It’s very easy to ask and answer the question ‘Do lawyers need to learn to code?’ with a no. The rise of ‘no-code’ platforms in recent years is almost a self-fulfilling confirmation bias that you don’t need to code as a lawyer. Each no-code platform is different in its features and functionality, but there are underlying similarities that underpin a way of thinking and a form of logic, which forms a pre-requisite to any of these platforms. Here are 5 skills that lawyers should learn and fall pretty close to ‘coding without coding’:
1. Process mapping
Quite often legal teams don’t have a process map and don’t understand the benefit of having one. Think about the start of a process, which should be marked by an oval shape. Understand that the start of one process is usually the end of another – for instance, ‘legal team receives a request for instructions’ is the output of another process such as the procurement team’s selection of a vendor.
The benefit of process mapping is not just the output of the process map itself but also the resulting activities that facilitate improvements. You start to think about:
- Data flow – Understand where the data comes from and where the data goes to.
- Wasted time – Unnecessary steps, circular processes and overly complicated approvals waste time.
- Process improvements – Measure process improvements to have something to anchor back to when you need to make subsequent decisions.
- Cross-team collaboration – Collaboration with other teams encourages engagement with stakeholders and a multidisciplinary approach to legal work.
Process mapping can be done online or using software like Microsoft Visio. However, it’s a lot easier to do this on a whiteboard in a face-to-face team meeting. All you really need for process mapping is a pencil, paper and a thorough understanding of the 6 core shapes.