Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Example on how to Review your Job and Relevance within your industry.

Just thought I would provide an example on how to review your current job and predict the degree of disruption which you will face over the next ten years. The example I will use is the task of a litigator and if you actually know some litigators, you will understand these are supremely confidant guys who will never believe that their work will ever be replaced by an AI.

So to review the work of the litigator, the first task would be to break the work of litigation down into multiple parts, which according to my reference book is as follows : documentation review, legal research, project management, litigation support, e-discovery, strategy, tactics, negotiation and advocacy. If you are an software developer you might end up with different tasks like : Feasibility Study, Business Analysis, Systems Architecting, Programming, Testing, Deployment.

For each component of litigation work, we try to determine what level of commoditization the work has reached. For example, legal research and documentation can potentially be done by legal processing outsourcing teams in India so fall into the packaged territory. Project management can be tracked using MS Project or Prima Vera or even conducted by a PMP instead of a legal professional. Advising on strategy and tactics remains a bespoke service which the customer expects from the litigator himself.

Litigation State of Commoditization
Document Review Packaged
Legal Research Packaged
Project Management Systematized
Litigation Support Standardized
Electronic Disclosure Standardized
Strategy and Tactics Bespoke
Negotiation Bespoke
Advocacy Bespoke

At least the full picture I tried to craft for the litigator looks like this. A smart litigator will focus on understanding his client more and find ways to offshore the document review and legal research part of the work, being good at the law is not enough. Thereafter, savvy law-firms may wish to look into non-lawyer headcount to do project management, litigation support and electronic disclosure.

More interestingly, whoever harbours ambitions to disrupt the legal sector should likely focus on the low hanging fruit like document review rather than to cut against the grain and try to take on tasks with a heavy client interfacing tasks.

I'm sure many legal practitioners will find an issue with the table I built to which I invite you for feedback. After all, I don't have any working experience in the legal industry yet.

But many readers can employ this approach to catalog the work you do for the company and start finding ways to do more of the bespoke work which leads to a higher income and lower odds of industrial disruption, if the bulk of your work can be easily packaged or completely commoditised, start making plans to either retrain or leave your company.

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