Gamification in the Legal Profession

Welcome to Another Day in DMS,

HERE IS OUR BLOG QUESTION FOR THE WEEK: 

Examine the use of games and gamification in your chosen profession.

Today we will be discussing Games and Gamification within the realms of the legal profession.

We will also discuss the impact and uses of Virtual reality (VR) within the legal profession, as these are an important consideration that relates to the concepts of gamification that will be explored.

A number of sources will be used to understand the best way to use gamification and Virtual reality within the legal profession.

Gamification

In 2011, Sebastian Detering found that the term Gamification was first documented in 2008 but it only entered into widespread adoption in 2010, when industry players and conferences popularized it.

Gamification has been defined as the use of game-design elements and thinking in non game contexts (Huotari & Hamari, 2012). This technique is designed to improve user engagement (Hamari, 2013), organizational productivity (Zichermann & Cunningham, 2011), learning (Herger, 2014), employee recruitment (Porter & Tannenbaum, 2015) and physical exercise (Hamari & Koivisto, 2015), amongst others.

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A handy infographic on Gamification

This is a developing area of communication but existing research has shown that gamification produces positive effects on users (Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014).

Applications and uses of gamification are currently found in fields such as marketing, health, enterprise systems, education, politics, and information technology.

An example of gamification in use includes Minecraft, the open-world game. A Bond University class, led by Dr. Jeff Brand, used the game as a means of learning, by using the features provided by the game to access class content and learning resources.

Dr. Jeff Brand also used gamification at a 2016 Sydney keynote address on ‘Gamifying the Australian Curriculum. He incorporated activities and points, as well as prizes for teams with the most points, allowing this keynote to use game design and elements to portray an educational point, in a non-game context.

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Content of the Keynote alluded to above

Many companies are in the gamification business. This includes UK company Cognify, or Bunchball, who found that gamification works because it taps into our needs and desires. They created the following graphic to illustrate the benefits of Gamification:

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Bunchball’s graph of Gamification 

Therefore, gamification is a tool allowing for evolution of this dynamic and fast discipline of games; By appealing to human needs and desires, there is perhaps no more effective tool for education and mutual societal progress.

Gamification in the Legal Profession

When one comes to think of the games business and the legal profession, they are never placed together. The legal profession is stereotypically portrayed as being “dry”, “boring” or “classical” whereas the game industry is known as being “cutting-edge”, “exciting” and “modern.

But it is in those stereotypes that the potential for gamification of the legal profession is lost. Indeed, applications for gamification are wide reaching, but not often considered within a legal point of view. People could assume that there are legal restrictions of gamification (which is correct), but there are also benefits and applications, which have not often been looked into.

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Source: Google Images 

Of course, from a purely legal point of view, gamification has its restrictions. For example, the use of virtual currencies, virtual assets, data privacy laws, data protection or labour laws could all come into play (Berger, 2014).

Taking legal currencies as an example, it must be understood that these type of currencies are not regulated, and therefore the associated legal uncertainties constitutes “challenges for public authorities, as these can be used by criminals, fraudsters and money launderers to perform illegal activities” (European Central Bank, 2012).

How to use Gamification in the legal profession

Although the number of law firms that currently use gamification techniques are none-to-little, there has been some considering of their potential benefits.

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A funny take on Gamification

In a 2014 Thompson-Reuters article, entitled ‘Gamification in Law Firms? Game on!’ it was found that a gamification program could foster skills in future layers, such as marketing and practice development, which would be an asset in the current competitiveness of the legal market (Fisch, Klan, & Widjala, 2014).

This study found that an effective way of incorporating gamification into a legal setting would be a game to train associates to build a network and how to create and execute business plans. It was found that this would be more effective to today’s law graduates than traditional business training as they have grown up surrounded by a recreational and educational culture of gaming (Fisch, Klan, & Widjala, 2014).

Finally, it was found that legal gaming elements could reflect the competitive aspects of the legal industry, which is intrinsically obsessed with rankings and lists, overall appealing to the competitive nature of a lawyer’s psyche and therefore incentivizing them to achieve goals they would not reach otherwise.

Conclusion

To conclude, it is certain that gamification would be beneficial to the legal profession, as it would allow a type of engagement that lawyers intrinsically search for in their daily professional lives.

This new concept thus allows lawyers to reach the peak the “the 2000 year search for the ultimate display” (Biocca, 1995) of their skills and achievements on a wide, social and far-reaching scale.

References:

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