Law Practice Management

Prophet Richard Susskind Predicts the Future of Law; Internet is Key

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A prophet who serves as something of a Cassandra to the legal profession is on an international tour to promote his latest book.

Initially pooh-poohed when he predicted, in 1996, a central role for the Internet in the provision of legal services, Richard Susskind, an Oxford University-educated lawyer and legal technology consultant, is today given credence as a bearer of bad news for those reluctant to watch the profession change, according to the Globe and Mail.

Now that the ubiquity of e-mail is no longer seen as a wild prediction but an established fact, newer cutting-edge changes to what Susskind describes as the classic interface between lawyers and clients include services that allow clients of some major United Kingdom law firms to download standard contract documents and lawyers in British courts to download standard judicial orders.

Late last year, Toronto attorney Michael Carabash launched a website, Dynamic Lawyers, that connects counsel to clients who have posted online questions, seeking free legal advice. (The Canadian newspaper reports that 36 lawyers have paid an annual fee of $30 each for the privilege of posting on the site; but Carabash says in a subsequent e-mail to that the fee is actually $30 per month.)

“I started this business because of what Richard Susskind has been saying,” he tells the Globe and Mail. “The profession is changing.”

Susskind’s latest book is titled The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services.

Related earlier coverage:

Susskind: Are Lawyers Becoming Obsolete?

It’s Official: UK Law Firms Soon For Sale

Legal Futurist: ‘The Party is Now Over’

Futurist Says Lawyers Will Become Legal Risk Consultants

What Lawyers Can Learn from Obama’s Victory

Corrected at 8 p.m. on Feb.18 to include information from Carabash e-mail.

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