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The End of Lawyers?

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The End of Lawyers?

Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services

Oxford UP,

15 mins. de lectura
10 ideas fundamentales
Audio y Texto

¿De qué se trata?

The Internet and parsimonious clients will push many lawyers out of the law. Here’s how to stay in the game.

Editorial Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

Iconoclastic British lawyer Richard Susskind looks squarely at his profession and reports on its gross inefficiencies, outrageous fees and absurd structures. For Susskind’s honesty, senior members of the prestigious Law Society of England and Wales have suggested that he not be permitted to speak in public. This would be a notable loss. Susskind’s voice is witty and engaging, and his message is important. As an author, he does not offer a grand unified theory on what lawyering will look like in the years to come. Instead, writing with panache, he presents a “buffet of likely options for the future,” including trends in the US as well as the UK. Susskind’s drollness makes his book a delight to read. For example, he claims that most lawyers now accept his views on future trends for legal practice, having moved through these four stages: 1) “This is worthless nonsense”; 2) “This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view”; 3) “This is true, but quite unimportant”; and 4) “I always said so” – in accord with biologist J.B.S. Haldane’s “four stages of acceptance.” getAbstract suggests that law students, attorneys and the executives who pay them will benefit from reading Susskind’s entertaining, thought-provoking book.

Summary

Big Changes Ahead for Lawyers

The business of law will radically change within the next few years, so lawyers are in for an exceptionally bumpy ride. Due to “new disruptive information technologies” and Internet advances, attorneys can expect that the legal services they offer will soon become commoditized, broken into product segments and handed to the lowest-cost provider. To save money, their future clients will demand unbundling and efficient sourcing of legal tasks. This involves breaking legal work into components, and finding the least costly, most efficient way to handle each discrete job. This outsourcing, multisourcing and offshoring of legal work – as well as the advent of new “legal businesses” with “novel business models” – will depress, and in some cases, eliminate, law firm profits and, thus, some firms. Hard economic times will exacerbate this trend.

When the dust settles, lawyers will no longer be pivotal backstage players, in firms or as in-house counsel. Indeed, though it may be difficult to imagine, lawyers will have no professional function in certain areas of life. Information technology (IT) and the commoditization of the law will have disintermediated...

About the Author

Author and consultant Richard Susskind is IT adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. He is also visiting professor at the Oxford Internet Institute at Oxford University and emeritus professor at Gresham College London. Susskind wrote The Future of Law.


Comment on this summary

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    A. 2 years ago
    Even lawyers are struggling in the age of AI... But there is a big demand to rethink the inner paradox of each law.
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    C. S. 6 years ago
    Interesting take.