The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services

The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services

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By (author) Richard E. Susskind

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 230mm x 24mm | 581g
  • Publication date: 17 September 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199593612
  • ISBN 13: 9780199593613
  • Edition: Revised
  • Edition statement: Revised edition
  • Sales rank: 64,918

Product description

This widely acclaimed legal bestseller has provoked a tidal wave of debate within the legal profession, being hailed as an inspiration by some and as heresy by others. Susskind lays down a challenge to all lawyers, and indeed all those in a professional service environment. He urges them to ask themselves, with their hands on their hearts, what elements of their current workload could be undertaken differently - more quickly, cheaply, efficiently, or to a higher quality - using alternative methods of working. The challenge for legal readers is to identify their distinctive skills and talents, the capabilities that they possess that cannot, crudely, be replaced by advanced systems or by less costly workers supported by technology or standard processes, or by lay people armed with online self-help tools. In the extended new preface to this revised paperback edition, Richard Susskind updates his views on legal process outsourcing, courtroom technology, access to justice, e-learning for lawyers, and the impact of the recession on the practice of law. He analyses the four main pressures that lawyers now face (to charge less, to work differently, to embrace technology, and to deregulate), and reveals common fallacies associated with each. And, in an entirely new line of thinking, Susskind argues that law firms and in-house departments will have four business models from which to choose in the future, and he provides some new tools and techniques to help lawyers plan for their future. Susskind argues that the market is increasingly unlikely to tolerate expensive lawyers for tasks (guiding, advising, drafting, researching, problem-solving, and more) that can equally or better be discharged, directly or indirectly, by smart systems and processes. It follows, the book claims, that the jobs of many traditional lawyers will be substantially eroded and often eliminated. Two forces propel the legal profession towards this scenario: a market pull towards commoditisation and a pervasive development and uptake of information technology. At the same time, the book foresees new law jobs emerging which may be highly rewarding, even if very different from those of today. The End of Lawyers represents a compelling vision of the future of the legal profession and a must-read for all lawyers. Indeed this book should be read by all those whose work touches on the law, and it offers much food for thought for anyone working in a professional environment.

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Author information

Richard Susskind is an author, speaker, and independent adviser to international professional firms and national governments. His views on the future of legal service have influenced a generation of lawyers around the world. He has written numerous books, including The Future of Law (Oxford, 1996) and Transforming the Law (Oxford, 2000), and has been a regular columnist at The Times. He has been invited to lecture in over 40 countries, and has addressed legal audiences (in person and electronically), numbering more than 200,000. Richard is Honorary and Emeritus Law Professor at Gresham College, London, Visiting Professor in Internet Studies at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University, and IT adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. He holds a doctorate in law from Balliol College, Oxford, and is a Fellow of the British Computer Society and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was awarded an OBE in 2000 for services to IT in the Law and to the Administration of Justice.

