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1. The future of information technologies in the legal world

By Richard Susskind


The uncharitable might say that I write the same book every four years or so. Some critics certainly accuse me of having said the same thing for many years. I don’t disagree. Since the early 80s, my enduring interest has been in the ways in which technology can modernize and improve the work of the legal profession and the courts. My main underpinning conviction has indeed not changed: that legal work is document and information intensive, and that a whole host of information technologies can and should streamline and sometimes even overhaul traditional methods of practicing law and administering justice.

What have changed, of course, are the enabling technologies. When I started out on what has become a career devoted largely to legal technology, the web had not been invented, nor had tablets, handheld devices, mobile phones, and much else. As new technologies emerge, therefore, I always have a new story to tell and more evidence that suggests the legal world is shifting from being a cottage industry to an IT-enabled information sector.

The evolution of my thinking reflects my own technical interests and career activities over the years. My first work in the field, in the 1980s, focused on artificial intelligence and its potential and limitations in the law. This began in earnest with my doctoral research at Oxford University. I was interested in the possibility of developing computer systems that could solve legal problems and offer legal advice. Many specialists at the time wanted to define expert systems in law in architectural terms (by reference to what underlying technologies were being used, from rule-based systems to neural networks). I took a more pragmatic view and described these systems functionally as computer applications that sought to make scarce legal knowledge and expertise more widely available and easily accessible.

This remains my fundamental aspiration today. I believe there is enormous scope for using technology, especially Internet technology, as a way of providing affordable, practical legal guidance to non-lawyers, especially those who are not able to pay for conventional legal service. These systems may not be expert systems, architecturally-defined. Instead, they are web-based resources (such as online advisory and document drafting systems) and are delivering legal help, on-screen, as envisaged back in the 1980s.

During the first half of the 90s, while I was working in a law firm (Masons, now Pinsent Masons), my work became less academic. I was bowled over by the web and began to form a view of the way it would revolutionize the communication habits of practicing lawyers and transform the information seeking practices of the legal fraternity. I also had some rudimentary ideas about online communities of lawyers and clients; we now call these social networks. My thinking came together in the mid-1990s. I became clear, in my own mind at least, that information technology would definitely challenge and change the world of law. Most people thought I was nuts.

A few years later, to help put my ideas into practice, I developed what I called ‘the grid’ – a simple model that explained the inter-relationships of legal data, legal information, legal knowledge, as found within law firms and shared with clients. I had used this model quite a bit with my clients (by this time, I was working independently) and it seemed to help lawyers think through what they should be doing about IT.

In the years that followed, however, I became even more confident that the Internet was destined to change the legal sector not incrementally and peripherally but radically, pervasively, and irreversibly. But I felt that, in the early 2000s, most lawyers were complacent. Times were good, business was brisk, and the majority of practitioners could not really imagine that legal practice and the court system would be thrown into upheaval by disruptive technologies.

Then came the global recession and, in turn, lawyers became more receptive than they had been in boom times when there had been no obvious reason why they might change course. Dreadful economic conditions convinced lawyers that tomorrow would look little like yesterday.

With many senior lawyers now recognizing that we are on the brink of major change, my current preoccupation is that most law schools around the world are ignoring this future. They continue to teach law much as I was taught in the late 1970s. They are equipping tomorrow’s lawyers to be twentieth century not twenty-first century lawyers. My mission now is to help law teachers to prepare the next generation of lawyers for the new legal world.

Richard Susskind OBE is an author, speaker, and independent adviser to international professional firms and national governments. He is president of the Society for Computers and law IT adviser to the lord chief justice. Tomorrow’s Lawyers is his eighth book.

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Image Credit: ‘The Grid’ courtesy of Richard Susskind. Used with permission. Do not reproduce without explicit permission of Richard Susskind.

