Guatemala: The Future Of The Law Firms: Building An Effective Relationship Between Millennials And AI

Last Updated: 24 October 2017
Article by Santiago Granados Balsells

The role of the Millennial lawyers and the recent incorporation of Artificial Intelligence ("AI") in law firms are current trending topics. As a 27-year old associate of a law firm based in Guatemala City, every time I read about AI and that global law firms are incorporating AI to their practice, I ask myself, will I be replaced by it (or IT)? In the article "The world's first artificially intelligent lawyer was just hired at a law firm" published by the author Chris Weller in Business Insider, the author sets a good example of this recent trend, the incorporation of IBM´s Ross Software by New York-based law firm Baker and Hostetler LLP to their legal practice, used in the Bankruptcy practice of the law firm. This software is able to answer legal questions in natural language and provides all citations and legal precedents for each answer.

Many prestigious law firms have already adapted this new technology, which is efficient doing legal research in a few minutes, a task that can take lawyers hundreds of billing hours. AI is a very promising tool, which is meant to help firms to simplify lawyer's work in an efficient way.  AI could be a threat to the legal profession, especially for Millennial lawyers who might be considered as a "handicap" to law firms and AI might be a good solution to replace part of the such young manpower of law firms.  

Moreover, some younger lawyers lack interest on becoming the future partners of the law firms and are focused on becoming in-house lawyers or migrate to other professional work as investment bankers, or perhaps inventing the new "boom" of social media applications.  According to the article "Attracting and Retaining the Millennial Lawyer" published by Christopher Imperiale in Law360 website, it might be necessary to make a few changes in the business model of today's law firms in order to maintain and develop their next generation of partners. Citing the words of Christopher Imperiale, Millennials are usually stereotyped, as "a generation of whiners who lack a work ethic, need constant praise and hand-holding, tend to be less loyal, and have an over-inflated sense of entitlement". However, I agree with mister Imperiale's idea that more than thinking of Millennials fitting into such characteristics, we are a generation with "...entrepreneurial spirit, a collaborative attitude, technological know-how, a keen ability to multitask, and an appreciation of individualism and diversity in the workplace".

Yet, some international law firms have identified that it is necessary to retain young talent (especially Millennials). Mark A. Cohen indicates in his article "Artificial Intelligence will not replace Lawyers with IQ and EQ" published in Forbes website on March, 2017, that AI will not replace the work and knowledge of any lawyer, especially the sophisticated kind of work that requires human instinct, fine-tuned people skills and that "sixth sense" that some lawyers have. Nevertheless, Mark Cohen states that what really makes the difference between AI and lawyers are the emotional intelligence skills, skills that are not found in all lawyers. However, as a Millennial, I have to deal with reality and the fact that AI is developing rapidly in the legal field and all lawyers will need to adapt to this trend.

Can AI replace personality or the human factor? I truly believe that the services provided by the firm in which I work are different from other law firms because of the people that are part of the team. Our profession is very unique and there is no way that two lawyers will make the same exact work. Our clients work with us because of the lawyers that are part of the law firm and many subjective reasons, including character, accurateness, listening skills, business insights and pure gut feeling, all of which cannot be delivered by any technology or machine. Following Mark Cohen thoughts, it is necessary that lawyers, specially Millennial lawyers, need to develop and improve not only their IQ but their emotional intelligence skills, which are not likely to be reproduced by AI (at least in the near future).

If you are still reading this part of the article and come so far, I have been successful to retain your attention. So let me give you from a Millennial lawyer point of view, some tips I have learned in my personal experience in the law firm I work, to retain your young talents:

  1. Encourage teamwork: for sure millennial attorneys prefer to work in teams. We are very sociable, sharing everything of our lives in social media. Facilitate the interaction among the lawyers, they prefer interacting with their colleagues than working strictly on their own.
  2. Let the clients know your manpower: We like to feel part of the firm´s success and dealings. All Millennials like exposure and recognition for their merits and achievements. If we are part of a successful transaction or case we want the client and peers to know that we participated in achieving the success. Let people know about it. Don't be afraid to share the good news and acknowledge the good work. Millennials will certainly appreciate it and be more motivated.
  3. Flexibility: We are not attracted by rigid schedules and performing the same work every day. We want a little of flexibility and being able to achieve other personal goals. We are versatile professionals and multitasking, so we want to be constantly engaging in different kind of cases and transactions. Be creative and take a risk on moving associates around in different practice groups (they may surprise you with other points of view), encourage internships with clients or even other cross border law firms, have a balanced work-from-home(-or-coffee shop) policy, leave the Salvatore Ferragamo tie and formal attire at home unless the occasion requires it, invest in technology to make work easier and more efficient, move your firm´s data and systems to the cloud, get rid of dinosaur hardware and software, have Friday's jeans day, encourage participation and brainstorming, etc. etc. etc. In essence, give us some flexibility and challenges and I assure you we will deliver great results.  
  4. Let them be your friends: Why are you afraid to become friends with Millennial lawyers? Why should there be a barrier between partners and associates? We Millennials like to become friends with everyone and interact beyond the professional environment. We are not asking to become best friends, we just feel more comfortable working between friends. Be open, enjoy a little, laugh together and work hard together. If we have a bond and a two-way relationship that transcends strictly professional matters, we will certainly commit with what we are doing and be more interested in our work and responsibilities.
  5. Encourage them to become partners: Even though if you do not believe it, Millennial lawyers want deep inside to become partners. It is a matter of professional progress and healthy ego. However, if we want to be part of it, we also want to be part of the construction of the law firm. We do not want just to become partners if we are to inherit a law firm that we were not part of its constant development and progress. We want to be heard, get involved and help during our phase as associates. I do not mean that partners need to consult all decisions with associates, but it would be positive if you take in consideration our insight for some of your decisions, especially for those decisions that might affect us. Be audacious and think out of the box. For instance, why not put together a mixed committee composed by partners and associates? Sounds interesting...

Nevertheless, I cannot deny the need of technology in providing legal services. Of course AI can be part of a legal practice but it should never replace the lawyers work in the firm, especially the work of those lawyers that additionally to their high IQ level have emotional intelligence skills. Honestly, I think that the future of law firms depends on retaining and developing the young talent and finding a way to connect the positive characteristics of Millennial lawyers with AI. Just take a leap of faith and be willing to adapt the current law firm model to something more flexible, more open, more collaborative and audacious to get Millennials encouraged and engaged in what they work and how they feel about the profession. However, we all need to work together in order to maintain and improve the legal profession if we all do not want to be replaced by Silicon Valley.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.