Preparing to Meet the General: What Do You Think About the (Legal) Revolution?

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I will  have the opportunity to attend the Generals of the Revolution conference on Tuesday, June 15, sponsored by Data Cert. Richard Susskind will present, followed by participation in discussion groups about his theories. Susskind’s predictions are that the delivery of legal services will progress toward commoditisation as a result of the pull of the marketplace and the continuous development of technology. He advocates that elements of legal practice could be undertaken more quickly, more inexpensively, more efiiciently, or to a higher quality using different and new methods of working. Although the threat  for lawyers is that more jobs may be eroded, Susskind foresees that, for entrepreneurial lawyers, different law services will emerge which may be highly rewarding, even if very different from those of today.

On the other hand, David Hill of the City of Vancouver Law Department, has written an article in Peer to Peer, the quarterly magazine of ILTA called “The Revolution Has Already Happened: A Curmudgeon’s Counterpoints.” Hill agrees with Susskind to the extent that “whatever parts of legal work can be automated, should be” but believes that “the smartest people I know in law and technology can’t do anything like what Richard Susskind is promising lawyers.” His view is that the changes in the profession regarding delivery of legal services, alternative fee agreements and the like are really an old approach to the practice of law (that’s true, so old no one practicing law today knows how to bill that way) , and that technology will have nothing new to offer that we haven’t already seen. He compares e-discovery challenges to the days of culling through hard copies to prepare for discovery and trial, ignoring the new and different  challenges posed by electronic storage regarding availability, content, privacy, privilege, and more.

I am really excited to be able to participate in the discussion groups at the conference on Tuesday, and am preparing questions and comments I hope to be able to contribute to the conversation.

What are your thoughts on these issues? Do you agree that our profession is marching onward to a more commoditised delivery of legal services, or are we merely recreating the past and have reached the end of how technology can change our practice?

I would love to include your questions or comments in the discussion groups to the extent I am able, so please share them in the comment section below.  Since I intend to write extensively about these discussions, I will include a link back to your site in my posts or articles.

Look forward to your thoughts!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Donna Seyle
I founded Law Practice Strategy in 2010 as a resource and information center on the future of law practice and legal technology, focusing on the needs of solos and small firms. LPS offers on-going updates and resources related to why and how to integrate technology and the cloud, project management, alternative fee arrangements, and content marketing to create a successful law practice design.

1 COMMENT

  1. Donna,

    Congratulations and thanks for asking!

    Some of my questions:

    1. What new forms of legal organizations or new ways for lawyers to organize and compete are evolving?

    2. If we assume new regulations and laws are continuing to grow exponentially, won’t the need for lawyers also increase exponentially?

    3. Is the profession becoming too complex and highly specialized? Will we need to consider simplicity in design and delivery?

    4. What is the future of jurisdiction and monopolies in the practice of law?

    5. What non-lawyer roles in the future legal market will be most in demand?

    Thank you.

    Kind regards,
    Jorge
    Online Bar Association
    http://follr.me/Jorge

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