What Skill Set for Tomorrow’s Lawyers?

In The social job market, Alex Halavais points to and discusses some thinking about the skill set that tomorrow’s engineers will need. If you presume an outsourced world, it’s different from what they are getting today — much more foreign language and culture, interpersonal skills, and (remote) management.

I wonder what the similar skill set should be for tomorrow’s lawyer.

  • The languages and sensitivity to globalization issues, foreign, comparative and international law, are almost conventional wisdom already, although execution lags.
  • ADR is a big part of the package.
  • Using technology is big, although understanding the technology is not, sadly, nearly so obviously necessary unless one’s specialization touches it directly.
  • I’ve blogged previously about the importance of basic statistics.
  • Many people believe that given the increased specialization of our profession, the law schools should start helping students specialize earlier. Two signs of this trend are certificates for JD’s and the profusion on (money making!) LL.M programs. Here, I’m agnostic. I think that there’s a fine case to be made that the push to specialization in practice actually increases the need for law schools to ensure that their graduates have a decent generalist grounding, for they may never have another chance at it. And both the realities of practice and of malpractice show that lawyers at least need to be able to identify (but not necessarily solve single-handedly) issues outside their specialties before it is too late.
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One Response to What Skill Set for Tomorrow’s Lawyers?

  1. alkali says:

    High-ranking law schools ought to offer law students not already fluent in a foreign language the option of taking half of their 3L year abroad and doing language immersion. If I have one regret about my time in college and law school (now more than a decade behind me) it is that I did not become fluent in a foreign language; it would have paid incredible dividends.

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