Education of the future: What should the drivers of legal training be?
By Soledad Atienza, Vice Dean of IE Law School
To determine the keys to legal education, I would like to begin by describing the drivers of the legal profession. Like other sectors, the legal profession has evolved in recent years and, as with the others, it has been particularly influenced by globalization and technology. With regard to globalization, there is clearly a greater need to provide legal services of larger international scope. In addition, there is an increasing number of law students who travel to other countries to receive this education and who will practice in different jurisdictions throughout their career. As for technology, it greatly influences the way in which legal services are provided, as well as the management of law firms and companies’ legal counsels, which can now benefit from tools that make their work more efficient.
The report published by the International Bar Association (President’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Services by researcher María J. Esteban and IBA Vice-President James M. Klotz) helps us understand the keys to the global legal profession over the next few years. The report includes these main drivers of change:
– Changing demographics and values
– Disparity in the acquired and necessary skills for the legal profession – Legal education reform
– Globalization and the shift of economic power
– New ways of creating value in the legal sector
– Development and innovation in technology applied to legal services
– Regulatory innovations
Within these drivers of change, I will focus on those related to globalization and technology, since they directly influence the education of lawyers. Lawyers, like other professionals, already practice their profession in different countries. This, along with the growing importance of global law firms, makes a legal education that prepares lawyers for this model of global law a necessity. Programs that train their graduates to have a global legal mentality through subjects that provide a greater international character—including comparative law, introduction to common law and law in other jurisdictions (such as Chinese law)—have an impact on the international element, making them more attractive to candidates and to the legal market.
Regarding technology, some programs add technical subjects like programming, which is very interesting, but the most ambitious programs in this area are those that focus on teaching the application of technology to improve legal services and the digitalization of the legal sector, both public and private, known as legal tech.
Competitions emerging in recent years that foster this education model are another example of activities that enhance global training and technology. Among them are initiatives such as LawWithoutWalls, created by the University of Miami, in which 22 law schools from around the world currently participate. IE Law School’s Comparative Law in Action is another competition, which is set to be launched in September 2020. It combines comparative law, technology and regulation to train students to face global legal problems that arise from technology.
Comparative Law in Action, a global competition that combines comparative law, technology and regulation. Coming up in September 2020