The post The future of information technologies in the legal world appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Meet The GennY Finalist: Part 3

The GennY Award recognizes best practices of those who have applied new and innovative techniques to connect and communicate with youth. The 2012 award will be given to one exceptional marketing campaign at the Millennial Mega Mashup next week, but... Read the rest of this post

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3. Meet The GennY 2012 Finalists: Part 2

The GennY Award recognizes best practices of those who have applied new and innovative techniques to connect and communicate with youth. The 2012 award will be given to one exceptional marketing campaign at the Millennial Mega Mashup next week, but... Read the rest of this post

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4. Teen Tribes: Fan Clubs Take On New Meaning

Are you a Gleek? A Directioner? A Lovatic? A Belieber? There are hoards of teen tribes roaming the Internet and meeting up at pop culture events. Nowadays, every teen icon has its own posse that has often mobilized independent of the artist — and... Read the rest of this post

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5. TV Without A Remote: A Teen’s Take On Streaming

Today’s post comes to us from Caroline Marques, a high school senior and Youth Advisory Board Member who explains how her and her friends watch TV. They do so almost entirely online — as is the case with many Millennials, especially once they... Read the rest of this post

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6. Happy April Fool’s Day: Recap Of The Web’s Best Jokes & Pranks

If you open up most calendars, you’re not likely to find April 1st listed as an official holiday, but that doesn’t stop most of the western world from celebrating it in one way or another. Though the true origins of the day remain... Read the rest of this post

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7. Q&A With MTV’s A Thin Line — A GennY Award Winner A Year Later

Today we’re checking in with A Thin Line, MTV’s campaign against digital abuse and winner of Ypulse’s 2011 GennY Award, which recognizes best practices and new techniques in youth marketing campaigns. A Thin Line hasn’t stopped innovating in... Read the rest of this post

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8. Millennials Want To Make Kony Famous In 2012

Social activism via social media is nothing new, but as yet in the U.S. it’s never reached the scale of the Kony 2012 campaign organized by the non-profit Invisible Children. Almost overnight, Millennials are helping to make Kony, an African... Read the rest of this post

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9. The Shift To Streaming Happens At Age 18

Millennials are used to getting what they want when they want it. They can get immediate answers to questions thanks to Google and Bing; they can read the news as it happens on Facebook and Twitter; and they can watch TV shows on their own schedules... Read the rest of this post

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10. The Interest in Pinterest: A Millennial’s Perspective

Today’s post comes to us from Laura, a Youth Advisory Board member who is active on Pinterest and eager to share her thoughts about why the social network has quickly taken off, especially among Millennials. She uses the site for a variety of... Read the rest of this post

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11. Internet Piracy, SOPA, Megaupload, And What It Means To Millennials

The past week had a huge impact on young, media-savvy Millennials, because of the war waging among Internet sites and the federal government. First, young people banded together with websites to stop the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act,... Read the rest of this post

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12. Cyber Smart: Kids’ Online Lives And Digital Safety

During the Children’s Advertising Review Unit conference earlier this month, we had the pleasure of meeting some of Wired Safety’s Teenangels and Tweenangels. They’re students who have been specially trained about online activity and the risks... Read the rest of this post

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13. Dealing With Digital Drama, A Universal Problem

Today’s post comes from Youth Advisory Board member Emily Smucker, who, like nearly everyone her age, knows someone who’s been involved in some digital drama. The problem, ranging from name calling to full-blown cyberbullying, has been getting a... Read the rest of this post

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14. Skanz Turns QR Codes Into ‘Social Prints’

Ypulse has been a little skeptical of QR codes since we discovered that the vast majority of students had no idea what they are. Moreover, of the few who know of them, fewer than half think they’re easy and useful. But Skanz just might change all... Read the rest of this post

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15. If You Like It Then You Shoulda Put a Pin On It!

