I’m writing a book with the working title: IN-HOUSE TOM: a new model for the law department, law firm & C-Suite relationship – initially as a series of blogs.
You can follow the full index of the blogs as they build here: IN-HOUSE TOM: INDEX
IN-HOUSE TOM: SECTION 3.3 Trend 3 #Legaltech “disruption” hopes fading; “Ryanair” moment rising; state intervention hovering; purpose of law needs fixing, first
The third, of seven trends, against which backdrop the current in-house target operating model struggles, is that the hopes that technology would somehow change the behaviour of lawyers leading to a “transformation” or “disruption” in legal services are fading; that this creates an opportunity for one or more parties to do what, for example, Ryanair did i.e. to see technology as an enabler, not as a driver, of change and that this might also be a good opportunity for the state to intervene and “encourage” accelerated change – after-all, lawyers are Officers of the Court and, ultimately, servants of the state – an inconvenient truth perhaps, but a truth n’er the less.
This is no surprise to “non-lawyers” who wonder what lawyers are doing noodling about “#legaltech” when their very purpose in society is unclear? Fix your “why”, and your “how”, including your “tech” revolution, will follow. Ask Simon Sinek for help.
“WHEN AI AND THE INTERNET MEET THE PROFESSIONS…
…This book sets out two futures for the professions. Both rest on technology. One is reassuringly familiar. It is a more efficient version version of what we have today. The second is transformational – a gradual replacement of professionals by increasingly capable systems” (Back cover of The Future of the Professions: how technology will transform the work of human experts by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind, Oxford University 2015)
The Susskinds must feel disappointed.
As must those who endorsed in the book: Lord Thomas, Daniel Finkelstein, Ian Goldin, Philip Evans, Hugh Verrier, Anthony Seldon, Nicholas LaRusso, Conrad Young, and Richard Sexton.
The Susskinds and their endorsers are bright, experienced and thoughtful people. How could they have got this so wrong? Have they got they got it wrong? Is it too early to say?
Well, so far no transformation. We’d know.
Is it likely soon based on current efforts? Don’t hold your breath.
Here’s what might break the logjam:
- One ABS licensee led by a “non-lawyer”, or an a-typical lawyer, with deep pockets could “do a Ryanair” which used technology (online booking) to disrupt the no frills airline market
- The state could intervene and insist that the profession wake up and smell the digits
- One innovative GC + one inspirational Managing Partner + an onside C-Suite including, er, a CTO might one day get in a room with a flip-chart and some post-it notes and sort this out.
Have you ever seen GCs, Managing Partners and CXOs including, er, CTOs get together regularly in large numbers at conferences? If you have, please DM.
The Susskinds weren’t wrong. They just missed a step:
Humans, not technology, will transform the work of human experts and then they will use technology to enable that transformation.
But the first step is to clarify the purpose “of the work of human experts”.
That’s up for grabs, “big time”, in respect of lawyers.
I’d love to read a book by the Susskinds on that topic including their take on society’s shift towards ESG investing, which in my view, will be the key “disrupting” factor in the legal sector.