matter. Between the process, people, and tech, there is a lot to do. And don’t even get me started about the complexities and intricacies of the disruptive technologies. We most cannot afford to exclude anyone who is willing!
Getting everyone involved in the development of the legal field will not be an easy project. Not everyone wants to spend their time thinking about the future of law — or with lawyers. The truth is, change can be exciting. When we gather different perspectives, experiences, and ideas, I’m confident that the outcome can be as exciting as the process we’re going to build to get there.
Olga V. Mack is the CEO of Parley Pro, a next-generation contract management company that has pioneered online negotiation technology. Olga embraces legal innovation and had dedicated her career to improving and shaping the future of law. She is convinced that the legal profession will emerge even stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive than before by embracing technology. Olga is also an award-winning general counsel, operations professional, startup advisor, public speaker, adjunct professor, and entrepreneur. Olga founded the Women Serve on Boards movement that advocates for women to participate on corporate boards of Fortune 500 companies. Olga also co-founded SunLaw, an organization dedicated to preparing women in-house attorneys to become general counsels and legal leaders, and WISE to help female law firm partners become rainmakers. She authored Get on Board: Earning Your Ticket to a Corporate Board Seat and Fundamentals of Smart Contract Security. You can email Olga at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @olgavmack.