As if I need another super cool thing on the internet to keep me from reading, cleaning, sleeping, showering... or feeding my children!  I have discovered Pinterest. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where you can pin images you see on the web. I have installed a "pin it" button on my browser, so if I see something I love or want to come back to, I can pin it and it will be saved to one of my boards. Here is one of my boards that I have created for all of my library decor ideas:

All of the images are automatically credited to the original place on the web, so you can go back to it and give credit where credit is due. There is space to write notes, so you can include an entire recipe or a keyword. Pinterest is a very social site. You can have followers and follow others. If you see something on one of their boards, you can repin it to yours, like it or comment on it. You can instantly post your pins to Facebook, Twitter or SumbleUpoin. You can email them to friends or embed them in your blog.
Pinterest follows a high standard and doesn't allow hate or inappropriate content. There are some 4 letter words on there and nudity, so be warned.  Right now, Pinterest is invitation only- so you can visit them, enter your email and cross your fingers! If you are on Pinterest, come check out my boards
Repinned from Angie @ Pinterest

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16. Noisey: The Next Iteration of ‘Music Television’?

The latest installment of our Ypulse Youth Website Profile series is a review of the recently launched music site Noisey, which has been called what MTV would have made if it cared about music. What it is… A music discovery site. Noisey tips off... Read the rest of this post

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17. Ypulse Youth Website Profile: Splashlife

Where do Millennials turn for life advice? They go to their friends, says Splashlife founder Melissa Helmbrecht. The problem is that their friends know about as much as they do about making it through life’s major steps to adulthood. That’s... Read the rest of this post

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18. Confessions Of A Teenage Internet Pirate

Today’s post comes to us from a high school sophomore who prefers to remain anonymous. She’s talking about stealing. Downloading digital content without paying. Online piracy is a hot topic (again) of late because of the demise of Limewire and... Read the rest of this post

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19. Tapping Millennials’ Social Influence: Klout And GetGlue

There is no question that social media is important to Millennials — as Joseph Kressler of the Intelligence Group noted at the Youth Mega Mashup last week, one Millennial woman recently told him, “I am what I share.” Social media defines... Read the rest of this post

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20. Facebook Vs. Google+: Where Millennials Are (And Marketers Should Be)

The past few days have been big for social media; Google+ launched and Facebook announced video chat integration with Skype. Social media has become the lifeline for high school and college students. They plan their day-to-day lives via Facebook. To... Read the rest of this post

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21. New website!


It's been a long time coming but my new website is finally up and running. Yay! Please stop by and let me know what your thoughts are or if you run into any problems. Thanks!

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22. Couponing Is Cool Again: Millennials On Groupon, LivingSocial & Foursquare

There was a time when young people didn’t use coupons. They were far less likely than their older peers to read a Sunday newspaper and see coupon inserts, and they didn’t care much about clipping coupons to stretch their money further. That is,... Read the rest of this post

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23. Q&A With Seventeen’s Ann Shoket: Delete Digital Drama

Cyberbullying is a reality for kids growing up today, and for the victims, it’s hard to turn off. As Internet savvy as teens are, so are bullies who can make their lives hell. But fortunately, teen media companies are getting involved, sharing the... Read the rest of this post

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24. Q&A With ABC Family’s Danielle Mullin And Tom Zappala: Delete Digital Drama & Cyberbully

ABC Family and Seventeen recently teamed up on Delete Digital Drama, an initiative to tell teens that there’s an easy step to put a stop to cyberbullying. Delete it. (See our interview with Ann Shoket, Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen here.) When... Read the rest of this post

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25. I Can Haz QR Code?


I don't have a Smartphone, so I can't even scan this to see if it works! But, I know that this is the wave of the future! People with Smartphones can scan this code and have my website sent right to them! As I researched QR codes to learn a little more, I visited these sites:
Anatomy of a QR Code: I used this so I would know what each part of the code means, what I could change and how much space to leave around the code.
QR Code Generator: I used this site to actually create my code. Very easy!
Picnik: I used Picnik to edit my code and make it a little more unique.

Now, can somebody scan this baby and tell me if it works! : )

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