A 7-Prong Learning Framework for 21st Century Lawyers and Legal Professionals to Excel in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

A 7-Prong Learning Framework for 21st Century Lawyers and Legal Professionals to Excel in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Hey, Lawyers and Legal Professionals, I’m sure you are wondering whether AI will replace you in the not too distant future. You are wondering whether you should go learn computer programing as soon as possible or consider leaving the legal profession altogether (i.e., change your career!).

Most legal tech vendors insist that AI will not replace you. They claim that AI will simply replace a substantial portion of the mundane work that you do, freeing you to concentrate on the high value-add work that only humans can do. In short: lawyers and AI will work together to deliver high value solutions to their clients.

Many lawyers that I meet, particularly in my recruiting and career coaching practices, take comfort in these responses and often proceed to lawyer without considering what actual knowledge, skills, mindsets they will need to develop in order to be able to work effectively and efficiently with AI and other emerging processes and systems. They spend little effort considering what learning & development approaches they should take to lawyer better in this 21st century.

Since early 2014, I have been researching and thinking of ways to improve learning & development systems for lawyers. Being that I live and work in Japan, I have especially been thinking about an effective and efficient learning & development framework for Japanese lawyers and legal professionals.

After much thought and research about learning & development and the changing legal landscape, I have concluded that there are 7 elements that should be a part of a comprehensive learning & development program for lawyers and legal professionals. I label this approach ExC7eL™. In my ExC7eL™ Model, lawyers and legal professionals work to improve their mindsets, knowledge, and skills to excel in the following areas:

  1. being Centered
  2. Constant Learning
  3. Critical Thinking 
  4. Communication
  5. Compassion
  6. Creativity 
  7. Connecting

I explain each below.

Being Centered means that each individual has self-awareness of her personal vision and mission, core personal values, personal and professional goals, individual strengths, and then tries to align her daily work based on this self-awareness.

Constant Learning means that each individual has a commitment to improving his lifelong learning mindset and takes concrete actions to increase his ability to learn, unlearn, or relearn strategically, effectively, and efficiently the most important competencies that he needs to learn (e.g., legal updates, how to use new technologies, soft skills, etc.).

Critical Thinking means improvement in (1) observation, (2) interpretation, (3) analysis, (4) inference, (5) evaluation, (6) explanation, and (7) self-regulation. For more on this topic visit this link.

Communication means superior oral and written skills. It also includes the ability to engage in active listening and good questioning, and a commitment to improving one’s cultural intelligence.

Compassion means defining one’s commitments to local and global communities, acting in ways that honors these commitments, and improving one’s emotional intelligence.

Creativity means in the case of lawyering, thinking not only as a lawyer, but having broad thinking. In other words, looking at issues from multiple perspectives and looking for multiple possibilities and opportunities to provide innovative solutions.

Connecting means the ability to connect networks and communities to add more value to society. It also means continuously improving one’s personal brand.

These are 7 areas where I personally always try to improve. I think lawyers (and non-lawyers) who excel in each of these areas will have the mindsets, knowledge, and skills necessary for working in the 21stcentury and for dealing with the chaotically changing times, including how to work with emerging technologies, such as blockchain.

I will continue to coach around these 7 elements and help my clients and candidates consider these elements. My future workshops and trainings will continue to enhance one or more of these elements.

What are your thoughts about my ExC7eL™ Model? Let me know which elements resonate most with you and which ones do not.

Maurice L. Rabb

Live D!perTM and ExC7eL™

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