‘Innovate or die’, Olanipekun warns lawyers
Unless Nigerian lawyers become more innovative and adapt new ways of practice, they risk being rendered redundant and irrelevant by advances in information and communication technology.
Speaking at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Branch Annual Law Week held in Lagos, Mr. Olabode Olanipekun, Managing Partner of Wole Olanipekun & Co., noted that contemporary legal profession is driven by technology and innovation.
“To survive, to avert what we have termed future shock, the individual must become infinitely more adaptable and capable than ever before,” Olanipekun said, quoting Alvin Toffler. “He must search out totally new ways to anchor himself, for all the old roots – religion, nation, community, family, or profession – are now shaking under the impact of the hurricane with its accelerative thrust.”
He noted that several artificial intelligence software have been designed to help lawyers in their practice, including those that engage in legal reasoning and emulate the decision-making process of humans.
Recalling that Brian Solis had termed this age of digital transformation as “Digital Darwinism,” Olanipekun observes: “In minimizing costs and maximizing efficiency for instance, lawyers and law firms around the world are doing well to tap into the expansive resource of social media, adopt virtual workplaces and enhance the use of online platforms.”
According to him, with the advent of technology, clients have become more discerning and impatient, adding: “the average 21st century client is not willing to wait for many things. This is clearly why Arbitration and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution have come to the fore in extant times. Clients now want documents critiqued, opinions rendered or contracts prepared in record time, yet, same must be accurate.”
The theme of this year’s Law Week, which attracted the cream of Nigeria’s legal profession was “Building and sustaining a vibrant law practice: Prospects and challenges.”
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