The use of Legal Tech applications and new professional profiles in the legal sector

This article is a special adaptation for THE CRYPTO LEGAL  from another article I did for my biweekly column in Idealex.press that has first part (already published) and second part (in process of editing).


Nobody imagined that something like this was going to happen in 2020, this is a sarcastic wake-up call to all those who said: "2020 surprise me". Please, the next one who says that ... we are going to throw ... (laughs). Lie, we will not launch anything, but definitely in this "NEW NORMALITY" -definition that this author does not use-, or "new normal", for those who like English more, or "return to normality" -expression than to the author loves it- and I must add a return to normality, but with an improved and recharged mentality.

In any case, the question is that in record time we have all taken different courses, requested demos of various applications and platforms, as well as we have written quite a bit using the expression "in times of COVID" or "Post COVID". This is not a criticism, it is only the different ways of reacting that we have adopted to face the pandemic and everything that it brought with it, we have rethought many things and, above all, we have dared to "THINK" the pillars of law on which we have built our legal and justice system, which apparently many times does not satisfy the main users that are citizens.

The issue of the use - misuse and perhaps abuse - of Legal Tech solutions[1] It is important because as we are not prepared or in many cases do not know what our own business is dedicated to, what are the real needs of our users and what is the purpose of each of the solutions on the market, what usually happens is that we choose to choose right and left the Legal Tech solutions that we consider to be “the best”, those that promise to solve life and streamline processes within law firms and legal teams, as well as those that we consider most innovative, those that best name they have etc.

Indeed, believe it or not when it is not clear what each thing is for - and here is a video series to learn more about it. Legal Tech - These kinds of things happen and we start spending money on solutions for which our teams are not yet ready, that do not solve our problems - but rather increase them - and that far from promoting collaboration and processes of Up-skilling and Re-skilling mentioned above among the people, what little could be built is thrown down.

As professionals in the legal sector, a large number have chosen to digitize processes, such as mailing, creation of modern databases, and acquire licenses or digital marketing services for their offices and even employ Legal Tech (technology applied to simplify or enhance some tasks of the legal exercise).

This is all very well, but from my point of view there is something that we are missing and that is the fact of adopting and implementing technologies without fully understanding them and, worse still, without knowing the previous versions or the platforms in which they are based, it doesn't make much sense and maybe here is the main problem.

Without going any further, I give as an example the simple Word or PDF, many of us do not use them fully and "that the first stone is cast who types perfectly well with all their fingers" -this is the part where I confess that I type fast but use all fingers 100% good still cost me - so, I think it is necessary to recognize those shortcomings to start from there to identify the Legal Tech solutions that really serve us, and recognize that it is important to learn to walk before running[2].

Moving on to the second topic that is a consequence of the first one mentioned in the title of this article, there are a number of lawyers, the so-called disruptive - I prefer to call them rehabilitated as they say Elizabeth de Stadler - those who have truly made the decision to REINVENT THEMSELVES, since they have adopted the practices mentioned in the preceding paragraph, such as recognizing which Legal Tech solutions serve them and which do not, or recognizing that they must learn to enhance the use of existing ones before proceed to experiment with other novelties because they have understood that they must satisfy users, since they are the consumers of our services.

In that sense, these colleagues have turned 90, 180 and even in some much more specific cases a 360-degree turn - that is, they have completely reinvented themselves which is great - and they really inspire and give meaning and purpose. fresh to the practice of law; It is from this reinvention in the roles of the lawyer and the legal practice that we can identify the following hybrid profiles, for which I proceed to make an adaptation of the talk of my mentor and friend Andres Botero , who in his talks of future, humanity and design He comments about 4 profiles within which I will mention some hybrid roles that have been developing between lawyers - and not lawyers from sectors that have reinvented themselves, and who do not even know it - but there is already a name for what they have been doing, colleagues:

FIRST: THE TRAINERS. - What are those professionals who design systems from the human point of view for their sustainability and self-improvement.

