Learning to Code Before Law School

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onlyhere4fun

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Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby onlyhere4fun » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:51 am

Hey all,

So I have been reading a lot articles recently about how the advancment of technology will significantly change many jobs in the future (automation through AI/VI being a big concern). I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to learn how to code before law school. I don't think many legal jobs are in danger of automation, but I could see there being a shift in requiring at least a basic knowledge in coding or at least it being a highly desired skill for lawyers to have in the future.

And before anyone says, focus on studying for the LSAT more than this, I know and am doing that :lol: . Insight on this particular topic would be appreciated. Thanks!

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BansheeScream

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby BansheeScream » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:19 pm

What legal job could your see that coding knowledge could possibly help you in? Not being critical just geniunely curious.

The way I understand it, a lot of the automation that's going to occur in the legal industry is for things like doc review. I can't see how a year or two of coding experience will give you a leg up on understanding automation. It could be useful if you wanted to work in SV but without a degree I don't think it wouldn't give you a leg up in hiring.

Also, I think by the time you begin to practice, and automation becomes prevelant in the legal industry, most of what you learned will be outdated and arbitrary. Just my $.02

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guynourmin

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby guynourmin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:21 pm

nothing wrong with learning some basic coding/I encourage you to, but don't do it with an eye towards any value add to your legal career.

onlyhere4fun

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby onlyhere4fun » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:42 pm

BansheeScream wrote:What legal job could your see that coding knowledge could possibly help you in? Not being critical just geniunely curious.

The way I understand it, a lot of the automation that's going to occur in the legal industry is for things like doc review. I can't see how a year or two of coding experience will give you a leg up on understanding automation. It could be useful if you wanted to work in SV but without a degree I don't think it wouldn't give you a leg up in hiring.

Also, I think by the time you begin to practice, and automation becomes prevelant in the legal industry, most of what you learned will be outdated and arbitrary. Just my $.02


Nah I welcome the critique so feel free.

Hmm I'm not totally sure to be honest. I'm not familiar enough with coding to understand how the skill might intersect and benefit a person's legal career.

Part of the reason I asked is because I have been seeing a general push towards coding becoming a standard subject of education for younger people and it seems plausible that it could possibly become integrated in legal work in the future. I'm just not sure how. If you feel like the two would be separate in the future, I definitely want to hear your opinion on that.

I guess my inquiry is more in the hopes of future-proofing my skill set to a degree, but you're right in that languages become outdated and shift to newer forms. But wouldn't the basic understanding of coding, even with an outdated language, be beneficial in the long run?

onlyhere4fun

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby onlyhere4fun » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:45 pm

guybourdin wrote:nothing wrong with learning some basic coding/I encourage you to, but don't do it with an eye towards any value add to your legal career.


Ah if it doesn't add value to ones legal career, then I guess it would be kind of useless unless it's approached as like a hobby or maybe a source of income for part time work during one's legal career. Thanks for this, I wasn't totally sure if it would be super helpful to learn for one's legal career or not.

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pupper

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby pupper » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:08 am

onlyhere4fun wrote:
guybourdin wrote:nothing wrong with learning some basic coding/I encourage you to, but don't do it with an eye towards any value add to your legal career.


Ah if it doesn't add value to ones legal career, then I guess it would be kind of useless unless it's approached as like a hobby or maybe a source of income for part time work during one's legal career. Thanks for this, I wasn't totally sure if it would be super helpful to learn for one's legal career or not.


Even though it may not help directly with your legal career, learning to program is a useful life skill and I highly encourage everyone to try it. Funnily enough, my programming skills have been actually very useful thus far in my summer internship at a District Attorney's office. I wrote some simple Python scripts to handle common, repetitive tasks, which helps me get through the tedious work much quicker and gives me more opportunities to get involved in the more interesting things happening around the office.

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nachosrgood

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby nachosrgood » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:14 am

pupper wrote:
onlyhere4fun wrote:
guybourdin wrote:nothing wrong with learning some basic coding/I encourage you to, but don't do it with an eye towards any value add to your legal career.


Ah if it doesn't add value to ones legal career, then I guess it would be kind of useless unless it's approached as like a hobby or maybe a source of income for part time work during one's legal career. Thanks for this, I wasn't totally sure if it would be super helpful to learn for one's legal career or not.


Even though it may not help directly with your legal career, learning to program is a useful life skill and I highly encourage everyone to try it. Funnily enough, my programming skills have been actually very useful thus far in my summer internship at a District Attorney's office. I wrote some simple Python scripts to handle common, repetitive tasks, which helps me get through the tedious work much quicker and gives me more opportunities to get involved in the more interesting things happening around the office.


I'm very curious what tasks these might have been and what scripts you ran? I am an attorney at a DAs office and I am very curious what you did and what things I might be able to do (I have basic programming skills).

haus

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby haus » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:36 am

It is hard to say what specifically someone might find useful at various parts of their life/career, but picking up basic scripting programming skills can be useful.

At my office (Fed agency) that was reducing legal staff after the recovery from the finical crisis mostly complete, one of the members facing the elimination of their term position found a slot with the policy side of our information security team (permanent position) based in large part on his comfort with Linux and basic scripting knowledge, which gave him a leg up in communicating with the geeks.

This is not meant to argue that creating some basic tech skills will be the one true shining path but viewed as an opportunity to help pick up some handy skills, it may also help improve your ability to communicate to a small, but increasingly useful group of people.

