MyFondia VirtualLawyer
August 30, 2013

Lawyers conservative?

This was what we were told at Fondia Rewriting the Legal Industry Summit yesterday in Helsinki. The Summit was really interesting and we had some lively debate over different issues.

The main speaker was Richard Susskind , in my opinion one of the most prominent writers / analysts of legal industry and especially of how technology can change our industry. He gave us quite fireworks of different ideas and observations. One has seldom experienced so much energy in a large room full of lawyers.

As a starter Susskind quoted ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky who had analysed his unique skills roughly as follows: ”I don’t skate where the puck is, but rather where it will be next”. That’s something that we all should do with our own “pucks”.

Susskind sees three drivers of change. Those are 1) more for less challenge that especially in-house counsels are faced with when they need to cut down their legal budgets; 2) the market liberalisation that is finally happening and 3) the opportunities that technology will provide. We heard many wonderful examples of these during the presentation.

Susskind was also challenging his audience and claiming that lawyers have irrational rejectionism towards technology and tools and services enabled by it. He also was hammering us because of the very limited number of lawyers who are active on Twitter.

Susskind also shared his interesting list of 13 disruptive legal technologies which are: 1) Automated document assembly, 2) Relentless connectivity, 3) Electronic legal marketplace, 4) E-learning, 5) Online legal guidance, 6) Legal open-sourcing, 7) Closed client communities, 8) Workflow and project management, 9) Embedded legal knowledge, 10) Online dispute resolution (ODR), 11) Intelligent legal search, 12) Big data ja 13) AI-based problem solving. All lawyers should spend quite a lot of time in analyzing opportunities (and why not risks) that technologies will bring. Everyone on the list is worth a separate analysis and posting.

You should read Richard’s excellent books as my short summary can only raise fraction of the ideas and topics he shared.

The program ended with an excellent panel discussion where Richard Susskind, RiverView Law CEO Karl Chapman, Philippe Xavier-Bender, Partner of the French and European Economic Law Department at Gide Loyrette Nouel from France and Marko Loisa, Director of the Project Office, Database Project, Ministry of Justice were discussing actively on the challenges of the legal industry. What a panel! And what an audience!