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The New Skills for the Legal Profession (and the Rest of Us, Too)

 21st March 2017 by gihan

Last week, I presented the closing keynote presentation for the Queensland Law Society’s Annual Symposium.

Their theme was “Framing the Future”, and the previous speaker was Professor Nick James, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at Bond University. Professor Dean spoke about what it takes to be a legal professional in the 21st Century, and I was pleased to see his emphasis on people skills rather than technical skills.

Here is one of his slides pointing out the difference between “old” and “new” law:

In case you can’t read the details, here’s a summary:

Old

New

Legalistic mindset   

   Commercial realism

Orthodoxy orientation   

   Digital literacy

Emotional distance   

   Emotional intelligence

Demographic bias   

   Cultural competency

Moral neutrality   

   Moral leadership

He was addressing the legal profession, but his advice applies to all of us. If you want to be fit for the future, start by building the five skills he recommends:

  • Commercial realism
  • Digital literacy
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Cultural competency
  • Moral leadership

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