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on 18 January 2013
If you are a law student you must read this book.

It will provide you with real insight into the changing nature of the profession you are about to enter into and will increase your chances of getting the right role, with the right law firm, or with an alternative legal service provider.

For all others already involved in the business of law the content of this book will help inform and shape your future strategy, share the core themes of this book with your clients, listen to their responses and act accordingly, before you are acted upon.
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VINE VOICEon 19 March 2013
In this brilliant book, the legal visionary, Professor Richard Susskind, examines the future for legal services in this country. He argues, powerfully and persuasively, that lawyers will not survive for much longer unless they are prepared radically to change the way they work. Drawing upon his own research and his extensive experience of working with large law firms and senior judges, Susskind contends that "pervasive, irreversible and transformational" changes are needed because of (a) insistent demands from consumers for less expensive legal services; (b) the `liberalisation' of the legal market place, and (c) the IT revolution.

The book will inevitably make troubling reading for many lawyers, especially those who seek to offer a `bespoke' service and "who practise in the manner of a cottage industry". For such individuals, Susskind foresees a very bleak future indeed. But he predicts that there will be "exciting new jobs for those lawyers who are sufficiently flexible, open-minded, and entrepreneurial to adapt to changing market conditions."

Susskind's writing style is exhilarating, if at times breathless, even frenetic. He writes with great self-confidence and he conveys the passion, the conviction and the sense of excitement that he feels for the subject. Readers of his earlier book, 'The End of Lawyers?', will be familiar with many of the themes in 'Tomorrow's Lawyers' - he even repeats some of the same anecdotes - although the latter is a much shorter and a much lighter read.

Almost every page of 'Tomorrow's Lawyers' bristles with fresh and imaginative ideas and provocative thinking. Though aimed primarily at law students, this immensely readable and compelling book deserves a much wider readership.
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on 11 February 2013
I love this book. Whilst, on the one hand, it may seem light on detail, on the other it provides a number of very worthwhile and helpful signposts on where the legal profession is headed. It is one of those books that every lawyer - young and old - should read before they attend any more meetings where the topic of change/innovation is raised. Of course, there will be those who are not for turning but the book makes no apologies for the fact that the profession has to change or face the risk of being changed. All law students would do well to read it before they decide on where they want to spend the rest of their working days. It's not that the book tries to push people away from choosing law as a profession, but rather how they can add more in value than simply what, over their lifetime, they might bill out. Well done Mr Susskind.
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I bought Professor Susskind's "The future of law" back in the late nineties, shortly after getting involved in the management of law firms for the first time. I regret that I did not read it as attentively as I should, having found David Maister's work Managing The Professional Service Firm to resonate far more with the kind of law firms that I wanted to work with. Of course, with a twenty year timescale, it was very much a book about the future, while Maister was writing about the past and present, at a somewhat rarefied, elite level at that. As Susskind reminds us in Tomorrow's Lawyers, a beautifully succinct update of his several previous works, his original prediction may be judged in 2016, and he has a confidence - bordering, dare I say it, on arrogance - that he's been more right than wrong.

Susskind discerns three main drivers of change: the "more-for-less" challenge, liberalization, and information technology. Clients have growing legal needs: at one end they feel that they are overpriced when delivered by traditional means, and at the other they simply cannot afford them and have to wing it and risk the consequences. Help is at hand, however. IT, as demonstrated already in a host of applications inside and outside the legal sector - Susskind mentions eBay, Kodak, Legalzoom and Epoq among others - has the potential to fulfil needs in a host of ways that are highly disruptive of existing business models. Liberalization, whether through the medium of the Alternative Business Structure (ABS) or by businesses that provide solutions for clients without the need to come anywhere near the regulated sector, will enable entrepreneurs, especially those well versed in IT, to, meet the more for less challenge, and in so doing to put many traditional law firms out of business.

While he envisages a global elite of 20 or fewer top firms, Susskind suggests that in order to win a future law firms will need to meet the "more for less" challenge through efficiency and collaboration.

Efficiency goes well beyond simply making traditional processes more efficient, still less cutting down on marketing and support staff costs. The crux will be "decomposing" legal work into its constituent parts, identifying where each of those processes fit within a spectrum from bespoke to commoditized, and then "alternative sourcing" and "multi-sourcing" each process to the most cost effective provider, many of whom will not be within a traditional firm nor even new model provider. Susskind provides an extensive list of alternative sources of work provision, including out-sourcing, near-sourcing, and leasing (leasing lawyers, that is!). At his most radical he suggests that artificial intelligence will replace human lawyers, e.g. in document review and indexing tasks.

Collaboration may be between lawyers as providers, between in-house counsel and lawyers in practice, but more so even than that Professor Susskind envisages collaboration being between clients. He points to Allen & Overy, for example, working for multiple banking clients and providing a common regulatory and compliance service, or law firms providing a similar combined service for local authorities. "class action" for transactional work? The author envisages law firms taking the lead in orchestrating such collaboration; they may lose opportunities for hourly billing in the short term, but the leaders will be bold enough to recognise the long term threat will increase their market share by seizing the first mover advantage. Collaboration is substantially about changing much of law from a one-to-one personal service to a one-to-many solution to clients' needs. Providing automated documentation and online legal services are among other strategies Susskind summarises to achieve that end.

