I am a firm believer that technology is going to have a massive impact on the legal profession.
Against this background, consider this in the Times and particularly the words of Richard Susskind:
"It was a typical legal dinner. As the fine wine flowed, Richard Susskind cast his eye about the splendid wood-panelled main hall of the Mercers’ Company in the City of London. The mercers, traders in fine cloths and silks, had trained their last apprentice in 1888. Now, like many other ancient trades and crafts, from the tallow chandlers to the wheelwrights, they were mostly known for their livery companies. Could lawyers die out in the same way?
In a new book (to be published next year by Oxford University Press) Susskind argues that lawyers and the legal profession in their present shape face extinction – or at least are “on the brink of fundamental transformation”. He sees a future, as he puts it, when “conventional legal advisers will be much less prominent in society than today, and, in some walks of life, will have no visibility at all”.
The driving force towards the end of lawyers as we know them is twofold: information technology and what Susskind calls the market pull towards commoditisation – carving up a lawyer’s job into identifiable and discreet pieces that can be outsourced and done more cheaply by others. As a result, the jobs of many traditional lawyers will be substantially eroded and often eliminated."