Well, it’s 2018 and seeing that date in print may have some of you saying, “Wow, it’s the future. …So where are the flying cars and Jetsons-like instant food creation machines and the teleporters?” It’s true, we have none of the things that were promised to us in Saturday morning cartoons and sci-fi movies. When you’re standing in the future, it doesn’t always look so “futuristic” right?
So we recently caught up with the literal “Flash Gordon of the Law,” Dean Sperling, to get his views on what the practice of law might look like in the future.
Q: Ok, Dean so what does the law firm of the future look like?
Dean: Technology has, to date, been the “great equalizer” between smaller practitioners and large firms. Research programs such as Westlaw and Lexis Nexis, word processing programs, computers and cloud storage have allowed smaller firms to compete with larger firms. The next wave will involve the ability to provide faster and more efficient ways to resolve disputes at reasonable cost for both individuals and business entities. Blockchain contract and arbitration systems such as “Jury.Online” are looking to do just that. Resolution of legal disputes by way of a “panel jury” for a lower price and at “light speed” compared to the 12 – 18 month backlog in the court system would go a long way to meeting this goal.
Q: What tech trends are shaping the legal industry?
Dean: AI would appear to be the next horizon. Legal research programs already use rudimentary AI in their search engines. Use of “key words” results in locating cases on topic to what the attorney is looking for regarding precedents. More advanced AI in connection with preparation of transactional documents (contracts, sales, wills, trusts), legal briefs (for use in court disputes) could eventually lower the cost of providing such services to clients.
Q: Why is the legal industry ripe for disruption?
Dean: The legal industry is already in disruption. The last recession “weeded” out many firms whose business structure could not withstand the pressures brought by the downturn, loss of business and the increased competition. Clients, including large multinational entities, have found that there is competition in the legal arena and fees charged and have demanded change. Much as how the “first wave” of technology leveled the playing field between large and small firms, the next wave is going to shape who survives, who doesn’t and who prospers. The clients are driving the changes and technology is going to be the engine that will allow lawyers to provide what the clients demand.
And there you have it. One thing that will remain constant is disputes between human beings. They’re everywhere. And when disputes including contracts, landlord tenant matters and even collections affect your business, call on Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!