Legal Education in Disruption: The Headwinds and Tailwinds of Technology
59 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 15, 2012
By harnessing improvements on communications and computational systems, law firms are producing a revolution in the practice of law. Self-help legal manuals have transformed into sophisticated interactive software; predictive coding can empower clients to receive sophisticated legal advice from a machine; socially mediated portals select among potential lawyers and assess the quality of the advice given; and virtual law firms threaten to distintermediate the grand edifices of twentieth century Big Law. These changes may profoundly restructure the legal practice, undermining the business model for many solo and small firm practices.
This paper focuses on the implications of these profound disruptive changes. It looks at the expectations the market may place on future lawyers and by extension the training necessary for lawyers entering the practice of law. The final section reflects a suggested curriculum and programmatic redesign, highlighting one possible future legal educational model, complete with acquiescence to existing constraints found in American Bar Association and other accreditation regimes.
Keywords: Legal Education, Education, Disruptive Innovation, Law, Technology, ABA, virtual law firm, Big Law, disintermediation, unbundled legal services, law practice, legal software
JEL Classification: D21, D23, D29, I2, I20, I21, J20, J44, K00, K40, M51, O3, O30, O33, O34, O38, O39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation