“I predict that the third phase, from 2016 onwards, will involve great uptake of information technology across the profession, such as automated production of documents and intelligent e-discovery systems – these are applications that will be staggeringly less costly than even the lowest-paid lawyers.”

September 15th, 2011

Richard Susskind makes a prediction.

Professor Susskind said the history of industry and commerce indicated that it should be the service provider who drives changes, rather than the client.

Law firms have generally always been reluctant to change, he wrote. “But, of course, the providers in the legal market are no longer just the law firms. As this report shows, there are new players in the legal game, not least the legal process outsourcers. I believe we will also see the resurgence into the legal sector of the large accounting firms, as well as alternative business structures fuelled by private equity.

“These providers tend to have much greater appetite for rethinking legal services than conventional law firms. The competition is stiffening. In the end, then, the agents of change may not be lawyers.”