Saturday, May 30, 2009

Law + Technology = Fewer Lawyers? - Richard Susskind at Radio Berkman

More from Richard Susskind from Radio Berkman (which is the podcast production arm of Berkman Center for Internet and Society):

Law + Technology = Fewer Lawyers

If you like the idea of the above equation, well, you are either looking forward to a Robot vs. Lawyer stand-off, or, like today's guest, you simply believe that law can be made better and more efficient through the use of software and applications to streamline repetitive legal tasks. Richard Susskind is the IT adviser to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and author of the recently published (and provocatively titled) The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services. He recently sat down with the Berkman Center's Brock Rutter to chat about how technology might be able to simultaneously make the work of lawyers more efficient, reduce overhead costs, and improve access to justice.

Many similar points from his presentation last month, but worth listening for the DJ's facilitation. Main points:

- Much legal work will be automated, outsourced, or even handed over to end-users
- Technology can drive lawyers out of jobs, but also create many new opportunities (such as access to justice for the poor)
- Lawyers will still have a role over the creation of these systems: lawyers will not disappear, but will take on different roles. 
- Emphasis will go away from one-on-one traditional direct consultation, but via cheaper tools created or maintained by lawyers. For example: online compliance, decision tree for online document creation, end-users input through Web 2.0 interaction. 
- Lawyers will deal more with high level programmers through new ideas of providing services

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