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New skills will be crucial for the legal professional of the future

In National Apprenticeship Week, Managing Partner John Schorah believes a new approach to training and education is key to success.

As many are starting to realise – the law firm of the future will look very different. We’re already seeing great advances in our approach to technology; using artificial intelligence and data analysis to generate greater results. However, the future will still be all around people – employees and the skills they have will ultimately be the deciding factor in a firm’s success. Our people are integral to the future prosperity of Weightmans and we make the investment in their skills and development a priority.

We have comprehensively reviewed our recruitment and development strategy to better align with the attraction and education of our future talent. Apprenticeships are a key part of that.

So – what will the legal professional of the future look like? They will need to be commercial as well as legally astute in order to deliver real business benefits. Their approach will integrate commercial and business instinct with legal knowledge and technology.

Looking at talent in law firms of the future you can see the creation of ‘T-shaped lawyers’ – as well as having legal expertise, they will be equipped with a core of multi disciplinary skills such as the ability to collaborate, problem solve, interpret data and possess a comfort in pushing the boundaries of use of technology. They will be inquisitive and challenging in their approach, and embrace and embed technology into their daily work. These will be the skills required in the future in order to understand how to improve response to ever-changing client needs, to boost efficiency and to generate better results.

We want to continue to be an employer of choice, attract the brightest talent to help us grow and sustain our business and provide a first class alternative to the traditional routes. We need to ensure that our people have the right skills to understand our clients’ needs and appreciate that those needs may not just be about providing legal advice.

We’ve worked hard to provide a variety of apprenticeships across the firm. From CILEx to accountancy, business administration to MBAs and even digital courses, it is important to us that we offer opportunities to advance the business that go beyond conventional legal studies. We’re very excited for the coming months where we will take this journey to another level, to truly help to shape the legal professional of the future and open doors to those who may have felt law wasn’t for them.

John Schorah is Managing Partner at national law firm Weightmans LLP