A few months ago, I met a developer in an Uber Pool (it’s a great way to meet people) who had an amazing perspective on law and coding. I mentioned that I was just at a legaltech meetup to which he responded, “when you really think about it, leglease was the first coding language.” I thought that was such a brilliant way to look at it. The law is code. Lawyers then already have the right mindset, it’s just a matter of using it to learn a new skill: coding.
Why should lawyers learn how to code? Here are 5 reasons:
- Keeping up with the world and technology – Technology is dominating every industry, including legal. It’s important to keep up with the technology not only for the sake of being informed, but as a way to stay relevant in an ever changing world. Coding is a way to differentiate yourself, to speak your client’s language, and understand them in a way that other lawyers cannot. I know I am biased, but understanding my colleagues, friends and coworkers is important to me and knowing even the basic tech terms helps me connect with them in ways that legalease never could.
- End result – Coding can be frustrating, but there’s always an end result. I’ve only done the bare minimum myself, but trying 10 variations of one line of code to get to an end result can be difficult, but satisfying when you finally figure it out. Lawyers draft contracts all day, work on cases for months or even years, and we rarely see the effect all that work has in the long run or a satisfying end result. Coding can give you that closure that you may not get working on daily legal tasks or cases.
- Creative outlet – Coding helps you create and build things. If you need a hobby or want a creative outlet, coding can help. Even building your own firm’s site is a way to express your creativity. I often come home from a long day of looking at black text on white paper, and build web sites for fun. Yes, for fun. It’s a different way of seeing the world and creating one myself in a small way.
- New skill – We tackled law school and the bar exam. But we all known our education does not end there (we all have those CLEs we have to get through). However lawyers should always learn new skills that can compliment their legal skills and thinking. Coding can take it to the next level. It’s logic and reasoning, and it’s finding solutions to solve a problem using a different language.
- It’s fun – Coding is fun. I used Codecademy and Coursera to learn CSS, HTML, Java and Python. These are the basics that can help you build sites and help you understand the basics of coding. But seeing how lines of code can create a beautiful web site is exciting and can quite frankly be way more interesting than drafting yet another contract. It’s a mental break and a fun one.
Want more reasons to learn how to code? Here’s a few more articles and resources to get you started: