This book examines the effect of advances in IT upon legal practice, analysing anticipated developments in the next decade. It explores the extent to which the role of the traditional lawyer can be sustained in the face of the challenging trends in the legal market and new techniques and technologies for the delivery of services.
In this much anticipated sequel to the legal bestseller, The Future of Law, Susskind lays down a challenge to all lawyers to ask themselves, with their hands on their hearts, what elements of their current workload could be undertaken differently - more quickly, cheaply, efficiently, or to a higher quality - using alternative methods of working. The challenge for legal readers is to identify their distinctive skills and talents, the capabilities that they possess that cannot, crudely, be replaced by advanced systems or by less costly workers supported by technology or standard processes, or by lay people armed with online self-help tools. It is argued that the market is increasingly unlikely to tolerate expensive lawyers for tasks (guiding, advising, drafting, researching, problem-solving, and more) that can equally or better be discharged, directly or indirectly, by smart systems and processes. It follows, the book claims, that the jobs of many traditional lawyers will be substantially eroded and often eliminated.This is where the legal profession will be taken, it is argued, by two forces: by a market pull towards commoditisation and by pervasive development and uptake of information technology.
At the same time, the book foresees new law jobs emerging which may be highly rewarding, even if very different from those of today.
Richard Susskind is Honorary Professor of Law at Gresham College, London, IT adviser to the Lord Chief Justice, and an independent consultant to professional firms and national governments. He is Chair of the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information, a law columnist at The Times, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the British Computer Society. He studied law at Glasgow University and has a doctorate in law and computers from Balliol College, Oxford. His views on the future of the legal profession have influenced a generation of lawyers around the world. He has written several books, including Expert Systems in Law (OUP, 1987), The Future of Law (OUP, 1996), and Transforming the Law (OUP, 2000), and has been invited to speak in over 40 countries. He was awarded an OBE in the Millennium New Year's Honours List for services to IT in the Law and to the Administration of Justice.