Lorraine Chimbga, a 2016 LLB graduate from University College London (UCL) Laws, is the winner of this year’s Best International Future Lawyer Award.
Her winning essay entitled “Will the increasing use of technology in law invigorate or diminish legal professionalism as the nature of information in the digital society changes?" explored the history and relationship between technology and the legal profession. She focuses on the nature of information and explores how a move from a world where value is held in the physical (atoms) to living in a 'digital world' where value is held in bits, calls for a re-thinking of the grand bargain that society has struck with the profession as the 'gatekeepers' of legal expertise.
“My essay was a condensed version of the dissertation that I submitted during my final year at UCL Laws”, explains Lorraine. “Having taken an elective in Information Technology Law at the London School of Economics (LSE) in my final year, I was inspired to write this essay… In the same way that the printing press revolutionised the profession in the 15th Century, the nature of information changing in the digital society is redefining who and what lawyers are.”
She credits the influence of Professor Andrew Murray, (LSE) for his “recommendations and enlightening IT Law lectures [which] instilled in me a clear understanding that law has always been 'disrupted' and re-defined by technological developments without it heralding the end of the legal profession.”
She also has a fellow LSE student to thank for entering the AIJA competition: “It was actually one of my peers from LSE that alerted me to it, Lucie Audibert. We both currently sit on the advisory board for the Society of Computers and Law and she thought it was perfect for me. I will forever be in her debt for letting me know about it!”
Winning the competition has been career-enhancing, says Lorraine. “To win the second ever edition of this competition and for a topic that I am passionate about, before I am even qualified, is priceless”, she says. “For me it confirms that this is definitely the path that I want to pursue... I will be able to confidently apply to law firms and further demonstrate why a career in law and particularly one that focuses on information technology law is what I am best suited for. It sets the tone and foundation for the rest of my legal career.”
As well as the prestige, Lorraine also receives free AIJA membership and a trip to Japan for the 55th congress where she will present on her chosen topic. She also plans to attend as many international AIJA events as she can in the following year, to build a network of contacts and mentors.
For anyone hoping to enter the competition next year, Lorraine advises: “pick an angle that you are passionate about, research as many relevant and unique sources as you can, keep it simple and get feedback.”
For more information about the International Future Lawyer Award, click here.