The Startup Legal Profession

 Legal ProfessionThe legal industry has been disrupted, permanently. The law is no longer the provenance of those with law degrees. Technology has instead created opportunities for non-lawyers to enter the legal space.

Roughly 15 years ago, the advent of electronically stored information created a job market for e-Discovery professionals; today, even a quick Google search of the term reflects that that market is booming. What other job opportunities are popping now in the legal arena other than those for J.D.—minted lawyers?

Tech-based legal startups are on the scene offering jobs for non-lawyers we wouldn’t normally think of as legal. In exploring the “Careers” pages on several legal startups’ websites, we found some pretty interesting opportunities. Here are a few that caught our eye:

 

Digital Copyrighter

What the job entails:

  • Providing customized messaging strategies and copy based on defined customer segments, shared knowledge of user behavior, and best practices standards;
  • Driving key conversion events through the development and/or modification of online and offline marketing including web copy, email copy and sales scripts;
  • Collaborating with creative team members, product managers, marketing acquisition and legal to determine concepts and copy direction of branding and marketing initiatives.

Legal Business Analyst

What the job entails:

  • Researching and analyzing client needs to determine the lawyer expertise and skillset required;
  • Identifying lawyers with relevant skill-sets and experience for current and anticipated client needs, and liaising with lawyers through the engagement process;
  • Developing a deep insight into the business’ core legal practice areas and the skillsets of its lawyers across their practices;
  • Drafting client-facing documentation including submission and sales materials;
  • Providing input to client proposals and assisting with the creation of proposal documents.

Client Director

What the job entails:

  • Identifying key client decision makers and influencers across the organization;
  • Leading client teams in the implementation of our solutions;
  • Providing ad hoc support to the client, as requested, to solve broad strategic marketing problems;
  • Managing and leading client relationships and deliver business insights and data regarding client portfolio requirements and needs;
  • Building and developing a deep understanding of the client’s specific business, the strategic issues, new initiatives and the client’s competitive position.

A “business analyst” and “client director” will identify client needs and direct client referrals to lawyers.  Can you say gatekeeper?

There are plenty more jobs out there, including jobs as a Patent Illustrator, VP Strategic Alliances, and Data Scientist. And speaking of data and science, what’s astonishing is the number of jobs available for software engineers and developers.  It appears from those job ads that non-lawyers have figured how to deliver legal services via technology; by recognizing a gap in the market and possessing the technological skill, these non-lawyers have used their skills to create valuable legal mechanisms within this space. It would follow, then, that combining programming skills with a legal degree would offer success in this new legal market. Judge Posner was probably right in chastising lawyers to get over their ‘math block’ because of the “extraordinary rate of scientific and other technological advances that figure increasingly in litigation.”

None of us knows whether this trend will continue, but it seems likely.  While we are thinking of how technology is creating or changing jobs, check out this tongue-in-cheek short-list of offbeat future professions outside of the legal world. Can you think of any future jobs in the making?  Let our creative entrepreneur-type lawyers know.

 

 

Brittany Hubbard, our intern from Chicago-Kent College of Law contributed to this post.

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Jayne Reardon
As a prior trial lawyer, Jayne leads lawyers to embrace the transformative possibilities of future law practice. As a prior disciplinary counsel, Jayne is passionate about promoting the core values of the legal profession. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Notre Dame. Jayne lives in Park Ridge, Illinois with her husband and those of her four children who are not otherwise living in college towns and beyond.
Jayne Reardon

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