New ways of thinking about the practice of law

A new edition of Richard Susskind's last book "The End of Lawyers?" has been published recently. In an interview with Rob Ameerun for Legal IT Professionals Richard Susskind talks about his new ideas and new ways of thinking about the practice of law.

Susskind says it would be wrong to suggest that the entire profession has embraced change, but "enough of the kinds of individuals who come to me from imaginative firms are now asking a different set of questions. Now people are saying: we really need to over the next five years perhaps to transform our practice, give us some help, give us some guidance, give us some tools to help effect that organisational change. So give them a structure, a framework, within which to do that analysis. That's the first one."

"And the second one is, I'm suggesting there's four types of legal business in the future, four structures for models for legal businesses of the future. And it's actually, that's less to do with law firms and more to do with practice areas within law firms, because I've come quite firmly to the view that different parts of law firms have entirely different requirements.

The global financial crisis forced law firm management to take a thorough look at their firms. Susskind believes that the crisis was a catalyst for change: "It brought about change that might otherwise have taken a decade, instead it happened over a period of about 18 months. And I belong to the school that believes, by and large, that there's no way back, that the kinds of efficiencies, the kinds of new ways of working, the kinds of demands that clients have made of law firms, are here to stay."

But there is a second challenge Susskind continues, "alternative ways of sourcing legal work, whether that be outsourcing or offshoring or sub-contracting or computerising, the general theme is that the traditional way, in my view, of undertaking the more routine and repetitive legal work in the law office is under challenge."

Here is another recommended interview with Richard Susskind on social media and legal IT.


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