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New network to help STEM students work in law

Legal news and commentary website Legal Cheek has joined forces with a host of elite law firms to create the United Kingdom’s first network for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) students and graduates keen to work in law.

Dubbed “STEM Future Lawyers”, the network aims to fill the skills gap in legal firms for lawyers and trainees with a foundation in science, as the profession ramps up its use of artificial intelligence-derived techniques.

These students’ “real skills” are slated to be a valuable addition to law firms as they integrate the new AI systems into their work, Legal Cheek founder Alex Adridge said, as reported on the news site.

“If the legal profession is to have its own version of Steve Jobs, I’d wager he or she will be a millennial STEM graduate who does a law conversion and trains at a large law firm.”

The network is a welcome addition to the profession, with firms’ recruiting partners lauding its potential to help their practice stay at the forefront of technology’s prowess.

“Technology will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in all our lives, both in and out of work, and as technology and the law converge now more than ever is the time for STEM students to consider a career in the legal sector,” Jon Chertkow, financial institutions and graduate recruitment partner at Hogan Lovells said.

For Thomas Kwoh, head of Imperial College London’s student law society and a STEM student himself, commercial law brings him the same joy as what he had studied in science: “the research, the innovation and above all, the opportunity to engage with challenging and impactful problems”

While Intellectual Property (IP) would be what people would think when it comes to merging science and law, Kwoh says STEM students should not limit themselves to IP alone as their degrees are applicable to any legal practice area.

“In brief, both the germane and transferable skills of a STEM graduate provide for fantastic opportunities, and never has there been a better or more exciting time to make the switch,” he said.

STEM Future Lawyers and Legal Cheek will take part in the “‘How To Make it as a City Lawyer” event at BPP Law School on July 6, as well as the “Innovation and the Next Generation of Lawyers” on July 12 at Pinsent Masons’ new Birmingham office.

The legal profession is not alone in looking for graduates with skills to keep up with the industry’s increasing reliance on technology. Business schools in the United States are increasingly introducing financial technology courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in response to demand from the financial industry as well as from students.

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