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This article is written by Yavanika Shah, Associate Consultant, LawSikho.

It is almost the end of 2019 in a couple of weeks down the line and we are coming across the year-end lists for everything these days. 

For the music industry, Apple has already revealed its Apple Music Replay, Spotify has come up with its long-awaited Spotify Wrap.

News agencies have surfaced their popular Year-in-review articles. My favorite being Top 25 News photos of 2019 by Atlantic, How the months unfolded, 19 things that could define 2019 by The Economic Times and last but not the least 2019: The year in pictures by CNN.

For the audience enamored by the glitz and glamour, Later’s blog compiled the fancy Instagram Year in Review.

I love to read the year wrap-up summaries, honestly. The most intriguing take has been one by Your story’s blog that listed reasons for declaring this year as the ‘Year of Gaming in India’. Go have a read on it here. 

It’s been quite a year for all of us in the legal fraternity, hasn’t it? If it was the year of historic five-judge constitutional bench Ayodhya verdict that ended a century-long debate, the Aadhar judgment, the Maharashtra state assembly elections that had a final twist even better than the best of thrillers we ever saw, it was also the year we bid adieu to Game of Thrones, Avengers and the Star Wars series with a heavy heart. 

The absolute favorite year roundup, for me, though always remains the Oxford Word of the year. I am drawn to how the Oxford word of the year, in the most simplistic way, reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and has a lasting potential as a term for the cultural significance of the masses in a particular year.

This year, climate emergency has been chosen as the Oxford Word of the Year. In 2019, climate emergency surpassed all of those other types of emergency to become the most written about emergency by a huge margin, with over three times the usage frequency of health, the second-ranking word.

After the global climate crisis at large, and the Delhi pollution level that became a piece of international news, we wouldn’t be surprised by the word reflecting the ethos and mood of the year it was.

While I was going through all the year reviews, I wondered to myself for what would be the possible word of the year in the legal scenario, if there did exist such analysis.

Being a recent law graduate, taking up my first job and getting into the real world, I contemplated for a while and could come up with one word that has been going in my mind every day at my workplace: UPSKILL.

In the beginning, whenever I used to hear this word, I used to wonder to myself that what exactly does it mean? 

A few days later, I could discern that in the simplest of words, upskilling means a continuous learning process. 

In research undertaken by Udemy which they labeled as the Millenials at Work Report, 42% of the employees said that learning and development is the most important benefit when deciding where to work followed by health insurance. The same report stated that 51% of employees would quit their job if the requisite training was not offered. Fascinating, isn’t it?

In another survey by a reputed US construction firm, Bridge, 86% of millennials said that providing career training and development would keep them from leaving their current position.

With all these statistics I came forth, I was astounded to see how this generation, both as an employer and an employee has become resolute for what they want out of their profession and workplaces. 

Professions have ceased to exist as a mere 9-5 workday but have improvised into becoming a hub for self-motivated and challenge-driven people coming together to build a workplace together and also, learning to do their job in the best possible ways.

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But, why do we really need to upskill ourselves? Because of the rewards, and because if we don’t do it, we become irrelevant. None of us want to miss the bus, right?

According to Forbes, the digital age requires that successful knowledge workers must have technical skills and an ability to acquire new competencies required by a remarkably fast-paced, fluid marketplace where legacy boundaries separating industries are increasingly blurred. 

Upskilling gives you an edge in comparison to the people your age. It can also help you to outcompete people who are even older than you! 

The statistics blatantly show how competitive the job market has become for both the employers so as to find the perfect fit for a role as well as for the employees to find a workplace where they can add some real value and find satisfaction in their work. While menial, low skill, repetition driven desk jobs are getting fast automated, more knowledge workers are competing for a handful of high skill, competence driven jobs. 

From the view of understanding the job market in the legal field, upskilling is important due to the rampant everyday changes in the way how things exist and work in the legal market. There are not only massive changes in the legislation, but entire new industries are coming up that demand different kinds of legal skills that we didn’t know existed earlier!

Can you think of some such skills? If you had to upskill yourself in 2020, what would be the new skills you would want to learn? Tell us, we really want to know!

Out of ideas on what new skills may help you to take your career to the next level and prepare yourself for the ever-changing economy and the biggest new opportunities of 2020? You can request us for a call with our experts. Just let us know. 

Upskilling is an unending lifelong process. Anyone who wishes to survive and get the kind of work they wish to pursue in law needs to always stay abreast of the things happening in their area of work, and beyond as well.

Often, lawyers confuse upskilling with getting a label of another degree, say for example a CS degree or an LLM. Getting a degree, diploma or certificate does not ensure upskilling. How many of you topped your contract drafting class in college and still did not learn how to draft a business contract or how to negotiate it? How many of you studied the IPC but do not know how to draft a private complaint to be filed before a magistrate?

Upskilling is, therefore, more than the tags you are accumulating. Upskilling is the need of the day. 

What is the word of the year for lawyers, according to you? Do let us know by replying to this mail.

You can also check out a few of our courses to upskill your legal acumen in your area of specialization here, that are loaded with a lot of free content material as well-

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