“… students went home with an impression of what kind of software law firms use, as well as an idea of what is possible with code — without actually needing to know how to code.”
The “Build your legal robot” workshop, co-organized by Baker McKenzie and recode.law, was a fun and insightful experience for participating students; they learned how to build automation software for repetitive tasks, got an idea of the software big law firms are using and were introduced to the mindset needed to succeed in the changing legal industry.
Experiencing the intersection of law and technology
On 28 November, Baker McKenzie and recode.law co-organized a workshop titled “Build your legal robot” at Baker McKenzie’s Düsseldorf office. 50 law students from 15 German universities came together and — using BRYTER — got to experience the intersection of law and tech firsthand.
Aside from a general introduction to LegalTech, students had an explicit goal of creating automated solutions to recurring tasks; Baker McKenzie prepared the use cases for the students to work on while members of recode.law helped facilitate the workshop.
We caught up with Henrik Volkmann, co-founder & chairman of recode.law, to get his take on the workshop. He said that BRYTER was a great platform for it as it enables people who cannot code — like lawyers (generally speaking) — to think like a programmer.
According to Henrik, digitization and technology will change everything:
The mechanisms of digitalization will not only change the way we work, but also what we need to learn and our mindsets. It will transform the legal industry. New skills will be required as automation, data cognification, and AI become increasingly prevalent. Software will help us get much more done, we just have to be more intelligent, more precise, and use technology as an enabler.Henrik Volkmann
Build your legal robot: Mindset and technology in the changing legal industry
The workshop kicked off at 10 am with a welcome from Baker McKenzie and a briefing on the day’s activities from recode.law.
Experts from the field of antitrust law and other areas of law — Baker McKenzie’s “Innovation Ambassadors” — guided the students through the big questions around innovation in law and the challenges new lawyers are facing today. Jan Kresken gave a lecture on “The New Lawyer” and Sebastian Schaub, a software developer at Baker McKenzie, presented the tools the firm uses. It was insightful for the students as there was a strong emphasis on the mindset young lawyers need to succeed in the changing legal industry.
The team at Baker McKenzie then facilitated a BRYTER tutorial to give students a grasp of the platform’s core features and show a few examples of applications built with BRYTER.
Following the tutorial, participants were split into ten small groups, discussed how they would approach their allocated use case, and then immediately got to work on building their solutions.
After three short hours of working with BRYTER all teams were able to come up with good solutions for their use cases. Not just theoretical solutions, but functioning products. It was a great outcome considering the short time they had to work with the software.
It was very interesting to see how participants used different features to achieve their solutions. Even though some of them had the same use case, all came up with different products.Henrik Volkmann
After the groups had all presented their solutions, the students shared their experiences and learnings. There were no winners; the aim of the workshop was to engage with legal technology and build something with it. That said, there was one solution that stood out and deserves a special mention; while most groups presented solutions based on yes/no answers, there was one team which used text entries, calculations, and features that were not explained to them, which turned out to be a great success.
Students left the workshop with a clearer idea of how tech can work with law and not against it. They got an idea of what is possible with code, without needing to know how to code themselves. The logical task of building decision trees was a big learning.
After these workshops, students are prepared to face the challenges of legal hackathons, which are taking place all around the world.Henrik Volkmann
Creating spaces for the lawyers of tomorrow
“Innovation” is a central element of Baker McKenzie’s strategy. Legal solutions demand a deeper understanding of clients, their business models and legal advice requirements. By using Legal Tech solutions, the law firm is addressing clients’ demand for enhanced value and efficient legal advice services.
The firm is committed to creating spaces for innovation for the lawyers of the future. For example, Baker McKenzie is one of the founding sponsors of “ReInvent Law“, the first Legal Innovation Hub in Continental Europe. ReInvent Law gives legal professionals the opportunity to develop technologically-driven and innovative legal solutions in a hands-on, collaborative atmosphere. When collaborating with BRYTER, Baker McKenzie develops new applications and optimized work processes (read more about how Baker McKenzie benefits from Legal Technologies here).
At Baker McKenzie, we combine legal expertise with innovation and Legal Tech know-howBjörn Simon, partner at Baker McKenzie
Their “Innovation Ambassadors” give keynote speeches in universities; during the latter part of this year they were at the University of Göttingen and the University of Munich; they have also established partnerships with different student associations, such as recode.law and the MLTech Student Association.
recode.law is a young non-profit organization striving to inspire students and young professionals to engage in legal innovation and build their knowledge around emerging technology; they also help connect students with computer scientists and future-oriented players in the legal industry.
recode.law was founded in response to a gap in current legal education frameworks.
There were no events at our university, so we decided to create our own platform; our own network. We wanted to give students interested in legal innovation and Legal Tech a platform; we started getting more people involved with our association and are working with law students, law firms and Legal Tech companies like BRYTER. We are laser-focused on the ways in which Legal Tech will shape the future of law.Henrik Volkmann
recode.law provides an avenue for law students to learn about the digitization of the legal industry and how Blockchain and AI will impact the future. The organization provides its members with exciting behind the scenes insights into Legal Tech startups, law firms, and corporate legal departments. Law students should understand the mechanisms of digitization and the impact it will have on their future careers.
At BRYTER, we are thrilled to be able to do our part in facilitating technological understanding and advancement within the legal field.