In “Developing Legal Talent: Stepping into the Future Law Firm”, Deloitte predicts that a large tipping point will occur around 2020 from a culmination of three forces. These forces are: technology, client pressure, and demographic changes. It is estimated that by 2025 millenials (individuals born between 1981 – 1996) will make up about 75% of the workforce.
Specifically, Deloitte predicts that by 2025 the legal profession will have:
- fewer traditional lawyers in law firms;
- a new mix of skills among elite lawyers;
- greater flexibility and mobility within the industry;
- a reformed workforce structure and alternative progression routes; and
- a greater willingness to source people from other industries with non-traditional skills and training.
In my opinion, technology is the greatest driver of these impending changes. As explained by Richard Susskind, the leading theorist on the future of law, the information substructure determines how much law we have and how law is practiced. We are currently entering a transitionary stage in the information substructure from a print-based society to a technology-based society. As we transition from one stage to the next, automation will become ubiquitous.
In “Artificial Intelligence Insourcing: Why Software Technology Will Dominate Legal Process Outsourcing for Routine Document Drafting”, Halifax lawyer Dante Manna predicts that “intelligent documents” will soon become the norm. An “intelligent document” is a template that produces customized documents by taking structured data as input and returning documents populated with those data.
Like Siri, intelligent documents will become popular because laypeople will be able to use it without needing any sophisticated understanding of computers or the law. This continued advancement in technology will turn routine legal tasks into computerized tasks, making many junior lawyers obsolete while heralding in the new age of Siri lawyers.