Automation and access to the law

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UK writer and consultant, Richard Susskind, considered by many to be the world’s pre-eminent legal futurist, is coming out with a new book, The End of Lawyers?, in December. It’s a sequel to his 1996 best-seller, The Future of Law, in which Susskind describes presciently how IT would radically change the practice of law and the administration of justice. Many of his projections came true, much to the despair of many a law firm managing partner.

At conferences around the world, Susskind is now describing a world in which, legal services are following an evolutionary trajectory from “bespoke” services —  meaning custom-made to the client’s specifications — to the systemization of services.

The problem with bespoke services is that it often involves reinventing the wheel over and over again. Consider the update of an environmental legal register. Hiring a junior lawyer at $200 an hour to do the work from scratch every time is not going to be cheap. But by moving from bespoke to systemization and packaged services, it’s possible to deliver much cheaper legal services.

This is not to say that a world without lawyers is upon us. Only that technology-based legal information can now be of service to those historically shut out of legal information sources — namely small and medium businesses.

Nimonik is among the new players from outside the legal industry using innovative and scalable ways to focus on latent needs in the marketplace. Using our online services, our clients can have a cheaper access to the law.

Another way in which technology is altering the delivery of legal services is by embedding law in processes, something Nimonik is trying to achieve by helping keep its clients’ environmental regulatory registers automatically up-to-date. The day isn’t far off when large-scale automation of environmental compliance will be possible.