In the past, the threat to commercial law firms from the big accountancy boys may not have been taken entirely seriously. Doubt as to whether the accountants were really interested in becoming legal service main players, or whether they just looked on legal services as part of a one-stop, full commercial advice service, has always been there. A lot of reliance (perhaps too much) was placed on the depth of legal advice that could be offered by law firms in comparison to the accountants. Law after all is the core business of law firms, whereas the accountants, although at a huge advantage in terms of influence through their auditing service, had legal departments that arguably operated more in a support role.
That would no longer seem to be the case if the news from PwC concerning their Learning Management Service (‘LMS’) points to the future of legal service provision.
PwC Sets Out Its AI-Powered NewLaw Strategy
The law, commercial law in particular, must now be viewed as data. Data contained in documents, data contained in judgments…data that can be analysed, compared, selected, predicted and assessed. That being the case, the organisations with the greatest amount of data and the resource to process that data accurately will be the major players in the market. As the above article mentions, the big accountancy firms have the greatest reach globally and therefore the best contacts and network among commercial organisations. If they decide to throw their weight behind the use of AI in the provision of legal services then they could easily dominate the LMS market.
In my own field of legal education, which (sadly) is itself a business nowadays, the same principles should apply. And yet I’ve seen first hand in a number of commercial sectors that even to this day, in a world where analytics are ubiquitous and more prevalent than ever before, this is not so.
Business would do well to heed Tim’s advice. Transparency breeds trust and trust delivers longevity and perhaps even more importantly sustainability and success.
I’m determined to write more in future, starting in the new year. I think it the past I’ve made the mistake of believing there isn’t time to write that crafting a piece, an article, a paper, whatever is something that must be undertaken in hermetic isolation. All too quickly you can succumb to to the farmiliar excuse that there just isn’t enough time amongst all the other tasks of the day and that writing is not a priority. That’s why I found this article on the Evernote blog so interesting.
5 tips to increase writing productivity
I have to thank my friend and fellow educational adventurer, Jon Harman, for pointing me in the direction of a very interesting discussion document from the International Forum of Educational Technology & Society (IFETS). The document entitled ‘A Theory for eLearning’ lamented the lack of established eLearning theory and called for a deeper understanding of the term and its place in the educational landscape. Although the discussion document was written in 2003, when I read it earlier this month I still found that a lot of the discussion points are still relevant in 2016. ‘eLearning’ is still a term that is poorly defined and used by many to label any learning methodology that involves a computer, whether connected to the internet or not.
The discussion paper begins with a question: What is a ‘theory’? It describes a theory as “a set of hypotheses that apply to all instances of a particular phenomenon, assisting in decision-making, philosophy of practice and effective implementation through practice.” The paper then makes an attempt at defining some common terminology and follows that with a list of 10 hypotheses for eLearning that make interesting reading. I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with every one of them, so much so that they now have a place reserved on the wall of my office alongside my manifesto of educational beliefs.
One particular hypothesis that strikes a particular chord is:
The choice of eLearning tools should reflect rather than determine the pedagogy of a course; how technology is used is more important than which technology is used.”
This is a point that I’ve made frequently throughout my career as a curriculum and instructional designer. You write the pedagogical principles first and then, only then, look for the most appropriate tools to create the ecosystem for learners to learn. Too many institutions buy a shiny new toy first and then look at ways to use it, many of them inappropriate to the programmes and courses they wish to deliver.
Please take a look at the discussion paper and let me know your thoughts. Do the hypotheses still hold true 13 years after they were written? Could they be added to? Is the use of eLearning so commonplace that it has no significantl meaning anymore?
This week saw my return to NLS (Nottingham Law School) after 22 years. It’s been great to see so many familiar faces and also meet many new faces and to feel once again part of something that quite honestly feels like coming home.
The fact that after 22 years nearly 50% of the staff have remained at the Law School is a testament to the place. Yes, we all look just a little bit older but we’re all a lot more experienced and a lot wiser. Colleagues who I first met as practitioners like me taking their first steps into higher education, are now Associate Dean, Senior Management Team, Professors and Doctors. I’m incredibly proud to call them friends and colleagues and also incredibly proud of their achievements and the huge contribution they have made and continue to make to professional legal education both in this country and abroad.
I hope that by returning to NLS I can also contribute to the continuing success of the Law School. Of course the landscape of professional legal education in the UK has altered significantly since I was last here in 2003. There are significant challenges to be met and new vistas to explore but the pioneering spirit of ’93 at the advent of the LPC is still there. With an open mind, and a passion for innovation and progression we set off like Lewis and Clark to chart the unknown. It’s been refreshing to return to NLS, for me the force awakens!
The University of Everywhere: I love this idea! And I can see it happening too. The only question is, when and how quickly?
Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, the advance of technology and the desperate need to solve the higher education funding crisis will drive this development. But more than that, this is a beautiful concept in that it accords perfectly with the themes of life long and social learning. Learning should not be compartmentalised into restricted hours and physical environments. It should be constant, permanent,online, offline, all time.
So, roll on the University of Everywhere. I for one intend to be a student.
Here is the working prototype for the new version of The Legal Edlines.
Simply download the PDF from the link below and then click on the headlines to interact with linked articles:
The New Legal Edlines (prototype)