Will lawyers be casualties in the digital revolution? This is the controversial prediction of Richard Susskind, author of The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services. He believes that lawyers will have to ask themselves what elements of their current workload could be undertaken more quickly, more cheaply, more efficiently, or to a higher quality using different and new methods of working – because if they don’t, their competitors will. The market is unlikely to tolerate expensive lawyers for tasks that can be better discharged with support of modern systems and techniques.
Prof. Susskind predicts that the legal profession will be driven by two forces in the coming decade: by a market pull towards the commoditization of legal services, and by the pervasive development and uptake of new and disruptive legal technologies. The threat here for lawyers is clear - their jobs may well be eroded or even displaced. At the same time, for entrepreneurial lawyers, Susskind foresees quite different law jobs emerging which may be highly rewarding, even if very different from those of today.
Is the same true of law schools? Is the current model of legal education facing radical change? Prof. Susskind will explore these and other challenging questions in a lecture open to the entire Law School community.
Richard Susskind has specialized in legal technology for 25 years, advising firms and governments. Since 1998, he has been IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England. In 2003, he was appointed by the Cabinet Office as Chair of the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information. He holds law professorships at Gresham College in London and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Susskind is a graduate of the University of Glasgow and earned a doctorate in law and computers from Balliol College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Computer Society.
Last updated April 22, 2009