Susskind suggests, not for the first time, that there is little future for the "general purpose small firm", which he envisages will largely be squeezed out by new entrants to the liberalized legal marketplace - banks, retailers etc - by 2020 or so. There will be a space for niche specialists and those offering a truly personal service (to those who attach value to that kind of service and who can afford to pay for it!) Some medium-sized firms (it would have been helpful if he had explained at what point a small firm becomes medium sized), through merger and bringing in external investment may, he suggests, be able to develop new and sustainable longer term business models. On the whole, however, Susskind seems to suggest that much of the legal market (worth £25 billion in the UK alone, he says) will be seized by new types of providers. The last third of the book is devoted explicitly to considering the prospects of those who are just embarking upon careers in the law, and he lists many potential new types of employer, starting with the global accounting forms which he believes will soon re-enter the legal services marketplace.

This is surely a "must read" book for anyone involved in or interested in the legal profession in the UK and elsewhere. Many who read it will hope that the future prophesied by Susskind does not come to pass, but at least they will be able to discern the potential threats to their traditional legal businesses more clearly. Some may say that they think that the "more for less" challenge is overstated, and that their clients are satisfied that they are getting value for money at the moment. Many may take comfort from the thought that many of his ideas will be difficult or impossible to deliver under the current regulatory regime. They may be right, as many of the new legal providers will not themselves want or need to be regulated as solicitors, barristers or by the other specialist regulators in the legal profession. Some, Susskind presumably hopes, will see entrepreneurial opportunities to build those new businesses, and in so doing better and more affordable legal solutions for those who need them while fashioning for themselves very different careers than the tradition route to partnership.
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on 22 November 2013
I gave it 5 stars because it was clearly written, easy to follow, interesting and thought provoking.

Professor Susskind is not on a mission to change your views. Rather, he aims to amicably present his own views on the future development of the law in England and Wales will develop, backing up his views with compelling evidence.

I would recommend this book to any aspiring lawyers - law students at any stage in their legal education whether stating out from university to New Qualified Lawyers.
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on 13 January 2013
If there is one book that both aspiring and practicing lawyers should stop and read, this is it. In his absorbing, punchy style, Susskind emphasises that much of the training of new lawyers is based on past, not future, needs of the marketplace. And that many experienced practitioners are equally poorly prepared. Alarm bells echo through the 150 thought provoking pages. Excellent follow-up to Julie Macfarlane's The New Lawyer.
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on 22 January 2013
In this latest book, Richard Susskind describes the radical changes taking place in the legal profession and how they demand a new approach to the design and delivery of legal services (and the way firms need to change to achieve this).

This is a thought-provoking book for anyone involved in the management of law firms as well as Susskind's originally intended audience of young lawyers embarking on a career in a sector that is in the process of transformation. Furthermore, this is not a book to put on the shelf until you have time to read it. Despite the title, the book's themes demand urgent attention. It helps that the book is easy to read and short (165 pages).

Citing three major changes (clients demanding more from less, liberalisation and IT), Susskind presents a reasoned approach to how legal providers can succeed in this challenging environment (and how they will fail if the forces for change are ignored). For example, firms should accept that there will be limited appetite for expensive re-inventing of the wheel and therefore actively progress services from bespoke through a process of standardising, systematising, and packaging before those services ultimately are likely to become commodities. As Susskind points out, many practitioners will agree with the general logic of this but are in danger of seeing their own particular discipline as different. Susskind also suggests 'decomposing' services (such as litigation) into elementary units (such as document review, legal research, etc) and searching for the best way to source each of those elements (including co-sourcing, crowd-sourcing and 13 other sources identified in the book).

All this will inevitably demand changes in the way lawyers are trained and deployed, including new roles such as the 'legal technologist' and the 'legal risk manager'.

The book also tackles challenges faced by in-house counsel and likely changes in legal process (including virtual courts and online dispute resolution).

Highly recommended reading.
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on 25 July 2013
Richard Susskind has a Marmite effect on many people. Those who say they dislike what he says often haven't read his books: just the headlines. Those who have read his books seem to lap up the clear, deeply knowledgeable and articulate way he discusses the future of the legal industry. If you are a lawyer and you haven't read this, or its predecessor - The End of Lawyers? - you may find life ahead aa great deal more surprising and challenging than those who have read it.
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on 1 August 2014
This is a concise and erudite book on the future (but mainly the problems) of the legal services industry. Whilst the tone is slightly preachy and unrelentingly pessimistic at times there are some good points well made and many things which any lawyer, aspiring lawyer or anyone involved with Law firm administration would benefit from thinking about.
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on 22 April 2014
This is a useful and informative book for anyone looking to pursue a legal career. It is important to identify the external challenges law firms face and how they intend to respond to them. Susskind provides innovative ways of propelling change in this sector.
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