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

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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