Change coming from both expected and unexpected sources
Given that the legal market amounts to $400 billion, Morrison said, it’s only natural that “Uberization”—the disruption of a longtime industry or profession by a company that taps into consumer needs and uses technology well—will occur and has already begun.
And if Uber is coming, he continued, you don’t want to be the taxi association, which is now putting much of its energy into fighting Uber via municipal regulations. What if, Morrison asked, the taxi association had listened—much sooner—to how consumers, and especially young people, wanted to get from one place to another?
Much has been written about the use of artificial intelligence in the legal profession and about tech-focused companies such as LegalZoom. But Morrison challenged the audience—and bar association boards—to stretch themselves and think of disruptors they might not have considered before.
For example, he said, if Google’s self-driving car becomes popular, it will disrupt a number of different fields, including the legal profession. DUIs and tickets would decrease in number, so those running schools for DUI diversion and defensive driving would have less business. Drivers would now be passengers, so they’d be free to look down at their devices for the duration of the trip—and not up at billboards.
The number of car accidents would also decrease, which is good news in general but will bring some changes, Morrison said. Recently, someone at a medical association told him that accidents account for 35 percent of all medical care in the area where this conversation occurred. And this would also change things considerably for personal injury lawyers, he noted: “If no one is crashing, there’s nobody to sue.”
On the closer horizon, Morrison said to look at things like Lynda.com and Airbnb. Lynda.com offers a suite of online training courses for a monthly fee; right now, its courses are mostly focused on technology, he said, but it may just be a matter of time before it or another company such as Coursera explores offering CLE. As for Airbnb, as more members become accustomed to using it for leisure travel, they might also start linking up with each other to share condos during meetings and conferences. If your bar is hosting a meeting, Morrison said, you could see the percentage of registrants staying at the conference hotel go from 97 percent to somewhere in the 80s “in a heartbeat.”
All board members should be encouraged to “look up at the sky for what’s coming,” Morrison said, and so should everyone who works for the bar. Thanks to social media, he noted, even the person who cleans the office might have read something that can help you. Put up a graphic of a radar screen in the break room or other common area, Morrison suggested, and ask everyone to write on it (anonymously is fine) any threats they can think of.