Goal of creating young lawyers who ‘stand out’
Gowling WLG has created a new technology seat for its UK training contract programme that sees rookie solicitors split their time between the firm’s innovation team and a start-up specialising in artificial intelligence (AI).
The new programme will see trainees spend six months building apps and automating documents as well as advising legal teams on AI review projects and product development. Those selected for the seat will also take the lead on pilots and test new legal technology products and tools.
Trainees will also spend part of their time on secondment to Avail, a start-up that builds AI tools primarily aimed at transactional real estate teams. Gowling entered into a joint venture with the business in 2019.
“Innovation is at the absolute core of what we do as a firm, and we firmly believe offering innovation and legal tech experience to our leaders of the future is invaluable,” said Amy Moore who heads up the firm’s legal engineer team. “Lawyers who are confident to talk to clients and their networks about innovation and legal technology really stand out in a crowded market, so exposing our people to the technology we are using and creating at the earliest possible opportunity makes complete sense to us.”
Olivia Hookings is the first trainee to take up the option. “In the first week of the job, I created a custom app for our legal teams and also got to grips with coding to support the automation of documents,” she revealed. “At Avail, I am assisting with product development and testing, leading demonstrations to externals on how to use the platform and helping enhance their customer success.”
“It was quite a full-on start (as I have never done this kind of work before), but after getting into the swing of things, every task I have been assigned has been so interesting! Legal technology is evolving so quickly, and is the future of the firm and the industry.”
A number of big legal names have launched similar tech options for their trainees.
Last year DWF created a seat within its legal tech team specifically geared towards trainees with backgrounds in technology and STEM subjects, while in 2018, Addleshaw Goddard introduced a six-month seat within its innovation and legal technology group. That same year, Magic Circle outfit Clifford Chance went one step further, unveiling a full training contract specifically geared toward tech-minded wannabe lawyers.