Many lawyers do not like the title of my latest book, “The End of Lawyers?” And yet I am at pains to point out that my message is a mixed and not a negative one. I claim that the future for lawyers could be prosperous or disastrous. Admittedly, I do predict that lawyers who are unwilling to change will struggle to survive, but I also say that lawyers who embrace emerging technologies and novel ways of sourcing legal work will trade successfully for many years.
Many of my conclusions follow research among corporate counsel. Invariably, they tell me that they are currently under three pressures: to reduce the size of their in-house legal teams; to spend less on external law firms; and to find ways of coping with more and riskier legal and compliance work than they have had in the past. Both internally and externally, clients are requiring more for less. From 2004-2007, I found this to be a running background theme in my research and discussions with in-house lawyers. In 2008-2009, in the slipstream of the economic downturn, it has become not so much a theme as an overriding imperative.
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