Legal Technology and the Future of Women in Law

Abstract

Much has been written about how automation will change the legal profession as a whole, less so about how automation might affect women in legal practice. This paper briefly maps the likely changes that legal tech (legal technology) will bring to the provision of legal services, and explores how these changes might affect the barriers to advancement that women face in the profession. It determines that, while the use of legal tech may improve women’s work/life balance and overall job satisfaction by bringing about more flexible working hours, positive changes to the billing hours’ system, and fairer hiring and promotion mechanisms, an unfettered inclusion of legal tech might lead to increased working hours for less wages, increased competition for case files among associates, and the perpetuation of existing gender biases when using algorithms in the hiring and promotion process. Finally, the paper makes several recommendations on how law societies, bar associations and other relevant regulatory bodies could ensure that legal tech promotes rather than hinders Equality & Diversity in the legal profession. It proposes that:

(1) detailed data on men and women lawyers should be collected to better inform equality and diversity policies;

(2) law firms should be required to report on their progress in pursuing equality and diversity;

(3) management techniques to promote work/life balance and more flexible pricing systems should be encouraged;

(4) female entrepreneurship in legal tech should be promoted; and,

(5) technological due process procedures should be required when using algorithms in law firm management to ensure fairness, accuracy and accountability

Munisami, Kayal, Legal Technology and the Future of Women in Law (2019). 36 Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 164, 2019.

Read the full article on SSRN. 

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ABA releases report on why women are leaving big law

A new survey released by the American Bar Association and ALM Intelligence is addressing why women are leaving big law. The Walking Out The Door: The Facts, Figures, and Future of Experienced Women Lawyers in Private Practice study is part of an ABA initiative launched by former-President Hilarie Bass. Over the past decades, women have made up roughly 45-50% of entering associate classes at large law firms, however, women make up only 30% of non-equity partners and 20% of equity partners.

Read the full report at the ABA site (PDF).

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3 Female Lawyers Tackling Jurisdiction to Define The Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

Stable coins, the rise of custodial solutions and the recent announcement of Fidelity launching an institutional platform for Bitcoin and Ethereum are all designed to make it easier for institutional investors to partake in the cryptocurrency market.

Yet a number of questions arise as the cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to expand its reach to traditional financial markets. Trust must be built among new market participants, countries leading innovation need to respond to legal concerns and actions should to be taken to pave the way for both accredited and non-accredited investors to step foot into the cryptocurrency market.

As a result, lawyers specializing in cryptocurrency related matters have become key players for ensuring the success of the global adoption of digital assets. Three women lawyers in particular are taking action to help define legal uncertainties currently facing the evolving crypto ecosystem.

Read the full article here

*This article first appeared in Forbes magazine. 

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