A new brand of lawyer?

In her recent blog post ‘A New Brand of Lawyer: Are you ready?’ Donna Seyle of Freelance Law Firm discusses a current paradigm shift in the legal services based on conclusions made by professor Richard Susskind and international lawyer/entrepreneur Jorge Colón.

Professor Richard Susskind has made predictions about the future of law, for example in his book ‘The End of Lawyers?’ from 2008, about concepts like

  • packaged tasks – giving clients access to a firm’s systems so they can do it themselves, but with the availability of attorney input as necessary,
  • commoditized products – a completely standardized service that can be made available on a mass basis with little or no attorney input and
  • proliferation of elawyering, or virtual law firms, that provide services online,

and about paradigm shifts that include moving legal services

  • from advisory service to an information service,
  • from a reactive service to a proactive service,
  • from time-based billing to commodity pricing and
  • from a legal focus to a business focus.

As Donna Seyle now concludes “We are clearly seeing the concepts and paradigm shifts Susskind identified in process, moved along dramatically by economics and technology.”

Jorge Colon envisions the legal industry moving past even this. “Next paradigm shift: moving away from the adversarial to the collaborative. We have the systems, both procedural and virtual, to do this. We have the evolving mindset: providing free information and research online, creating high levels of trust through social media and expanding our relationships are opening the door to collaboration. We don’t need structured law firms, we need networks of lawyers collaborating through technology.”

But these farsighted predictions raises the question that Donna Seyle wrote in her blog post title – Are you ready?