His main areas of knowledge are: technology, engineering, design systems, product and data. They create diverse technology and algorithms, and they even understand human and business impact.

Within this space, I would like to highlight the role of legal engineers, whose function is to interact between legal and technological professionals in order to build software to interpret, enforce or demonstrate compliance with the law. Some legal engineers are developers or data scientists who developed an interest in legal processes.[3]

Likewise, I highlight the Legal Project Managers, who have the role of leading teams, estimating budgets and managing financial and human resources. Additionally, they use work plans, and manage multiple and disaggregated tasks in multi-project environments.[4]

SECOND THE FUTURISTS. - Someone who builds future scenarios and imagines fictions; that helps anticipate and design for post-normal times. Being his areas of knowledge: foresight, design fiction, business, strategic design, service design, history, art, design.

They do not pretend to predict, but due to their vast knowledge and specialty in the field and the sector, and even multidisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge, they can anticipate trends and things that may happen when their clients ask them to do so, either to choose the future that they are seems to be the best option - viable, sustainable and with the greatest positive impact - or the one they want to be able to create it and / or redesign the context in that sense.

They are usually high-end consultants, with quite a bit seniority and that they have already advised, not necessarily large companies, but rather companies in the technology sector and that lead their own, collaborative projects, or work with governments in some cases on regulatory or regional impact initiatives, but that above all have a wide network of contacts, command of several languages ​​and generally characterized by being able to offer a holistic perspective of the world panorama. They are the right arm of many decision makers Worldwide, founders and investors of all levels.

The most important thing to consider is that "... When someone becomes a futurist, they begin to question everything they do and their impact on society ..."[5] [6]

THIRD: THE ETICISTAS.- Someone to build value judgments on technological impact, product decisions, and others outcomes design.

His areas of knowledge are: philosophy, technology, design, product, anthropology and sociology.

They analyze human behaviors a lot to determine if they are oriented to good or evil in itself, how they affect us and the decisions that should be made or not.

Here I must highlight the role of the Legal Operations Manager, who in addition to the “… obvious name functions, such as taking care of outside consultants and vendors, many legal operations managers also oversee the budgets and staff of the legal department. They have implemented electronic invoicing systems and electronic contracts and other technological initiatives. In some cases, they can also monitor diversity and the probono programs that the firm wants to promote… ”[7]

Really all of us who operate with the law, servants of the public justice system, legal technologists who meet this profile, but above all the jurists - who, due to their role, whether in the private or public sector, have issued value judgments or they have had to do it as the case presented in Legal Ops- they can also be considered in this category.

FOURTH: THE HUMANISTS. - Someone who observes the human as a design object, as a challenge and anticipates and monitors the human impact of technology. His areas of knowledge are mainly: strategic design, psychology, sociology, philosophy and technology.

It incorporates the relationships between people and how the technological change will affect us.

This is undoubtedly the place where designer friends meet and where “with enough UI[8] & UX[9]”The wonderful intersection between technology, design and law is achieved, a role for those who not only understand technology but are in love with it and take it to the next level where they allow themselves to visualize, create and design - after identifying pain and Problems - viable, friendly and understandable solutions for all that allow achieving full access to justice for all end consumers and users of the law who are nothing more and nothing less than us, people, even starting - and also - from the redesign of the training of lawyers from law schools.

In this area I highlight the role of Legal Designers[10] -Lawyers and not lawyers - who help us with all its nuances, because in the end we focus on making everything simpler, friendly and accessible since a right that is not understood generates problems that translate into misconduct.

We study and analyze behavior in depth, as well as in high procedural load, among other dilemmas that would not originate if, in principle, laws were carefully designed using the scientific method and applying any other science, discipline or an art approach to law. This does not make us fewer lawyers, much less makes us bad lawyers, it simply invites us and gives us license to think outside the box and think differently from what is “normal” (that word displeases me and worse still is the new normal one ).

