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Law Week: Osinbajo calls for a tech-driven legal system

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Law Week: Osinbajo calls for a tech-driven legal system

By Sandra Umeh

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday called for a technology-driven legal system in Nigeria to keep it relevant in the dynamic world.

Osinbajo made the appeal at the opening of Law Week 2021 of the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the Law Week was themed: “Disruption, Innovation and the Bar”.

In a speech he delivered virtually, Osinbajo said technological change has become a major threat to the very survival of the legal profession.

He insisted that the profession must keep pace with the changes.

According to him, as in some other industries that have deployed technological tools, there is now a tendency to replace human legal services with artificial intelligence.

He said that then meant that the survival of the legal profession was in jeopardy.

He added that the practice of grouping law students into classrooms for teaching purposes is quickly becoming archaic with technological changes.

“The theme of this year’s Law Week – Disruption, Innovation and the Law Society – is vitally important today,” he said.

According to him, the theme provides the basic idea that legal services will now have to grapple with.

“According to a 2019 report, 31,000 jobs in U.S. industry have been lost due to automation, and by 2036 that number will grow to over 100,000 legal jobs.

“With continued advancement in technology, it is only a matter of time before time catches up with us in Nigeria as well,” he said.

Osinbajo noted that artificial intelligence has become a business model developed and adopted to solve everyday problems.

He said: “For example, Ross is a technological system that can search and provide legal advice.

“We ask him questions and he provides answers that even touch on jurisprudence and written law.

“These phenomena raise pertinent questions for the legal profession as to how it will manage these competitive processes.”

According to him, it is important that the legal profession evolves with changing circumstances.

“It is interesting that during the recent JUSUN strike, the Supreme Court rendered some judgments by Zoom,” he said.

Osinbajo said the changes are happening quickly.

He, therefore, urged the NBA to rise to the challenge, take charge and pay attention to the rules of engagement of legal services.

NAN reports that other dignitaries who attended the event include Lagos State Attorney General, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN); President of the NBA represented by the Secretary General of the Bar, Ms. Joyce Oduah; Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili. (NAA)

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