Legal training in the digital age

20 Apr 2018
Work Station

Hear what our Business Development Director, Alisa Gray has to say on why and how the digital age changes legal training. 

What impacts the legal profession, necessarily impacts the delivery and content of legal training. Advancements in information technology have changed the way in which we work forever. Location is no longer a limiting factor as we daily communicate with ease across country and time zone. We generate documents in an instant and we employ algorithms, rather than people, to sift through mountains of data. 

The content of legal training has expanded to cover the benefits and perils of social media and online networking. Training providers are adopting new technologies which seek to provide quality training in convenient and accessible formats. But as with anything, there are always limitations. These limitations are not peculiar to tech-based training delivery but inherent in the use of technology itself as a means of communication.

We all use tech-mediated communication nowadays, by which I mean emails, texts, hangouts and cloud based document sharing etc. If we consider that effective communication is at the heart of legal services (legal knowledge aside,lawyers are instructed for their ability to explain, influence, persuade, negotiate and draft) then it’s imperative we understand how technology affects it. Evidence based research shows that although tech-mediated comms provide greater convenience and faster delivery they also create interpersonal distance, misunderstanding and inefficiency. 

Compared to the richness of face-to-face conversation where intonation, emotion, hesitation and gesticulation all contribute to understanding, tech-mediated comms transfer information but not always meaning.  Studies have shown that texts and emails more easily lead to depersonalisation, greater hostility, increased misunderstandings and less rapport than face-to-face discussions.  How many times have we lamented the confusion created by an ill-considered email? 

In a world where people losing their roles to machines and the concept of “artificial intelligence” is no longer extraordinary, it’s ironic that the legal profession’s need to understand human behaviour and motivation has never been greater. Technology provides an efficient transfer of information but it remains the job of lawyers to both convey and absorb meaning.   

Technology has impacted both the delivery and content of legal training but, not necessarily, as anticipated. On the one hand it has enabled us to provide alternate quality delivery methods, such as Live Online, and on the other has highlighted the need for good old-fashioned interpersonal skills and a firm grasp of human motivation.

For more information on Live Online and how it can benefit you or your firm, please visit www.altior.co.uk/psc-live-online