"There are a lot of law firms saying they are investing in technology and innovation, but not many that are genuinely investing in the teams that deliver those solutions ... when I heard about AG's Innovation & Legal Technology Graduate Scheme I was over the moon!"
Jasmine Sladen, a Manchester-based Legal Technologist who is one of the inaugural intake in AG's Innovation & Legal Technology Graduate Scheme, shares her experience of navigating a path from music to legal technology and how her AG journey is going to date.
I grew up in a very musical household and had always enjoyed creative subjects like Music and Art. After writing and performing music throughout my teens I decided to study Music Technology at college, which I studied alongside Law. I was able to combine both interests in the form of a music copyright law research piece, which is where my interest in the intersection of technology and law began.
I studied law at undergraduate with a focus on copyright, but was unsure on the path that I wanted to take after university. I knew I enjoyed learning and reading and the law, but I wasn't sure that being a Solicitor or a Barrister was for me. At the time, there wasn't much talk about legal technology and even less about alternative legal career, so I spent a few years working in retail and recruitment while trying to figure out what I wanted from an ideal job. I knew that I enjoyed problem solving, working with enthusiastic people and wanted to join a company that was genuinely invested in my personal and professional development.
Opening the door to legal tech
During this time, I saw an advert for a Master degree in Legal Technology with the University of Law and applied because it sounded interesting. Studying this course enabled me to build on my existing interest in tech and opened my eyes to a changing legal world and exciting technological solutions. I really enjoyed the course and knew that this was the area I wanted to work in, but I was unsure what jobs would be available. Everything that I was coming across was asking for several years' experience or a deep knowledge of a particular tool, so when I heard about AG's Innovation & Legal Technology Graduate Scheme I was over the moon.
There are a lot of law firms saying they are investing in technology and innovation, but not many that are genuinely investing in the teams that deliver those solutions. With AG's Innovation and Legal Technology Graduate Scheme, the firm is building that talent from the ground up, while encouraging growth, learning and development throughout, which is exactly what I was looking for. I was struggling to find firms that had dedicated innovation teams offering an alternative to the traditional training contract route, but the Graduate Scheme offers just that. With your time on the scheme set out in rotations around the pillars, much like training contract seats, it gives you the opportunity to experience each area of the business in a clear and structured way.
Making a difference from day one
My first pillar was with Internal Efficiencies - here the focus is on internal processes and how to make the day-to-day work across the firm as streamlined as possible and provide support for technology that is already rolled out throughout the firm. We speak with Solicitors, Knowledge Lawyers, Paralegals, Business Managers and Partners across the business to determine pain points in their work and aim to find tech solutions to these issues. The work we do can vary each day and may include: building and maintaining an internal client site; using document automation to produce reports and holding meetings to map out processes and using this to research and develop solutions.
Within my first four months I have had the chance to liaise with most divisions in the firm and have worked on and delivered several projects for a variety of internal clients. To get this much exposure so early on has shown me just how much of a reach legal tech can have, and how valuable the ILT team is to the firm's overall culture and vision. My current pillar is Research and Development, the pillar not only looks at new technology, but also how our existing technologies can be used in innovative ways and support larger projects throughout the firm from an R&D perspective. Here I hope to apply what I've learnt from Internal Efficiencies, to research and find solutions for real life issues experienced in the firm's day-to-day work.
A valued member of the team
Everyone within the ILT team and the wider firm has been so welcoming and available to help out, and nowhere else in my career have I felt like a valued member of a team as quickly as I have with AG. The diversity and inclusion initiatives available to you from day one further demonstrate the firm's commitment to and investment in their staff and I'm really excited to see where my AG journey takes me.