As the CEO of an bogus intelligence acknowledged technology company, the best accepted catechism I’m asked – often, nervously – is whether technology will alter lawyers. The abhorrence is understandable. Computers accept “learned” how to abetment in tasks that acclimated to be attorneys’ jobs, like due diligence, eDiscovery, and acknowledged research, to name aloof a few. After abundant tasks are taken away, what will be larboard for attorneys to do?
It is now above catechism that technology will booty tasks from you. But that doesn’t beggarly it will necessarily booty your job. Markets acknowledge to technology in abrupt ways. Abounding bodies anticipation ATMs would all but annihilate non-automated (human) coffer tellers, but there are alert as abounding tellers today as there were afore ATMs. Technology automatic abounding accounting tasks (imagine the affliction of accounting afore Excel), but now the Big Four accounting firms accomplish added in revenues and apply added bodies than the absolute Am Law 100 combined. After apparel assignment was automatic in the 19th century, the numbers of active apparel workers alone climbed. Often, technology creates added jobs in absolutely the industries that affront the best about accident them.
All of this is not to say that technology absolutely won’t booty your job. The alternation amid added avant-garde technology and access in jobs isn’t consistently in the same, blessed direction. For example, I wouldn’t appetite to be a abrupt barter disciplinarian over the aing 15 years, as automatic cartage hit the road. The alone point I appetite to accomplish is that technology will not necessarily booty your job. And d it doesn’t, there will acceptable be absurd opportunities for advance for firms that are accommodating to both embrace technology and advance their approach.
To go a footfall further, I appetite to outline how the aforementioned bazaar dynamics that led to added tellers, added accountants, and added apparel workers ability additionally advance to added lawyers. Here are three scenarios that ability advance to there actuality badly added jobs for attorneys in the future:
1. Attorneys abode unmet acknowledged needs, serve added clients, and accouterment new acknowledged issues. Studies appraisal that as abounding as 80% of acknowledged needs go unmet due to a abridgement of resources. Intrepid attorneys will alpha to apprehend that technology reduces the costs associated with apery a applicant – intake, research, discovery, abrupt writing, and managing applicant relations will become essentially beneath cher – and will be able to abound their business by apery added clients, alike the under-resourced. This is a win-win: bodies with absolute acknowledged problems who accept so far gone abandoned would get the advice they need.
This advance what happened in the apparel industry: automation collection prices down, arch to a beyond appeal for added garments, in about-face consistent in abounding added workers active in the industry. Added clothing, added apparel workers – anybody is happy.
2. There are added cases and deals. Not alone will technology accredit attorneys to abode unmet acknowledged needs for the under-resourced; lower and added advancing costs will additionally beggarly there will be added lawsuits and transactions, alike amid law firms’ absolute clients. As a business owner, I acquisition myself in situations area I accept not to accomplish a appropriate (trademark, copyright, contract, etc.) because the action costs aloof aren’t account it. But if I knew a action would amount beneath $10,000 and accept a acceptable adventitious of success, I would counterbalance my options differently. Multiply this aftereffect beyond all businesses, and you will acquisition attorneys authoritative a lot beneath per action or per transaction but at the aforementioned time confined a lot added audience who are gluttonous acknowledged abetment for alike added matters.
This is what happened in accounting. After the basal tasks of accounting became almost inexpensive, accounting firms started alms added and added circuitous services. Today, accounting firms like Deloitte and PwC do a lot added for their audience than anytime absurd before, including administration and technology consulting.
3. Law firms change their business archetypal in new and abrupt ways. Back the ATM came out, anybody predicted coffer tellers would bound become unemployed. And as anticipated, the boilerplate annex went from employing 21 tellers to 13. But again banks accomplished article interesting: It costs badly beneath to accomplish a branch, so they could accessible far added branches and be afterpiece to consumers. Now, in some cities, you can’t airing two blocks after bumping into a Coffer of America. The result? Today, there are badly added coffer tellers than there were back ATMs were unveiled.
Will law firms change their action in a agnate way? It’s adamantine to apperceive -nobody predicted that banks would booty advantage of the alteration economics to accessible added branches. Technology may not necessarily advance law firms to accessible added offices – at the actual least, acceptable not as abounding offices as there are bounded coffer branches – but there assuredly will be new opportunities accessible to firms that are accessible to adapting their business models as the profession adapts to new technologies.
So, the aing time acknowledged technology surprises you – back you annoyance and bead a abrupt into our artefact CARA, for example, and it does a lot of analysis for you – don’t worry! If accomplished is prologue, attorneys like us are acceptable about for a acceptable while.
Jake Heller is the co-founder and CEO of Casetext. Afore starting Casetext, Jake was a litigator at Ropes & Gray. He’s a Silicon Valley native, and has been programming back childhood. For added advice about CARA, Casetext’s AI-backed acknowledged analysis assistant, appointment info.casetext.com/cara-ai.
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