Lander & Rogers has announced a new partnership with Monash University and student-run organisation BotL. to empower and upskill emerging legal professionals and further enhance the firm's capabilities through legal-tech innovation.
The partnership sees the establishment of an intensive 12-week clinical pilot unit commencing in December 2020, where Monash University law students will build applications designed to solve complex commercial legal problems.
The initiative follows increasing global investment in legal technology, which exceeded $1B in 2018 and $1.2B in 2019. Lander & Rogers Chief Executive Partner, Genevieve Collins, says "Globalisation, economic forces, and advancements in technology are changing the way law is practised. Clients are seeking innovative solutions to an increasingly broad range of legal and business challenges. They also want greater connectivity and streamlined delivery of legal services."
According to Ms Collins, the rate of change has only accelerated in response to remote working, with the digital maturity of legal firms advancing more rapidly than ever before.
"Electronic billing practices, digital mailrooms, e-discovery, digital document signing, and workflow automation are increasingly common among law firms as they pursue the types of services clients require in a way that is secure and efficient," claims Ms Collins.
Despite significant investment in legal technology, adoption of new technologies has not been automatic for firms and in-house legal teams. In fact, it's estimated that almost a quarter of current legal work undertaken by lawyers can still be automated using existing technologies.
With new legal technology being developed and deployed within the sector, there is increasing demand for lawyers with the skills to adapt and thrive in a technology-led environment.
According to Professor Bryan Horrigan, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Monash University, "law firms are seeking students with a 'technology mindset' and the aptitude to think beyond the traditional professional services model. The partnership is an opportunity to increase lawyers’ adoption of legal technology while providing hands-on experience for Monash Law students in creating legal applications of use to law firms and clients".
BotL. Co-Founder Samuel Chen says, "law school is where students develop crucial learning foundations and an understanding of the law - it's the ideal place to impart these skills. As one of the leading law schools in Australia, the Faculty of Law at Monash University is a fantastic partner for an inaugural industry and law school partnered legal technology unit. This is a unique opportunity for students to work on real matters and receive end-to-end industry input to develop a client-ready application."
As part of the unit, students will work in peer-led teams guided by Lander & Rogers' lawyers and tech experts as well as a cross-sector cohort of in-house legal professionals. Organisations participating in the pilot unit include Gallagher, CSIRO's Data61, Inkling Legal Design and legal tech start-ups Josef and Checkbox, who have participated in Lander & Rogers' LawTech Hub - an initiative dedicated to supporting the brightest technology entrepreneurs and startups in the pursuit of innovative lawtech solutions.
Through the program, students gain practical familiarity with legal technology tools while developing solutions with real-world applications that Lander & Rogers will leverage to improve firm efficiency and client service.
Lander & Rogers' announcement is further evidence of our firm's commitment to legal-tech innovation; we were ranked among the UK Financial Times' 2019 Most Innovative Law Firms and received the prestigious ALPMA Thought Leadership Award 2019.