Love it or hate it, Richard Susskind's 1996 book The Future of Law prompted many law firms – and legal IT suppliers – to rethink their longer-term ideas on the way the legal industry might operate in the future. Now he's back with a new book – The End of Lawyers?  Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services – to be published next year by Oxford University Press. This points to a future in which conventional legal advisers will be less prominent in society than today and argues this is where the legal profession will be taken by two forces: by a market pull towards commoditisation and by ongoing development and uptake of information technology.

Susskind says “a running theme of the book is the growing impact on the law and lawyers of online community – systems that enable easier and better communication and collaboration amongst human beings (celebrated examples of which are Facebook and Wikipedia). In that spirit, we thought it might be interesting, before the book is finally put to bed, to create an online community; to generate some online discussion that focuses on the central arguments and claims. And so, over the next six weeks, and starting today, draft extracts from the book will appear on Times Online. In releasing the ideas and the arguments a little earlier than normal, we are inviting people to comment and contribute. It will be fascinating, as an author, to see if readers are interested in offering ideas in advance of a book being written or whether there is a preference to wait for publication in the traditional way.”
 
Susskind goes on to say “I am hoping that some of you will find the time to go online and have a look at some of the draft extracts and the analysis and commentary that might grow around them. More optimistically still, I am also hoping that, while you are there, you might contribute some thoughts of your own.”
 
To read the initial article in The Times go to www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/system/topicRoot/The_End_of_Lawyers and from there you can also jump to the draft extracts – the first one is Legal profession is on the brink. You can comment on any of the drafts by filling in the form at the bottom of each article. And of course you can also submit your comments on this blog.