Cooley Godward partner Michael Stern reflects on Susskind’s The End of Lawyers:
The impact of disruptive Web 2.0 technologies -- the new means of instant, online communication and collaboration, from Wikipedia to Facebook -- on the legal profession is like the impact of carbon loading on the atmosphere. While its consequences are as yet largely unfelt, the tipping point inexorably approaches. Like global warming, the accelerating commoditization of legal work is here, is real, and won't go away. (In this context, "commoditization" means that legal services are seen as packages of relatively standard, generic components, which get treated more like widgets in the client's supply chain -- and hence are expected to be subject to the same predictability and cost-reduction imperatives that widget suppliers face -- than as unique, one-off, price-insensitive "black boxes" with mysterious innards.) "We" -- the denizens of The Am Law 100 -- need to understand its dynamics, separate out the fatuous from the feasible, and get on with either inventing a future we're part of or risking being left out of the alternative.
Read the whole thing here. The Times (London) has run a six-part series of extracts of The End of Lawyers. This blog will have a look at each installment over the next week or two.
-posted by brian
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