FRONTLINES

The End of Lawyers?

An opportunity to look into an innovator’s crystal ball.

RICHARD SUSSKIND The emeritus professor of law at Gresham College, legal IT consultant and author of The End of Lawyers? Delivered the keynote address at ABA TECHSHOW 2009.

If you were offered the opportunity to look into a crystal ball and see your future, would you take it? That is, essentially, what Dr. Richard Susskind offered in his ABA TECHSHOW® 2009 keynote address, The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services . Audience members not only took him up on the offer, many left energized with the possibilities for improving their practices. According to Susskind, technology is slowly but irretrievably changing the way legal services can be produced and delivered—from the one-at-a-time “handcrafted” approach to the possibility of the “embedding” of law in automated delivery systems and the “supply chaining” of legal matters. In addition, the advent of Web 2.0 has enormously enhanced possibilities for communication and collaboration, presenting great opportunities for lawyers. Basically, Susskind tells us that as consumers of legal services are forced to accomplish ever more without spending more, innovative lawyers will do two things. First, they will move from solving existing legal problems to helping their clients avoid disputes in the first place. Second, they will learn how to break down legal matters into component parts and use technology to deliver each of those components in the most economically efficient method possible. The end of lawyers? Not if you know how to adapt.

Listen to the complete keynote at www.techshow.com.

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