Could it be? The end of lawyers? How is it possible? Paul Lippe over at AmLaw Daily relays an interview with Richard Susskind about his new book The End of Lawyers? (Oxford University Press, Dec. 2008). Susskind previously predicted that e-mail would become the primary method of communication between lawyers and clients and that the Web would become the first stop for lawyers undertaking research. Both true. The title of his new book reveals a more dire revelation. So, how does this bode for lawyers interested in self-preservation?
According to Susskind, not poorly if lawyers are willing to open their minds to new business models. Susskind believes that lawyers that “respond creatively and forcefully to [the] impending demand” of economic crisis and pressure for more work at lower rates will do fine.
It doesn’t seem that far a stretch to understand that lawyers, as a profession, must evolve or be left behind. Take a look at what is happening on-line and its impact on real world lawyering and you will see where the future of lawyering lies. On-line connections and relationships are fueling off-line business at an increasing rate. Availing themselves of the wealth of information available on the Internet, potential clients have a greater sense of the “nuts and bolts” of the practice of law and will look for cost-effective ways to secure services, including a la carte options and outsourcing. Oh, I get it now. Perhaps Susskind is not so prescient after all!