Lawyers have called for the adoption of technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in legal practice. The call was made at a symposium organised by Odujinrin and Adefulu, a commercial law firm in commemoration of its golden jubilee held in Lagos recently.
The symposium was tagged ‘The Future of Legal Profession: The Next 50 years’. In her opening remark, the firm’s Head of corporate finance practice, Damilola Adetunji, said: “The symposium is targeted towards positively igniting the growth of Nigeria’s legal practice.”
Whilst delivering his keynote speech, best selling author of ‘The Future of Professions (2015)’ and ‘A World Without Work (2020)’, Dr. Daniel Susskind, encouraged legal professionals to embrace technology instead of seeing it as the enemy.
He noted the necessity for early education especially in law schools. “With so much digitisation in the world today, many legal professionals often fear that there may be no use for them in the nearest future. This is why it is important for law schools to teach with flexibility of opportunities for professionals to retrain and re-skill along their careers,” he advised.
Susskind, who was also joined by a panel of eminent practitioners in a discourse session with the theme, ‘Business of Law through the years’, said: “A far more useful way to predict the future is to think of how we can deliver services to clients using technology hence the need for legal professionals to be more customer centric.”
The panel, which further discussed how commercial law practice has evolved through the years consist of the Managing Partner Odujinrin and Adefulu, Dr. Adeoye Adefulu as the moderator, Principal Partner, Shan Consulting, Sylvia Nzekwu; founding Partner George Etomi and Partners, Mr. George Etomi; founding Partner, ENR Advisory, Gbite Adeniji; Chair of Africa Practice, Andrew Skipper; General Counsel, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company Limited, Hogan Lovells and Defolu Olufon.
When asked how commercial lawyers can serve their clients better, Adeniji said: “The law practice is no longer how it used to be. There is always space for specialists, but you must know how to speak the language of the sector as clients are looking for a bespoke solution to their problems.”
Head of corporate commercial practice at the firm, Olubukola Olabiyi, led the second panel discussion on the topic ‘Post Pandemic: Navigating the Digital Age’.
The panel of eminent professionals included the founder of Vazi Legal, Moe Odele; co-chair, Digital NBA, Rotimi Ogunyemi, and co-founder/CEO of Excellent Consulting, Feizin Amlani.
They discussed the effect of technology on the legal practice post pandemic. Speaking on the topic, Amlani said though lawyers may be experts in various fields, some of them do not have core knowledge of marketing, as they were not taught in law schools.
Lawyers, as rainmakers of their firm, he said, must use social tools to network and attract clients for their firms.