Work in the future – Example: lawyers

A few months ago, we had a unit meeting and, we invited a speaker to talk about the future of work and the changes it might bring. He gave a few interesting examples about how AI and automatization is disrupting whole industries. In this entry, I want to speak about the impacts on lawyers.

This is one of the examples he gave. He said, he once got a call from a friend, who is working in a big law firm with hundreds of lawyers. She called him, because he was heading the HR department of a huge company and he is specialized, or at least knowledgeable, what the future might bring and how to deal with disrupting forces.

She told him that the firm has a big problem. Every year the hire many new lawyers. In the beginning, they give them easy cases to get familiar with the procedures and can build up reputation. Now she said, that due to automated programs, they don’t have any easy cases to distribute, because the programs are much faster and also more efficient, and therefore cheaper.

He didn’t say whether he could help her, which I only realized now. This had been a good question. But it is not entirely important to the issue at hand. The question is: What do you do with someone who worked his/her ass off and is, as we consider it at the moment, as a successful person, but cannot be employed? Then it is not about being unemployed, but unemployable. It is “easy” to say in other cases that they should have done more etc. And even this is already a false thought in my opinion. But here? With someone who seemed to have done nothing wrong?

We need to start talking about measures to help those people. Not to prevent it, because that will be a tilting at windmills. We need to speak about transition programs that help people, no matter which age, to find a new job. I know, there are those programs, but their goal is to quickly put people back to work, no matter, if they want this job or not. I think we need to be more humane with people and really help them with finding something meaningful to them.

We also need to speak about the UBI (universal basic income). For me this is actually just another transition step towards not having any money. More and more people will lose their job and it will get more difficult to find a new one. This has not only negative consequences but holds a wonderful chance for all of us. But, we need to start speaking about it more often, because it might happen to us soon enough. Or to someone you care about.

If you want to have a humoristic take on what is happening in the legal system and how robots (or AI) is disrupting this system, have a look at the video below.



Have a wonderful day and take care!


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