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Juan Pablo Ovalle Arana, IBM Colombia

Summary

Ovalle details the positive impact attitudes towards technology have at IBM and shares his thoughts on what Columbia needs to do to ensure a more technologically robust future.


For a non-millennial, old-fashioned lawyer, as I am, technology is challenging and represents a large area to explore. At IBM, we are expected to be acquainted and familiar with technology. From an operational perspective, there is a need for lawyers to be tech savvy and understand the technology.

And, it is our responsibility, as professionals, to improve the use of technology and encourage the use of it.

The way lawyers use technology has evolved in the past years and, in my view, we have made progress, but there is still a journey ahead of us. When I joined IBM - eight years ago - you could provide a quality service to your internal clients by knowing the business and products. Now everything moves at a faster pace: regulations have changed, so the only way to catch up with new regulations is by using technology - especially when you work in the fintech environment. As in every industry, there is always room for improvement, and the only way to do it is creating a culture of continuous learning, including hard and soft skills on your learning journey.

Emergent technologies are real, and we have to live with them. Technology is not here to replace a lawyer's work, but rather to enhance it. There is a human factor that lawyers provide - interpretations, judgement, decisions, solutions and knowledge of legal systems and a particular business situation - that needs to be part of the entire law system - that is why technology and human knowledge are complementary. On the other hand, if a lawyer keeps up with the different technological changes and embraces new technologies, the exercise of the legal profession will be improved. In fact, I believe you will become a better professional.

As with many other countries in the region and globally, Colombia is starting its journey in the use of technology in different professions. Incorporating, for example, AI within in-house legal departments is helping law firms focus in what is really important - their clients - while technology ensures documents are processed in a faster and accurate way, what translates in better services for the clients and time saving for the lawyers.

Where technology is headed is a tricky question - I certainly don't have an answer to that. New technologies emerge all the time and they develop quickly, so it is very unpredictable. It is hard to predict what's going to happen, and, what is actually going to come up next and what you think is going to come up next, are not the same thing.


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