With a view to integrating technology into the Indian legal sector, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) is introducing a first-of-its-kind certification for legal technology and innovation through CAM LegalTech and Innovation Certificate (CLIC).
CLIC will be offered free of charge to 30 students, selected by 8 law colleges. The first batch of students will get hands-on training and experience with top global LegalTech tools including Litera, Kira, CaseMine and Ment. They will also get close insight into problem-solving using the ‘design thinking’ methodology. The course will span 2 weeks and students will have access to the legal tech for a month.
Outlining the vision behind CLIC, Managing Partner Cyril Shroff said,
“CAM has been ahead of the curve in adoption and implementation of technology in India’s legal sector. We have achieved this through a number of internal and external initiatives and services. For example, our incubator, Prarambh, triggered a LegalTech revolution in India, and we have been steadfastly committed to continuously enabling technological progress in the legal sector. In another first, the firm is investing in the future of the legal industry through CLIC, a pioneering educational offering to equip a pool of lawyers and professionals with a practical understanding of cutting-edge LegalTech solutions. As part of its commitment, CAM is extending its in-house capabilities and technology, offering to help overcome cost and skills barriers and to help facilitate access to tools and trainers - all significant steps to trigger accelerated adoption.”
Speaking to Bar & Bench's Jelsyna Chacko, on the selection criteria for students to join the newly launched course, Chief Innovation Officer at the firm Komal Gupta said,
"The students are selected by leading law colleges. There is no mandate or surety that the nominated students will be prospective lawyers at CAM. By way of internal assessment from the colleges, we received 3-4 nominations per college."
Reminiscing on the journey that led to the inception of the CLIC course, Gupta said,
"I would say CLIC is a continuation... We started the journey in 2017 when we started using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) enabled technologies and we kept exploring options for process optimizations. Most of these technologies that the firm was using were foreign technologies which weren't trained on Indian documents. When we explored the domestic markets, we realized there aren't many legal-tech solution providers, and even if there were solutions, the gaps in the technologies would lead to their rejection...
...even when we had the intent to subscribe to domestic products, the products were constrained by choice, relevance, and meaningful applicability - that's when the thinking of Prarambh began as an initiative to revolutionize the legal industry as a whole with domestic talent. In the two cohorts held thus far at Prarambh, we worked with 6 startups in creating 6 different products. Through Prarambh, India's first legal incubator, we have been at the forefront of enabling legal tech development in India. This has earned Prarambh global acclaim. The CLIC course is our third initiative in this space - legal tech education is not rocket science but will soon be expected to become second nature to all lawyers...With CLIC, we are trying to develop an innovative mindset from the college stage."
On the unique aspects of the course, Gupta said,
"This will not be a lecture on due diligence, proof-reading, etc. We will shine light on the traditional and modern way of working and dive straight into the technology. We have partnered with the technologies we already use which will enable students access to legal-tech platforms. The course will be 20% theory and 80% practical. It will have demos, exercises of actual navigation of technology, etc. We will also be doing a lot of query resolution sessions with them so that we can solve the problems together."
Elaborating on the purpose of CLIC, Gupta said,
"The purpose is not to make them experts in various legal tech in 2 weeks, since most AI and ML based technologies have a steep learning curve. We want them to familiarize themselves with common technologies and be aware of the 'what', 'where' and 'how' and then choose which works best for them. They will get a good feel of the technologies and their benefits. For the first 15 days, they will be with us, and for the remaining 15, they have the tools to themselves to explore and put to use."
Gupta clarified that the course will not translate into any sort of work or internship with the firm, and will be purely for dissemination of practical knowledge.
Speaking on the core idea and vision behind CLIC, Gupta said,
"By training students through CLIC, we are going to the grassroots level - the students - who will be the great lawyers of tomorrow. We want their mindsets to change from when they are students, because once you hit the floor, it is difficult to overlook the longstanding traditional domestic practices. Being tech-savvy is not a unique skill for lawyers, it is a required skill...Just as you have studied law, you should also know how to use legal-tech and solve problems using design thinking. Our aim is to eventually take CLIC to the larger legal world and not limit it to only students."
The course modules of CLIC include introduction to new law and innovation, contract management & due diligence, legal research, legal proofreading, document automation, the lawyer of the future and design thinking.
The first batch of CLIC starts on September 5.