Disrupting Legal Practice With Technology

Very interesting post on WestBlog by Andrew McLennan-Murray summarizing a recent presentation by legal rabble rouser Richard Suskind (“The End of Lawyers“) at 2009 International Legal Technology Association conference. Susskind discussed technologies that will disrupt the legal profession.

Disrupter beam jokes aside, Susskind identified these technologies as: (1) automated document assembly; (2) “relentless” connectivity; (3) the electronic legal marketplace; (4) electronic learning; (5) on-line legal guidance and advice; (6) open-source legal resources; (7) on-line networking and sharing of experience, lessening need for traditional legal representation; (8) workflow automation and project management; (9) embedded legal knowledge allowing instantaneous / constant connection to relevant laws, codes, regulations, etc.; (10) on-line dispute resolution, minimizing need for in-person meetings.

Hit the jump above for a more thorough explanation of these technologies – how they may be applied and how they will affect legal practice. The tools themselves are developing and technology is morphing so rapidly that it certainly promises to be an interesting ride for any technology-forward law firm. Surely, adoption largely will be driven by the needs of a particular firm’s clientele or the firm’s desire to fill a specific niche that few have yet plumbed. Or, thrill-seeking firms can just forge ahead like early leaders in a marathon, hoping to pull the field along with them.

I, of course, will be watching the race on my triple-screen computer set-up, cheering the pacesetters on!


3 comments on “Disrupting Legal Practice With Technology

  1. Pingback: Disrupting Legal Practice With Technology « Advocate's Studio « The Android Life

  2. Thanks for the post. Since I work for a document assembly company, I have long been a fan of Susskind’s work and am wondering what your opinion would be about the potential for law firm’s to further embrace these technologies as they re-engineer their business models due to the current economic environment.

  3. Hi Terence – I think that the potential is definitely there. There is a growing number of firms that recognize legal practice needs to change to meet the changing needs of clients. As clients become more tech savvy and demanding in how their products are packaged and priced, firms will need to evolve or flounder. I am sure there will be firms lagging behind the curve. I also believe that firms with a larger, more established clientele will be further back on the curve as they will not have the same motivation to update, upgrade and make themselves more attractive. They also have greater resources for much of the “grunt” work, so have less of a need to look for automation to assist. But I do believe that the leading edge will pull the entire practice along to some degree. The current economic environment has already wrought changes – many laid-off workers have entered solo practice and are actively seeking ways to automate and expand their scope with technology. Now that the practice has entered on this path, it should gain its own momentum, regardless of economic factors.



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