The law stands on centuries of traditions and precedents. In contrast, technology is growing as a rate faster than ever before. On one hand, how will the law keep up technology? On the other hand, how will technology change the legal profession?
The President of the Law Council of Australia spoke at the Australian Young Lawyers’ Conference in 2017, and said technology is completely transforming the legal profession, and creates ‘unique opportunities to develop solutions for clients’. There are even emerging artificial intelligence technologies that can highlight the important clauses in a contract. Technology is changing the workplace, and clients can now expect increased effectiveness and efficiency.
There are new hybrid roles emerging for people who combine legal and IT elements into their jobs – the ‘lawyer technologist’. Law graduates with experience in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) will have clear advantages. Workplaces will have to help employees develop technology skills in order to keep up with rapid changes and advancements.
The other issue is that law may not be keeping up with advances in technology. It requires changes, such as the inclusion of cyberbullying in the Crimes Act to catch up, while technology keeps moving forward. One example is that it is illegal for an employer to ask about religion, sexual preferences or marital status in an interview, but they can go on social media and filter out applicants based on personal details found there. There is also the argument that privacy laws are lagging behind data-collection technologies used by Google, Apple, Facebook and various other applications and websites.
As long as technology continues to advance, which we know it will, the law (and lawyers) will have to work to keep up.