Linklaters introduces tech modules for trainees

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By Aishah Hussain on

Magic circler drafts in law and computer science whizzes from Swansea University

Linklaters is launching a legal tech curriculum to school its trainee solicitors.

The magic circle firm has partnered with Swansea University to deliver six online modules to rookies across its global network.

They will be taught ‘the law and AI’, ‘blockchain and smart contracts’, and ‘technology, the law, and ethics’ by a team of in-house experts alongside Swansea law and computer science academics. The remaining three modules, ‘introducing legal tech’, ‘data for lawyers’, and ‘product development’, will be delivered solely by the firm.

The modules will be available from next month to the firm’s trainees at first, with summer 2019 starters getting first dibs, before it becomes a permanent feature of the training contract, and available to Links’ lawyers more widely.

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The curriculum was born out of a series of workshops the firm conducted in 2018 to identify the skills lawyers of the future will need to succeed. A key theme that emerged was the ability to use and implement legal tech. So the firm sent London-based associates James Phoenix and Sam Quicke to Swansea Uni’s week-long legal tech summer school last year to gather insights.

Patrick McCann, global head of learning and development at Linklaters, who is leading the initiative, told Legal Cheek: “We want our lawyers of the future to be equipped with a deep understanding of how technology can be deployed in a variety of legal contexts in order to deliver outstanding client service.”

He continued:

“Collaborating with Swansea University, we have developed a suite of modules to help our people think about where new technologies could be most impactful and deliver efficiencies in their work. We’re looking forward to rolling out the training globally in the coming months as we continue to build a culture of innovation across the firm at all levels across our network.”

Shilpa Bhandarkar, global head of innovation, who was involved in building the modules, added: “Tech-enabled solutions, including AI and automation, provide us with opportunities to deliver our services to clients in new ways. Individuals who understand the law and also have the skills and insight to confidently navigate their way through these emerging technologies are scarce in the market. Courses like this will help us to bridge that gap to the benefit of our firm and our clients.”

We’ve seen a number of law firms and law faculties come together to deliver lawtech modules in recent years.

Norton Rose Fulbright teamed up with the University of York last year to launch a law and tech module open to 40 third year law and computer science undergrads. The same year Addleshaw Goddard partnered with Robert Gordon University to deliver a tech module as part of its online postgraduate diploma in legal practice.

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