acclaimed by academics and legal professionals alike, Richard
Susskind's bestseller explores the potential impact of numerous
recent developments on the legal profession.
Susskind was one of the first to consider the possible
ramifications of information technology, communisation, outsourcing
and external investment on the legal profession. "The End of
Lawyers?" envisages a bleak future for those who refuse to embrace
innovation but hints at a world of possibilities for practitioners
willing to make changes.
The book makes three key observations:
Susskind argues that law firms are performing increasingly uniform
operations for their clients and that this will greatly affect
future business models. Five different categories of legal services
are identified: bespoke, standardized, systematized, packaged and
commoditized. The End of Lawyers examines each and concludes that a
shift towards standardised services will inevitably transform the
way in which law firms operate.
The book also breaks down legal services into categories which
can be delegated across various sources. This multi-sourcing will
allow clients to obtain services from several different legal work
performers which may not necessarily be law firms. Susskind
lists 12 possible destinations for this "unbundling": co-sourcing,
de-lawyering, in-sourcing, relocating, leasing, home-sourcing,
open-sourcing, subcontracting, computerizing, outsourcing,
no-sourcing and offshoring. There will, however, remain a need for
a body to take responsibility for streamlining and coordinating all
legal work undertaken.
The introduction of new legal technologies including automated
document assembly, the electronic legal marketplace, online legal
guidance, online dispute resolution, and legal open-sourcing, will
allow for a more efficient delivery of legal services. These new
developments will transform the way in which law firms operate and
will require drastic changes to the traditional business model
adopted by firms.
In the words of Peter Kurer, Chairman, UBS; "[The End of Lawyers?]
is thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time. I strongly
encourage law firms and in-house lawyers to read this book and
embrace the new methods and technologies that Richard Susskind is
4C's breakfast debate, "External Legal Services - best bought by
Procurement, or the In-house legal team?" will touch on some of the
issues raised in "The End of Lawyers".