Brexit and technological change set to be the big challenges
One of the City’s most renowned competition lawyers, Martin Coleman, has highlighted “agility” and “robustness” as the key traits that future members of the legal profession will need in order to thrive.
Speaking at Legal Cheek Careers’ recent event, ‘How global law firms deal with political uncertainty’, Coleman — Global Head of Antitrust and Competition at Norton Rose Fulbright — highlighted Brexit and the rapidly evolving developments in the field of technology as central themes that make it “even harder to predict what the next generation of lawyers will be doing ten years from now, than perhaps it was to make that prediction 20 years ago”.
In this context, Coleman suggested that “the agility to learn new ways of doing things, and not only in relation to technology” would be crucial. He added that “the robustness to stand up to significant changes in the external environment and in the way in which a business operates” would be similarly important, continuing:
There are two kinds of people — some who are scared by that and some who are excited by it.
Earlier on in the hour-long Question Time style session hosted at Norton Rose Fulbright’s London headquarters, Coleman described advising clients on Brexit as “quite a dramatic example of what we do all the time” which is to “work with clients in order to minimise uncertainty and provide protections.”
As students who are thinking of going into law this risk management may be an aspect of our business that you are not as aware of as other aspects, but increasingly in the modern world just providing legal advice is not sufficient. Where we really add value is using our knowledge and experience in order to apply it to the client’s commercial circumstances – that’s the risk element. Risks arise in a whole range of different directions.
Also speaking at the event were associates Jamie Cooke and Tessa Svennevik. They shared a junior lawyer’s perspective on the uncertainty generated by the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union while sharing their experience of practice to date, including recent international secondments to Perth and Singapore respectively.
There was a networking session following the talk and Legal Cheek Careers caught up with several of the students who attended to hear their thoughts. You can listen to their reflections below.