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Harvard Law School Vice Dean David Wilkins delivers Dr L.M. Singhvi Memorial Lecture at Jindal Global Law School

IANS | March 26, 2024 11:21 AM

SONIPAT: Lester Kissel Professor of Law & Vice Dean, Harvard Law School David B. Wilkins has said the key thing that lawyers need to do is to have a more digital and data driven approach to risk.

"They need to quantify risk, because people are anxious over growth and are willing to invest in technology, but only to the extent that technology produces a more digital approach. This creates tremendous opportunities for lawyers who serve organizations. Lawyers themselves have to embrace new technology, " said Wilkins.

"This creates tremendous opportunities for lawyers who serve organisations. Lawyers themselves have to embrace new technology, " said Wilkins, while delivering the 9th Dr. L.M. Singhvi Memorial Lecture on the theme: 'The Future of the Legal Profession”, in the Age of ESG, ChatGPT, and Gen Z – and What it Means for Your Career'.

"Digital transformation will influence situations and there will be more blurring together of traditional categories of organisations which will be increasingly intertwined between the public and private, global and local. What we need to do is integrate law and legal knowledge with knowledge of politics, humanities, technology, economics, to help solve complex problems that organisations face.

"This requires us to embrace a new paradigm of lawyering. Less than a year or so ago, no one had ever heard of chatbots. Now that is all everybody is talking about. And they are doing it because chatbots in the US passed the bar exam. You could become a certified lawyer. It's scary. It passed the medical exams! It is estimated that ChatGPT and other tools could replace the equivalent of 300 million jobs, around a quarter of all jobs in the US and Europe could be automated! However, it may lack empathy, creativity, judgment for essential kinds of work. Therefore, ChatGPT may need human supervision and guidance to ensure its outputs are accurate, ethical and compliant with law."

‘"There are firms in the US creating their own A.I. tools to help prepare lawyers for litigation. Once it is developed, it going to sell as software, as a solution to other law firms and to clients. Microsoft has already invested in a year, something like $12 billion on Artificial Intelligence. So, it's both going to replace legal jobs and also create a lot of legal jobs for people to figure out issues like - ethics, intellectual property, ownership of data etc. and it'll always be controversial."

The Dr. L.M. Singhvi Memorial Lecture is an annual lecture series organised by Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University in memory of Dr. L.M. Singhvi, a multifaceted personality, a jurist par excellence, who made yeoman services to society as a statesman, diplomat, writer, and lawyer. Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India & Member of Parliament instituted the Singhvi Endowment at O.P. Jindal Global University.

Remembering, Dr. L.M. Singhvi, Prof. R. Sudarshan, Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy reflected, that Dr. Singhvi worked towards turning India’s political transformation into social transformation and was also instrumental in the process of creating an ombudsman which led to the establishment of the Office of the Lokpal.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice Chancellor of O.P. Jindal Global University, welcomed the distinguished speaker and said, "Prof David B. Wilkins is a great source of inspiration to me personally and has mentored many individuals at JGU and delivered several key lectures and talks. The theme of his lecture discussing the future of legal profession and the impact of AI and technology in shaping the future is critical and central to many debates and discussions relating to reforms in the legal sector. Professor Wilkins has been a long term supported and friend of JGU and he was also present at the founding in 2009. Professor Wilkins is a distinguished scholar and a prominent public intellectual whose work in the field of law is renowned globally. As a scholar he is passionately committed to the strengths of India and is conscious that of 1.5 billion Indians, nearly 1 billion are under the age of 35 and will be instrumental in shaping not just the future of India but that of the world."

Prof David B. Wilkins further elucidated, "Law is central to democracy, which means there’s always going to be an understanding about regulation in the public interest. With new laws comes the need for new lawyers, or at least lawyers with new kinds of skills. The world has been living through three inter-related crises: a global public health crisis, global economic and political crisis, and sustainability crisis. In order to overcome these crises, we have to think of law as a collaborative discipline - a site of interdisciplinarity - in which people from all disciplines join hands to create integrated solutions to problems".

"How is globalisation reshaping the market for legal services in important places like India, Brazil and China? India is the most important rising power in the world alongside the ASEAN, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa. These are going to be the most exciting, most interesting places in the world. Before we look to the future, let's think about how much change has already happened across the world in the last 30 years when most lawyers in almost every jurisdiction and in India, were solo practitioners. We've seen an increasing rise in the size and sophistication of legal organizations. It's the rise of government law offices, nonprofits, NGOs. Law will be an increasingly institutionalized presence. It has also become an increasingly diverse profession. Now, women constitute the majority of new entrants to the legal profession everywhere in the world.

Dr. S.G. Sreejith, Executive Dean, Jindal Global Law School and Dean (Strategy & Institution Building), O.P. Jindal Global University gave the introductory remarks and Prof. (Dr.) Nisha Nair, Associate Dean, Jindal Global Law School delivered the concluding remarks.

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