Educating future legal engineers and trainees at the University of Glasgow

By Jakub Makowski
BRYTER Academy - Glasgow

Sam Moore, accredited legal technologist and Senior Tutor at the Glasgow University School of Law, teaches the Legal Innovation and Technology module of the Diploma in Scots Law. This year Sam partnered with BRYTER to provide 50 of his students with hands-on experience building with BRYTER. We speak to Sam about partnering with BRYTER and what the future of legal training looks like.

Why it’s important to learn about legal tech

Having a strong grasp of legal technology is not a “nice-to-have”, it is a fundamental part of any future legal professionals’ training. Sam explains why.

Legal tech will affect students’ careers more than anyone else. The earlier students can gain exposure to using legal technology the better – not least because a lot of legal tech is aimed at “low complexity, repeatable work”. This kind of work typically lands on trainees’ desks, so it makes a lot of sense for future trainees to have a better understanding of how to tackle these sorts of tasks using tech.”

“There is a general misconception among some students that technology is a threat to their careers – a fear that “robots will steal our jobs”. This isn’t right – it’s about using technology to work smarter. The more experience students have with the technology they will use in their careers to do this, the better.”

“Finally, one of the most compelling reasons for current students to become familiar with legal technology is that if they do, it will be one of the few areas where they will have more experience than their peers and supervisors. There is an opportunity now for students to make the most of this because the profession will catch up eventually”.

The future is no-code

The Legal Innovation and Technology curriculum covers all aspects of legal technology at the University of Glasgow. And when it comes to building digital legal products, Sam explains why this is so important.

“No-code is the future. Lawyers do not need to learn how to code because no-code platforms like BRYTER have changed everything. They enable professionals without coding skills to build digital applications. And in any event, no matter how much spare time you dedicate to learning how to code, there are thousands of specialised software developers out there who are simply much better at it. Why reinvent the wheel? With no-code bridging the gap between “legal experts” and “coders” it is far better to leave the complex coding to experienced developers and have lawyers skilled at using no-code and understanding and mapping the complex workflows.”

“Law students need to have a good understanding of what they can, and cannot, automate, and therefore where best to apply their skills and time. They should have a good understanding of how to map out legal processes and decision tree. All of this enables them to build digital applications, and because of no-code app builder tools like BRYTER, they do not need to learn to code to make this a reality”, explains Sam.

At BRYTER, we believe that having a good understanding of building no-code applications is of huge value to students, and it’s why we launched the BRYTER Certification program. Sam explains why he thinks having this type of programme is valuable to both students and law firms.

“The BRYTER certification program is valuable to students and law firms – and not just with regards to law firms that happen to use BRYTER. If a firm does use BRYTER then of course it’s a huge advantage for a student to already know how to build with BRYTER, but even if the firm does not have BRYTER, having a certification shows an awareness on the part of the student about one of the most important topics in legal innovation today: no-code. The BRYTER Certification, and the training it provides to future trainees and legal engineers, opens up doors to firms to look into no-code building knowing they have a team who already knows how the tech works.”

Teaching with BRYTER Academy  
 

We partnered with Sam and the University of Glasgow to offer an interactive, hands-on workshop. 50 students learnt how to, and then built, their own applications with BRYTER in just two hours. Sam shared his experience working with us on the workshop.

“Offering BRYTER as part of the Legal Innovation and Technology course has been a very positive experience. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from the 50 students. Our students learn a lot about legal theory, and we talk about how technology is changing the work and what junior lawyers can do, but having an interactive session like what we did with BRYTER helps bring home that message. The BRYTER workshop showed the students how they can build a digital application to solve a real-world problem facing law firms across the UK. It contextualises the lessons we’re teaching, and it helps the students adopt that process-driven mindset that will be so important in their future careers”.

The students agreed that learning about the software they may use in the future as practising lawyers is beneficial. Anna Colquhoun, a current student at the University of Glasgow and a future trainee with Burness Paull, told us that “It was nice to have a break from ‘black letter law’ and learn about something a bit more practical – i.e. how does technology make life easier for lawyers. I liked the BRYTER workshop because it was nice to use some of the software we’ve been learning about”.


Top three skills for the future lawyer

Sam shared his views, in no particular order, on what the top three skills a future legal professional should have:

“First, project management. Law firms expect juniors to run their own workload in a results orientated way.”

“Second, awareness of legal tech and tech concepts. It’s a good idea to know what is coming on the horizon as the pace of change is accelerating. The future lawyer should proactively engage and understand what is happening, not shy away from change.”

“Third, a curious mindset and a willingness to ask questions. Any good litigator will tell you asking questions is an important skill to nurture – and this goes beyond litigation. It’s important for all specializations to keep asking why they’re doing things a certain way.”

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