Legal Geek is compiling a ‘hack-book’ of lawyers and legaltechies who code. If you code, or are learning to code, we would love to include you in our ‘hack-book’. Drop us a line via firstname.lastname@example.org [yes it is .co].
OK, a disclaimer. James Moore is not a lawyer who codes. He is a coder who works in legal tech. He has some superb insights on the benefits of coding for lawyers, and he can also code in an incredible 10 languages.
How has your career in coding developed?
“I’ve been writing code since I was 12 years old and unsurprisingly I went on to study computer science at university. I then worked for a computer software company in Cambridge called Redgate Software and over five years I rose to become their CTO.
“Then I went on to co-found, on-demand paralegal service, F-LEX.”
What benefits can lawyers gain from learning to code?
“Whilst I’m not a lawyer, I do spend a lot of time with lawyers and I think there are real benefits in learning to code for them.
“The first benefit is confidence. Computers can be intimidating, everything changes quickly and new things are coming along the whole time. But if you scratch under the surface a lot of ‘new’ technology is easier to understand than you might think. Blockchain, for example, is actually quite simple. There is a lot of very similarity between Blockchain and how we store passwords.
“Another thing is that there are not a lot of lawyers who do code so you are going to really stand out from the majority of lawyers if you can.
“Finally, it can help you spot ways to become more efficient. You might be working on a case and if you understand software you can spot that such and such a task could be done very effectively by a computer.”
How difficult is learning to code?
“In the long run, it probably takes the same length of time as learning a foreign language. But in the short term you get a lot more use from it than you would from a foreign language.
“You will definitely need to be prepared to learn new ways of thinking.”
What advice would you give someone learning to code?
“If I was instructing someone to code I would probably give them a BBC micro:bit because you get very immediate feedback using this device which is important to keep motivation up.
“Once you are up and running, you will need to find a project you are passionate about that you can work on. There are a lot of open source projects on the internet where coders are building a bit of software for free. Find something that excites you and find a community involved in that area and you will learn a lot very quickly.”