When Computers Replace Lawyers

So you thought the Legal Services Act was a threat? Wait until the computers take over.

“In the end, after you’ve stripped away their six-figure degrees, their state bar memberships, and their proclivity for capitalizing Odd Words, lawyers are just another breed of knowledge worker. They’re paid to research, analyze, write, and argue — not unlike an academic, a journalist, or an accountant. So when software comes along that’s smarter or more efficient at those tasks than a human with a JD, it spells trouble.” READ MORE

Jordan Weissman raises some interesting issues. While I will not follow Private Fraser, and say “we’re doomed”, it is salutary to see lawyers as knowledge workers rather than a priesthood. And while people in a process are expensive, lawyers are more expensive than most.

There will be more uncertainty to legal life, and lawyers need to be yet more flexible, and yet more business oriented. There may be an advantage to big business.

That said, NatWest and RBS have now been trying to sort out their computer banking problems for the last 7 days (and counting). It would be interesting to cost out remedial costs, compensation costs, weekend opening and reputational damage. individual lawyers can screw up, but it takes computers to do it on this scale.

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