6 Essential Legal Disruption Books for Lawyers

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Daniel and Richard Susskind, The Future of the Professions: How Technology will Change the Work of Human Experts, 2015

A lifetime of learning surpassed by the internet. Lawyers, doctors and other professionals who trade on having expert, specialised knowledge will no longer be needed to work as they have done in the 20th Century. An excellent introduction to understanding the challenges faced by the legal industry in adapting to a new technology-driven paradigm.

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Excellent other reads from Richard Susskind

For a complete list of Richard Susskind's writing on the impact of technology on the future of the legal profession, click here.

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Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, 2013

A provocative read for any lawyer stuck in the past. Susskind predicts fundamental and irreversible changes to legal practice and industry. Billed as a ‘definitive guide to the future’, internet-based global firms, virtual courts and online document production are just some of the fundamental changes Susskind sees on the horizon. Readers will enjoy discovering the many predictions which, in the 4 years since publication, are already on their way to reality.

Richard Susskind, The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, 2010

Lawyers are only just waking up to the reality that Susskind described seven years ago. Said by some to be heresy, Susskind foresees legal work becoming increasingly commoditised and farmed-out to the most efficient source, often to non-lawyers, with only 5 types of lawyer surviving: the expert trusted adviser; the enhanced practitioner; the legal knowledge engineer; the legal risk manager and the legal hybrid. Those who bring an open mind to changing the way they work will benefit most from reading Susskind’s work.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

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Mireille Hildebrandt, Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law, 2015

Hildebrandt explores the intersection of legal theory and new technologies such as big data, predictive analytics and the “internet of things”. An enjoyable read for lawyers interested in technology’s impact on fundamental legal concepts such as the rule of law, the presumption of innocence and equality before the law.

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15. The Second Machine Age Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.jpg

Martin Ford, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment, 2016

Readers of The Digital Lawyer will appreciate the significant labour savings legal technology enables. However, unless that labour can be re-deployed, those impacted by the technology (such as paralegals and junior lawyers) face unemployment. Most don’t believe unemployment is even an issue. New technology creates new jobs to replace those lost elsewhere.

Ford argues that, this time, it’s different – machine learning and robotics simply mean fewer people are needed – leading to mass unemployment and income inequality as a result of many jobs with some degree of routine disappearing due to automation. Considering the rapid advances in autonomous driving, Ford’s view of the world of the future has considerable force. Arguing that the traditional response to technology-driven unemployment – more education and training – does not work in these circumstances, Ford offers a choice: decide now whether the future will bring prosperity or catastrophe.

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Ryan Calo, A. Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr, Robot Law, 2016

Technology futurists unanimously agree that robots and robotics will be an essential aspect of our future. Yet the legal, ethical and philosophical issues of robotics increasingly being integrated into our lives is surprisingly underdeveloped.

While not immediately relevant for lawyers worrying about disruption in the legal industry, Robot Law is the authoritative legal textbook for anyone interested in the legal issues and public policy challenges posed by robots. 

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