I recently had the pleasure of attending the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division Spring Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. These conferences are a great opportunity for lawyers to come together and grow, both as leaders in their communities and as lawyers for their clients. During day two of the conference I attended a discussion lead by Ronda Muir on the importance of emotional intelligence in the legal industry. One sentence in particular that really struck a chord was that the emotional intelligence of lawyers becomes more important as artificial intelligence is on the rise. Unfortunately, Ms. Muir moved on from this point but my mind couldn’t follow. I was stuck pondering this and felt compelled to share a post on it.
Let’s think about this for a second. What can artificial intelligence (“AI”) do for you, the potential client? Some forms of AI have the ability to analyze research and provide statistical analysis, just like a lawyer does. Except these forms of AI claim to do it faster and their services are likely cheaper. Is this problematic for the lawyers of the world? Will lawyers be out of a career because of AI and other “do it yourself” websites that allow you to create legal documents at a reduced rate? Absolutely not! Why, you ask? Emotional Intelligence is one good reason.
In simple terms, emotional intelligence is self awareness of your own emotions, the ability to control these emotions and the ability empathize with another human being – all things that AI cannot do. Why is this important? Let’s look at the emotionally intelligent lawyer. Just like AI, he or she can analyze data and provide statistical analysis but the services do not stop there. This lawyer will be able to connect and empathize with you in a way that AI cannot. This Lawyer will listen to your unique situation, to your concerns and provide an answer to questions as they come (remember, not all questions can be answered by analyzing data). They will have the ability to create an attorney-client relationship, one that is built on trust and may extend to your family, if necessary. This lawyer will be able to offer the connection that only a human can as well as the stylistic approach that a seasoned lawyer can.
Perhaps AI will develop some emotional capability in the near future but for now, a good lawyer is the only way to go.
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