Student Video Charts the Future for Lawyers

The winner of Slaughter and May’s first Student Innovation competition is Afraz Akhtar, whose animated video ‘A Trip to the Future’ explores where the legal sector is headed and what skills lawyers will need to succeed, (see below).

The video entry was part of a new event held by the firm to engage students in thinking deeply about innovation and the law. Entrants could pick from several questions and then respond in any format they wanted. Akhtar, who is at the University of Law, will receive £1,000 and a work experience placement at the firm.

The video considers:

  • What legal services will be like in a few decades’ time, (but really it’s talking about today).
  • That change will be driven by a need for more efficiency and standardisation (Afraz, have you been reading Artificial Lawyer?)
  • That ‘robots’ do not take lawyers’ jobs. (Hint, hint, Law Society.)
  • Human roles won’t be replaced, just refined.
  • How AI will help remove legal drudge work.
  • The development of new legal roles.
  • And much more.

What this site likes about the video is that in reality much of what it’s covering is actually happening right now. But, by putting it in the context of a story about the future it enables law students, who possibly have not all thought through how legal tech and new delivery models are changing things, to grasp easily the core ideas that are in play at the moment. It’s also a message of reassurance and positive change, rather than of dystopia.

Here is the winning video about the future for lawyers, it’s about 7 minutes. Please press play to watch inside the page.

The firm received over 50 entries. The judging panel was made up of Slaughter and May Practice Partner, David Wittmann, Chair of the firm’s Innovation Committee, Ben Kingsley, Director of Knowledge & Innovation, Alex Woods, Head of Knowledge & Innovation, Jane Stewart, and Head of Responsible Business and Inclusion, Uzma Hamid-Dizier.

Afraz Akhtar – The competition winner.

The second and third place entries were awarded £500 and £250 in prize money respectively. They were:

  • Second place: Mary Áine Connolly (studying Law at the University of Birmingham) who produced a video in response to the question: ‘What is the link between innovative thinking and diversity and inclusion and how can this benefit law firms?’
  • Third place: George Woosey (studying Business Management at the University of Leeds) with a narrated presentation in response to the question: ‘Is there more to legal innovation than technology?’
  • And there was also the Highly commended: Majd Mansour (studying Law with Hispanic Law at University College London) with a narrated presentation in response to the question: ‘What is the link between innovative thinking and diversity and inclusion in law firm and how can this benefit law firms?’

Emma Walton-Moore, Knowledge & Innovation Manager at the firm, commented: ‘We’ve all enjoyed hearing the students’ ideas and perspectives and look forward to welcoming Afraz into the team later this summer. There are lots of opportunities for students to experience innovation at the firm and we’d encourage them to get involved where they can.’