19 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS – JULY 2023 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM such as legal research, standard due diligence processes, and document drafting,” says Kahandole of SAM. “From personal experience, a ‘DD Tool Kit’ can be a real game-changer when it comes to identifying the key red flags while doing due diligence, which can help in managing time better on crunched timelines,” he adds. While reaping the benefits of AI, young lawyers refuse to be threatened by robots. They remain optimistic about their career prospects, stating that the practicality of these generative AI tools has not yet lived up to the hype. “The present tools are not quite matured enough to impact legal work significantly,” says Choo of Providence. “The perils of relying on ChatGPT for legal research are well-reported in the U.S., where non-existent cases were cited in submissions. There have also been reports of instances of litigants in person doing the same in Singapore.” Rantesalu of Prisma &Co adds, “AI itself does not have an assessment of the fairness, conscience, and soul that a lawyer has in dealing with a problem. Disturbances that may arise from the existence of AI are a breakthrough related to intellectual property rights, which intersect with copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.” “The legal profession is one of those professions that continue to rely on interpersonal aspects,” says Singh of SAM. “I believe that if required, AI and lawyers would coexist organically by lawyers embracing technology and AI reviewing and absorbing large amounts of information systematically and efficiently, consequently leading to the delivery of higher-quality work product.” Rantesalu adds, “The support I need from my employer is to have supervision for me and my co-workers in the use of AI so that they always evaluate if AI is needed, as the development of a legal framework when conducting legal analysis.” D&I AND WELL-BEING When asked about some aspects that deserve more attention in law firms, many respondents highlighted diversity and inclusion, or the lack thereof, in their workplace. “While progress has been made, there is still work to be done to ensure equal opportunities for individuals from underrepresented groups,” says Kahandole of SAM. Employee engagement consultants point out that building a culture of inclusion is necessary if leaders want to attract and retain higherperforming talent. “Building a workplace where employees are highly engaged and motivated is not just about rewards and remuneration. More importantly, it is about an inclusive culture that starts from the top down. It is also important to remember that integrating or driving an inclusive culture is not a one-time fix but a holistic change to the mindset of the people and workplace. This includes reimagining leaders’ engagement language and actions that will translate to the desired experience,” says Khanduja of Kincentric Malaysia. HDG also agrees with the importance of developing inclusive leadership skills among partners and senior lawyers, which it deems crucial for fostering a supportive and collaborative workplace culture where all voices are heard and valued. In addition, SAM’s Kahandole underscores mental health as one of the most acute challenges faced by the legal profession across the board. Choo of Providence concurs, stating that the issue affects lawyers at all seniorities, from Big Law partners to more junior associates. To encourage sustainable careers in the law, the profession needs to have open discussions about burnout and other common mental health issues and take steps to remedy these issues. HDG also acknowledges mental health issues as one of the key areas often overlooked. “The prevalence of burnout, high stress, and mental health issues among young professionals should be addressed through proactive measures like stress management programs and creating a supportive environment. It is important to balance workloads across teams and individuals to prevent junior lawyers from becoming overwhelmed,” it tells ALB. To help the younger generation of lawyers navigate a myriad of hurdles in a time fraught with disruptors and uncertainties, consultants point to leadership skills as the key to shaping a healthy and productive workplace where talent feels seen, listened to, and valued. “Creative leaders inspire and empower employees, encouraging them to innovate methods and processes while fostering personal and professional growth. Empathetic leaders understand and acknowledge their team members’ needs, emotions, and thoughts, building trust and fostering a greater understanding and connection within teams. Additionally, leaders who actively listen provide undivided attention when employees need it, enhancing problem-solving and fostering psychological safety in the workplace,” notes HDG. “Overall, addressing work-life balance, remote work options, and prioritizing D&I initiatives is crucial for employers to enhance talent management outcomes. It is important to appreciate employees, provide coaching for skill development, conduct evaluations, and foster inclusivity through empathy and effective communication,” it adds. In conclusion, Khanduja states, “The focus should shift from ‘everything is out of control’ to understanding what you can control, what makes a difference in your organization, and leaning in on actions in these areas.” She emphasizes that creating an engaging work experience is not simply a matter of doing one thing well but a culmination of consistently doing several things well over time. “Work-life balance is critical to allow lawyers to achieve their non-work-related priorities. Remote working has the potential for law firms to work with lawyers to accommodate the their priorities without the lawyers having to leave the firm.” — Lyndon Choo, Providence Law Asia COVER STORY