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pupper

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby pupper » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:44 am

nachosrgood wrote:I'm very curious what tasks these might have been and what scripts you ran? I am an attorney at a DAs office and I am very curious what you did and what things I might be able to do (I have basic programming skills).


Here's an example: The state I work in has a rather terrible website for accessing public case records, so I wrote a little command line script that uses a headless web browser to navigate the site and pull out the relevant information into a neat spreadsheet. It can gather information for all the cases from a particular month or involving particular people in a few seconds, whereas it would probably take me at least twenty minutes.

onlyhere4fun

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby onlyhere4fun » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:25 am

pupper wrote:
onlyhere4fun wrote:
guybourdin wrote:nothing wrong with learning some basic coding/I encourage you to, but don't do it with an eye towards any value add to your legal career.


Ah if it doesn't add value to ones legal career, then I guess it would be kind of useless unless it's approached as like a hobby or maybe a source of income for part time work during one's legal career. Thanks for this, I wasn't totally sure if it would be super helpful to learn for one's legal career or not.


Even though it may not help directly with your legal career, learning to program is a useful life skill and I highly encourage everyone to try it. Funnily enough, my programming skills have been actually very useful thus far in my summer internship at a District Attorney's office. I wrote some simple Python scripts to handle common, repetitive tasks, which helps me get through the tedious work much quicker and gives me more opportunities to get involved in the more interesting things happening around the office.


Interesting! That does make it sound like a useful skill for efficiency purposes. I may try to learn a little bit of it for the 6+ months before I head to law school. Just not sure if I should do like a certificate program or if I should just try to self study programming myself. Many of my friends in the field have said a lot of the content is accessible and learnable on your own, but an additional credential showing I can program would be useful too.

onlyhere4fun

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby onlyhere4fun » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:31 am

haus wrote:It is hard to say what specifically someone might find useful at various parts of their life/career, but picking up basic scripting programming skills can be useful.

At my office (Fed agency) that was reducing legal staff after the recovery from the finical crisis mostly complete, one of the members facing the elimination of their term position found a slot with the policy side of our information security team (permanent position) based in large part on his comfort with Linux and basic scripting knowledge, which gave him a leg up in communicating with the geeks.

This is not meant to argue that creating some basic tech skills will be the one true shining path but viewed as an opportunity to help pick up some handy skills, it may also help improve your ability to communicate to a small, but increasingly useful group of people.


:o see that's awesome. So he fell back on his programming skills. Hmm out of curiosity would you happen to know if the guy actually had some credentials of some sort showing that he could program? Or was it just more of a situation where he just proved he was knowledgeable to the recruiters at the information security team because he could talk about Linux and basic programming with a passable degree of fluency?

I'm trying to figure out if it's worth paying to take classes for coding or if should self study.

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elendinel

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby elendinel » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:33 am

onlyhere4fun wrote:I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to learn how to code before law school.


Automation is not going to make you have to program automated scripts as a lawyer; it's at most going to require lawyers to do different tasks (just like everything else that is innovated with computers/tech). AI/ML of the scale you're talking about, in particular, is complex and is not something someone can do with just a few months of coding experience; few lawyers can be expected to have those sorts of skills, so the ones who do won't be at a significant advantage for having them.

I'd say a basic understanding of how computers work would be useful for everyone, IMO, but coding may or may not be. Not unless you plan to go into a legal field that specifically relates to software/coding or unless you plan on investing a good deal of time into learning how to do it right.

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guynourmin

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby guynourmin » Fri Jun 30, 2017 9:43 am

"showing you can program" isn't done with a certificate it's done with showing things you've done. If you're interested I'd recommend cs50x. It is not designed to get you a job like a lot of other bootcampy things you can do online, it's foundational, which seems like what you're looking for.

Alive97

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby Alive97 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:42 am

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Last edited by Alive97 on Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

haus

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby haus » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:16 pm

onlyhere4fun wrote:
:o see that's awesome. So he fell back on his programming skills. Hmm out of curiosity would you happen to know if the guy actually had some credentials of some sort showing that he could program? Or was it just more of a situation where he just proved he was knowledgeable to the recruiters at the information security team because he could talk about Linux and basic programming with a passable degree of fluency?

I'm trying to figure out if it's worth paying to take classes for coding or if should self study.

It is my understanding that he had little in the way of formal training, although I do think that we was an active hobbyists, even attended a couple InfoSec/hacker conferences (e.g. BSides, ShmooCon). While he was working with the legal department he made the point of reaching out to the InfoSec team, and managed to het himself assigned to a few small legal task related to InfoSec (reviewing a contract that was being considered for renewal, and review of new OMB guidance...).

I suspect that the general interest in this type of work and a willingness to show some fluency in geek talk made the opportunity a reality for him.

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nachosrgood

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby nachosrgood » Fri Jun 30, 2017 5:16 pm

pupper wrote:
nachosrgood wrote:I'm very curious what tasks these might have been and what scripts you ran? I am an attorney at a DAs office and I am very curious what you did and what things I might be able to do (I have basic programming skills).


Here's an example: The state I work in has a rather terrible website for accessing public case records, so I wrote a little command line script that uses a headless web browser to navigate the site and pull out the relevant information into a neat spreadsheet. It can gather information for all the cases from a particular month or involving particular people in a few seconds, whereas it would probably take me at least twenty minutes.

Thanks for sharing.

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cvillain

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Re: Learning to Code Before Law School

Postby cvillain » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:55 am

Why not wait until you're on the federal bench to learn how to code?



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