The legal profession has experienced a very big historical revolution over centuries from the time of Greek mythology, Athens and Rome empires which saw the likes of orators from Athens. People used to be their own defenders before they could later seek assistance from other parties and it is where the orators came in. We should thank Emperor Claudius who was the one who lifted the ban on legal fees thus invigorating the spirit of advocacy. There emerged the jurisconsults ( iuris consulti ) who took law as a hobby and learnt it to offer services for payment that even Advocates sought their services (This was in Rome where the legal practice took place). Let’s enter the Dark ages fall where professionalism took place and the Western Europe took the legal activities to a new level from 1150 where cannon law was the thing and the emergence of the title Esquire came to be for jurists and lawyers with substance. Admissions procedures were first seen in london during 1280s era where the Mayor’s Court established the guidelines to protect the Sanctity of the profession.
Enough with the ‘boring’ history of law. Okay let me make myself clear we should know that our fellow lawyers are dying worldwide with the disease called technology . Lawyers are in danger as the invasion of artificial intelligence is taking over lucrative venture where lawyers used to be the ‘fixers’. The traditional services lawyers used to offer is diminishing. Globalization is both a gift and a curse to this profession and we should not only blame technology but also other professions. What do i mean by that you may ask. Well, lawyers are egocentric and that has a negative impact:eyes:. There are other professions such as mediation courses which many lawyers may ignore leaving other institutes to take the courses offered and thus the ‘certified’ persons takeover the jobs.
Look at IT, many things are now favoring the tech savvy people and many legal policies are diminishing the traditional lawyers works such as application for online wills, tax returns, company incorporations among others. People thrive on efficiency and economic services which the incoming Artificial Intelligence technology even though in its infancy , it may reach a level that all one has to do will be a click of a button and all legal jargon are interpreted to a layman through a computer algorithm that I too am sure the rise of machines is inevitable and soon Robots will be going in courts in suits. Data is easily saved in machines which will just need storage spaces that will create a uniques, secure and well organized database that may carry all clients information in the AI’s cloud as opposed to the common filing systems we lawyers are used too. Imagine an all in one system that a ‘robo-lawyer’ can do such as having an analytical system that can calculate all possible legal outcomes for a client and coming up with the best solution and thus it will not be a battle of the minds but a battle of the operating systems ( i think so ) and all clerical, ambulance chasing, advocacy and other legal related work will diminish if not be in extinct as judges will also be obsolete .
Lawyers need to take back their turf and create an ‘antibody’ that will save them from this deadly virus. Lawyers should ensure that their profession is not infiltrated by other professions who occupy the vast niche that many lawyers have ignored to explore or think its is not worth their time. Let’s look in the brighter side, technology is hackable, it lacks interpersonal relations and humans can never trust a machine 100% to leave it in control (Remember Terminator, iRobot, Transformers and Battleship ). Lawyers are dying and we need a global solution.
Hi Kevin! Thanks for writing this provocative topic. I hope you don’t mind, but I made some edits, mostly to fix your emojis (you certainly seem to enjoy using emojis and have found some new ones that I haven’t seen before! ) and to make the title a little less scary.
I also moved this topic from the #advocacy to the #community category, since this is more of an intellectual discussion about the legal profession than it is a call to action.
Have you had a chance yet to watch @vivekmaru’s Arusha TED talk? If not, I strongly encourage you to do it as soon as you get a chance. In it, he explains that it is important and possible for people to know the law, use the law, and shape the law - this is the crux of legal empowerment as we see it. In a way, this view of legal empowerment is also a threat to traditional lawyers, as it takes power away from lawyers, who seek to provide services on behalf of clients, and gives power to the people, who are helped to navigate and help shape the legal system themselves. So yes, lawyers need to rethink their business model but if access to justice is the goal is that a bad thing?
Paralegal recognition and paralegal financing are such an important priority for our movement and often come up in community discussions here, and is a focus of the upcoming global campaign. Paralegals (or grassroots legal advocates) play an essential role in empowering the people. Here’s an example from your country:
It’s interesting that you bring up robo-lawyers - I posted about a robot lawyer in the past and think it’s actually an interesting and valuable example of people empowering themselves through technology. In this case it helps people who can’t afford lawyers with very basic, clear legal issues such as disputing parking tickets. Personally I think this is a positive development though of course it doesn’t help with anything but simple, routine legal cases.
Nice one though it is so complex for the entry level paralegal to read through but I understand you are a “learned fellow” would have called you “my learned friend” but I don’t have that privilege as I am not a lawyer. I guess I fall under the learning group .
I love the way you have analysed the extinction of the legal career. This is very true as even in Kenya we are now formulating citizen friendly laws that people don’t need a lawyer to interpret and the judicial reforms and access to justice drive in the country, there is a reduction of the use of legalese in courts to enable self representation for those who cannot afford a lawyer or believe they can fully represent themselves.
This is however true for all fields with the mechanisation as artificial intelligence is going to take over all careers as employers want efficiency and machines are very efficient though some how limited in what they can do.
I can see that @tobiaseigen has already shared with you one of the roles that the robots have already snatched away from you