How Education Hubs Should Keep Pace With The Legal Changes?

Lawyers of the new decade will need to have a sound foundation in subjects related to future businesses, technology, coding and design thinking to be legal luminaries of the coming years.

India is in the midst of witnessing the fourth Industrial Revolution taking the world by storm. Industry 4.0 is the trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes which include cyber-physical systems (CPS), the internet of things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence.

This new evolution will also take the legal sphere by storm. It is expected that many of our legislations will grow redundant while new legislations will enter our law books. With technological advancement and the growth of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, numerous jobs of current lawyers will be redundant and new avenues will be created for human expertise. 

Lawyers of the new decade will need to have a sound foundation in subjects related to future businesses, technology, coding and design thinking to be legal luminaries of the coming years.

In a profession that requires regular learning, unlearning and relearning, one cannot emphasize the significance of specialized teaching enough. Keeping the said assertion aside, if we take a look at the troubled state of affairs of lawyers in the country, it showcases a picture that displays a crisis within the legal education sphere. This can be attributed to the following reasons:

The curriculum followed by Universities is largely outdated and does not cater to the requirements of the legal profession. 

There is limited interaction between legal academicians and legal professionals. 

Curriculums do not focus enough on equipping students with pragmatic knowledge of legal subjects. 

Universities largely focus on teaching the students law in isolation and do not focus on teaching them the application of the law in other subject areas. 

Despite everyone talking about the advancement of technology today, none of the Universities are focusing on giving students a foundational knowledge of technology and educating them about the intersection of law and technology. 

The way forward is simple- legal academia needs to stop operating in silos, embrace technology and open its doors to practicing legal professionals. 

There is an urgent need to revisit the 5 year program curriculum being delivered in Law Universities. There is a pressing need to develop the Legal Curriculum 4.0 that caters to equipping future lawyers with the apt skill set for the new decade. The lawyer of tomorrow needs to be well read in humanities subjects, have a functional knowledge of technology and an in depth knowledge of law. Universities need to focus on developing ‘T’ shaped professionals. We need specialists with a general understanding of new age areas. 

Law Schools need to give students a platform to be exposed to all future developments along with their legal ramifications to be effective problem-solvers. Law Schools need to introduce interventions in their curriculum that develop efficient research skills, lateral thinking, critical thinking and decision making abilities. Our world tomorrow will have numerous workers in the form of machines we need more leaders to guide the human race to further development. 

There must be greater thrust on ‘learning by doing’ rather than rote learning. Students need to be immersed in real life situations to develop their thinking abilities and improve their application skills. In a time where our workspaces will be infested with AI powered machines, lawyers need to develop a skill set complementary to machines.

Regulators of legal education must create platforms for continuous interaction between the academia and profession to constantly evolve the curriculum to meet the changing needs. 

In times where the world is changing everyday, our profession and Universities cannot expect to remain untouched by these major shifts. It is best that we embrace these new age developments and curate our curriculums in a way that creates industry ready legal eagles of tomorrow. Let’s be and own the change, not resist it! 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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