International Lawyers as Right and Left Brain Thinkers

I recently heard a speech by Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind:  Why Right-Brainers will Rule the Future.  He discussed a number of trends–like abundance– that are causing a value shift in favor of right-brain disposed folks. The author believes that the unprecedented increase in the US standard of living means that increasingly wealthy Americans have the financial clout to purchase attractively designed consumer goods–hence, the rising importance of right-brained creative types who design those fancy and stylish goods. 

Mr. Pink also discussed how the growth of an educated Asian workforce and the automation of many job functions have caused many left-brain, “automated” jobs to  move to Asia and other offshore locals.  As a result, people gifted with creative, right-brain thinking will become more highly valued in the US because their unique, right-brain savvy can’t be precisely duplicated.

And lawyers?  Dan Pink posits that standard legal functions will increasingly be outsourced to non-US lawyers who can do the work cheaper.  We have seen it already happening.

But, I say, international lawyers possess a unique skill set.  Further, many of the functions of international lawyers require left AND right brain thinking.  Creative strategizing across cultures and legal systems is the daily practice of most international lawyers–and this largely can’t be automated (at least not yet).  And so, while lawyers who churn out cookie-cutter documents may find their livelihoods at risk, right and left brain-using international lawyers can revel in their job security, at least for the moment.


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