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MSc Legal Technology: An interview with Dr Anna Elmirzayeva

Technological advances are having a huge impact on law firms across the globe. This includes automation software cutting down on administrative tasks, AI tools speeding up research or online case management systems, allowing clients to keep up-to-date with their cases and provide information faster than ever before.

By Cara Fielder. Published 27 February 2019. Last updated 13 December 2019.

Here at ULaw our focus is on supporting your career ambitions, which is why we’ve been working closely with employers to ensure that our MSc in Legal Technology has been designed to prepare you for the future of legal technology. We caught up with ULaw tutor Dr Anna Elmirzayeva to discuss this cutting edge course and learn what career paths it could lead to.

Driven by the need for efficiency, the world is becoming increasingly digitized and law firms are looking at solutions that will help them achieve better results at optimal costs. It’s vital for law students to be able to understand where technological progress is taking us, which systems are already in use in the work place and which solutions are likely to be adopted over the next couple of years. Those who understand which skills are likely to be automated and how to bridge the gap between technological solutions and law will most certainly enjoy a competitive advantage.

The process of automation is all around us, from Uber Eats to digital education delivered in an online format and sophisticated blockchain-based enterprises that offer completely new business models. And this process shows no signs of subsiding or slowing down. We have entered a new age and the use of technology in law will change the way firms are interacting with their clients and change the way internal processes are structured. In the future individual clients seeking legal advice may not always want to interact with humans. Needing a quick answer to the question, technology might be the preferred solution. Capabilities of technological systems do not have the same limitations as humans, there are no working hours, no weekends, and the ability to process huge volumes of data in seconds is mind boggling. Human cognitive capabilities would be applied to higher level tasks, those that require greater degree of flexibility, use of discretion, empathy and creativity. It is important to be able to understand which skills are likely to be automated in the future and which would require human input.

Our MSc in Legal Technology is designed to address the concerns of future lawyers, current practitioners and non-law graduates. It’s an innovative course that utilizes elements of blended learning to make the course interactive and engaging. The course takes a look at how disruptive technologies are bringing about a shift in decision-making and re-shaping the operations of the modern legal practice. Students will be introduced to the fundamental features of the technologies that are transforming our world and are positioned to become as commonplace as the internet.

The course is geared towards producing a new generation of legal practitioners, savvy in tech and ready to serve tech-oriented clients. The knowledge obtained during this course will be equally useful for those already working with technologies but who have not engaged with the legal implications of these technologies.

The knowledge our students will gain on the course opens a number of possible career paths within law firms, as in-house legal consultants and even as a start-up business supporting the legal industry. Understanding technology in the context of client’s business is making a new generation of lawyers uniquely positioned as a great resource to the firm, making them trusted strategical advisors when it comes to numerous legal, regulatory and practical questions regarding application of technology.

Our MSC in Legal Technology course offers students a chance to improve their employability and gain those important transferrable skills. The course looks into the growing use of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Technology in law. Students will explore the concepts of traditional automation and machine learning (think: Siri and Google’s charming way of knowing what you’re looking for before you do), as well as learn about more modern tools that maximize analytical and predictive capabilities. We’ll introduce students to concepts such as smart contracts, and invite them to assess whether these technologies will affect the number of disputes firms have to deal with. Alongside the technologies themselves, we will give students the opportunity to consider important issues such as security of digital data, IP rights, techno-ethics, and the use of disruptive technologies in corporate governance.

Personally, it’s the possibilities that excite me about this course. Equipping yourself with an understanding of disruptive technologies is about future-proofing your career, wherever the path might take you. Our MSc will help you gain the knowledge that is truly scalable. We are considering technologies in the context of law, however, understanding of the underlying processes is applicable to any industry or sphere of human interaction. Whether you plan to excel in the legal industry or whether your ambitions take you beyond the legal profession, this is a good place to start. The area is truly exciting and constantly evolving. Once you understand how the foundational technologies work, the sky’s your limit. You might want to apply yourself in the legal services industry and become a trusted adviser who understands the progress and could help clients grow; or you could invent an entirely new business model that could be truly inspirational and hugely successful. This course equips you with the skills that are current and in huge demand. Be one of the first who understands and can use to their advantage the developments within the new digital world.

Discover more about the MSc Legal Technology and how we can help you reach your ambition.