Experts have no doubts: lawyering is going through arevolution and nothing will remain as it used to be.
Professor Richard Susskind (the IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales) wrote in his famous book The End of Lawyers?: ‘I predict that lawyers who are unwilling to change their working practices and extend their range of services will, in the coming decade, struggle to survive. A lawyer involved in routine work can expect to be replaced by a cheaper alternative.’ The End of Lawyers? was published in 2008. Now it appears that prof. Susskind was absolutely right.
We are living through a unique period of human history, an intense period of flux, change and disruption that may never be repeated. A seismic shift in living and thinking is taking place due to the rapid and all-embracing introduction of new technologies to daily life, which has changed the way we communicate, work, shop, socialize and do almost everything else. It has also changed the way lawyers operate.
As prof. Susskind predicted in 2008, lawyers involved in routine work are now being dismissed and replaced by a cheaper alternative, either machines or paralegals. The law firms of XXI century will be leaner and more efficient. This is the case across the world.
How about smart lawyers? Are they also going to be replaced in the nearby future?
My answer is unequivocal: No, they are not going to be replaced. There’s always going to be a need for smart lawyers.
Why? Because the complexity of the world is raising every day and the world needs smart lawyers.
On one hand the world is becoming more complicated and needs smart lawyers (only human beings can negotiate deals, think out the litigation strategy or seek justice). On the other hand clients are insisting on different ways of delivering legal services to them. They want more choices. They want more options. In the past they had only two options. They could go to a traditional law firm or they could do it in-house. Now they’ve got a much broader range of legal services providers who can offer a range of different services. One way or another, if they have a case that requires real thinking, they need someone who really thinks and who is able to explain to them their problem. Only human beings can do this.
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