Anyway, along that line we go, being normal is not bad but maybe the time has come to discard things, recycle others, redesign others and create many others, not to seek a eureka moment but for that spirit of doing things better for - and although it sounds idealistic- create a better world where as operators and users of law we have a high role and responsibility[11].

With all of the aforementioned, I believe that we should focus and concentrate our forces on "working hard to ensure that technology conforms to our values."[12] Technology is not neutral or objective, it needs human intervention to be designed, and that is precisely why technologies have biases and it is important that we understand this and guide our training as lawyers in that regard.. With this, I think I have good news regarding our robot friends or artificial intelligence, which, in my opinion, precisely because of the biases mentioned, cannot be objective or neutral; rather, it will continue to serve humanity and, in this case, the practice of law. I am afraid it will not be able to match our wonderful humanity and ethical sense, which varies from one individual to another.

Finally, I invite you to reflect on what you are doing with your legal practice today: reflect on whether you have reinvented yourself, whether you want to reinvent yourself and, in that process, ask yourself about the type of purpose accompanied. I quote another friend and mentor here Luis Felix, founder de beta status , who usually says "that neither the lack of time, nor any other excuse is enough when we really want to learn and that we never lose that." By virtue of this, let's analyze where we want to orient our practice, while recognizing and learning from those who are already within the aforementioned profiles, from those who are on the way to training and those who may appear, because we create the future in the present.


[1] I recommend consulting the LEGAL TECH COMPARATOR”To see a catalog of solutions that you can implement to improve and optimize processes (if you really need it).

[2] Likewise, we must focus on improving the climate, culture and relationships between people and users before implementing Legal Tech solutions, such as, for example, adopting the mindset Management 3.0 (second image).

[3] https://www.fastcompany.com/90372705/dont-call-me-a-lawyer-i-am-a-legal-engineer

[4] https://cincodias.elpais.com/cincodias/2014/01/15/economia/1389800985_284699.html

[5]https://www.expansion.com/expansion-empleo/desarrollo-de carrera/2020/01/31/5e344d3de5fdea31648b4601.html

[6] Particularly, I hope to get to this point and on that path I focus my vocation, although right now I question it and I train constantly, so we will see.

[7] https://insights.diligent.com/legal-compliance/what-is-a-legal-operations-manager

[8] User Interface - the design and work behind it, to put it simply.

[9] User Experience- the design and work in front of, to put it simply.

[10] There are many friends with whom we work and collaborate in this exciting mission.

[11] Really for the mere fact of being human, we should tend to the positive impact of our actions and decisions, although it is not always achieved, the trend should be that.

[12] Erik Brynjoffsson-Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.

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Karol valencia
She works as a Legal Project Leader and Legal Services Designer at eID and also works as a Service and Innovation Designer at Lawcus-LPM. He develops private consulting and focuses on projects and services with a holistic perspective through his Karol Valencia brand (worldwide and remotely) and is Head of the Community at Eye Z Legal (India). She is an active member of the Institute for Internet & The Just Society, also works in the #Barpocalypse project for the redesign of legal education in the US and is the ambassador in LATAM of ILSA (Innovative Law Studies Association). As a polyglot, you work on the translation of various technical documents, articles, books, articles and more when requested or simultaneously translated as an interpreter at events. She is a lawyer from the Universidad Católica San Pablo, with postgraduate studies at the PUCP, and has a law degree from the UEM in Madrid, Spain. With training in digital transformation, innovation, programming and design in "En Estado Beta", "Iron Hack" and "Interaction Design Foundation"; In a self-taught way, he participates in communities such as Legal Hackers Lima, PsychoLAWgy and others, in addition to different volunteer jobs. Former professor at the UPN. Facilitator and international speaker at Legal Design & Legal Tech. Activist on mental health issues. He currently collaborates with columns and blogs such as: The Crypto Legal, his Medium account, Idealex.press and Impact Lawyers. He believes in redesigning the legal system to achieve better access to justice for all. Contact: karol@karolvalencia.com

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