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Lawyers of the future: new technologies and their impact on lawyers’ field of work

14 November 2017 | By:
Law Congress 1
CAMPUS DATE... with Zoe Kuhzarani and Tobias Schwalm, the chairpersons of this year's EBS Law Congress

Professional demands made on lawyers are changing rapidly. Nowadays, an increasing number of lawyers are working for companies, such as in the IT sector, rather than in law offices. This raises the question: what challenges are lawyers facing now and in the future in terms of increasingly ubiquitous technological progress and digitalisation?

To find this out, a group of 26 EBS students organised the fourth EBS Law Congress on October 26 and 27. Approximately 270 guests attended presentations and panel discussions in the overall context of “The law of new technologies”. The speakers came from companies such as SAP and Google, as well representatives from Hesse’s Central Agency for Combatting Cybercrime.

In the interview, student organisers Zoe Kuhzarani and Tobias Schwalm talk about the one-year preparation period and their personal highlights.

EBS: The EBS Law Congress is one of the largest student-run law congresses in Germany. What fascinated you about the task of organising this?

Tobias: For me, the Law Congress is an important EBS flagship event. As an organiser, you represent the uni to the outside world. Apart from that, it’s fun: You take on a variety of tasks and come really close to the law firms and their projects.

Zoe: I think it’s great that we, as students at the EBS, have the opportunity to take charge of organising such an interesting event. This year we wanted to further establish the Congress Germany-wide and to encourage more external students to participate.

EBS: Preparing a congress such as this takes one year. What were your key tasks?

Tobias: After the Congress means prior to the Congress. Immediately after the present Congress has ended, a new team is elected. Date, topic and budget are determined. Then, from January onwards: looking for partners! We have to find sponsors and speakers.

EBS: And what is the greatest challenge here?

Tobias: At the beginning, I wasn’t clear about the financial dimension of the Congress and the responsibility involved. When the first supplier invoices (technology, catering, etc.) arrive, this gives you a queasy feeling. You feel how enormous the responsibility is!

EBS: What was your personal highlight?

Zoe: I’m especially proud of the fact that we were so successful as a team in organising the Congress and that all the effort we invested was worthwhile. If the event also goes down well with the guests, it is even more gratifying.

EBS: How did you come up with this year’s topic “The Law of new Technologies”?

Tobias: At the moment, “The Law of new Technologies” is THE topic in industry. We wanted to offer a platform for one of industry’s acute concerns. In addition, we did not want to just offer purely legal insights but also insights into technology itself. With this, we were able to attract companies such as SAP.

EBS: What key issues were discussed at the event?

Tobias: What challenges are lawyers facing in terms of technological progress and digitalisation? How is the lawyer’s role going to change over the next ten, twenty years, in light of this? For example, Kai Jacob from SAP supports the hypothesis that in future there will be no difference between in-house and chancery lawyers.

EBS: What insights will you take with you on your future career path?

Zoe: The greatest learning effect was the switch between leadership function and team player. But, for instance, I also learned to organise my time as efficiently as possible and to tackle issues pragmatically. I think that developing and applying such “soft skills” is very useful for one’s professional career.

Tobias: Sometimes, perhaps you just have to jump in at the deep end. In doing so, I have been able to overcome my reticence to contact major law firms and, now, I find it easier to approach people.

Thank you very much for the interview!

To the Newsroom of EBS Universität