Breaking Into Legal Tech: A Lawyer’s Guide to Pioneering a New Frontier

The most common question I get from most young lawyers I meet, has to be in some shape or form “how to transition into legal technology”. Please note that these are lessons learned from my own personal journey, and can look different for you.

So, here goes, if you’re a lawyer interested in transitioning to the legal tech market, here are several steps that you can take:

1. Educate Yourself: Start by learning about the legal tech market and its key players. This includes both established companies and startups. Familiarize yourself with the types of solutions that are being offered, such as legal research tools, contract analysis software, and eDiscovery platforms. The more you know the better.

2. Technical Skills: Gain a basic understanding of tech concepts like cloud computing, machine learning, and blockchain. You don’t need to become a developer, but having an understanding of these concepts can be helpful in conversations with tech teams and customers. Gaining knowledge of technical skills helps in making you feel less lost in tech conversations. The same way lawyers can get technical, best believe so do techies. For me, I just learned non-coding tools, like navigating the backend of wordpress  or studying prompt engineering.

3. Networking: Networking is key to breaking into any new industry. Attend legal tech conferences, webinars, and other events. Join legal tech forums and online communities. The objective is to meet and connect with people in this field and to learn from their experiences. For example, literally searching #legaltech on twitter will open you up to some incredible folks who are constantly sharing their journey.

4. Relevant Experience: If possible, gain some experience with legal tech within your current role. This might mean taking the lead on implementing a new software solution within your firm, or spearheading a project that involves data analysis or automation. Take chances on yourself.

5. Continuing Education: Consider taking a course or earning a certificate in legal tech. Many universities and online platforms offer courses on legal tech, data privacy, intellectual property rights in the digital era, and other relevant topics.

6. Job Hunting: Look for roles in legal tech companies that match your skillset. You might not start in a purely tech role, but there could be roles that combine your legal expertise with a tech focus. For instance, you could work in product management for a legal tech company, where you could help to design and develop software solutions for legal professionals. Or you can employ other skills, like I said you dont have to be a coder. You can check out some job roles on LinkedIn, LegalTechJobs or Jameson Legal.

7. Consider Entrepreneurship: If you have a unique idea for a legal tech solution, consider starting your own company. This is a more challenging path, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. You’ll need to understand the market, build a team, develop a product, and secure funding. I also did that, tried my luck at being a startup founder. Hard, but rewarding journey nonetheless.

Remember, there is no one “correct” path into legal tech. Your journey will depend on your background, your interests, and the opportunities that you encounter along the way. It’s an exciting field with a lot of potential for growth, so it’s definitely worth exploring if you’re interested in law and technology.

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