Early on in my law studies, I became interested in the connection between law and technology. Again and again, I sought to talk to experts, some of whom were supposed to be experts. At the end of the day, the legal tech scene in Germany always seemed quite small to me. I noticed this by the fact that the same names were mentioned again and again in different conversations. One of these names was Michael Grupp. So I contacted him, which led to the contact with BRYTER about a year ago.
When I was in Boston last year, I talked to the president of the Harvard Law and Tech Society, Robert Mahari, from student to student. We considered how to combine the law and technology courses and exchanged ideas about useful qualities in the legal tech field. In the end, in my view, there is no right or wrong.
The field of Legal Tech may seem understandably intangible to some. Not everyone has to develop a passion for it. Nevertheless, I believe that it is very helpful to gain a basic understanding of Legal Tech.Laura Bingenheimer, Law Student & Remote Intern at BRYTER
The following steps have helped me to gain a better overview. Maybe they are helpful for you as well:
1. Arouse Interest
You can probably skip this step if you are already reading this article. I gained my interest in Legal Tech through an interdisciplinary basic seminar between LMU and TU Munich. My topic was entitled ‘Analogies between legal standards and software code’. Maybe there are similar offers at your university.
2. Expand your Interest
By regularly visiting the think tank Legal Tech at the Palace of Justice in Munich, I have been listening to various lectures on existing technologies for about a year now and was able to get an idea of how far the term Legal Tech reaches. This year, Henrik Volkmann, chairman and founder of recode.law, and I contacted each other by phone despite a contact ban, in order to consider whether I could contribute to a project for recode.law. Together with two other members of recode.law, I am now designing a newsletter NewLawRadar, which will be published every two weeks starting in June, and for which two test runs have already been carried out. recode.law enables a daily exchange with all personalities who are interested in Legal Tech.
It is precisely this constant exchange of information that crystallizes the qualities required for a job in the legal tech sector. However, due to the constant changes in technology, there is probably no 100% guarantee.
3. Generate Knowledge Systematically
Now the interest is there, but the knowledge is missing. So what happens next? Now there are not yet so many offers for further education in the field of legal tech at universities and online. So in this case I asked Robert Mahari which qualities he finds useful. Among other things he suggested Python. So in the end I took a few online courses besides my law studies to get a better understanding of Python, Machine Learning, UX Design and Legal Tech in general. For further courses, Nico Kuhlmann (this is another name that keeps popping up in the German Legal Tech scene) and I wrote an LTO article in April this year.
4. Apply and Feed Knowledge
Internships are often an opportunity to put a little existing knowledge into context. During an internship at the IT law firm JunIT, I became aware of how well-founded the knowledge in the technological field often has to be in order to be able to provide useful legal advice at all.
5. Developing Technologies
On the other hand, there is the development of technologies to support the legal industry. During an internship at BRYTER, it was possible to design tools every day. Of course, I can’t code from that. However, I didn’t know what to expect and if it would be easy for me to work with them. So it was all the more astonishing that building the tool was not a big challenge. But I only found that out by working on the tool. So, just do it.
Legal knowledge is also often in demand. Behind almost every tool there is a legal question in the broadest sense. So the builder must first understand the logic behind the tool himself in order to build a functioning tool. As soon as the tool is working, it helps, for example, to calculate deadlines and set up documents and emails. It can integrate other programs such as Kira and Excel and, for example, generate new text from the information it contains. I only know all this because I have used the tool and know that it works. And I think that’s what it’s all about. Whether you work in a law firm or a company one day. It makes sense to know what to do with such tools is possible and to be able to use them in an emergency. If I can do it, you can do it!
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