Richard Susskind, LVI 2012 Featured Speaker

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At the moment, I only know Richard Susskind from his hyperbolically-titled The End of Lawyers?, his 2008 book about how lawyers will become extinct if they don’t embrace the commoditization of legal services. I didn’t read the book, actually, I’m just going by Susskind’s website. I’m not sure when the end of lawyers is supposed to come, but it’s been 4 years, and LegalZoom seems to be the only real threat — if you can call it that.

Tomorrow at the Law Via the Internet Conference, Susskind will set the stage for the conference on Day 1 with his talk Liberating the Law Yet Further:

Susskind will identify the major drivers of change in the legal marketplace, discuss ongoing policy changes in relation to public information, and introduce a variety of disruptive technologies that will transform the way in which citizens and organisations obtain legal help. He will argue that legal information will not be fully liberated until the working practices of lawyers and the courts are overhauled.

I get suspicious whenever I hear people talking about disruptive anything in relation to the law. Nothing about the law is ever transformed quickly. Online research is the most transformative thing to happen to the law in recent history, and it’s taken years to become ubiquitous. It’s hard to call something decades in the making disruptive. More like gradual change — and you can still find law books in every law library that work perfectly well for doing legal research.

Just the same, I am looking forward to hearing what what overhauls to practice and the courts Susskind thinks are necessary in order to liberate legal information. If he does present a roadmap, it will make for an interesting argument here, at least.

Watch the keynote here at 9 a.m. Eastern on Monday morning.

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  • shg

    As noted when you first mention that you would be attending this conference, this is not a legal tech conference where exhibitors hand out flash drives with cute slogans or stuff animals with legal consulting business names on their t-shirts. Susskind and Shirky may have a place among the futurists and techno-sellers, but this is different.

    The Cornell LII project may be a bit boring and academic, making statutory and case law freely available on the internet so that no one, lawyers or public, is held captive to the duopoly that “owned” public content and doled it out only for a fee.

    My sense is that Cornell is trying to “sexy” its conference to try to broaden its appeal and bring in more participants and money. After all, Sam, would you have gone if not for Susskind and Shirky? But by selling its academic bona fides to tech rock stars, I fear that the seriousness of its mission will be lost to internet charlatans. LII has a crucial mission, and they are turning it into another internet fad. What a terrible waste.

    • I absolutely would have gone. I’m way more interested in open access to law than Susskind or Shirky — although it didn’t hurt.

    • By the way, “interested” doesn’t necessarily mean “agree with.” I don’t think I am likely to see eye to eye with Susskind, at least.

      • shg

        Then I happily stand corrected about your interest.