Review quote

Anyone who wishes to understand where the profession has been and where it is going shoudl read the book Jonathon Groner, www.freedman-chicago.com Review from hardback edition His advice cannot be ignored by those lawyers who want to survive the economic turmoil Joshua Rozenberg, The Law Society Gazette I feel Susskind has made an excellent start by opening up the debate' Phillip Taylor, The Barrister The End of Lawyers is a fascinating and timely book Bruce MacEwen, Adam Smith Esq This book is addictive! Susskind has done it again with an extremely engaging blend of advice. Patrick McKenna I believe anyone working in a professional service form could find useful examples of what can be accomplished in their own profession, throughout this book Patrick McKenna Richard Susskind's predictions of 1996, in The Future of Law, can now be seen to be coming to pass. I am confident that those in this new work, where he looks even further into the future, will likewise come to pass, given the extraordinary depth of knowledge, analysis and reasoning he has brought to bear and which this book demonstrates on every page Lord Saville of Newdigate, President of the Society for Computers and Law Richard Susskind speaks to the issues facing law firms big and small, in-house legal teams, legal publishers, training establishments and individual lawyers. He has a lucid style informed by personal experience and observation and deep connections within the legal profession. This book should be compulsory reading for all who care about the future of the law. Mark Harding, Group General Counsel, Barclays If you don't quickly absorb what Susskind has to say, you'll already be behind in adapting to the modern legal profession, in-house as well as private practice. You can't and won't agree with everything here, but you must read it all and think about it all. It would be irresponsible (and self-destructive) to avoid reflecting on the voluminous arguments and examples presented here. David Maister, consultant and author, The Trusted Advisor Susskind remains the only the writer today who can put the future of lawyers and the legal professions on the agenda at the highest levels of government, the judiciary, the legal institutions, major corporations - and law firms Charles Christian, editor, Legal Technology Insider In The End of Lawyers?, Richard Susskind brilliantly and passionately shows us how to think about practising law in the 21st century. The book's inspirational outlook and yet practical approach make it a must-read for any lawyer aspiring to achieve professional success and make a difference for his or her clients. Dov Seidman, Chairman and CEO, LRN, and author, HOW Richard Susskind's new book tells us that we should, contrary to the profession's engrained conservatism, turn our mind to the future to better understand the profession and the law. It is thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time. I strongly encourage law firms and in-house lawyers to read this book and to embrace the new methods and technologies that Richard Susskind is recommending Peter Kurer, Chairman, UBS This is a fascinating book. It raises serious questions not only about the future of legal practice, but about how legal services are structured and delivered now. As is to be expected from Susskind, the arguments are pacey and challenging. The conclusions and predictions are likely to provoke strong reactions, but the book will not fail to engage. Professor Dame hazel Genn,Dean, University College London Faculty of Laws A wide-ranging book that is of value not only to lawyers contemplating their future, but to anyone whose work touches upon the law. Blending the futures of law and technology, Susskind's vision is far-reaching and tightly-argued, showing the displacement that lies ahead - and the ways in which society can gain from it Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School and author, The Future of the Internet This book paints a scary future. But as a call to arms, to embrace the future, it lays down a challenge for lawyers everywhere for we have no birthright, no power to avoid development, to 'freeze the frame'. Susskind makes a most persuasive case that the 'incremental revolution' has already arrived; so join it or be left on the wrong side of the barricades. Stuart Popham, Senior Partner, Clifford Chance Susskind's engaging book urges a drastic reassesment of the legal profession and suggests a series of reforms for law firms of the future The In-House Lawyer d In light of the current economic climate, Susskind may find that his predictions come true sooner than even he thinks The In-House Lawyer This is an enormously important book, and if you have any interest in how the legal marketplace will operate in future, you have to read it Jordan Furlong, www.law21.ca We talk a lot about "visionaries" these days, but in the legal profession, nobody seriously competes with Richard Susskind for this title, and this book shows why Jordan Furlong, www.law21.ca "The End of Lawyers" is a must read for every managing partner in the country Mitch Kowalski, Financial Post This is a strikingly thought-provoking book and a must-read for all law firms Modus Operandi This book makes some clear predictions about what lawyers will do and not do in the future, but is most valuable for raising the issues in the first place. It is a proactive peek into the possible future of legal work and the lawyers who perform it Mark C, Miller, Law and Politics Book Review The End of Lawyers? is a road map to the archipelago of legal innovation already emerging all around us. Ignore it at your peril Michael Stern, The AM Law Daily If you are ready to look into Susskind's question, this book makes a fascinating reading. And if you are serious about embracing the changing environment, it is a primer for new ideas in bold action Karen Bell, LawPro If you are a lawyer and haven't read Richard's book, you should. And no, reading the reviews and the articles about the book won't suffice. Buy the book, sit in a quiet room and read deeply about his predictions of the future of the practice of law Jason Mendelson, Mendelson's Musings d This should be essential reading for anyone who does not believe that legal education at degree and postgraduate level will not be transformed by technology Legal Studies, vol 29, no 4 If you have not read the book then I commend it to you Archie Miller, www.journalonline.co.uk This is an outstanding publication. Buy it. Read it. Think about it. Douglas Mill, Journal of the Law Society of Scotland Susskind's book will deservedly be the starting point for an understanding of the potentials and the failings of technology and legal services. It is a book stocked with ideas and examples in which I would defy any open-minded reader not to see the potential for significant change in the legal world Richard Moorhead, Cardiff Law School, Legal Studies 29.4 The End of Lawyers is a fascinating and challenging book. Susskind gently and persuasively chips away at the assumptions and preferences that we carry with us about what law is and how it is provided. His book is essential reading not just for law students and their methodology professors but for acadmics and practitioners more generally Emilie Hunter, Human Rights Law Review

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. The beginning of the end ; The challenge for lawyers ; Four thoughts ; A journey ; The Future of Law ; Progress over the last decade ; The flow of this book ; 2. The evolution of legal service ; The path to commoditisation ; The pull of the market ; Shedding light on various conundra ; Decomposing legal service ; Resourcing the evolution ; Two case studies ; 3. Trends in technology ; Exponential growth ; Information satisfaction ; Community and collaboration ; The net generation ; Clicks and mortals ; Disruptive technologies ; 4. Disruptive legal technologies ; Document assembly ; Online community ; e-learning ; Personalised alerting ; The electronic market ; Online legal guidance ; Embedded legal content ; 5. The client grid ; The asymmetry of lawyers and clients ; The law firm grid ; The client grid ; Three possible models ; Meeting clients' challenges ; The role of clients ; 6. Resolving and dissolving disputes ; Litigation support revisited ; Electronic disclosure ; Electronic filing ; Case management ; Online dispute resolution ; Dispute avoidance ; 7. Access to law and to justice ; Public information policy ; Critique ; Current systems ; Promulgation ; A law unto itself? ; AFTERWORD