Which key trends will shape the world in the coming decade?
What are the changes that are likely to impact upon the legal profession?
How should law firms and individual solicitors be preparing for the future?
These are just some of the questions posed in a new report published by the Law Society. Entitled “Our Future Worlds 2050 project” the report follows a project set up to explore changes and uncertainties in the legal profession in England and Wales over the next 30 years, looked at through the lens of global trade and competition. The first report to come out of this project focuses on the emerging themes that look likely to dominate and affect the law, the legal profession and society in 2020 to 2030.
Looking at issues such as artificial intelligence (AI), emerging technologies, the uses of data, ethical implications of developments in politics global supply and the environment, and the shift in power to China, the report draws few conclusions other than that the world in the future will be very different.
It suggests that given the emergence of AI and other disruptive technologies:
- “high-street firms and legal secretarial roles are most at risk of disappearing”
- that there will be “new entrants in the market and a move to alternative and multidisciplinary delivery models” resulting in a growth within the sector of those from non-legal backgrounds including technologists, project managers, data analysts, and
- that smaller firms will fall out of the market following increased consolidation and the rise in large corporations that can fund and scale technology.
This is not a new message and has been espoused by many commentators over the past forty or so years – not least Richard Susskind. That it has not yet come to pass may speak volumes or may simply be that the consumer is not yet ready for the change.
Whatever the future, the report goes on to suggest that the Law Society could play a pivotal role as a convenor of stakeholders – a “meeting place for informed, complex and open conversations”. Who knows, stranger things have already happened.
Read the report here