IT & the Lawyer

Demise of lawyers

In The End of Lawyers? to be published next year by Oxford University Press, Richard Susskind writes that the legal profession needs to undergo a significant transformation in order to avoid extinction as a result of two forces: by a market pull towards commoditisation and by ongoing development and uptake of information technology. He argues that new and different roles in the new world will emerge for adaptable lawyers. The book is a sequel to his book of 1996, The Future of Law.

A running theme of the book is the growing impact on the law and lawyers of online community - systems that enable easier and better communication and collaboration amongst human beings (examples of which are Facebook and Wikipedia). UK lawyers, however, have poured cold water on the forecast, with one dismissing the replacement of lawyers by smart systems and processes as "going one stage too far into fantasy." Advice stems from experience, judgement and gut feeling rather than probabilities.

In an attempt to create an online community, and to generate some online discussion that focuses on the central arguments and claims, draft extracts from the book will appear on Times Online.

Times online extracts and Article on

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