Less Lawyering, Not Less Lawyers

March 14th, 2012

I often wonder what motivates me, in particular with respect to using technology to advance the legal profession. Frankly, I’m still working on a good answer to this question. Though, I had a few thoughts tonight that clarified my thinking.

To simply say something to the effect of–well, technology is evolving, and the law has to keep pace with new innovations–is counterintuitive and doesn’t answer the question of what motivates me. Simply, if I am the one moving technology forward, the fact that the law has not kept pace with technology may be a rationalization, but it’s not a reason. I think it is somewhat cliche for entrepreneurs to give as a reason that their respective industry is changing–well duh, you’re doing the changing!

The better answer, I think, has to do with trying to improve society. Since I was very young, my dad always told me that I should use my gifts and talents to make the world a better place. That message stuck with me, and I think that serves as the basis for a lot of my motivation–from my work with Harlan, to my desire to teach, etc.

To that end, I think what may motivate me with respect to innovating technology in the legal profession is my belief–whether foolish or not–that society can be improved if people would be able to handle their legal issues with less lawyering. Note I didn’t say less lawyers. Though I acknowledge that the demand for lawyers is far less than the supply law schools today are minting, I think the future changes are less numerical, and more structural. The more people and businesses can take care of their legal issues without involving expensive, costly, and time consuming lawyering, the better society would be.

I need to develop this thought more, but it makes sense to me, at least.