How not to be a lawyer – a career in lawtech

After graduating from state school, I wanted to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force.

My family had military roots and I’d previously spent six years in the RAF Cadets. I chose A Levels which I thought would suit this career, including Mathematics and Physics, rather than those I actually enjoyed. My lack of passion for these subjects quickly became apparent, but not quick enough so that I could change my subjects.

A year later, my college agreed to let me choose three new subjects (including Law). I was grateful, but not entirely thrilled: this was a difficult decision, putting me back a year while all my friends went off to university, which turned out to be quite an isolating experience. However, it also allowed me to develop an interest in Law which I pursued further at Warwick.

Throughout my degree, I was primed for the traditional career path and decided to pursue a career as a solicitor. Like many of my peers, I moved to London to study the LPC. Before I could start the LPC, however, I was offered the opportunity to work for a firm specialising in private client while working towards the new SQE. It later turned out that the job was not what I expected or wanted, and eventually led me to revisiting my career choices. I knew I wanted to work in law, but that didn’t have to be as a lawyer, did it? Before I had time to assess my options, the pandemic had hit, we were in lockdown, and the job market dried up overnight.

I never found the search for alternative careers in law easy. In fact, I stumbled across my first role at Tech Nation by accident. In short, I was originally introduced to Tech Nation through a recruiter and interviewed for several different roles during the first lockdown – none of which were quite the right fit. It wasn’t until the lockdown was lifted that I finally interviewed with LawtechUK and landed the role of LawtechUK Executive. 

LawtechUK is a government-backed initiative within Tech Nation, established to support the transformation of the UK legal sector through technology, for the benefit of society and the economy. Supporting the digital transformation of the legal sector enabled me to work across cutting-edge and pioneering projects including Smarter Contracts, Open Legal Data, and laying the groundwork for an Online Dispute Resolution platform for SMEs. Most notably, I worked on the Lawtech Sandbox, an accelerator programme that fast-tracks transformative ideas, products and services that address the legal needs of businesses and society.

Over two years on, I continue my journey with LawtechUK, now running the Lawtech Sandbox initiative. My undergraduate student self would have never anticipated that I would end up not only off of the traditional career trail but also at the forefront of its transformation. I set out on this journey without a map or my destination, with all but a sense of direction. All the obstacles along the way inadvertently brought me closer and closer to what is now a fulfilling and enjoyable career. If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self it would be: if things do not go to plan, accept the challenge and let life nudge you in a different direction. Do not be afraid to make a mistake or take multiple risks in pursuit of finding your perfect career. In my experience, mistakes really do equal opportunities, and some of them may have life-changing consequences. 

Alternative careers in law

Law is a sector ripe for disruption, and lawtech is building and delivering the change that is needed. In doing so, lawtechs are improving the delivery of legal services to make them cheaper, more efficient, and more accessible. The best part is, you don’t need to be a lawyer  to contribute to the transformation, many lawtechs are run and founded by non-lawyers. If you do have a business idea that you wish to pursue, LawtechUK can support your growth through the Lawtech Sandbox. However, you need not launch your own startup to join the ecosystem. There are many different opportunities within the sector for those interested in a career in law, such as:

  • Project management
  • Product management
  • Marketing
  • Content writing
  • Human resources
  • Business operations
  • Software development
  • Quality assurance
  • Business development

The list goes on. Lawtech offers you a broad spectrum of opportunities: from growing early-stage tech companies to working in innovation at a law firm, you get a great range of options to rapidly develop your skills and supercharge the start of your career. 

It is important to remember that lawtech is not just about supporting businesses or law firms with their document review, contact negotiations or practice management. It is also helping small businesses owners find affordable and accessible legal services, and helping everyday people with some of the most stressful parts of life: divorce, wills, probate, and collectively seeking justice.

A great place to start looking for opportunities is the 44 Lawtech Sandbox Alumni, which you can find here and here. We also have a database of all lawtech companies operating in the UK here.

If you would like to learn more about lawtech and its pioneers, join the live stream of our Shaping the Future of Lawtech event on 8th November 2022, where we will examine lawtech’s role in reshaping legal services to deliver greater access to law and enhance the UK’s position globally.

You can watch the recording here.

Jack Cane

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