In a recent webinar, Luminance spoke with Moritz Maurer, Partner at Niederer Kraft & Frey and President of the AIJA Corporate & M&A Commission, to discuss what the future holds for young lawyers, how firms can attract and retain the best talent and how to get the best out of their junior workforce in a changing legal sector.
Succeeding as a junior lawyer
For Moritz Maurer it is an exciting time to start as a junior lawyer, as “young lawyers are transforming the profession”. Much of this is because, “when it comes to technology, the attitude of young lawyers is a whole different world to their more senior colleagues”. At the same time the job market for legal professionals is competitive. Both law firms and junior lawyers need to think carefully about how to best position themselves for the future of the legal sector.
At NKF, the firm is increasingly looking for talented lawyers who have skills and experience beyond raw academic prowess. In today’s legal sector, good lawyers need not only to have a far-reaching understanding of the law but also to be effective project managers and skilled negotiators. Technologies such as AI look set to transform the way lawyers undertake document reviews: increasingly, technology will complete the bulk of the administrative and time-consuming jobs commonly left to junior lawyers. Now, technology will search through documents to spot deviations and anomalies, flagging these to the lawyers and providing them with more time for thorough investigation and nuanced analysis. In fact, it is Moritz’s view that “junior lawyers who can quickly adapt to the benefits of AI are at a significant advantage in firms”. In contrast to the common portrayal of legal technology as a challenge to young lawyers, Moritz felt that “AI isn’t a replacement for junior lawyers, it’s an opportunity for them.”
Legal technology has the potential to empower young lawyers and let them succeed in a competitive market. Using Luminance’s advanced collaboration tools, for example, a Senior Associate at a Global Top 50 law firm achieved an 80% time saving solely by using Luminance’s project management capabilities, allowing them to focus on the legal questions at stake.
In his time at AIJA and as a lawyer Moritz commented that he had seen M&A lose some of its glamour: “M&A has become less cool, it’s been associated with long hours and a big workload, but technology can change this”. The amount of data and documentation produced by modern companies can place an immense burden on lawyers, with much of this falling on junior staff members.
The growth of data can have more serious consequences - the 2019 Junior Lawyers Division survey showed that over 93% of junior lawyers say they feel stressed in their role, with 35% of the respondents reporting a negative impact on their physical health. 77% of respondents felt that their firm could do more to support stress at work. For Moritz the single most important advice for Partners was to “look after your junior lawyers, without them there’s no future”.
AI has the potential to reduce this burden, In Moritz’s words “technology isn’t a threat, it’s a tool that can make our lives as M&A lawyers easier.” Luminance enables lawyers to spend less time wading through the ever-growing volumes of data and focus instead on providing quality counsel. Luminance is powered the Legal Inference Transformation Engine (LITE) which uses a unique blend of supervised and unsupervised machine learning to read and form an understanding of a corpus of documents. Luminance’s powerful technology transforms the process of document review. For example, a Global Top 100 law firm recently began a review of 200,000 documents manually. It took eight people three weeks to review a 10% sample of the documents. Using Luminance, the firm were able to review all 200,000 employment contracts in two weeks with two Associates. Such time saving allows junior M&A lawyers to escape long hours and excessive workloads, concentrating instead on providing a quality service to their clients.
Luminance Insights is a series of webinars and podcasts put together by Luminance to enable key conversations in the legal sector to continue, in spite of the impact of COVID-19. You can watch the full recording of the conversation with Moritz Maurer’s conversation here.
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