April 01, 2018 Technology

Withstanding Disruptive Innovation: How Attorneys Will Adapt and Survive Impending Challenges from Automation and Nontraditional Legal Services Providers

By: Samuel V. Schoonmaker IV

Introduction

Solo and small firm practitioners stand on the precipice of transformative disruption. A convergence of technological advances, “access to justice” failings, budgetary challenges, court burdens, demographic dilemmas, perceived opportunities, and “nontraditional legal services providers” threaten all areas of the legal profession. There has been a deluge of news reports forecasting the demise of lawyers. This article challenges that fatalistic perspective but also explains why the practice of law is different from a decade ago. It explains why the pace of automation is accelerating, how the roles of legal startups and nonlawyers are evolving, and why court initiatives will compel practitioners to automate.

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