So we realize the depth and breadth of the competition that artificially intelligent technology can pose to our traditional legal practices. We are, after all, not able to access as many sources and certainly not as fast and perhaps not as sophisticated in our analysis logarithms as some machines are.

Then again, we have our uniquely human skills of being able to relate human-to-human, even if some of those machines are steadily gaining in the relating realm as well.

In the HBR article “The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important,” the authors agree that, “It’s these human capabilities that will become more and more prized over the next decade. Skills like persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks.”

They also note, that “Unfortunately, these human-oriented skills have generally been viewed as second priority in terms of training and education. We’ve all experienced the doctor, financial planner, or consultant who is more focused on his or her reports and data than on our unique situations and desires.”

What to do to preserve our legal careers and futures in this fast-moving situation?

The HBR authors address that as well. “[T]o anyone who wants to stay relevant in their field as automated systems proliferate…[w]e have three recommendations:

  • Don’t fight the progress of technology…work to make it fruitful and complementary.
  • Examine your own capabilities interacting with, motivating, and assessing people. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to emotional intelligence.
  • Invest in developing your emotional intelligence. The simplest way is to change your mental model about what is important in your role, and begin focusing on how you can better manage, influence, and relate to others. Or, take it a step further by seeking out training and stretch opportunities.

“What you have to offer — what you can do better than any smart machine — is relate to the people around you. Begin to nurture and invest in these abilities the same way that you have the more technical parts of your career.”

Using our keen intelligence to become more emotionally aware and our well-honed analytical skills to learn to be more emotionally intelligent is the path to a successful future for legal professionals everywhere.

Muir’s The Emotional Intelligence Edge for 21st Century Lawyers, due out this summer from the ABA, helps you better understand emotional intelligence, its advantages in legal practice, and how to gauge your and your workplace’s EI. It also provides tips to improve your and your workplace’s emotional intelligence.

To find emotional intelligence training designed specially for lawyers, contact Law People Management.