Future for Lawyers

On March 6, the Society of Computers & Law (UK) hosted an event at the Royal Society in London to hear a lecture by Professor Richard Suskind on the way in w hich legal services will develop over the next 10 years. Susskind is an independent advisor to government and the private sector on IT, lectures internationally, is a columnist for the Times and has written and edited several books on It and the Law.

To extract from the SCL email, he posited a world changed by exponential increase in processing power and where commoditisation is an inescapable part of legal practice. Lawyers methods of working and their working relationships are to see major changes influenced by the second generation KM and by technology which requires greater collaboration and the appreciation of online communities.

The SCL has made available this speech as an audio webcast or as a downloadable podcast at the SCL website


  1. The start of Richard’s Times column for February 21 reveals a nice ambivalence about the new electronic book:
    It’s a book, but not as we know it, reader
    By Richard Susskind
    WILL we need law books in the future? The question is provoked by the arrival of Sony’s new digital book, Reader. It is lightweight, the size of a DVD box, with a paper-like display and it can hold hundreds of books (http://products.sel.sony.com/pa/prs). It can connect to the internet and can handle sound and image. So why bother with legal tomes? Perhaps we won’t. Many lawyers already prefer online law reports to conventional volumes, while the business of producing books has become secondary to online services for many legal publishers.
    Researching electronically is becoming natural and when lawyers do want paper, they can print important pages. Yet the old arguments remain: we like the touch, odour and aura of books and libraries; books are pleasant to own and collect; reading a book seems easier and less prone to error than viewing on screen; and it is convenient to have many books open at once. So, nostalgia, tradition and some plausible practicalities may keep law books on the go for some time yet. But, then again, how many web users today consult traditional encyclopaedias?