“The population of the Earth is growing at an unspeakable rate, and with it are the challenges that we have to deal with.”
Wilfried de Wever, CEO of Humanity Solutions
On February 28, 2019, the Third Annual Conference of Graduates and Participants of the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program, entitled: “Profession of a Lawyer. A glimpse into the future” was held. The event was supported by the US Embassy in Ukraine.
Wilfried de Wever, CEO of Humanity Solutions (Belgium), presented his views on the legal profession of the future and upcoming challenges we will have to deal with. The speaker began with a presentation of modern digital services, namely the Court Quant software, which estimates your chances of winning a trial, indicates what factors may be decisive, and advises which lawyer is best for you to address.
Another area where significant changes are taking place, deal with equal access to justice for the public. These processes, according to Wilfrid, are already happening in Ukraine – not only due to training tomorrow’s lawyers, but also because of using the latest technologies.
One of the first laws that tomorrow’s lawyers must embrace are the laws of physics and biology, the world around us. “The population of the Earth is growing at an unspeakable rate, and with it are the challenges that we have to deal with” – the expert led the conversation into the essence of the processes that take place on the planet. The mathematical formulas are complemented by new codes created by programmers. It is becoming increasingly difficult for lawyers who need to keep their heart on these events, understand the changes, anticipate changes, and adapt their practices accordingly. “The efforts you are making today may be futile tomorrow,” the expert suggested keeping an eye on global trends that will affect the development of the world.
By 2050, 25% of the population is expected to live in Africa, with 5 billion people living in the East. 20% of the population will reach the age of 65 by 2030 (in the US and most of the world). We are already using Earth’s resources a quarter more than normal, and climate change is becoming more visible. For lawyers, these trends mean new opportunities for professional relationships with lawyers from other countries, especially in migration matters, the expected increase in the need for inheritance and retirement professionals, as well as greater opportunities for growing environmental practices, both geographically and naturally opportunities for Ukraine. The rapid development of artificial intelligence gives an impetus for lawyers to prepare for the coming days.
Also, Wilfried suggested that students think about what to give up right now, what will become unnecessary in the future, and vice versa, what we should apply today to be successful tomorrow.
Turning to more specific legal issues, Wilfried focused on the innovations in the legal field. Responses from the audience indicated that lawyers had not yet experienced significant changes in their practices, other than the transition to industrial specialization, the use of online platforms and digital services. In response, the speaker cited several figures: the global legal services market amounts to $ 650 trillion, and online services account for $ 7 trillion. In his opinion, from the perspective of a global investor, Ukraine is an attractive market in view of a large number of highly qualified lawyers and IT specialists. Therefore, this may open another window of opportunity for tomorrow’s lawyers.
Another global trend is the digitalization of legal services. Companies are beginning to opt out of expensive law firms in favor of outsourcing, or expanding their own staff, or alternatively receiving such services altogether. Therefore, legal services are being increasingly globalized, becoming international, and new billing systems emerge. In addition, Legaltech is attracting more and more investments, new products are constantly being created, and the industry is booming. Virtual reality goggles through which you can communicate with a lawyer, the large capacity of cloud services where you can store information, are all realities of today.
In this context, Wilfried advised to select one technology or tool that is most relevant to the practice of law, find suitable partners and apply it in practice.
Technology is not the only guarantee of success. An equally important element, according to the expert, is leadership. How can you help your company prepare for the future? How can your company help you prepare for the future? Becoming a leader is one of the key tasks today. Leadership is inextricably linked to ethics and public good: what value does this matter to society? What can I do to benefit society? Think with your team about these questions.
“Tomorrow’s Lawyer” is a powerful network of lawyers uniting opinion leaders in the legal profession, who provide legal assistance in accordance with the highest ethical standards, act as agents of change in society and leaders in the professional community.
The “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” Program was launched in 2016 and first implemented within the “Quality and Accessible Legal Aid” Project, carried out by the Canadian Bureau for International Education with the support of the Government of Canada in cooperation with the Legal Aid Coordination Centre. It is currently being implemented and developed with the support of the US Embassy’s Law Enforcement Section in Ukraine, the “Tomorrow’s Lawyer” NGO, in partnership with the Ukrainian Bar Association and the Bar Association of Legal Aid Providers.