THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 5 S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 707
sionals. Regulations will likely ensure certain basic prescriptive standards
similar to what we now have in law society codes of professional conduct.
Those will become embedded in the services themselves most likely without
the need for a lawyer. However, the larger social role of lawyers in protecting
certain normative values and ethical principles will retain merit if
lawyers engage with the challenge.
As a profession we are only relevant if what we deliver (knowledge) is
best delivered through us. As technical and everyday legal services are
overtaken by cheaper, more efficient and more accessible technological
solutions, lawyers should re-engage with one of their original guiding
tenets: ethics over profitability. That tenet has been lost in today’s profession
in favour of the profit model. Today’s profit model will be overtaken by
the global services firms and technological solutions, rendering most
lawyers as we know them today irrelevant. Large legal service providers
will not need as many lawyers as they did before in the traditional model
that relied on leverage to maximize profits per partner. Solo practitioners
will either die out or go on contract with the large providers. Specialists will
become backroom technical experts. But there remains room for lawyers to
upkeep and take on the more important roles of ensuring that those delivering
legal services engage with normative ethical questions, as well as
mediating society’s disputes about normative ethics.
The continued relevance of the legal professional will require of them far
greater breadth and flexibility than what is required of today’s lawyers. It
will demand innovation and expanding engagement beyond the technical
aspects of law. It will necessitate a deep understanding of how to modify
legal services to create space for moral debate within the maelstrom of
changes that have already started to revolutionize the law. Answering these
challenges will not be easy and will involve heartache and disruption. But
they are challenges we can no longer ignore, both for our own sake as well
as for society at large.
1. See Neil Rose, “BT Law Goes Live after Global Telecoms
Giant Wins ABS Licence”, Legal Futures (4
March 2013), online: <www.legalfutures.co.uk/
2. Online: <www.axiomlaw.com>.
3. See Dan Bindman, “AI-Based Start-Up Aims to Give
Law Firm and Their Clients Glimpse of the Future”,
Legal Futures (6 February 2017), online: <www.
4. See “Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Streamline
Our Legal Services”, Dentons (1 December 2016),
uk-constr uction-briefing/using-ar tificialintelligence
5. See Jennifer Brown, “McCarthy Tétrault LLP ‘Doubling
Down’ with Wortzmans Acquisition”, Canadian
Lawyer Magazine (4 January 2017), online:
6. Online: <www.business-integrity.com>.
7. Online: <www.exari.com>.
8. Online: <www.shakelaw.com>.
9. Online: <www.legalzoom.com>.
10. Online: <www.rocketlawyer.com>.