It was a great experience to have finally met Richard Susskind last night at the National Club in downtown Toronto. The man spends much of his time thinking about the future of law and the end of lawyers. He spoke so eloquently and with a tone and fervour that no one in the crowd could resist his probing questions and suggestions.
The National Club was filled with media, lawyers, and curious others. Truly an awe-inspiring moment for me with respect to meeting an amazing futurist of our time!
I picked up a copy of his new book, The End of Lawyers?, which I plan to read a.s.a.p. and provide my thoughts and views on in due course.
Sufficed to say, during yesterday’s book promotion, Richard outlined 2 broad solutions to the question of how technology will be better used to deliver more affordable legal services to the masses: through increased efficiency and collaboration. With respect to increasing efficiency, costs can be reduced for rudimentary legal tasks through outsourcing, delegation to paralegals and the like, and getting clients involved for certain tasks. As for collaboration, clients can team up to share information and the costs of legal services (e.g. class actions, pre-paid legal insurance, etc.); the advent of do-it-yourself forms and self-help guides are only going to get bigger and bigger as individuals continue to go online to find legal answers to their questions and concerns.
It’s funny because, as I was listening to Richard talk about commoditization of legal services, improved efficiency, and collaboration, it made me realize that that’s exactly what I am and will continue to be doing with Dynamic Legal Forms. We already empower users by having lawyers compete on posts. This encourages lawyers to have low costs and streamlined processes. We also plan to roll out free legal ease guides, which are short how-to guides written by local lawyers about various legal topics. Finally, we may end up having other collaborative features such as client testimonials of lawyers and do-it-yourself forms to fill out on the website (I’ve been toying with these ideas for some time now). All in all, I’m happy that we’re headed in the right direction.
I’ll leave you with a paraphrase of Richard’s comments last night about how to predict the future of law: the future is not out there somewhere waiting to be found. It’s here and now and ready to be created by us.